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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:26 am 
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Old Samsung TV just died. Won't power on.

$150 is probably tops, but less even better. Don't care about gaming, and unlikely will be watching movies on it. Just need a decent, basic monitor.

Seeing this one, which has a lot of reviews, mostly good. With promo + rebate $119. Even has built-in speakers (probably crappy, but better than nothing). Opinions? Suitability for the Mini?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6112-S1A3B

Any other suggestions?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:56 pm 
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I'd get an IPS-based display. IPS, meaning "in plane switching" describes the technology used in the LCD panel, and these types of panels have much better color rendition and vastly superior viewing angles than some other types. You know how the color and brightness shifts on most LCDs when you move your head? I hate that. It doesn't happen with displays based on IPS panels.

The down side is that they're more expensive than inferior panels, and they usually aren't quite as bright.

That said, you can certainly get one at a reasonable size for less than $150, without any special promotions and probably free shipping. For example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6824160201

Here are more:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... ageSize=30

With any inexpensive monitor you'll probably need to order a cable separately if you don't already have one. I recommend not using a VGA cable; splurge and get an HDMI or DVI cable if. If your old monitor was connected to the Mini with an HDMI or DVI cable you can reuse it with the new monitor.

Hope that helps,
- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:06 pm 
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Thanks Anon, mulling over the options and the reviews.

I've never had an external monitor before, except the Samsung TV, where I could get into the different settings from the Menu. With one of these, how are the various picture options, like gamma, brightness, etc. accessed? With an on-screen menu from the menu button located physically on the monitor? Or done some other way?

EDIT: have been looking at these three, but don't know enough to make an informed choice or know what to do with some of the negative reviews. Much easier to put the negative ones in perspective when there are hundreds, but difficult when there only around 25. Also, not sure I need the IPS for the viewing angle, since it will be sitting on a desk just opposite. In that case, am I better off for features, quality and reliability with a non-IPS monitor at around the same price point?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6824160167

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6824160201

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 5094-S2A2B


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:19 pm 
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Most of these monitor have setting that can be accessed through a couple of incredibly awkward and poorly thought out buttons in some hard to reach place on the front/side/bottom of the monitor. Some models will have different sets of controls than others. All will have a brightness control, but not necessarily gamma, color, or contrast controls. Some may have those controls, but only enable some of them for the VGA input (which is good enough evidence for me that you shouldn't use the VGA connector!)

The nice thing about using real computer monitors is that they're usually calibrated for computer use right out of the box so there may be little or nothing you have to do to make them look right. In some cases running your Mac's monitor calibration routine can make things better, but out of the box they're usually acceptable. This is in stark contrast to TVs used as monitors where the color settings are often somewhere between appalling and noxious when you plug it in to the computer; I think they're set up to make colors in TV shows look really exciting! in lineups of TVs at Best Buy or something -- at any rate, I usually have to fiddle with TVs quite a lot to get them sort of behaving properly, whereas monitors usually just work.

IPS-based displays often come out of the box looking even more accurate than cheaper TN panels, so less fiddling is needed. Besides the color, there are sometimes other minor differences between IPS panels and TN panels: IPS panels are often slightly dimmer, and I think they sometimes have a tiny bit more input lag which might affect you if you're a hardcore gamer. I'm not certain about the latter, but you can see from the specs that these displays are generally slightly dimmer.

The advantage of the viewing angles isn't that you can see the monitor from a greater range of angles; to me it's more that the colors and brightness don't change when you move your head, and are uniform across the entire screen. With different panel technology, like the TN panel in my old 15" MacBook Pro, if my head is lower than a plane extending perpendicularly from the midpoint of the screen, then the top of the screen is darker than the bottom. At extreme angles the colors actually invert, but it's the small movements and changes in brightness that really annoy me. That said, I recognize that not everyone notices these things.

Monitors are no longer highly differentiated by features. I'd take the stance that most supposedly differentiating features are actually just gimmicks that interfere with correct display of whatever signal the computer is sending it (this is the problem with TVs -- it's virtually impossible to disable gratuitous signal processing, and that processing just ends up making the display's performance and image quality worse). I'd decide what size(s) you might want, then sort by price and see which one with a reasonable number of reviews has the best ratio of five star to one star ratings. I do not believe that name brands are necessarily any better than brands you've never heard of.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:54 am 
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In my experience, Acer and ASUS monitors at low price points are reliable. I have an entire lab full of Acer IPS displays and not a single one has failed despite everything students do to them. Most everything else is kinda iffy down at those price points.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:58 am 
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Anon, thanks for all that information and MB on the Acers.

