Ray Proudfoot

UHD Display- sharpness or immersion? You can only have one!

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I'm in the market for a UHD display as an upgrade from my Sony 32" 1920*1080 TV. Don't look at my specs below - a new PC is about to be purchased.

I've called it a display rather than a TV or a monitor as I'm weighing up the pros and cons of each. But space (or lack of it) is going to be the deciding factor I'm afraid.

We all know that for a given distance a larger display will have a greater immersion factor than a smaller one. So go as big as you can afford or have the space for them! Well yes, you could but there's a catch. :wink:

Take two UHD displays - one is a 40" TV and the other is a 32" monitor. You might think that at the same distance - say 1 metre - they'll both look as impressive. Yes they will but in different ways. The larger 40" will give you more immersion simply because of its size. But the aircraft's gauges or electronic displays will not be as sharp as a smaller UHD display. Why?

The answer is pixel density (PPI) or how many pixels per inch the display has. The smaller the display for any given resolution the higher the ppi. And the higher the ppi the sharper things will look.

Starting with my current 32" Sony 1920*1080 TV it has a ppi of 68.84.

If we move up to a 3840*2160 UHD monitor also 32", the ppi increases to 137.7. Double what we had before.

So how does a 40" UHD TV measure up assuming you're going to sit 1 metre from the screen? Well the ppi drops to 110.2. That's a big drop from 137.7. A reduction of 20% compared to the 32" monitor but the size goes up by 25%. So you could argue you gain more than you lose. This explains why I've felt a little short-changed when I've sat in front of a 40" UHD TV with P3D running. I just felt the sharpness was a little lacking.

How do these enormous 50" UHD TVs match up? A 50" has a ppi of 88.12; a 55" is 80.1 and a 65" drops to 67.8. Less sharp than a 32" 1920*1080 display but much bigger obviously. Definitely immersion over sharpness.

So at the same distance the monitor wins hands down for sharpness but at the expense of immersion. It's up to you which is more important for you. For me, because of the big gap in the market between 32" and 40" 16:9 displays I'm going with the monitor because of space limitations but I'm gaining in one way even if I'm losing out in another.

This is probably my next monitor - the  BenQ 32" PD3200. I don't think I'll be disappointed.

My thanks to @MarkDH for providing the link to the useful PPI site.

 

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For the PPI comparison to hold, the viewing distance has to be held constant.  The real factor is the angular width of the pixel, which is the size relative to the distance.  There's a visual acuity theshold, an angle below which your eyes cannot resolve an individual pixel, and ideally, your display would have pixels that were at/below that threshold.  However, AA and other video processing techniques are there to help bridge the gap when pixel size can't be kept to below that visual acuity theshold.

You are missing one other very important difference between most monitors and the better 4K TVs, which is the ability of the TV to run with a lower vertical sync rate at 30 Hz.  Most monitors, except for much more expensive variable sync rate G-Sync monitors, are synced at 60 (or perhaps 50 in the EU) Hz, so use of hardware VSync at a rate that's reasonably feasible to sustain with P3D+complex scenery+complex acft etc isn't possible on the monitors.  30Hz hardware VSync has made the single best improvement in display fluidity and smoothness I've experienced to date.

Also, the viewing angle of the various display technologies becomes important as the field of view widens.  Some lower-cost technologies experience fairly significant fading when viewing the screen from off-axis, in other words not perpendicular to the screen.  Sitting at 1m from the screen, you view the edges of a 50-65 inch 4K TV at enough of an angle to see some rather unpleasant color and brightness anomalies out at the edges of the screen on a cheap TN display.  It's important to look specifically at this when considering a large-format TV solution...I take a measuring tape and put my nose at the 39" viewing distance in my simpit and look for good image quality at the edges.  It's why I went with a higher tier TV (Samsung 8500 series) due to the "nano-crystal" display matrix.  TN, IPS, OLED--they can make a big difference here, and as always, the best solutions (OLED) cost a lot more.

Regards

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Thanks Bob, good reply. I agree that viewing distance has to be constant. I did wonder if there was some formula to determine the ideal viewing distance based on resolution and screen size. Too far away and you lose the benefits of the higher res. Too close and on larger displays you start to see individual pixels.

I visited a friend who has a 40" UHD TV a couple of weeks ago and we changed the settings in VSync including refresh rate and then put the aircraft into a gentle bank. Neither of us could see any difference in smoothness with VSync enabled and disabled. I have a 32" Full HD TV which presumably runs at 60Hz and the scenery seems reasonably smooth. I'll ask about this at our next flight sim club meeting.

Yes, viewing angles can be another downside to large displays unless the user chooses carefully.

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I recently did a similar experiment and ended up going back to my monitor.  I replaced my 40" 4K monitor with a 55" UHD curved TV for a few weeks.  Aside from what is being discussed here, I also could never get the calibration right, things were always just a little bit "off".  I also had trouble getting my "good" presets tweaked for the TV, and backlighting made night flying more annoying than normal.  The only thing I miss is the enormous size of the TV, which really did add to the immersion, but also strained my neck.  So, at the end of the day, it's the monitor again, but I'm eagerly awaiting reviews on the new VR headset from Samsung.  If their trick to improve the pixelation problem has a positive effect in the P3D world, I may take a stab at that in the not-too-distant future.

Best,

John

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@dal330200, John, I'm curious where 40" UHD monitors are available. 16:9 or 21:9.

I've never been able to find anything larger than 32" 16:9. The gap between 32" UHD monitors and 40" UHD TVs is frustrating.

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I bought a SEIKI PRO last year.  It was cheap, and it's not bad.  Calibration could be easier but for the most part, definitely worth the price.  However, I'm sure there are plenty of better options on the market today. 

