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A review of the Sony PVM-X300 30-inch 4K TRIMASTER™ LCD professional monitor

by on July 3, 2015
Details
 
Manufacture
Overview

The PVM X300 is definitely not your average monitor. This model is a genuine issue 4K UHD broadcast display and comes with the specialized specs to make the process work in virtually any studio setting.

Featuring a 30 inch LCD panel with a true 4K display of 4096 x 2160 pixels, the X300 incorporates a wide range of technologies including Sony’s TRIMASTER technology architecture for maximum possible color and overall image quality. Thus, for cinema-grade 4K production the X300 is definitely built to deliver, in terms of onset monitoring and for editing needs as they come along. 4K live production via camera control and program preview is also a strong suit as is real-time 4K video presentation for workflow purposes.

On top of all these things the PVM-X300 is built to be maximally portable, easy to install in any studio setting and offers a broad list of connectivity ports for professional studio needs.

While it definitely doesn’t come cheap, the X300 is certainly one of the better 4K broadcast monitors on the market today and can at least guarantee competent results for broadcast professionals with the funding to pay for it.

The Good

For starters, the X300 gives its users a solid balance between heavy-duty studio workflow/broadcast connectivity and some genuinely high-level specs in the display department. This might seem obvious but it’s not always the case in broadcast oriented monitors. The SmartView 4K from Blackmagic being a good example of this (great connectivity, only moderately good display qualities).

Thus, with the PVM you get your hands on a very nicely sized true 4K display that delivers the same 4096 X 2160 pixels which are used in many professional cinema cameras and thus lets you fit the whole video resolution of high-end 4K shooting footage into the screen without resizing. Furthermore, that true 4K resolution is shown on a good-sized 30 inch screen that offers plenty of working room and visibility.

Furthermore, the color specs of the PVM X300 are nothing to laugh at. This broadcast 4k monitor goes all the way in its LCD panel and offers Sony’s TRIMASTER technology for displaying color on an RGB 10-bit panel which produces over 1 billion colors and is especially suited for cinema and live production monitoring of footage.

Finally, what really puts a cherry on top for the PVM X300 is the simple fact that this is a very versatile and mobile monitor despite its large screen sized. Built with a hardy design and with easy transportation in mind, the X300 can quickly be moved to any studio or mobile set shooting environment and set up in no time.

Check the Price of the Sony 30" PVM-X300 4K TRIMASTER Monitor
B&H Photo Video
Price: $17,995.00

The Bad

There is little that can be called bad about the PVM-X300. This is a performance piece of hardware and one of the finer 4K broadcast monitors on the market today.

We can say however that ultra HD broadcast monitors are still a very new technology and even better models (among the very few generally available on sale) are still in their earlier implementations and thus might not be quite as good or as affordable as models slightly down the road will be.

By 2020 it is virtually certain that 4K UHD will be the widely accepted broadcast standard worldwide and 4K workflow displays will be as common and well developed as their HD counterparts still are right now. Thus, you can view the PVM-X300 as an early iteration of a de facto future technology. And like almost all early models, it is genuinely very expensive, even by its own professional standards and some of the specs it features will almost certainly modernize further with newer models in the next couple years.

Thus, at least for now, if you’re a budget conscious broadcast technician or filmmaker, it might be better idea to save a bit and go for something much more affordable (but also much smaller) like the Blackmagic SmartView 4K

Final Thoughts

As we explained above, the PVM-X300 offers a very robust package of broadcasting and workflow technology in 4K. However, it is not as good a piece of technology as 4K broadcast monitors will become within the next year or two and thus, if you want to save a lot of money while still getting the benefits of 4K broadcast monitoring technology, you might choose the somewhat inferior and much smaller but still highly versatile Blackmagic SmartView 4K.

Specs

Weight: 16.94 lbs with stand, 14.74 lbs without stand
Dimensions: (WxHxD): 32.3" x 18.28" x 6.74" inches with stand/ 32.3" x 14.81" x 3.23" without stand
Screen size: 30.2 inches, measured diagonally
Screen type: a-Si TFT Active Matrix LCD (IPS)
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Aspect Ratio: 17:9
Colors: 1.07 billion (RGB 10-bit9
Power needs: AC 100 V to 240 V, 2.3 A to 1.1 A, 50/60 Hz
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Response time: 5 ms grey-to-grey
Resolution: 4096 x 2160
OS Compatibility: Windows
Weight: 37 lbs, 8oz
Dimensions: 29 3/4 x 18 x 4 3/4 inches for monitor and 29 3/4 x 18 3/4 x 8 1/8 inches with feet included
Input Connections
SDI: BNC (x4)
HDMI: HDMI 2.0 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 (x4) (HDCP correspondence)
Output Connections
SDI: BNC (x4) Output signal amplitude: 800 mVp-p ±10%, Output impedance: 75 Ω unbalanced
Audio Monitor: Stereo mini jack (x1)
Speaker (built-in): 1.0W (stereo)
Headphone: Stereo mini jack (x1)

Highlights

The highlights of the PVM-X300 start with the visuals it offers. While all broadcast monitors need to come with a decent display quality, not all of them go out of their necessary way to deliver something with decent quality. In this regar the PVM-X300 stands out. It also features fine display features in the form of TIMASTER technology from Sony, giving its 30 inch screen a 10-bit RGB color spectrum that delivers just over 1 billion colors for maximal realism. Couple this with the true 4K display resolution and the X300 is quite golden.

