This is a look at the JVC BM-H2000PN-K. I picked this monitor up not long after getting hold of a Sony PVM-20M2E & 14M2E. I was happy with the 14M2E but was disheartened by the geometry on the 20M2E so saw this up for auction and decided to take a chance on it. It ended up costing my the grand sum of 99p.
It's a 20" monitor with 750TV lines so in between the 600/800 Sony Display's. It has connections for Composite, S-Video & Component/RGB. This first thing that hit me was the geometry on this monitor. Loading up the grid pattern off the 240p Test Suite revealed a image that was lovely and straight and just required adjusting of the Horizontal/Vertical sizing to fill the image out and centering. Colours are also really nice and vibrant. Reds especially seem to pop on this monitor compared to the 20M2E. It gives a real nice depth to the picture. Another great advantage with the JVC BM-H2000PN-K is its handling of sync signals. I had a poor quality MD RGB cable which was wired to C-Sync but the Mega Drive hadn't been modified to correctly handle the sync signal. This would result with a Black picture on my PVM but the JVC would give a great picture. I've not had any sync problems with this monitor at all. Scanlines are lovely and thick and really do a low-res RGB picture justice. My RGB Modded famicom looks fantastic on it, but to be honest all my systems look awesome on it.
Downsides, its not exactly the prettiest looking monitor. The bezel is a horrible brown colour and the case is cream The screen is also Curved both horizontally and vertically unlike the PVM's but you don't really notice this when playing games on it. The service menu is not as straight forward on this compared to the PVM's. Settings are numbered instead of named so you need the service manual handy to know what your adjusting.
I feel like taking a chance on the JVC BM-H2000PN-K really paid off. Having experience of the Sony 20M2E I feel this is a far better display then the Sony I had. There doesn't seem to be to much info about these screens on the net but hopefully this review will provide people with a bit more info. If you do come across one of these displays, GRAB IT. It really is a fantastic display for retro gaming.
Amazing Picture Quality
Thick Scan Lines
Great at handling all sorts of Sync Signals
Not the prettiest looking display
Setup can be a pain without a service manual
Here are a few picture take on a number of systems (Famicom, SNES, MD, PCE) all RGB.
This reveiew covers two similar Ikegami models, and will discuss differences between the two models.
The TM20-17R was designed as a low-cost, bare bones production monitor. It's more expensive brother, the 18R looks similar, and uses the exact same picture tube (a panasonic, by the way). So what's the difference between these two monitors exactly?
Ikegami monitors are strange beasts in that they share some similar characteristics that the highest Sony BVM moniors have, and have some really low-tech features at the same time. For example, both the 17R and 18R have four manual adjust picture knobs (Chroma, Phase, Brightness, Contrast) that override the presets. (More on this later) They both have an underscan and 16:9 mode, as well as individual RGB color toggling. In fact, the only thing different between the two models on the front is a hidden panel on the 18R which accesses a menu to store and change color presets. The 17R has manual screwdriver preset adjustments here instead.
In the professional world 20 years ago, all of the high-end production companies and TV stations used Sony monitors. Ikegami's were generally used by the TV stations on a budget. That isn't to say they necessarily suck...they are just going to be a bit closer to your consumer TV, rather than having that sterile, perfect picture that the Sony's have. Ikegami's are monitors with character!
So what's the difference between the two models here? All on the inside. While the two monitors share the same picture tube, the circuitry is completely different. Open up the 17R and "low-cost" becomes apparent. There is one simple video processing board, and one power/deflection board and that's it. Even the CRT neck board is extremely simple with almost nothing on it. The 18R on the other hand, is a complex beast with a separate input board from the video processing board, a power/deflection board that doesn't house the flyback transformer. The flyback is on it's own circuit board, similar to a Sony BVM, making replacing it a simple task. (Although good luck finding one today!) The neck board is very advanced with color transistors attached to huge heat sinks. Yet it is very easy to detach completely from the def/power board.
The biggest difference between the two models is a micro-computer board installed on the 18R. This adds an on-screen menu that allows you to save and recall color presets similar to a Sony BVM. It also allows the use of an auto-setup probe to get perfect colors, similar to the BVM's probe. (Good luck finding one though!)
[Not reviewed here, but there is also an 80 and 90 series version of these 20 inch monitors which has a higher resolution tube (700/900 TVL) and removable input cards, as well as a pull out drawer to make adjustments. These are much closer to BVM spec.]
Despite these differences, this is not to say the 17R is a bad monitor. Not at all. The 17R, when calibrated, produces a fantastic picture. Both of these monitors have manually adjusted geometry controls. Meaning you have to take the side panels off and use a tiny screwdriver to adjust pots on the boards themselves. Geometry is adjusted on the def/power board, while video H.phase, hold and other adjustments are on the video processing board. Beware though, one thing the 17R lacks is a vertical height adjustment, unfortunately.
The bottom line? These Ikegamis make fantastic retro gaming monitors. Remember that the tubes are curved, just like the Panasonic and JVC models reviewed above, so if that's not your cup of tea, you will want to go with a Sony instead. These are 600 line tubes, the same as a late model non-HR Trinitron. The scanlines will be a lot softer than the 750-line tubes on the JVC and Panasonic monitors reviewed above. If you're looking for extremely sharp scanlines, go with a BVM. If you're looking for something that's actually easy on the eyes, this is a great choice.
