Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!

19 Dec, 2016 Anton (Staff Author)

Hi everyone,

We want to share with you our experience in using the LED TV as a monitor for CG purposes. There is no doubt that many of us who plans or want to buy a new monitor think of this as an option. And not without reason. Really, what's the point to buy a professional monitor for $1,500 when you can buy pretty usual TV panel for a $500 and get actually the same (or very similar) matrix in just a bit different body design? Or difference not only in plastic body design???

Over a month ago we also faced with this questions too and tried to find the answers. To clear, nowadays lot of information about TV as a monitor on many-many hardware forums and in video-reviews form but they all almost exclusively about TV as a monitor for computer gaming only. Not for graphics applications such as 3ds Max, Photoshop and so on. Besides, the majority of «conclusions» sounds like: There is no difference between, but the TV definitely not suitable for this just because…100500% truth!

So we had a choice between (1) going on known «classical» way by buying incredibly expensive monitor to get a satisfactory result guaranteed and (2) we are going on $500 risk by buying common TV panel with hope to get an excellent result in terms of price and quality.

I want to draw your attention to the fact that really important parameter for choosing right TV model in the store, is not only the geometrical size of a matrix, but its resolution. It makes sense to choose only from Ultra High Definition (UHD, 4K, 3840x2160px) TVs and in any case don’t choose the big HD / Full HD TV for CG purposes. The thing is not only in that the bigger number of pixels can display more information, but the fact is that to fill such a geometrically large area of TV panel with such a small number of pixels (1920x1080), the size of the actual pixel must be a very huge. Using the big HD TV as a monitor your literally can clearly see it pixel grid and that makes such TV unusable at close distances (as a monitor).

Without thinking twice, we decide that the great modern TV it is always useful device in any household and if something goes wrong we «hang it in someone’s kitchen», so we bought a new Philips 4K UHD LED TV 108 cm (43") TV. This is not the only one device of such class in the market actually assortment is huge, but we chose it from other because of its low price and availability in big-name online stores. I think if we would choose other TV panel with similar characteristics from other brand, we would be get similar results.

Few days later after order the post service brought our TV panel in a big cardboard box. With great desire to find out where is the new TV take place, on working table or in a «kitchen» 🙂, we open up the package and quickly connect TV to gaming room PC with HDMI1 cable in order to briefly check TVs serviceability and let the courier go. Next, we power up the TV, quickly passed compulsory first setup «quiz» and then open some our final renders and videos which were created earlier. First thing that caught our eyes is that the observing images was notably clearer and sharper than the same images on professional Dell UltraSharp™ U2410 cm (24"), actually, one to be replaced by that new TV. Contrast and color wasn’t worse too. Someone says that our monitor "is not configured right», «is not calibrated right" and so on, but the fact is that the difference for the eyes was significant. The TV panel «out of the box» showed better result than professional graphical monitor, configured for our needs, which served us well for many years. Of course, assessment is subjective and no electric test was made. But for our purposes, that is increasing the area of one screen to get rid of annoying vertical bezels inherent to all multi-monitor system (yes, we used multiple 24” monitors instead of one huge) with preserving subjectively nice picture, other assessment is not required. We just wanted a bigger comfort without sacrificing such parameters as color reproduction, quality of gradients and contrast. So after that we see, any doubts not even occurred that it's time to clear working table for a new giant display.

Now let's talk about actual connection to PC. It should be understood, that ultra-resolution it is massive amounts of information that requires a very high transmission frequency for GPU<-to->monitor conjunction and, unfortunately, HDMI1 interface can’t cope with this task. To be exact, you can connect 4K device to graphic card with HDMI1, moreover you even get the native TV panel resolution of 3840*2160 pixels, but the refresh rate at this resolution would just 30Hz, while the TV panel can and should support 60Hz. It is impossible comfortably work with 30Hz device as a monitor. Your eyes almost immediately get tired. On that frequency even mouse cursor would fitfully "creeps" instead of moving smoothly. That happens because on 30Hz it tracks will displays to you with big discretion.