Furthermore, Sony really got the design of the X300 right in that it’s perfect for on-set monitoring, video editing, Dailies, camera control, presentation and program preview solutions. Its broad range of connectivity specs and its extremely flexible input make use under varied conditions practical.

Another highlight of the X300’s design is that the monitor is simply easy to transport and thus great for field work. You could definitely find an even light broadcast monitor in the form of the Blackmagic SmartView 4K but the X300 offers a solid mix of both worlds: the ideal size for really effective monitoring of visuals but portability at the same time.

Visual Specs

The core visual display specs of the PVM-X300 are something we’ve already covered above but it’s worth mentioning that the monitor’s 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution is ideal for monitoring and control of video captured on professional ultra HD cinema cameras, many of which film at that exact same resolution, thus frequently eliminating the need for resizing of video.

On the other hand, for other types of video, the monitor is more than capable of handling multiple 4K formats. These include True 4K at 24p and 4K ultra HD of 3840 x 2160 at 24p, 25p and 30p rates. All of these can be managed from just a single HMDI cable. The X300 can also evaluate a video signal of 4096 x 2160 with just a single HMDI cable if it’s connected to one of Sony’s own camera’s, the F55 4K. The monitor can also handle HD display modes of 2048 x 1080 and of course 1920 x 1080.

There is also an Auto White Adjustment feature built into the X300, which supports a number of pro color analyzers like the i1 Pro versions, CA-210 and upwards or those from PR-670 (Photo Research), K-10(Klein) and Specbos1211(JETI).

Ultimately, this particular broadcast monitor doesn’t offer the same extremely advanced and modern caliber of visual specs you’d find in something like the professional post-production worth specs of the Eizo ColorEdge 4K monitor or in the LG 31" Class 17:9 Digital Cinema 4K IPS LED Monitor. These other machines offer a much broader and more flexible range of visual specs for editing and post-production of 4K video. However, what they don’t offer are the connectivity features of the X300 and this is where its strength lies in the broadcast studio environment.

Connectivity

The X300 is a pro broadcast monitor, so SDI connectivity features strongly as part of its specs, along with the requisite HDMI specs.

Thus, four 3G/HD-SDI ports are available to allow a direct connection with a very diverse range of cinema cameras and live production tools and at input resolutions that vary from the true 4K we mentioned above down to 1080p HD in two different formats (2048 x 1080 and 1920 x 1080).

Then there are the HDMI inputs, four in total again, which are also meant for support of full 4K resolution (True 4K) and for 4K ultra HD at 3840 x 2160 pixels.

Finally, it offers triple DisplayPort connectivity for 4K at 60 frames per second. This includes a single DisplayPort 1.1 connection and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports.

On the other hand, unlike certain newer, more modern broadcast monitors like the Blackmagic SmartView 4K, the X300 doesn’t offer the benefit of Ethernet and fiber optic connectivity for remote control of its display and monitoring functions. This would have been a very useful feature, particularly in mobile sets. Also, there isn’t a 12G-SDI loop output for sharing assorted input signals to yet another device. This is another feature which would have really made the X300 even more outstanding.

Pricing

The Sony PVM-X300 is certainly not cheap, being a professional Production monitor. Thus, it’s currently retailing for an MSRP of $17,995.

Check the Price of the Sony 30" PVM-X300 4K TRIMASTER Monitor
B&H Photo Video
Price: $17,995.00

Not so Great

To quickly summarize the less than ideal features of the PVM-X300: This monitor is hig up on the price scale and in exchange for that it offers connectivity that isn't quite as good as that offered by certain other more affordable broadcast monitors, particularly the Blackmagic Smartview 4K, which costs several time less than the X300. Thus, much of the price here seems to cover the PVM's size (including display size) and its display features for onset monitoring. However, neither of these are absolutely spectacular, although they're definitely of professional caliber.

Positives

• excellent resolution options
• superb color reproduction
• 10-bit color
• HD-SDI, 3G-SDI, HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity
• Beautiful 30 inch wide-screen display
• Sony TRIMASTER technology

Negatives

• No Ethernet or fiber optic for remote control
• expensive
• no 12G-SDI

Editor Rating
 
Features
A

 
Quality
A

 
User Friendliness
B+

 
Connectivity
A+

 
Price
C+

Total Score
B+

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User Rating
 
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Connectivity
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Bottom Line
 

The PVM-X300 offers a fantastic package as a 4K broadcast monitor, but if you're looking to do onset monitoring and studio broadcast work professionally but on a budget, cheaper alternatives of excellent quality exist.

Check the Price of the Sony 30" PVM-X300 4K TRIMASTER Monitor
B&H Photo Video
Price: $17,995.00

 
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