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HP's billion-colour monitor gets a price: US$3,499

HP's billion-colour monitor gets a price: US$3,499

Hewlett-Packard Co. has released a monitor aimed at animators, printers, game developers and other professionals who want to know that the colours they see on a screen will be the exact same colours that appear on a printer or movie screen.

HP says it Dreamcolour LP2480zx will deliver true colours because of its ability to display 30-bit colour, which can provide up to one billion colours. The standard monitor uses 24-bit colour, making 16.7 million colours available per pixel. The 24-in. HP monitor includes a new LED backlight technology developed for it and has a list price of US$3,499.

HP first unveiled the monitor in April at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas, and said it was produced in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation SKG.

Should less colour-focused users care about 30-bit colour? While a deep-pocketed consumer might eye a 30-bit display, people using a good 24-bit system won't necessarily see any contouring or gradations in the colour display, said Matthew Brennesholtz, an analyst at the research firm Insight Media Inc.

Where most of the interest will arise, said Brennesholtz, is from professionals working in cinema post production, where monitors that displaying 30-bit can cost as much as $25,000. HP's price "is a major savings and Hollywood and the cinema and video industry would like to have thousands of these," he said, referring to monitors' 30-bit capability.

The display technology requires a graphics card that can support 30-bit colour; HP has been using one from ATI Technologies, which was acquired last year by Advanced Micro Devices.


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