To force 4K screen work at 60Hz at full resolution it must be connected via faster interface. The professional 4K monitors has a high-speed DisplayPort interface by default. The modern TV panels has a high-speed interface too. It is a HDMI2 port. So, «what's the problem?», you say. Let’s go into the store to purchase HDMI2 cable and then connect TV with PC by HDMI2 interfaces. But not a bit of it. That’s because most of video cards, has DisplayPort’s, DVI’s and HDMI1 ports only. Actually, we have the «same story» and any of all our video cards do not has HDMI2 ports. In this case there are only two adequate solutions. First one is to purchase a brand new video card because some of the latest models already has HDMI2. The second option is to by DisplayPort<-to->HDMI2 adapter, that we actually did beforehand. That is, purchased a such adapter:  

If you don’t like nasty surprises, be ready to extra pay $20 for such adapter.

From PC side into DisplayPort, from TV side into HDMI2 and we get 60Hz on TV at full 4K resolution. Right after that TV panel was firmly secured on working table at the final position:

For you to compare I put my old 24” Dell monitor in front of TV panel:

As you can see the flat TV panel with thin bezels looks even more appropriate at the working place then angular bulky "classic". Paradoxically but power consumption of a huge TV panel is several time less than that monitor and therefore it less heated. Closer to lukewarm panel you face will not feel excessive heat even in the summer. Checked! 😁

Just look on a mouse or keyboard size, you easily imagine the scale of TV panel. The screen size is really big. In first ten minutes I even thought that the screen has a «fisheye» distortions like an entrance door peephole. That because the screen edges are so far from the center so you can see even the perspective distortion (the farther object from the observation point the smaller it seems and reverse). But the brain very quickly adapts and such a feeling will not arise. Saying between us, it is an answer to a question - is it a so necessarily to make a large monitors curved? Answer - NO. On an absolutely flat 43” panel all looks pretty good. Of course it is it's true if you don’t have vision problems and you can read texts of the interfaces on a standard monitor at arm’s length distance. For example, a 3ds Max interface texts. And, by the way, here is the desktop PrintScreen with an open 3ds Max (click to see larger image):

I guess, not every one of you can see whole screen without scaling down it few times on your "classic" 😁 😁 😁

Making that screenshot I am not trying to open up all of the 3ds Max floating windows, but even looking on empty space to the right of main menu line you can imagine how many «buttons» and «panels» can be placed on periphery of the screen without closing by them the central region of the viewport.

And now it’s time to tell you about the most 4K matrices feature that concerning not only the TVs, but the professional graphics monitors too. With that feature assuredly faced most of the 4K devices owners. Paradoxically, but to place 8.2 megapixel (3840*2160px) even on such a large area (43&rdquo😉 the pixel density should be higher than the standard one. At the standard density the 72-96 pixels placed along one inch of a screen (96 DPI or PPI). The TV panel that we bought has a 104 PPI. It simultaneously means that displayed image will be sharper because the «grain» of the matrix is smaller which is an advantage, but the problem is that OS Windows by default its own interface and interfaces of other opened programs displays to you «thinking» that you see each 96 pixels in line as a one linear inch. In its turn, sharpness for all of the fonts and interface elements aim considering that you will see all that interfaces elements only by 96*96 pixels on 1 square inch. Instead of that on 104 PPI panel you will see 96*96 pixels on a smaller area than 1 square inch, so all of the interface elements will be look too small and too sharp. Especially text and thin lines. First time you see the 96 PPI adapted interface on the 104 PPI matrix you subconsciously will wish to increase the size of all buttons and texts.

After searching the solution, we came at least to two variants of behavior. That is accept the problem and do nothing or to upgrade currently installed Windows 7 up to Windows 10. The point is that Win10 already have some standard icons and, what more importantly, text scaling tools. Just simply click the right mouse button on an empty part of the desktop and choose in the pop-up window - Display Settings => Display menu. Increase scale of interface and text. The 125% should be enough. The scaling results is not so perfect but permanently solve the main problem. Concerning Win7, it has similar function too, but unfortunately without possibility scale the text. Only the icons. The text in the icons still the same, even then the icon itself change it size. The result looks silly, that is weeny texts on giant mutant-buttons.

