First, NEC Technologies has entered the plasma display market with the PlasmaSync 3300, which measures 5.1" deep (plus two inches for the base) and weighs 73 pounds. Its 4:3 aspect ratio and 640 x 480 resolution enable large-screen images in an unprecedented form factor. The monitor accommodates a wide range of input signals, including data (PC or Mac) and video (NTSC, PAL, S-Video, SECAM and M-NTSC). It automatically scans horizontal frequencies between 31 and 38kHz. Other highlights are a brightness of 120cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 150:1.

Operators may switch sources via a wired/wireless infrared remote or with OSM (On-Screen Manager) controls. NEC Technologies, Itasca, IL, (800) NEC-INFO,

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Pioneer formally introduced its 40" Plasma Display Panel (PDP), which delivers full VGA capabilities within a cabinet only 4" deep. A brightness of 400cd/m2 represents the highest level in the industry.

This first model also boasts a contrast ratio of 150:1 and a 4 x 3 aspect ratio. The PDP can handle both analog and digital video signals, with 16.7 million colors possible.

Weighing under 67 pounds, the panel can be wall mounted or transported with relative ease. Pioneer New Media Technologies, Display Systems Division, Long Beach, CA, (800) 926-4329,

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Finally, Mitsubishi's 40" Leonardo plasma monitor touts proprietary Distortion-Free Video (DFV), enabling full-motion video to appear without streaking problems. Also standard are a resolution of 640 x 480 and a horizontal scanning range of 15-50 kHz.

With multiple installation options, the monitor has applications outside of the conference room and auditorium. For example, its ìhuman interfaceî can be utilized as a touch panel for informational kiosks.

Leonardo will be available later this year for a suggested retail price of approximately $12,000. Mitsubishi Electronics America, Inc., Display Products Division, Cypress, CA, (800) 843-2515.

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Besides plasma, another alternative to CRT is LCD. The CE-LT14M desktop LCD monitor from Sharp Electronics requires one-fourth the desk space and consumes less than half the power of an equivalent CRT monitor. The unit offers a display area comparable to a 15" CRT monitor because the screen has no black border.

A fast thin film transistor (TFT) response time eliminates distortion, ghosts and image smearing, while ensuring color accuracy and purity. High-definition pictures are delivered without annoying ìjitters.î

The CE-LT14M includes an audio input, built-in speaker, on-screen display functions and tilt-stand. It can be rented, leased or purchased from Sharpís national network of authorized dealers. Sharp Electronics, Mahwah, NJ, (201) 529-8731,

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An LCD active-matrix monitor, Compaq's TFT500 saves valuable desktop space without sacrificing screen performance. Multiple monitors can be placed on one desk or mounted on the wall in crowded environments.

The 15.1" monitor, priced at $3799, features a wide side-to-side viewing angle (120 degrees), giving users the freedom to move away from their desks. Early adopters of the TFT500 include financial and healthcare professionals.

The resolution of the monitor is optimized to 1024 x 768 at 75 Hz for crisp, flicker-free images. An anti-reflective coating further enhances images, while an extra glass pane protects the display. Customers may choose from three different mounting schemes.

The TFT500 lets one plug in three major Universal Serial Bus (USB) peripherals (e.g., keyboard, mouse, digital camera) into its hub. Compaq Computer Corp., Houston, TX, (800) OK-COMPAQ,

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Here are some other new monitors appropriate for education:

Sony Electronics' 20" GDM-2000TC Multiscan monitor now comes bundled with OptiCal monitor calibration software, for adjusting displays to preset industry standards on a variety of operating systems. The software communicates directly with the monitorís internal processor to store and retrieve exact color values.

In addition, Sony improved the unitís Digital Uniformity Compensation (DUC) for color accuracy and Beam Current Feedback (BCF) for long-term color stability, a bonus for pre-press, electronic publishing and graphic design workers. Priced at $4295, the monitor connects to Macintosh, PC and UNIX machines with resolutions from 640 x 480 to 1600 x 1200.

The GDM-2000TC's 20" Super Fine Pitch Trinitron display utilizes Sonyís Dynamic Focus system to deliver uniform sharpness across the entire screen, including the corners. An Indium Tin Oxide coating minimizes glare. Sony Electronics, Business and Professional Group, Montvale, NJ (800) 472-SONY,

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SMILE International's CA6013DS 10" monitor has front-panel digital controls with LED indicators for adjusting the brightness, contrast, vertical and horizontal aspects, pincushion and trapezoid, and recall. Invar "show mask" technology minimizes internal CRT temperature, extending its life.

The monitor, priced at $375, achieves resolution of up to 1024 x 768 at refresh rates between 50 and 100 Hz. Measuring 10.4" high by 10.7" wide by 12.0" deep, the CA6013DS suits testing and laboratory environments.

An anti-reflection, anti-static (ARAS) treatment reduces eye fatigue and dust accumulation. SMILE International, Costa Mesa, CA, (800) U-SMILE-2,

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The Brilliance 201CS uses Philips' CyberScreen Technology for advanced digital adjustment of color and brightness uniformity. This 21" monitor achieves a resolution up to 1600 x 1200 at 85 Hz, with digital convergence correction to <0.20 mm.

CustoMax software lets one control display functions from the screen. And two-way front-firing speakers give high-quality sound for multimedia presentations. Philips Consumer Electronics, Knoxville, TN, (800) 835-3506,

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The unique Aperture Grille (AG) pitch found in TeleVideo's SuperView Pro Series produces vivid images and richer color, thereby reducing eye fatigue. The monitors also sport Shadow Mask technology for rendering intricate images in CAD/CAM work.

The series consists of the SVP2100 (21"), which delivers 1600 x 1200 maximum resolution at [a] 89 Hz, and the SVP1700 (17"), with the same resolution at a 77 Hz refresh rate. TeleVideo, Inc., San Jose, CA, (408) 954-8333,

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Anticipating the convergence of TVs and computers, Zenith Electronics' PCZTV color television sets can display crisp, computer-generated images in real-time from any DOS, Windows or Macintosh PC. The units incorporate video scan conversion technology developed by FOCUS Enhancements.

Engineered as a classroom presentation television, the PCZTV connects directly to a VCR, videodisc player or video camera, without additional set-top boxes or messy cables. It comes in three sizes -- 27î, 32î and 35î.

A convenient "End User-Ready Control System" enables customized pre-programming of channels, channel labeling and single channel viewing lock. Zenith Electronics, Genview, IL, (800) 788-7244,

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This article originally appeared in the 08/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.