ViewSonic Ups The Ante With Faster LCD Displays

The new products, the 17-inch Xtreme VX724 and the 19-inch Xtreme VX924, feature an eight to 10 times improvement in the average gray-to-gray response of 4 milliseconds, the company said.

"This is a very big breakthrough," said Eric Willey, senior product manager at ViewSonic, Walnut, Calif. "We have been working on this for the past six months."

Gray-to-gray response time is a measure of how fast a pixel changes from one shade of color to another shade of the same color, which is important for video applications in which pixels change shades more frequently than colors.

A more common specification, black-to-white response time, measures how quickly a pixel can change from one color to another. The newest generation of flat panels from various manufacturers are moving to 8ms black-to-white response times.

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The new ViewSonic displays have an even faster 5ms black-to-white response time, according to Willey. But ViewSonic is emphasizing its technology for accelerating the gray-to-gray response time as more significant. "We're applying acceleration across the board," he said.

The increase in response time is the result of what he called ViewSonic's proprietary dynamic structure and amplified impulse video response acceleration technologies, which are implemented in both firmware and hardware. "This is something unique to ViewSonic," Willey said.

He said the displays were designed by ViewSonic engineers under an exclusive agreement with an unnamed partner. "Not everyone using these panels is going to have these response times. This positions us in a very attractive spot against the other [display] manufacturers," he said.

The new displays, which are slated to ship before the end of the second quarter, have an MSRP of only $30 more than the existing comparable LCD ViewSonic products, said Willey. The 19-inch VX924 has an MSRP of $505, while the 17-inch VX724 has an MSRP of $359, said Willey.

ViewSonic is moving the 17-inch and 19-inch lines to the new specifications and will phase out its older models by the end of the summer, Willey said. ViewSonic has doubled the manufacturing ramp of the new displays in the past several weeks based on the initial reaction from VARs, Willey said. He said there has not yet been any beta testing of the new models.

VARs will see the biggest impact in video performance in heavy video motion applications including video editing and production and DVD and gaming applications, said Willey.

The products will be distributed through existing ViewSonic distributors including ASI, Coastline Micro, D&H Distributing, ICG, Ingram Micro, Synnex, Tech Data and Winncom Technologies.

When asked if ViewSonic will sell the same displays through retail giants such as Best Buy, Willey said a retail plan for the product line has not been completed.

John Marks, CEO of JDM Infrastructure, a Rosemont, Ill., solution provider, said he is more impressed by display asset management offerings such as that offered by Phillips than by faster monitor response times.

"There are other programs that address problems and issues in the monitor arena," said Marks. "This sounds like something that Best Buy and Circuit City buyers will be more excited by. Response time is not a big factor for horizontal business applications. It might have some small benefit, but the manufacturers addressing larger issues like asset management and return on investment are making bigger strides."