Besides that, there is more significant disadvantage associated with the scale, at least its concern TV panel we bought. Actually TV panel particularly was not designed for using it as monitor at arm's length distance, it was nominally designed chiefly for mounting on a wall and observe it from few meters distance by sitting on the couch. As the TV panel have its own image processor, it forcibly aims additionally sharpness to images. It is clear that this sharpness basically intended to improve observing images from a couch, not on a working table. In practice, long range oriented sharpness on small interfaces details looks like as if someone applied «Photoshop» sharpness filter with excessive values.

I intentionally did close-up photo of the TV matrix with piece of 3ds Max interface (click to see larger image):

It is not hard to see the lilac glow on text of the Material Editor interface that actually should be entirely white. Similar «effect» you can see on red icons of sub-elements «Edge» and «Border» in «Selection» rollout of «Editable Poly» options. This is not a mobile phone (I shoot this photo by cellphone) camera defect, approximately the same I see by my own eyes. Scaling up the text (globally in Win10 or locally in applications such internet browsers or text editors) is fully resolve lilac glowing problem, but unfittingly there is no way to scale 3ds Max UI raster icons. At least it concerns 3ds Max 2016 or earlier. Described problem is well known and well discussed for high PPI display users, so Autodesk taken it into account and 3ds Max 2017 at last has ability to correctly applying Windows display scaling, but we have an earlier Max version and don’t try this future by yourself.

Considering that nominally TV devices designed for observation from far distances and from that distances such a small details wouldn’t be visible, you may ask, what the sense to has a high pixel density? We don’t have an answer. Probably it is just a modern technical possibility which is not difficult technically implement, but that has great marketing value. Let’s say trough. Who cares? For us it’s a chance to get almost pro specs for fairly ordinary price 🙂 Besides these artifacts appears only on some elements of some interfaces, especially on elements which displays more sharp by it developers plan, so to speak which is already sharp. At the same time when you viewing the photos or renders in different image-viewers or edit them in Photoshop - they look great. Moreover, with the new OS (Win 10) and CG program versions (Max 2017 for example) DPI problem with interfaces fully disappear.

To dot the i's and cross the t's, I wont to note that on working table near is standing Dell UltraSharp U2711 69 cm (27") with 108 PPI matrix. It has the same problems with interfaces elements sizes, however it has no any «glowing’s» or over-sharp artifacts. Interfaces is small but still looks good, because, no doubt, the monitor is nominally designed to be observed from minimal distances.

To more complete review I'd add that TV panel has many setups, but specifically TV panel that we purchased in «Activity Style => Computer» a «Sharpness» setup is not available. In other activity styles, such as «Game» or «TV» there is possibility to control sharpness and other parameters. They allow you to fully get rid of high PPI artifacts, but in that modes colors became putrid and it makes TV panel unusable as monitor for CG. Maybe if spend some time and do some color adjustments in «Game» or «TV» modes you can achieve an acceptable color rendering, but we decided did not spend time on this, as well as did not to spend time on OS upgrading. We leave everything as it is because only the few elements of few interfaces has described issues and we don’t want to mess with this. Of course you can choose a more appropriate option for you.

Also, without looking at the matrix technical specs, I didn’t subjectively feel that it working slower or has any input lags more than in a PRO monitors I’ve used. Barely noticeable mouse cursor trails not bigger that the same trail on a monitors, as well as no any «soap» or «ghosting effect» while watching the movies or gaming. Albeit the detail amount and its clarity is impressive.