Too many choices for these things. Like walking down the pasta sauce aisle at the supermarket. Based on the almost universal rave reviews at Newegg and Amazon, finally decided on Acer H236HLbid Black 23", for a little bit more. Might not like the glossy screen, but already used to that on the iMac, so likely not a problem.

Bought it at Amazon (even with the tax, was less expensive than Newegg) with free 2 day shipping with a Prime 30 day trial (would be nice to keep it for movie streaming, but already paying for Netflix). Must not forget to cancel it before the 30 days.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AZM ... _ya_signin

I'm certain it will be a huge improvement, compared to the very old 720p Samsung TV, which with SwitchResX (now unnecessary) I had to use at a blurry custom resolution.

It will probably end up on sale at Newegg, before long, at some ridiculously low price, maybe Black Friday, but couldn't wait.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:35 am 
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I suspect you'll be quite pleased with it.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:06 pm 
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Anonymous wrote:
I suspect you'll be quite pleased with it.

- Anonymous

Very good to hear that, thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:07 pm 
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I bet the only thing you'll dislike about the display is the glossy coating. Even the on-screen menu on Acers are pretty straightforward. The "ECO" menu is basically superflous unless you feel like changing color/gamma settings regularly.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:05 am 
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I prefer glossy to matte. Matte makes text a lot harder to read due to how it diffracts light slightly. If he isn't in a room with tons of light sources to reflect directly at him, it shouldn't be an issue.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:16 pm 
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Unless it's vastly more reflective than this glossy screen iMac, should be OK. Won't be used in a room where reflections are a problem.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:21 am 
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Anonymous wrote:
Most of these monitor have setting that can be accessed through a couple of incredibly awkward and poorly thought out buttons in some hard to reach place on the front/side/bottom of the monitor.

Wow, you can say that again. Came within a hair of a psychotic episode trying to figure out how to navigate the On Screen Display. Nothing online, I wouldn't consider the user guide to wipe the bottom of my shoe--completely useless (either in downloadable format or what came with the monitor--same thing, one page with hardly anything, but repeated in 20 different languages). No instructions, nothing, zilch online. All they say in the instructions for the physical setup, is "attach the stand." :upset:

Called Acer, and after a few false starts, including a robot, who couldn't understand the serial #, no matter how I tried giving it, and two clueless low level cust svc reps, finally got a sympathetic manager, who walked us through using the OSD (my wife, really, as my hearing is quite bad, especially with a connection to India, or someplace, with someone with an accent). Quite unbelievable that they can release a product with so little in the way of instructions. To know how to attach the stand, found something on YouTube, which was fortunate actually, since I also found instructions there to remove the silly paper clip magnet from the base. That is one hell of a strong little magnet. Could build my own MRI, and go into business with that.

And, yes, the buttons are underneath, which makes a little bit of sense when you finally realize (the eureka moment) that each button corresponds to an item above it on the screen.

Right now, with 10,000 mg of Thorazine, and after making various adjustments, it's not looking too shabby.

EDIT: after playing around with the settings, I am really quite pleased. Beautiful display.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:26 pm 
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Oh my goodness, those buttons really ARE under the display. Not just a little, they're all the way at the back. The models I referred to have theirs on the front of the display, lined up along the bottom edge, with some honest-to-goodness TEXT above each button molded into the plastic so they can't get rubbed off.

If you want a maddening interface, ASUS puts their buttons on the BACK of the display, with silkscreened writing on the front roughly where each button is. I always feel around and count the text & buttons from right to left since the ones I use are on the right half.

But, I guess what you see is what's important, and how reliable it is too, and on that front you're probably going to be OK.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 5:55 am 
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With hindsight, now that I completely understand how to use the OSD, it all seems so obvious.

Why didn't I just use the "Quick Start Guide," repeated in 25+ different languages, which, with that hindsight, begins to make a little sense? Maybe I would have gotten it right away in Bulgarian.

Image



And shit, just my luck, one week later now on sale at $120 at newegg.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:55 am 
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I'm finding that the screen/backlight gets gradually brighter on the Acer over about ten, maybe fifteen minutes. Will start out kind of on the too dim side, then finally resume the brightness and contrast levels I've set before letting the monitor sleep or turning it off--maybe even brighter than those settings. It's a bit like what the ACM does if enabled, but not at all that strong.