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4 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

I'm in the market for a UHD display as an upgrade from my Sony 32" 1920*1080 TV. Don't look at my specs below - a new PC is about to be purchased.

I've called it a display rather than a TV or a monitor as I'm weighing up the pros and cons of each. But space (or lack of it) is going to be the deciding factor I'm afraid.

We all know that for a given distance a larger display will have a greater immersion factor than a smaller one. So go as big as you can afford or have the space for them! Well yes, you could but there's a catch. :wink:

Take two UHD displays - one is a 40" TV and the other is a 32" monitor. You might think that at the same distance - say 1 metre - they'll both look as impressive. Yes they will but in different ways. The larger 40" will give you more immersion simply because of its size. But the aircraft's gauges or electronic displays will not be as sharp as a smaller UHD display. Why?

The answer is pixel density (PPI) or how many pixels per inch the display has. The smaller the display for any given resolution the higher the ppi. And the higher the ppi the sharper things will look.

Starting with my current 32" Sony 1920*1080 TV it has a ppi of 68.84.

If we move up to a 3840*2160 UHD monitor also 32", the ppi increases to 137.7. Double what we had before.

So how does a 40" UHD TV measure up assuming you're going to sit 1 metre from the screen? Well the ppi drops to 110.2. That's a big drop from 137.7. A reduction of 20% compared to the 32" monitor but the size goes up by 25%. So you could argue you gain more than you lose. This explains why I've felt a little short-changed when I've sat in front of a 40" UHD TV with P3D running. I just felt the sharpness was a little lacking.

How do these enormous 50" UHD TVs match up? A 50" has a ppi of 88.12; a 55" is 80.1 and a 65" drops to 67.8. Less sharp than a 32" 1920*1080 display but much bigger obviously. Definitely immersion over sharpness.

So at the same distance the monitor wins hands down for sharpness but at the expense of immersion. It's up to you which is more important for you. For me, because of the big gap in the market between 32" and 40" 16:9 displays I'm going with the monitor because of space limitations but I'm gaining in one way even if I'm losing out in another.

This is probably my next monitor - the  BenQ 32" PD3200. I don't think I'll be disappointed.

My thanks to @MarkDH for providing the link to the useful PPI site.

 

Great info. Thanks @Ray Proudfoot

I've been holding out on purchasing a 4K monitor with the hopes that the black Friday deals will lessen the cost a bit.  I have one particular one in mind, this Samsung UH750 32" 4K.  The BenQ you posted certainly looks good as well and I may just consider it.

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49 minutes ago, DylanC said:

Great info. Thanks @Ray Proudfoot

I've been holding out on purchasing a 4K monitor with the hopes that the black Friday deals will lessen the cost a bit.  I have one particular one in mind, this Samsung UH750 32" 4K.  The BenQ you posted certainly looks good as well and I may just consider it.

Thanks Dylan. Did you notice that 32" monitor actually has a 31.5" diagonal. The BenQ is 32". I don't know how they can get away describing something as 32" when it isn't.

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They are actually 80 cm on the diagonal but the US thinks that the metric system is the work of the devil.😉

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53 minutes ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

Thanks Dylan. Did you notice that 32" monitor actually has a 31.5" diagonal. The BenQ is 32". I don't know how they can get away describing something as 32" when it isn't.

I did notice it, but shouldn't make much of a difference for me.  I'll be moving from a 28" 1080P monitor.

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1 hour ago, jabloomf1230 said:

They are actually 80 cm on the diagonal but the US thinks that the metric system is the work of the devil.😉

80cm is 31.496”. It’s worse than I thought. 😁

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Do you think this BenQ monitor will do blacks well?  That is always a concern of mine for night flying.

It says it has "darkroom mode", but I'm not sure what that is, or if it would even be useful for our sim use (?)

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31 minutes ago, Mace said:

Do you think this BenQ monitor will do blacks well?  That is always a concern of mine for night flying.

It says it has "darkroom mode", but I'm not sure what that is, or if it would even be useful for our sim use (?)

Each monitor comes already calibrated so you’ll have a colour gamet very close to perfection. They’re aimed at photographers who need picture accuracy. I have the 27” XHD one for photo work and it is an extremely good display.

I’ve bought the Spyder5 Pro calibrator which ensures a very accurate picture. I don’t think you need any modes. That’s why you pay more for a monitor than the equivalent sized TV.

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In Australia you can get a Phillips 43 inch UHD monitor for about 750 AUD. I have the previous version which is 40 inch - it has its quirks like no swivel or vertical adjustment and doesn’t like being woken up from sleep mode.  But overall still quite happy with it.  These days it is my secondary screen as I run P3D on a Sony 49 inch UHD TV.

Bruceb

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Bruce,

Does either display run Gsync? If they’re monitors as opposed to TVs the refresh rate may be 60Hz and not lower which precludes Gsync from running.

Does that affect P3D?

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60 hz but you can reset this - although you may have to use displayPort. It used to run P3D just fine but these days I only use the 40 inch monitor for ancillary FS stuff and for more general PC work.  I have it set up as a split screen for this use.  P3D is run on my other screen the Sony 49 inch TV.  As a side note I would never use a large UHD TV for general PC use - even with chroma 4:4:4.  So if one screen is the only option get a large monitor IMHO.

Bruceb

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Bruce,

A 40" screen for general PC work? Crikey! How sharp is text? How far from the screen do you sit?

I don't understand the 60Hz reset statement. Reset it to what?  I am definitely leaning towards a 32" UHD monitor both for size reasons but also for general PC use as sharpness will be excellent. Scaling of 125% in Windows 10 seems to make things work well.

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I’ve found out today the BenQ PD3200U will do 3840*2160 at 30Hz. That makes it a certainty as my next monitor.

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