The next feature more relevant for those who choose the same technical way that we are, I mean connecting the TV panel to PC via DisplayPort<-to->HDMI2 adapter. The thing is that for DisplayPort connection Windows is not register the desktop resolution in system parameters fixed, instead of tis the desktop resolution changes dynamically, depending on actual device that connected to the DisplayPort at key moments. The key moments it is then system starts or then PC «wakes up» from «sleep» mode. In other words, then the system initializes to working mode. If device is turned off during system initialization, the Windows doesn’t know that is the native resolution of the device (monitor or TV panel) and «knocks down» the desktop at the default resolution that is 640x480px. As a result, if you boot the computer or «wake» it from the «sleep» mode during the displaying device is switched off, all currently opened windows will be minimized in the upper left corner of the desktop (they adapts to the default resolution). I'll tell you, it is a very annoying "feature".

Possible "solutions" are similar to the problem with the high pixel density. Namely its do not forget to turn on TV before system boot or «wake up» from the «sleep», that is accept the problem, or buy a more modern graphics card with built-in HDMI2 port and do not deal with DisplayPort at all.

The second significant disadvantage of TV panel, after the thin detail glowing artifacts, it is the impossibility to "wake up" TV from the computer. This means that even if you go the second way and purchase a video card with already built-in HDMI-2.0 port, that is you will not deal with DisplayPort, nevertheless, as soon as the computer enters the "sleep" mode, the TV panel will stop receiving a useful video signal from it. Immediately thereafter, TV panel shows a message «(!) No signal» and after a while just turns off. Any keyboard "clattering" or mouse "jerking" will not help. Computer «wakes up», TV panel will NOT. Only the «Power Button» on TV remote will help.

I think you guess already – yes we just accept this problem as it is. Now the TV panel turns on before system initialized, the Windows Sleep Mode is switched off permanently in OS setups. If necessary to go away from the computer for long time, I turn off the TV panel by simply using a remote and turn on it when I comes back. Of course it means that remote took additional place on working table, but the problem actually exhausted of itself in fact.

You think that's is all what we put up, right...? - Wrong!

The last disadvantage leaves us no choice to resolve it. I think that if you closely look at the attached photos above, you’ll noticed that I makes them being in a yellow T-shirt which you can clearly see in the reflection on a glossy TV panel surface. Exactly so, unfortunately the TV working surface is very glossy. This is clearly evident on comparative photo where is the glossy TV and the Dell monitor with a fully matte screen are standing nearby. Sitting in front of this panel you can easily see your own reflection or reflection of environment that surround you, especially if room is light enough and the interface of the program is too dark. For example, new versions of 3ds Max with Dark Gray UI, ZBrush, AE and others. If one of these factors is missing, reflections is not so evident as you may think. Furthermore, I would to say that the brain is very quickly adapts to this too and simply starts to ignores that parasitic reflection. After a while you would be focusing only on useful content, but anyway first couple of weeks this reflection "feature" will be slightly spoil the "WOW" effect from a huge diagonal and high definition images.

Searching a solution, we look at some sprays which theoretically could reduce glossiness or matted plastic laminas of sufficient size and so on, but didn’t found anything suitable. We couldn’t do anything with this and leave it as it is. However, if you not purchased one of 4K TV panels yet but want to by one of this, we definitely recommend you go to the local electronics store and look at different TV models «in live» to choose one with less glossy screen.

