NEC 2690WUXi - can it handle regular sRGB?

Started Oct 1, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Will49 Regular Member • Posts: 225
Re: Just got off the phone with NEC

Tom

I'm sorry you are so upset about the apparent lack of a calibratable sRGB mode on the LCD2690, but please step back a bit and look at what is going on, and how things should work, and how things will hopefully work in the future.

First of all, the LCD2690 is marketed as a wide color gamut monitor. If that doesn't suit a particular application, the LCD2490 is the recommended alternative. It has identical features but is 2" smaller and of course closely matches sRGB colorspace.

The monitor is doing what is was intended to do - display images in wide color gamut. To use it in sRGB mode is kind of like getting a Porsche and driving it around in first gear. OK, granted there are times when you may need to do this, but it shouldn't be that often. This same "problem" applies to not only the NEC LCD2690, but also the 30" Dell etc.

How about the web browser and core OS - are they doing what they should be doing? The web browser should be color managing all web images and converting them to render correctly in your monitor's color space. If an image does not contain an embedded ICC profile, then it should be assumed to be sRGB and converted to display correctly on your monitor.

As you found out, IE on XP doesn't do this - it's color management unaware.

You can confirm this using the following test page:
http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter

Contrast that to a Mac, where the browser understands color management and this is pretty much a non-issue.

The latest beta of Firefox 3 is color management aware, if you enable it. So as long as you have the correct ICC profile for the monitor installed, images should be displayed correctly.

What is happening with the LCD2690 is that it is making the lack of color management in IE frighteningly obvious because of the huge color gamut difference between the image's color space and that of the monitor. This same issue is present with all other monitors, but because they are much closer to sRGB it isn't as apparent. So unless your monitor just happens to exactly match sRGB, you aren't getting exactly the colors you should be in IE.

Looking towards the future, it has finally become obvious that color management is necessary in web browsers and other applications. Unfortunately it took a long time and the introduction of wide gamut monitors to hammer this home. Things are changing, for example new versions of MS Office are now color management aware.

Now lets take a look at the sRGB modes on both the LCD2690 and LCD2490:

On both the LCD2490 and LCD2690, the sRGB preset is just that - a factory preset. It can't be user adjusted on either. If you are using a DVI digital signal then there shouldn't be much difference between your PC and the system used to calibrate it at the factory.

The sRGB spec basically specifies the gamma, white point, and red, green and blue primaries.

On the 2490, or any other standard gamut monitor, the primaries are pretty close to sRGB. The white point can be adjusted to D65 and gamma to 2.2 as per the sRGB spec. If you have a 3rd party calibration system or SpectraView II, you can also directly calibrate to "sRGB" because all that needs to be done is adjust the white pint and gamma.

Now on the LCD2690, because it's red and green primaries are so different from the sRGB spec, the only way to get it to emulate sRGB is to do some fancy internal processing tricks to make it seem like its actually close to sRGB. This means changing reds so they aren't such a deep red, greens so they aren't so green, etc. When you select sRGB this is what it is actually doing internally.

When it is in this preset sRGB mode, it is not possible to user adjust it's internal white point or gamma - because it's already doing all this processing on the image. If you really wanted you could use a 3rd party calibration system, but each time you switched in and out of sRGB mode, you would have to change the active ICC monitor profile etc.

So to call the LCD2690 fundamentally flawed or say it is the result of a major design blunder is not at all accurate. It is doing what it was intended to do. If all applications on XP correctly did color management, then this would be a non-issue.

If you don't want to take the leap to Vista or Firefox 3, have you considered getting a "cheap and cheerful" monitor as your secondary display? That would allow you to quickly preview how images would be seen by others in sRGB land. That or choose the LCD2490 if you don't mind spending all of your time locked into sRGB colorspace.

-- hide signature --

Will Hollingworth
Manager of OEM Product Design & Development Engineering
NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc.

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