How To Select A Sunlight-Readable Monitor

The most common solutions for seeing monitor images on a bright, sunny day are sunlight readable monitors and optically bonded monitors. The view-ability of most LCD displays (as well as LED’s and plasmas) is severely limited in high ambient light conditions.  When taken outdoors on a sunny day, the screen “washes out” so that it is barely visible to the human eye.

The most common solutions for seeing monitor images on a bright, sunny day are sunlight readable monitors and optically bonded monitors.

The view-ability of most LCD displays (as well as LED’s and plasmas) is severely limited in high ambient light conditions. 

When taken outdoors on a sunny day, the screen “washes out” so that it is barely visible to the human eye. There are two primary reasons for this:

  1. The bright ambient light drastically reduces the contrast ratio of the monitor
  2.  There are reflections off of 3 surfaces: the outer surface of the protective glass, the inner surface of the glass, and the surface of the LCD panel.

The most common solutions for seeing monitor images on a bright, sunny day are sunlight readable monitors and optically bonded monitors.

Sunlight readable monitors employ more (or more powerful) backlights to increase the monitor’s brightness to 1,000 nits or more. This added brightness is enough to “over-power” the ambient light and produce viewable images. However, the drawbacks of sunlight readable monitors are that they have greater power consumption, produce excess heat, and are more costly than standard LCD monitors.

Another approach is to use a newer technology, optically bonded monitors. Optical bonding is the process of injecting a clear, optical-grade resin into the gap between the LCD panel and the protective outer glass, bonding them together. This fills the air gap between the two, eliminating two reflective surfaces. An anti-reflective coating is then applied to the outside of the protective glass, minimizing surface reflections as well.

The net result of the optical bonding process is a drastic (up to 98%) reduction in reflections. It also prevents the monitor’s contrast ratio from deteriorating. This produces a tremendous improvement in view-ability in bright sunlight.

In addition to the obvious improvement in image quality outdoors, optical bonding also provides several other important benefits:

  1. Improved ruggedness
  2. Increased scratch resistance
  3. Improved safety (less chance of broken glass)
  4. Increased shock/vibration resistance
  5. Prevents condensation/internal fogging

Optically Bonded LCD monitors are ideal for use in a wide range of industries and applications: Transportation, Pipeline Inspection, Navigation, Drilling Rigs, Outdoor Kiosk, Control Towers, Airplane Cockpits, Ships/Boats, Digital Signage, Law Enforcement and Military.

In summary, Optically Bonded monitors provide excellent image quality even in bright sunlight.  They are more rugged and durable, and cost less than Sunlight Readable monitors.  Sunlight Readable monitors may be necessary in more extreme conditions.

To watch a Video comparing standard LCD monitors, Sunlight Readable monitors, and Optically Bonded monitors on a bright sunny day see:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s78KmJUyVeY

Please visit the TRU-Vu Monitors website at www.TRU-VuMonitors.com/products/sunlightreadable.html.

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