So, it is time to answer the main question of this topic which, by the way, we didn’t found until try all on ourselves, that is what’s the practical differences between the TV and the classic monitor with the similar PPI:
1. The computer monitor nominally designed for displaying images from the close range, the TV - is not. So we have the "Glow" artifacts. Not critical thing.
2. The monitor can be turned on automatically then computer «wakes up» after the «sleep», the TV - is not. Because of what, TV remote will be frequently used device. No big deal.
3. The monitor’s screen surface is matte, the TV’s - is not. Seeing a loved one yourself, even if you do not like to wash your face in front of a mirror, will be a daily thing. It is a really undesirable «feature».
4. With the most modern professional monitors comes specialized software which allows it to carry out monitors fine-tuning, the TV deprived of such a possibility. Also, the setup functionality that embedded in TV panel is very modest in comparison to the ones which monitor has. Better do not expect that you get with TV any software or hardware possibility to calibrate it for professional printing needs. It is important only for those who make deal with typography materials preparation, for all the rest, this difference between TV and monitor is minor.
5. The monitor can be connected by many different built-in interfaces, the TV - is not. It has only the HDMI2 ports. For those who have modern video-card with already integrated HDMI2 port it is not a problem, for those who not have it - it is additional $20 overpayment.
6. The monitor has no built-in TV-tuner, while to TV panel can be directly connected TV signal cable. Not all need this feature and its advantage quite controversial, but definitely an advantage of the TV panel.
7. Not many monitors have built-in audio, while the TV panels is equipped with a pair of speakers by default. Despite the fact that "quality" of the sounds coming from there is very poor, it is quite enough for hands-free communication via Skype. For example, discussing projects with the clients no need to wear headphones itch time. Very handy feature.
8. The monitor has well regulable stand which allows to adjust its position as necessary for you, while TV panel has no regulable stand at all. The model we bought has only two unadjustable shorty legs. In addition, that legs do not hold TV panel strictly perpendicular to the surface it stands, so the TV panel was slightly tilted backwards (from the observer). We even make a small pads for back parts of the legs to align TV panel strictly perpendicular to working table. At the same time the TV’s legs are a very appropriate height, so no problem with that.
9. While the monitor has no so significant benefits, in everyday practical use, compere to TV (see. previous paragraphs), the huge diagonal professional monitors can cost one and half times more that TVs of the same size and resolution. It is a very fat minus or even obstacle to possess big screen monitor - too expensive.

In total we have $500 4K TV as an absolutely superb alternative for replacing the classic monitors for computer graphics purposes which has only a few small and unobtrusive flaws. They almost do not spoil the overall impression. Should you pay extra $1000 for that flaws removal - it's up to you. Let’s say honest, for many 3d artists the real question sounds like: Should I continue to use my old 24”,27”(and so on&hellip😉 monitor because of unaffordable prices for professional big screen solutions, or try something alternative like TV?

We have made our choice and completely satisfied. For real, I can’t even imagine what could force me to return for using a few small monitors (multi-monitor system) instead of one huge. Actually, taking into account all what we saw and tried, you can safely refuse the old name "TV", it would be better to say "The Universal Screen". Wanna? - see a cable television, wanna? - connect the PlayStation or if you want to - model a sofa in 3ds Max.

That's all the differences that we found for more than a three month of everyday use.

We hope that our experience will help you to make the right choice!

If your still hesitate to make a final choice and would like to find out more before you do, but you don’t read above some details that important for you personally, we are ready to do extra "experiments", unless they do not mean TV panel opening with soldering iron. Feel free to ask your questions in the comments below, we be glad to help you.

19 Dec, 2016 yura.
19 Dec, 2016 # Re: Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!
Hello, I'm writing this question here, because its about budget as well as this article. I have read info on built-in graphics, and about TV here. My question is what about all-in-once PC, what if I just buy this single thing? Can I do my tasks well on it?

19 Dec, 2016 gus_ann (3dsmax vray expert)
19 Dec, 2016 # Re: Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!
Anton, and work on a small interface in max? Very uncomfortable, like buying a big screen / TV, anyone wants to keep his sight, and it turns out that it's still necessary to scrutinize. The problem is not solved fakticheski.Znayu that the 2017 has support for 4K max. You can install Windows 10, 17 max and it seemed all right, but what about other applications and programs? Photoshop for example? Do they have such an opportunity? And by and large as expected from the software developer support for 4K? A year, two? It turns out that the technology goes forward features that are not too pleased, investing in good monitory.Ya've also bought a 4K monitor, and eventually put him old resolution at which it is possible to work with. 😁😁😁

19 Dec, 2016 Anton (Staff Author)
19 Dec, 2016 # Re: Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!

Hello yura,

I do not quite understand what you mean by a candy bar, candy bar because it is "some" computer with "some" monitor in one package. That is, the most characteristic of monoblock body than iron. And it all depends directly, at least on what kind of computer in a monoblock. In fact, every note is a candy bar. A now such, that not every pro tridemakser a desktop computer with the best characteristics.

