NuVision NVX32HDU LCD HD Monitor

Out with the old, in with the Nu.

This is an interesting time for display manufacturers. On the one hand, the HD and flat-panel revolutions have energized the market. People are truly excited to buy TVs again. On the other hand, competition is fierce. It seems like a new TV manufacturer pops up every day to capitalize on the flat-panel frenzy.

So don't be surprised if you've never heard of NuVision. Neither had we. This startup recently entered the LCD market with four monitors ranging in size from 23 to 37 inches. If the NVX32HDU is any indication of this company's prowess, I expect you'll be hearing a lot more about them in the future. This is an excellent display that is priced competitively with 32-inch LCDs from the big-name manufacturers.

The NVX32HDU is a 1,366-by-768 panel that resides in a simple black cabinet that's surprisingly light but doesn't feel flimsy or cheap. I liked the clean, unostentatious design, and the cool NuTouch material that the cabinet is constructed of gives it a more substantial, higher-end feel. Basically, everything about the cabinet says, "Don't focus on me. Focus on the screen." As it should.

The small remote has a clean look and a logical layout. It mimics the TV's all-black aesthetic, which can make the remote a bit challenging to use in the dark. I was happy to discover that, in addition to direct-input access, the remote also provides dedicated buttons for each of the four aspect ratios: 4:3, 16:9, panorama, and zoom. It does have one oddity, though: It sports two component-input buttons, but the NVX32HDU only has one component video input. Press either button, and it takes you to the same input. Go figure.

The connection panel is divided into two, with half of the connections running down each side panel. The side panels are inset behind the speakers, which makes it easy to connect your sources while still preventing the cables from being visible from the sides, and NuVision supplies detachable panels that cover up the connections. Basic RF, composite, and S-video connections run down the right panel, while the higher-end connections run down the left. Instead of HDMI, you get one DVI input with HDCP. I would've liked to see two component video connections, but at least there's a VGA input. If you have two component sources, component-to-VGA adapters are easy to come by.

Step by Step
I connected the LCD to our reference Onkyo DV-SP800 DVD player via component video and sat down to make the first round of adjustments using just the onscreen menus. The OSD is easy to navigate, and you can move it around the screen. You can also lengthen or reduce the amount of time it remains onscreen. The component video input doesn't have a color-temperature setting, so I simply adjusted the brightness, contrast, and color using Video Essentials. I also used VE's gray ramp to check the NVX32HDU's ability to smoothly transition from dark to light; this transition wasn't completely smooth, with one noticeable jump near the darker end of the ramp, but it was decent overall.

Screen uniformity is often an issue with LCDs; you'll sometimes see light spilling out from the sides onto the screen, or the black level will shift unevenly as you move off-axis, causing parts of the screen to look more purple than black. With the NVX32HDU, light spill wasn't an issue. The black level did get higher as I moved to the left or right, but not as dramatically as with many LCDs I've seen.

The NVX32HDU first raised my eyebrow when I tested its processing skills. It did an above-average job with film-based signals, creating virtually no artifacts and only a hint of shimmer in my Gladiator and Bourne Identity test sequences. It did an outstanding job with video-based signals, sailing through the video tests on my Silicon Optix test DVD, creating fewer artifacts than any TV or DVD player I've tested. My HD cable box's internal processor creates a ton of artifacts when I set it for 720p output, so I was happy to set it for 1080i and let the NVX32HDU handle the deinterlacing and scaling.

This LCD features two backlight modes: One brightens up the image, while the other creates deeper blacks. Using our Minolta LS-100 luminance meter, we determined that both modes produced a similar contrast ratio of about 650:1, which is better than many LCDs that have passed through these doors lately.

Our Photo Research PR-650 colorimeter also revealed that the NVX32HDU's color temperature tracked pretty consistently around 7,500 degrees Kelvin. Calibration wasn't absolutely necessary, as the color palette through the component input was generally pleasing. It was a tad exaggerated, with hints of red in skintones, but nothing that would distract the average viewer. For those of you who would notice these issues, we were able to calibrate the component input and get closer to 6,500 K across the board, although our adjustments did lower the contrast ratio a little to 600:1.

What does all of the above really mean? It means that the NVX32HDU creates a very enjoyable image with both HDTV and DVD sources. Its detail is excellent, regardless of the source, and it isn't as noisy as many digital displays can be. Every display reviewer has a pet peeve, be it black level, color, or processing. In my case, that peeve is noise. I find it hard to enjoy a display that constantly reminds me of its digital nature. The NVX32HDU has a noise-reduction feature with multiple levels of adjustment: off, auto, strong, middle, and weak. With the noise reduction off, I did see some patches of noise in solid colors, and there were hints of quantization error in the light-to-dark transitions in the "Cell Block Tango" scene from Chicago, but it wasn't too distracting. When I switched to auto, the picture improved slightly.

That solid contrast ratio and a choice of backlight modes meant I could enjoy this LCD both during the day and at night, with no light issues disturbing my enjoyment of dark scenes like the opening sequence of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

And Then Some
The picture only improved when I switched to the DVI input. This input lets you choose between normal, cool, and warm color temperatures, and the warm setting produces a pleasing color palette with natural skintones. There's even less noise in the picture through the DVI input, although the same Chicago scene did reveal that some grays looked a bit green around the edges. I didn't see this effect with any color other than gray.

Whether I watched DVDs, HDTV, or even SDTV, I found myself forgetting to take notes and just enjoying the view. I popped in one of my new favorite demo DVDs, Collateral. Since it takes place predominantly at night, it's a great test of a display's ability to reproduce black detail and color accents, and the NVX32HDU did a wonderful job. Director Michael Mann shot a good portion of this film using HD cameras, and I could really tell when the picture jumped from grainy film to super-detailed video.

There is one issue to note when it comes to the DVI input: It does not accept a 1080i, 60-hertz signal. When I connected the V, Inc. Bravo D2 DVD player to the DVI input to view some upconverted DVDs, I wasn't able to set the player for 1080i output, only 720p. Interestingly enough, when I connected Hewlett-Packard's new z555 Digital Entertainment Center to the NVX32HDU, which was set to 1080i at 50 Hz (don't ask me why), I was able to see a picture. However, it was very choppy and not really watchable. According to NuVision, the DVI input is designed to synchronize with the ATSC standard for 1080i, 59 or 60 fields per second.

Don't expect to find the NVX32HDU at your nearest Best Buy or Circuit City. NuVision has boldly decided to offer their products only through the specialty marketplace, so you'll have to visit the dealer locator on their Website to find a retailer near you. You may have to work a little harder to check out the NVX32HDU's performance for yourself, but I assure you that it's worth the effort.

• Excellent processing and detail
• An above-average contrast ratio