Off Topic: RGB and BGR LCD Displays

'tis the season for "Off Topic" posts...


Yesterday I picked up a new LCD monitor - an NEC MultiSync LCD 1860NX.  I have a 19" NEC LCD monitor in my office, so I was keen to get something similar for home.  It's a nice looking monitor, has a height adjustable stand (good for preventing neck aches) and the build quality is awesome.


There's just one tiny problem.  It's a BGR striped display...


I unboxed the screen and plugged it into the back of my laptop.  Although the display worked well, the image just didn't look right.  There was a lot of shadowing under the text and it was nowhere near the quality of my office NEC.  I spent a good couple of hours playing with the display settings on the screen (which by the way NEC, are not that easy to work with!), with little improvement.  After thinking about this a little more I had a revelation - I'll use the ClearType tuner to see if that makes a difference.


ClearType supports two LCD striping modes.  RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and BGR (Blue, Green, Red).  I ran through the ClearType tuner and by selecting BGR it really improved the display.  "That's sorted" I thought.  There was however one issue - the LCD screen of my laptop is of course RGB.    When I switch back to my laptop, the display looks really bad.  Now, if I used the screens separately this wouldn't be that much of a problem (as I could create a shortcut to switch between the two).  In the configuration I have however, I used both screens simultaneously with the NEC LCD monitor supported as an external display.


So, (unless anyone has any ideas that I'm missing) unfortunately it's back to "Standard" font smoothing for me then...  It's actually not too bad once you get over the initial shock, and I find it makes Japanese characters slightly easier to read, but I'm sad to be losing that smooth looking text...

Comments (3)

  1. Charles Chen says:


    "Our Samsung 193P won our hearts in almost every benchmark – colors were great, the design is awesome and we noticed no motion blur." — Anandtech.

  2. And there’s no easy keyboard shortcut you could possibly make to switch between the two? No API to call? I mean, you’re a programmer, right? Fix it! 🙂

  3. Simon says:

    Nice one Anthony. You are right – I could create a shortcut for this – but unfortunately I use both the RGB and BGR screens side by side. Any API call affects both screens and this is handled by the underlying GDI API.

    I did think about writing something to switch depending on which screen the mouse is over, but actually standard font smoothing seems to be working out for me for the time being…



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