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Video monitors are one of the most hard-working and least appreciated components in a surveillance system, in fact we usually only notice them when they go wrong, which thankfully is a comparatively rare event these days. Monitors lead a tough life; they are frequently required to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, sometimes in quite hostile environments. That kind of ruggedness and reliability depends on a fair amount of sophisticated technology and careful design yet we expect them to be easy to set-up and use, require minimal maintenance and cost as little as possible


Because most monitors look fairly similar Ė the bits we see at any rate -- and they do such a relatively mundane job itís tempting to believe that they are all much of a muchness; itís a commonly held belief that theyíre mostly TVs with a few bits taken outÖ However, you only have to look at a bank of screens to see that there are often quite considerable differences in picture performance, sometimes between identical models from the same manufacturer and whilst a lot of the time this is due to incorrect user/installer settings, quite significant variations in factory alignment are not unknown.


On past experience that shouldnít be a problem with the Vista PVD1700E, marketed in the UK by Norbain, which along with the companyís other products has a good track record in that respect. Itís one of four colour video monitors in the PVD (Professional Vista Display) range; this particular model has a 17-inch picture tube, which translates to a diagonal screen measurement of 15.75 inches. The three other models (PVD1000D, PVD1400D and PVD 2100E) have 10-inch, 14-inch and 21-inch tubes respectively. The 10, 14 and 17-inch models are designed to work with PAL and NTSC video using CVBS or S-Video (Y/C) formatted signals.


The charcoal finished steel case is compact and reasonably rigid, it measures 380 x 400 x 370 mm (incidentally, the 10 and 14-inch models are also available in a cream coloured finish). A pair of carrying handles are inset into the side panels and all up weight is in the order of 17kg. A small forward-facing speaker (2-inch elliptical) is positioned behind a grille in the bottom left hand corner of the screen surround, next to that is a hinged flap covering the picture control rotary presets. From left to right they are: volume, sharpness, brightness, contrast, colour and tint. Additionally there are two slide switches for selecting audio and video inputs. It has a good range of input options, there are two composite video sockets (BNC), each with its own associated loop-through, and one S-Video input (mini DIN), again with a loop-through. The two audio input channels (line level in and out) are handled by a set of four phono sockets. A mains cable is supplied and this plugs into a standard IEC socket on the bottom right corner of the back panel.


Inside the cabinet the standard of construction appears to be commendably high, thereís a single main board in the bottom of the case and a second PCB on the back panel, dealing with the video and audio inputs and outputs. It is a neat and well-integrated design with only a small number of cables and leads floating around inside. The CRT is a fairly conventional FST type from the Taiwanese display manufacturer Chunghwa (an affiliate of Tatung and closely connected with Mitsubishi), this particular model has a dot-pitch of 0.59 mm and claimed resolution in the order of 400-lines. This puts it in the medium definition category, which is suitable for most routine applications.


Installation is straightforward since there are few preliminaries to bother about, aside form setting the front-panel input selectors for video and audio, and adjusting the picture and volume controls. The first thing we noticed is the lack of headroom on the brightness adjustment, itís sufficient for most conditions but it had to be set to at or near maximum. The contrast range is good however, its reasonably well balanced but the front panel control is fairly coarse and again it was necessary wind it up fairly high to achieve a satisfactory picture from some sources.  The image is clean and sharply focused to the edges of the screen; convergence was spot on, as was colour purity. Although on paper the resolution is fairly average Ė our sample managed just a whisker under 400-lines at centre-screen -- the image is crisp and has no difficulty resolving fine detail from high-end cameras on an S-Video feed. Factory alignment is good and the chassis is very stable, the picture remained rock solid despite out attempts to unsettle it with some sharp blows to various parts of the cabinet and the PCBs.


Not surprisingly audio quality from the tiny speaker is unremarkable. The amplifier is not very powerful Ė probably just a watt or two -- it is adequate for monitoring speech and incidental sounds but itís not loud and we suspect it could be drowned out in a noisy environment or if the screen was more than metre or so from the operator.   


Picture quality on our sample was good and close to the manufacturers spec but we would have liked to have had a little more leeway on some of the picture controls, to allow for a wider range of input signals and viewing conditions. Installation and routine operation should pose no problems and we are impressed by the rear panel socketry. The PVD1700 is a competent and uncomplicated design the cosmetics are a little plain, but thatís no bad thing, after all itís what happens on the screen thatís important.




Tube size                    17-inch

Dot pitch                     0.59mm

Power supply              230 VAC 50Hz

Consumption              57 watts

System                        PAL/NTSC

Weight                        17kg

Dimensions                 380 x 400 x 370 mm





Product design             8

Build quality                           8

Ruggedness                            8



General functions                     8

CCTV functions                     8         

Ease of use                             8

Instructions                            7

Manuf. support                        ?         

Performance                           9

Video quality                          8



” R. Maybury 2000 0902




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