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NEC taking curved-screen display to pro market

The company hopes professionals will have bigger budgets than gamers in order to afford a 42-inch curved display that wraps around the viewer.

NEC's CRVD-LMD wraps 2,880x900 pixels around the viewer. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

SAN FRANCISCO--Dell got a lot of attention at the Consumer Electronics Show when its Alienware group showed a mammoth curved-screen display for gamers, but NEC is hoping it'll reach an even bigger market with its own version of the technology.

NEC was showing off a prototype of its 42-inch, 2,880x900-pixel, curved-screen display, the CRVD-LMD, at the Macworld trade show here this week. The monitor is geared for professionals such as medical scanners, photographers, and video animators who need an immersive display and a lot of real estate but don't want their view interrupted by the frames of multiple monitors, said NEC marketing manager Tim Dreyer. It'll include professional features such as color calibration, he added.

The screen is due to ship in nine or ten months, Dreyer said. Its price in dollars should be in the mid-four figure range, a price that professional markets might well have an easier time stomaching than even hardcore gamers.

The 25-pound curved screen itself uses a DLP rear-projection system, not LCD or plasma. The panel technology, as in the case of the Alienware model, comes from Ostendo Technologies, said Erhan Ercan, that company's director of product marketing.

The prototype uses a dual-link DVI port to connect to a computer with a single graphics card, but the final version could use HDMI, Ercan said.

The prototype I saw was dim and had vertical banding artifacts resulting from the four projectors used to create the image, but those kinks will be worked out by the time the monitor ships, Dreyer said.

A few more numbers for the curious: The response time is less than 0.02 milliseconds, the brightness is 250 nits, and the "typical" contrast is 10,000:1, NEC said.