I've set this up by the book: both Mini and Monitor powered down, both unplugged, connected HDMI cable, plugged both back in, opened monitor first, next the Mini (to get the correct handshake, presumably.)

Settings: DDC/CI-> ON, ACM -> OFF, DPS -> ON. Have stayed far away from any of the Eco/e stuff.

Should the backlight take some time to warm up? Is that what's going on, and is it normal? Anything else to try? I'd hate to have to have the hassle of sending this thing back.

EDIT: just had the idea to leave ACM enabled, instead of off. When I did that, the brightness and contrast increased dramatically, but then as soon as I reduced the brightness only one notch, the backlight returned to normal. Maybe leaving the ACM on will keep the backlight at a steady level? Will have to let the monitor sleep for a while, then see what's what.


Last edited by WZZZ on Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:59 am 
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If the backlight is Fluorescent then it could easily be temperature related, what's the ambient temp there?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:01 am 
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BDAqua wrote:
If the backlight is Fluorescent then it could easily be temperature related, what's the ambient temp there?

Nope, it's LED.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:16 am 
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Hmmmm, wouldn't seem to me that heat would make a diff, unless maybe some other logic or power component is heat sensitive. :confused:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:43 pm 
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If ACM stands for what I think it does (auto contrast management), then it works like dynamic contrast on TVs. You generally want that off as it will change contrast automatically when it detects specific conditions. What you want to look for in the OSD is an ECO or ambient light control and set that to off. Nothing is more infuriating than inconsistent brightness and contrast levels caused by hardware settings.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:43 pm 
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Dupe post? That's a first here.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:50 pm 
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Squishy Tia wrote:
If ACM stands for what I think it does (auto contrast management), then it works like dynamic contrast on TVs. You generally want that off as it will change contrast automatically when it detects specific conditions. What you want to look for in the OSD is an ECO or ambient light control and set that to off. Nothing is more infuriating than inconsistent brightness and contrast levels caused by hardware settings.

Yeah, I had ACM disabled, but that wasn't stopping the backlight from gradually becoming too bright. Right now, testing with it enabled to see if that will hold the brightness level constant. Will know in maybe fifteen minutes if it works or not. As I said, I haven't been using any of the eco settings, which put the contrast and brightness on steroids.

I've googled the shit out of this, and can only find people complaining that the brightness auto adjusts down, not up.

EDIT: so much for ACM. What I just discovered is that after I enabled ACM, going back and setting the brightness manually disabled ACM. What I thought was happening and what I thought I was testing was that ACM enabled would keep the manually set brightness level steady.

ACM is off now. Seems to be back to too bright again. Seems like it's some kind of ACM, but working very gradually--couldn't be by design, could it? These numbers won't mean all that much to anyone, but, for what it's worth, brightness set to 29 gradually becomes too bright. At that point, to get it back to something reasonable, have to set it down to 20. Then, of course, after it's awakened from standby mode it starts out way too dim at 20.

Will have to call Acer, but not holding my breath for getting a tech who won't be completely clueless.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:30 pm 
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Are there any Display Prefs on the Mac that could be talking to this monitor?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:38 pm 
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Thought about that, but not seeing anything except for the usual display prefs and profiles. Contrast can be controlled manually from Accessibililty. But I have that turned down to its minimum.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:16 pm 
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Could the "intelligent" monitor be trying to overcome minimum brightness?

Is the Display set to Dim after a certain amount of time?

Is it the same amount of time that it happens always?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:57 am 
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BDAqua wrote:
Could the "intelligent" monitor be trying to overcome minimum brightness?

What I'd like to know. And not sure if this qualifies as an "intelligent" monitor.
Quote:
Is the Display set to Dim after a certain amount of time?

Also what I'd like to know.
Quote:
Is it the same amount of time that it happens always?

To get to the max brightness? Haven't timed it exactly, but seems to get maxed out at around 20-30 min. If you're asking how long does it take in standby or powered down before it returns to too dim, haven't timed that.

Testing now with DPS (power saving feature) and DDC/CI (enables it to talk to the computer, but maybe only for PC) both turned off, to see if that makes any difference. Thinking that with power saving enabled, it starts out dim to save power, then when it realizes the brightness and contrast settings are low enough not to need to save power, it reverts to much brighter.

EDIT: using those settings made no difference. Could be it has to go to some minimum brightness. Worried that if I go through the hassle of replacing it, a new one will behave just the same.

Asked over at the Acer Forums, a few hours ago, but no replies yet.


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