Understanding Monitors

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Today, Monitors are available in a vast array of sizes, resolutions and aesthetic designs; with options in monochrome and colour, to enable a wide range of applications and budgets to be met. When considering the most appropriate Monitor for a particular security application, a number of factors may determine the selection.

The Physical Distance Available from the Placement of the Monitor to the Viewer

Often, in manned surveillance operations, a viewer is expected to concentrate on one or more Monitors for long periods of time. To protect both the health and safety interests of the operator and to ensure that they remain alert to potential incidents, guidelines have been established to determine the optimum viewing distances.

Optimum Viewing Distances

A simple model is available to help calculate the optimum viewing distance of the viewer to the Monitor.

Monitor Size (inches) Optimum Viewing Distance (feet)
9 1-3
12 3-6
14 6-9
17 7-11
20 9-15

The Amount of Physical Space Available

Due to the wide range of Monitor sizes in the marketplace today, it is important to consider the available space the your installation. There is no point buying a 21in Monitor when there is only space or a 14in model. It is also worth taking a long-term view and considering the other factors such as heat and room installation. As a security installation develops, there may be the requirements to incorporate additional Monitors.

The Level of Viewing Detail Required

For high-quality manned surveillance systems, where there is a requirement to view high resolution pictures as well as record images, then a high resolution monitor with Y/C inputs is advisable.

The Need to Show Colour or Monochrome Pictures


Colour monitors are advantageous in applications where identification is important, e.g. someone wearing a red jumper and blue jeans can be identified more effectively on a colour monitor than someone who appears dressed in dark grey on a monochrome monitor.

However, if budget is a concern or usage means that low light camera viewing is required, a monochrome monitor may be more appropriate.

Whether Audio is Required

Not all monitors have audio capabilities. Consequently, it is a feature that needs to be specified in advance, especially in applications in staff protection for example.

The Available Budget

Price variances in monitors arise for different reasons dependant on whether a monochrome or colour monitor is required. The majority of monochrome monitors today are supplied with high resolution CRTs. Consequently price differences in these models simply tend to reflect the screen size. Colour monitor pricing, on the other hand, is determined by both resolution and screen size.

However, as a result of the vast quantity of 14" monitors that are currently produced for the PC market, the Security Industry has been able to offer 14"Is high-resolution colour displays at extremely affordable prices.

This article was supplied by Norbain and used with permission. Norbain are manufacturers of the Vista Protos range of state-of-the-art monitors designed for leading edge and performance critical applications - where extensive features and functionality are the key.