Dolby's 42" reference monitor is $40,000 worth of perfection

It's not slim. It's not sexy. But if contrast, dynamic range, and color fidelity matter to you, Dolby's PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor is quite possibly the highest quality, most accurate, and most ludicrously expensive monitor that you'll never be able to afford.

Unless you're pretty sure that you need a monitor like this, you likely don't need a monitor like this, and just based on the specs alone, it's a little bit hard to tell why this thing costs as much as it does. It's 42" diagonal with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a 120 Hz refresh rate, which is decidedly average. It's big and ugly and weighs 150 pounds (!). The viewing angle is sucky at only 45 degrees off center. When we start talking about the backlighting, though, the price begins to make some sort of sense. Behind the LCD are 1,500 RGB LED triplets, and each one of those Rs, Gs, and Bs is independently controlled in every single frame to create a full-color backlit image. That image gets combined with the LCD to produce the final image, which (according to Dolby) has "extended dynamic range with the widest and most accurate color gamut available in a flat panel monitor."

The reason this monitor exists at all is to allow people who make movies and TV shows and video games to have a "true" reference image to look at. The PRM-4200 can then be tweaked to replicate an average CRT or LCD display from different manufacturers with different color and contrast ranges, to make sure that a given game or show won't look terrible on your monitor at home. Dolby isn't really looking to sell any of these thing to consumers, although they do say that eventually, all consumer monitors will likely incorporate this kind of intelligent LED control.

We saw the PRM-4200 on the expo floor of the Game Developers Conference, and while it's a great looking display, it's not $40,000 worth of great looking (to a casual consumer, anyway), and we'd much rather blow our money on something that can display 4k pixels. Or better yet, 8k.

Via Dolby

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