Remember how I said these monitors have character? Well here's some food for thought: Using this monitor for retro games is like having an old-school TV that has a really damn good RGB picture. When we played our retro games growing up, we played them on crappy consumer TVs with low resolution tubes, because that's how they were designed to be played. Unfortunately, using RF and composite video sources just plain sucks. The Ikegami monitor is the best of both worlds. It has RGB input, a curved, old-school tube, and a TV resolution that's high--but not TOO high.
Now get this: I have a PVM-2950Q and a PGM-200R2U in my retro game room for general use. But I also have a small rolling TV cart next to my bed for personal use. What monitor do I use out of my collection? PVM-1954Q? PVM-20M2UMD? BVM-20F1U? BVM-D20F1U? BVM-D24E1WU? BVM-14F5U? PVM-14M4U? All of them shoved in my closet. Great guys, but not for daily use. The Ikegami TM20 is my personal cuddle buddy for bedtime game playing.
Low-cost (I wouldn't pay more than $100 for a 17R and $150 for an 18R)
Manual adjustments (no service menu)
Curved tube (This is subjective, I personally like the curve)
18R has a non standard 7-pin professional S-video input
17R requires manual signal termination (18R has manual 75 ohm switches on the back, there is no auto termination like PVMs)
17R does not have carrying handles
I had an issue using crappy China-made SNES scart cables with this monitor. I think it may have been a poor grounding issue. Cables from retro console accessories and a homemade scart to BNC adapter work great.
Both of these monitors use Matsushita (Panasonic) brand 85 degree capacitors. While Matsushita brand capacitors are good, 85 degree capacitors that are approaching 18 years of age may need replacing, depending on how much use the monitor has. I replaced all of the capacitors on both monitors' deflection boards with high-quality Nichicon 105 degree capacitors, even though the picture was already good. At the very least, I can now say that the boards will outlast the tubes.
Need to do:
Test interlaced picture
Test if it can handle composite video as a sync signal (unlikely)
Ikegami made both "affordable" and high-end broadcast monitors. I have the TM20-90RH which was their top model in it's day and it was priced at a similar level to the Sony BVM 20" monitors. Mine was made in 2004 btw.
It has similar specs to the Sony BVM 20f1u. E.g. It is capable of displaying 900 lines of horizontal resolution. It has a comparable dot pitch, a high voltage regulator, upgradable input cards on the back, 2 rgb / component inputs as standard. Mine came with the NTSC, SDI and serial remote card options but I only use the RGB ports.
It has both a digital on-screen menu and analogue pots on the front for image settings. This allows you to make adjustments on the fly. This is useful because mame default color, brightness and gamma settings are usually way off.
In my opinion, the Ikegami monitors are superior to the Sony ones for classic arcade games because they have curved screens like the real arcade machines. That's just preference though.
Most of the Ikegami monitors I have seen, have in-line self converging guns. The convergence, geometry, color and contrast on mine are all perfect and the best I have seen on any monitor. It can even auto-color calibrate on command. It has three "files" to store different user image settings. I use one for 80's games and one for 90's ones.
When using the correct settings, native resolutions and native refresh rates, the image is stunning:
It is hard to tell from photos but the image is flawless. There is virtually no bloom so you can see every scanline, even when contrast is set to max. The dot pitch is so fine that you can't see individual horizontal pixels.
Because the scanlines are so prominent, I recommend sitting 2 feet from the screen (or more). At that distance, the image looks like an arcade game should, except much, much higher quality but not in a bad way (if you know what I mean).
When I first got this monitor, I didn't like the image much. It was technically perfect but It was too sharp for my taste and not authentic enough. Check out this close-up:
The scanlines looked almost emulated and a little pixelated. I have learned a lot about how to adjust mame settings and the monitor pots to look right for old games since then. With the right settings, I couldn't stop playing on it. All my games just looked so good. This monitor finds detail that others don't. I suggest experimenting with the contrast and gamma settings in mame as well as the monitor to make it perfect.
It has flat sides so it's perfect for turning. The sides come off with screws in you want to put it in a cabinet btw.
I haven't seen the affordable Ikegami models like the TM20-17rh so I can't comment on how good they are. There was a huge price difference between the 17rh and the 90rh. The 90rh looks very high end. The contrast is especially satisfying.
Okay, so I am considering other brands outside of Sony's PVM and BVM line for a professional CRT monitor. I'm trying to exhaust all of my options even PC CRT monitors. I see Ikegami has a couple of higher end model monitors that being the Ikegami HTM-2050R and the Ikegami TM20-90RH. The HTM-2050R can do 1080i to 480p so it looks like it lacks the ability to do 240 gaming. While the TM20-90RH I am unsure of but both monitors do 900 TVL. Issue is the HTM-2050 says 900 lines at HDTV so I'd assume it would drop TVL when doing a lower resolution?
Also on their website it looks like they have some flat screen HD profesisonal CRT monitors but they are both 19 inches not 20. They both do 950 lines but I don't know their limits on lower resolutions and if they drop TVL when doing lower resolutions.
So my questions are does anyone know if these monitors drop TVL at lower resolutions? Also is there another 20 inch Ikegami monitor that I haven't brought up that might have more TVL or more resolution options? Also does the TM20-90H do hd gaming? And am I wrong about the HTM-2050R not being able to do 240p?
Also is there another brand that I should be looking at with similar specs to the Sony BVM series? How does the Mitsubishi Megaview series compare? Also what about the JVC?