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As Bill Bryson wryly observed in ĎNotes From a Small Islandí, thereís no-one quite like a Yorkshireman for pointing out your personal shortcomings, but if you want to know whatís wrong with your video movies watch them on a large Sony monitor, like the Multiscan CPD-500. The huge 21-inch screen will show up every flaw in your work in vivid detailÖ



The CPD-500 is based around one of Sonyís finest FD Trinitron tubes, claimed to have the flattest screens in the business. Flat is good for several reasons, not least the very low reflectivity, which means you only see whatís meant to be on the screen, the image isnít polluted by reflections from lights or windows (thatís windows with a small Ďwí). This particular tube also benefits from a dense black coating, which improves contrast and greyscale and that, combined with an Aperture Grill pitch of 0.24mm means it is capable of operating at resolutions (up to 2048 x 1536 pixels), that easily encompasses the needs of digital video recording and editing systems.


Itís quite heavy but given the size of the tube itís fairly compact and clever styling minimises its impact on your desktop. Connections to the outside world are confined to a standard 15-pin D-Sub socket (a video lead is supplied) and a set of five BNC sockets for MAC users. The connector panel is angled downwards so there is no overhang, which is just as well on a cabinet as large as this one. It aimed at the corporate market so there are relatively few frills and widgets of the kind associated with recent multimedia displays. Thatís hardly a criticism though, if anything it is an advantage for a lot of users because it means it is simple to set-up and use, and thereís less to go wrong.


Sony has put a fair amount of effort into the control system, with mixed results. It centres on a sort of joystick type button located on the underside of the screen surround, which it calls DisplayMouse. Moving the button right or left, and forwards or backwards adjusts brightness and contrast, press the button and an on-screen menu appears. Selections and adjustments are made by pushing the button to move a highlight. Itís quite awkward at first but you do get used to it, fortunately itís not something you have to use very often. All key display parameters are up for grabs, including geometry, position, convergence, colour temperature (preset and user-adjustable), moirť cancellation, manual degauss, control lock and OSD language.    


The CPD-500 is compliant with all current emission standards and supports all power management schemes but itís quite a thirsty beast consuming 145 watts on full song, 15 watts in suspend mode and 1 watt in active standby.



Installation is a breeze, it comes with a driver disc for Windows 95/98 and Macs, and our sample obligingly plugged-Ďn-played with our test PCs with no problems, apart from some minor tweaks to the horizontal and vertical position. The CPD-500 sailed through the geometry, focus, convergence, colour purity and power regulation checks, most of which were carried out at a resolution of 1024 x 768. Images -- both moving and static Ė are crisp and clean and colours fair leap off the screen. It has a wide dynamic range, revealing subtle detail in shadows and lowlights that our reference monitor failed to capture. There are a couple of idiosyncrasies, however. Shadows cast by the Trinitron tubeís aperture grille damping wires are just about visible on a static paper-white desktop or light scene areas, but they canít be seen on moving video. The other feature is occasionally pronounced moirť patterning -- that wonít go away -- on tightly patterned areas of the picture, but once again itís not a problem in normal use.



Moving video looks excellent. The picture is bright and packed with detail colours look very lifelike; the screenís translucency appears to give the image added depth. Itís quite pricey but the CPD-500 looks, feels and performs like a piece of quality kit, if youíre trading up to a big screen and price isnít the first consideration make sure this one is on your shortlist.




How Much?               

£917 (inc VAT)*


Tube size                   

21-inch Sony FD Trinitron


Visible display area   

405 x 303 mm


Aperture Grille Pitch                



Max Resolution     

2048 x 1536 @ 75Hz (recommended max 1600 x 1200 @ 85Hz)


Max refresh rate    

Multiscan up to 160Hz



470 x 453 x 453mm





Sony UK Ltd., telephone (0990)  424424,



Features                     ****

Performance               *****

Ease of use                 ****

Value for money ****

Overall Rating  90%


* Insight




„ R. Maybury 2000 2912




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