Samsung SyncMaster 242mp
At a Glance
Samsung SyncMaster 242MP 24in LCD Flat Panel Display Black
Entertainment model sports a 24-inch screen and a TV tuner, plus inputs for component, composite, and S-Video devices
Samsung's 24-inch SyncMaster 242mp's claim to fame is a built-in TV tuner. We first looked at this model in the New Products section in PC World's August 2005 issue; this is the first time we've been able to compare it side-by-side with other 23- and 24-inch wide-screen LCDs. It performed well, even when compared to professional models.
The 242mp led the pack in our grayscale graphics test, showing crisp edges on both very dark and very light rectangles against a dark background. Its high scores across all other graphics tests earned it the highest recent graphics rating for a large wide-screen monitor. Considering that it was up against Eizo's professional FlexScan S2410W and Apple's popular 23-Inch Cinema HD Display, this is all the more impressive. The 242mp scored well in text tests, too, showing clear type. This 24-incher received an overall performance rating of Very Good.
Unlike all other recently tested monitors, the 242mp includes support for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, Intel's content protection technology. Although Samsung doesn't claim that the 242mp will be complaint with Windows Vista, which will introduce limiting PVP-OPM content protection, HDCP should allow you to watch current and legally obtained HD content without a hitch.
The 242mp is the only large wide-screen monitor we've recently tested that includes a TV tuner. Unfortunately, this feature reminded me of a sofa bed: Changing from one function to the other took time and effort, and it's not well-suited for both tasks. The well-labeled inputs (DVI, composite, component, and S-Video) got things off to a good start, but obtaining a decent TV picture entails messing around with different settings. The picture looked dark, and image artifacts haunted on-screen movements. The detachable speakers aren't bad, but when the monitor loses their buttressing effect, the setup feels a bit unstable. If you're pressed for space, the 242mp makes a passable TV. However, its real strength is as a monitor.
The Samsung SyncMaster 242mp is an excellent monitor for graphics; it comes with a side dish of TV functionality.