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Fine tuning an analog LCD monitor System
I discovered a way to improve the look of OS X on my Samsung 770 LCD display. I'm passing this along in hopes that it will work with other analog LCD displays.

There is an adjustment on my monitor called "Image Lock." Changing Image Lock with the buttons on the front of the monitor changes the fuzziness of the screen. I use a special desktop pattern that makes the fuzziness stand out, making it easier to remove with the Image Lock control.

The desktop pattern for fine tuning Image lock looks gray but is actually alternating pixels of black and white. I made a 1-bit 16x16 pixel image with a black and white checker pattern in Graphic Converter and saved it as a tiff file. I tile the tiff file in the desktop preference panel.

Moving the Samsung Image Lock control with the "old school 1-bit gray" desktop reveals a very noticeable vertical ripple interferance pattern across the desktop. The ripples get worse at either end of the adjustment scale and can be made to disappear somewhere near the middle of the scale. Once you see the pattern it will be ovbious how to adjust the Image Lock to get rid of it.

Adjusting the image lock this way made a huge difference in the clarity of text and images. Note that I'm running my display at less than top resolution.
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Easier still!
Authored by: trikster on Nov 19, '02 10:22:05AM

Wouldn\'t the easiest and best way to improve the quality of an LCD display simply be to run at the display\'s native resolution? Anything else requires pixel interpolation and produces the kind of moire patterns you are describing.

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Maybe not easier still!
Authored by: New User on Nov 19, '02 12:03:18PM

Obviously, it's worse at less-than-native. But, even at native resolution, for analog use, you *still* have to adjust "image lock" on a Samsung (I'm sure there are other names for the same adjustment on other brands). Maybe its's better to have a digital output, but some don't have the DVI out and some Samsungs don't have a DVI in. You also have to fiddle with the other adjustments, coarse, fine, position, whatever. It can improve the text quality a great deal. I do it with font smoothing disabled, or very small non-smoothed text and lines on the screen ( is good for this, if nothing else, 'cause the type is so small at 1280x1024) - it appears to be better if you shoot to have the bitmap or non-smoothed text be distinct, and let font smoothing take care of itself.

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cleaner print, but smaller
Authored by: mclbruce on Nov 19, '02 12:13:59PM

Right now in OS X the higher the screen resolution, the smaller everything appears on the screen. Some day Apple will change this so that no matter what resolution you select you will still see the display at the proper size. For example rulers in AppleWorks, Word, Photoshop, etc. will be the same size on screen as in real life.

Until that day comes, I'll continue to use the lower screen resolutions. I find it makes it easier to read text when it's closer to real life size. I know there are workarounds for this, but thay don't work all that well for me...

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Easier still!
Authored by: calroth on Nov 20, '02 09:24:04AM

It doesn't work this way on an analog (VGA) connection... the LCD screen is "emulating" a CRT, in a way that you can adjust the width and height independently of the grid on the display. That is, each pixel in Mac OS X may be approximated across two or four actual pixels on the display. This makes things fuzzy and is not good.

On a digital (DVI) connection, each pixel in Mac OS X maps directly to each pixel on the display. With my SyncMaster 152T, when I'm using DVI, the horizontal and vertical adjustment controls get disabled, as do the contrast controls. Of course things are noticeably sharper.

(The Win32 driver CD which came with my display also comes with a test pattern as described... a black-and-white checkerboard. It's the optimal pattern for the "Auto" controls to lock on to.)

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Authored by: VicF on Nov 19, '02 10:49:25PM

I just got a Samsung 191T, so I thought I'd give this a shot. The 1x1 pixel pattern very much reveals the ripple pattern -- it's not a subtle effect. Thing is, I've got this "Auto" button on the front of my monitor; when I hit that, it does a bunch of adjustments, and it turns out that those adjustments were exactly the right ones to avoid the interference pattern. So, it looks like the "Auto" button does a good job, at least on this monitor...

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Authored by: stephenju on Nov 20, '02 09:41:57AM

I believe 191T has DVI input. It will save you from the fine-tuning problem with analog input.

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Authored by: VicF on Nov 20, '02 12:49:00PM

Yeah, wish I could. (Or maybe I can?). TiPB G4/400 -- VGA output only, as far as I know.


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Available in OS9 for Apple Studio Displays
Authored by: rymes60 on Nov 20, '02 12:12:14PM

In the OS-9 Monitors and Sound control panel, this is available for Apple Studio Display 15" monitors (I have the Blue one) that are plugged in via the ADB cable. You use the Tracking (fine and coarse) to control the adjustment. I had to eyeball it in on my PB-G4 b/c it doesn't have ADB. I just dug out a griffin iMate to test with, though.

Meantime, does anyone want to post this pattern so we can all download it instead of reinventing the wheel?


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