Sony BVM OLED Reference Monitors

For outstanding blacks, nothing I've seen at the NAB show comes close to the Sony BVM-E250 25-inch and E170 17-inch OLED monitors ($26,000 and $17,000, respectively). One of the most amazing demos at the show was presented in a totally blacked-out room with three pro reference monitors—a BVM-L231 LCD, BVM-E250 OLED, and BVM-A25 CRT.

The first image was a color-bars and PLUGE test pattern to demonstrate that the black level was set correctly, though it's impossible to tell for sure unless you raise the black level to see below-black and then lower it just to the point of invisibility. As it was, the blacks could have been crushed, but subsequent images revealed they probably weren't. The OLED's black was obviously deeper than the LCD and even a bit deeper than the CRT. Likewise, shadow detail was best on the OLED, as was color saturation at low levels. Motion detail was equal to the CRT and way better than the LCD, and the OLED's contrast stood up to some ambient light much better than the other two.

If you can't afford $26,000 for a 25-inch monitor, Sony offers the PVM-2541 for a mere $6100. (The 17-inch PVM-1741 is $4100.) What's the diff? The PVMs use OLED panels that were rejected for the BVMs, and they don't offer optional input modules. The PVM price tag is still a lot to pay for what would be very small consumer TVs, but perhaps the dream of larger OLED flat panels for the home is inching closer to reality.