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Samsung SyncMaster 940BW: PC HD goes HDCP

Samsung flies the high-definition monitor flag with the first HDCP-ready 19-inch widescreen model in the UK

Admit it, you're caught up in the high-definition hype. Even if you're quite happy with the 12-inch Goodmans TV or the 15-inch CRT monitor you bought from Argos all those years ago, you still find yourself sneaking a look at the latest HD-ready displays.

PC owners who want a slice of the HD pie through forthcoming Blu-ray or HD DVD drives should check out the Samsung SyncMaster 940BW. It's a tiddler compared to the 32-inch tellies that dominate the AV press, but this is the first time we've encountered a 19-inch monitor with an HDCP-ready DVI port.

HDCP, or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, is a type of digital rights management that you'll need to watch certain high-definition broadcasts and Blu-ray or HD DVD films. The technology won't make a difference right now, but it will once Windows Vista and graphics cards that support HDCP are made available. If your monitor doesn't support HDCP, the content-protection technologies may
automatically degrade picture quality, or even prevent you from playing high-def DVDs. Scary stuff.

The SyncMaster 940BW is pretty clever in other areas too. It has a native resolution of 1,440x900 pixels and a 4ms response time, so it's pretty nippy when displaying games or fast-moving film scenes. The downside of such a low response time is its ever-so-slightly limited vertical and horizontal viewing angles -- the picture can look washed out if you look at it from above, or from the far left or right.

Still, it uses Samsung's Magic Color Engine, which optimises hue and saturation to deliver lifelike pictures, and we think it works pretty well. It's a very reasonable £215 from all good retailers. -RR