With regard to the integrated graphics, then, for example, Max (RenderStuff) no longer uses discrete graphics card, and he has three monitors. Deals with the complex anatomy animation (animation of soft bodies as well) with a huge number of moving geometry. No problem. But we must bear in mind that the embedded video depends on the processor model, or more precisely from the "chords" model. So not everyone is equally integrated video chip manufacturer.

Returning to the candy bar, it is a good option to buy any monitor that you like, build a computer in minimal housing dimensions, and then simply hang up the back of the monitor housing. Mounting is easy to do yourself. If necessary, it is possible to find and industrial solution, including the housing and with a ready-fastening. So much for the candy bar of any configuration.

19 Dec, 2016 Anton (Staff Author)
19 Dec, 2016 # Re: Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!
Hello gus_ann, specifically for Photoshop is a "hack»: But he, unfortunately, does not work with 3ds Max.Po about the monitor that you bought without even knowing his model, I think that will not be mistaken if I say that it is much smaller in area than a 43 ". that is, the density of (kol in pixels on the geometric inch monitor matrix) of its pixels even more than I do and look closely you even stronger need than me😁 but there is already 8K monitors ... Just on the monitor, I do not know how you, but I have to not the native resolution very "lather" picture, because, technically, one logical pixel displayed more physical, resulting in a form of logical pixel "eroded" by the pattern more physical. on a non-native, I simply can not work because of єtogo "soap" with .Konkretno monitor resolution - yet, yes, technology outstripped software😁 I think that the wait-out the software adaptations to 4K is not earlier than total will go to these monitors, the majority of users. When it will be? Probably after 2017. Maybe, the way to 2018th.

19 Dec, 2016 Maks (Staff Author)
19 Dec, 2016 # Re: Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!
yura, monoblock - is held hostage by the monitor on a daily basis the aging of components, with all non-mobile stationary PC. .. Computer Option nazemetno hanging on to the back side of any 24 "+ video panels have long been available, and even with a steep discrete video And yes, the built-in video quality, you can work to further discuss the PC invite the relevant topics:

19 Dec, 2016 gus_ann (3dsmax vray expert)
19 Dec, 2016 # Re: Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!
bought this Before that I was Sumsung with a diagonal of 23 inches, I thought he was good in principle, all arranged, good color rendition and etc., but not enough, and it became the size and number of monitors😁 When put next two, then once it became clear that the old man is inferior to brand new. The new white - it's white, the old white - gray is. I do not know how later it will affect the eyes, a strong contrast is probably too to anything. On a non-native resolution picture mylitsya of course, but not critical, and maybe not super giant monitor. Well have to wait for the innovations of the software developers. There is nothing left. 🙄

19 Apr, 2017 Nikitakit
19 Apr, 2017 # Re: Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!

Hello! I wrote in another topic "Monitor choice for 3ds Max " but I think I will answer here. After the advice of Maks, I eventually took the Philips BDM4350UC Brilliance 43 "4K IPS Display for about 600 Canadian dollars. I'm very satisfied with the monitor, quickly got used to its size; how did I work on two 24" monitors? Connected via the DisplayPort out of the box. First tried to connect via HDMI but it started to go off for a couple of minutes. But with the connection through the DisplayPort everything works great. Maybe the monitor have turned off because I work without a video card, straight from the motherboard. This was the only inconvenience.

19 Dec, 2016 Maks (Staff Author)
19 Apr, 2017 # Re: Huge 4K TV for 3ds Max is a good choice!

Nikitakit, congratulations with such a great bargain! 

As I understand, BDM4350UC is being sold as a monitor (not a TV) for a regular price around 800 USD and higher. The DisplayPort that available in this panel is a monitor-only feature, and it came handy as we can see. I personally use the onboard graphics ports on my MSI motherboard and can confirm some strange issues with them.

Please feel free to share any info regarding the work on a large display, and other subjects of course.

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