The stand-out feature of the Tek Panel is the 30 inch 1280x768 LCD panel. Sure, we’ve seen 30” screens before, but none like this one. Instead of just using any old 30 inch LCD, the Tek Panel includes the best one on the market. With a viewing angle of 176 degrees, it is unmatched. We have always been weary of marketing specifications, but this screen maintains its contrast and brightness even at extreme viewing angles. This is because it uses a LG/Philips LCD with S-IPS technology.
Super In-Plane Switching
S-IPS is a specific flavor of LCD technology that keeps the liquid crystal molecules in the plane of the display at all times. This is more expensive than competing LCD design methods, but ensures that light passing through the display at an angle and directly have the same effect.
At a contrast ratio of 400:1 the S-IPS screen is superior to Dell's 30" screen rated at 350:1 but is not as high as Sharp's 700:1 screen. The catch is that we don’t see too many LCDs being rated by their off-axis performance, although we should. The advantage of S-IPS is that the technology gives up a little on center contrast for much improved off axis response. Other LCD panels can begin to show changes in color, brightness, contrast, or even a negative-color image as the viewer goes off-center. The S-IPS technology maintains its color and contrast better than competing technologies. So, while the viewing angle increase of 6 degrees over a competitor's 170 degrees may not seem like much, in real-world use the difference is significant. Clearly, this LCD is designed to be enjoyed by a group of people, rather than an individual.
From an LG/Philips White Paper
A brightness of 450cd/m2 might not seem like much, but we found it amazingly bright -- bright enough to be used in a sunny room and much brighter than a direct view CRT. In truth, the screen can induce some eye strain and fatigue if you are using it to surf the web in a dark room. The white background of most websites really lights up the room. One advantage of a fixed pixel display is that the image remains absolutely stable without any jitter that can be seen with CRTs when changing between high brightness or contrast scenes due to strain on the power supply. In simple terms, this means an even sharper picture.
Standard HDTV CRT (same exposure as next image)
LCD (same exposure as previous image)
Side by side comparison
Overall Screen Impressions
The TekPanel is among the best 30" LCD displays on the market, but one disadvantage of this image quality is that DVDs can look unimpressive, especially if you have been surfing the web or watching HD sources. This screen resolves every pixel on the DVD source, including the compression artifacts. With a 1280x768 screen, it can show HD 720p sources with ease. Text is remarkable easy to read on this monitor, even from 10 feet away.
The pixel refresh is rated at 22 ms, but the gray-to-gray switching speed is as fast as 12ms. We never found smearing or blurring to be a significant problem whether we were watching movies or playing games.
Plasma versus LCD
The biggest competitor to large LCD screens are plasma screens. Plasma monitors have better color rendition, a very fast response time, and larger sizes, however there are burn-in issues as well as limited real-world contrast. Even a flagship 60" Plasma screen typically has a peak brightness of only 250cd/m2 and in a full white screen, plasma screens can drop to less than 50 cd/m2. Thus, the rated contrast ratio of several thousand to one of many Plasma screens is largely marketing.
From the integrated computer perspective, a Plasma screen would have been a poor option due to heat.