Review: HP DreamColor LP2480zx LCD display
Share |
Reviewed by Ryan McLaughlin on 06/10/2008
Editors' rating: 9.5/10
Detailed editors' rating
Average user rating:
GD Star Rating
See all user reviews
GD Star Rating
Bottom Line
JusTech'n editors' rating
  • RichardWagner

    You state:
    “At $3499 the price is too high for consumers, but professionals will appreciate the price because they know that other displays like this one cost between $15,000 and $25,000. ”

    What other displays are you referring to? Can you give us an example?



    GD Star Rating
  • Thank you for your comment.

    One of the monitors I was referring to is the Sony BVML230. It is one of the least expensive 30-bit monitors and it costs $25,000.

    GD Star Rating
  • seano

    I just purchased the monitor, partially based on your review. I’m in a video post production facility and using it as a broadcast video monitor (not a computer monitor). I soon discovered that the colorspace profile menu is grayed out when the monitor is being fed a YUV video signal. It only works with RGB signals according to the manual. This is of major concern to me. All I use is YUV (I have an SDI to HDMI converter) and I need to know that rec 601 and 709 colorspaces are properly being represented for NTSC and ATSC signals, respectively. The manual gives no information about this.

    I’ve tried to contact HP which was a disaster. I couldn’t find anyone who’s heard of the monitor, let alone knows anything about my concern. My colleagues are of the belief that this thing is no good and that I should have bought a Panasonic or JVC. Do you happen to know the answer to my question, or know who to ask for if I call HP again? Thanks a million!

    GD Star Rating
  • Sean,
    I wrote HP about your problem and I just got an email back from one of their engineers. Here is what he had to say:

    I am a engineer working on the LP2480zx monitor. Sorry to hear that you are having difficulty getting the results that you would like from the HP DreamColor monitor. I was forwarded your post below describing your SDI setup. First of all let me assure you that the issues you described do not indicate anything wrong with the monitor.

    • The DreamColor Engine is only enabled if the input is:
      • Progressive (not interlaced) AND
      • RGB (not YUV)
    • If the input signal is Interlaced OR YUV, then the DreamColor Engine is disabled and there is no color management (the colors are unmanaged, reverts to Full (Native) gamut and the color presets menu is grayed out).
    • With an SDI input, you must use an adapter that converts to progressive RGB at the output.
    • The only adapter we have found that does this is the Gefen EXTHDSDI2DVISP HDSDI to HDMI adapter.

    I am not sure which product you are using to convert the SDI signal to HDMI, but if it offers the option, please set it to convert the Yuv signal to RGB, and make sure that the output is non-interlaced.

    If you don’t have those options we recommend the Gefen SDI to HDMI converter. Make sure that it has the most recent firmware. Then follow the adjustments below to make sure that the black level is set correctly

    Connecting the Gefen SDI to HDMI (or DVI) converter

    1. Connect the proper cables between Gefen SDI box between the SDI source and the appropriate HDMI (or DVI) input on the LP2480zx.
    2. On the Gefen remote press the Menu button (if the Gefen to LP2480zx connection is good, then the Gefen menu should appear on the LP2480zx. If the Gefen menu is not displayed:
      1. Check that the cables are properly connected
      2. Check that the proper input is selected on the LP2480zx
        1. On the LP2480zx’s right bezel press any button to bring up the OnScreenDisplay(OSD) button labels
        2. Press the “Input Select” button to bring up the “Video Input Control” menu
        3. If the proper input is not selected, press Next or Previous as needed to highlight the proper HDMI (or DVI) input
        4. Press the “Select/Open” button to select the highlighted input
        5. Press the “Exit OSD” menu to exit the OSD
    3. On the bottom line of the Gefen menu verify that the Input and Output are as expected
      Input: SDI 1 – 1280×720 @ 60Hz (or other according to the source signal)
      Output: HDMI (or DVI) – 1920×1200 @ 60 Hz
      If the Output setting is not correctly displayed:

      1. On the Gefen remote, press the left arrow to move to the Output tab
      2. Press the down arrow to the Graphics Output Format setting
      3. Press the right arrow to enter the list of output formats
      4. Navigate to the 1920×1200 @ 60 Hz selection
      5. Press Enter
      6. Press the Menu button to exit the Gefen Menu

    Setting the Gefen Black Level to 0

    1. Using the Gefen remote, press the Menu button to bring up the Gefen Menu
    2. Press the left arrow to navigate to the Picture tab
    3. Press the down arrow to select the Image Colour item
    4. If the Black Level value is already 0, skip to step 10
    5. Press the right arrow to enter the settings
    6. Press the down arrow repeatedly until the Black Level is selected
    7. Press the Enter button to adjust the Black Level.
    8. Press and hold the left arrow until 0 is displayed
    9. Press Enter to accept the Black Level change
    10. Press the Menu button to exit the Gefen Menu.

    Setting the Gefen Output Color Range to 0-255

    1. Using the Gefen remote, press the Menu button to bring up the Gefen Menu
    2. Press the left arrow to navigate to the Picture tab
    3. Press the down arrow to select the Output Color Range item
    4. If the 0-255 setting is already selected, skip to step 8
    5. Press the right arrow to enter the settings
    6. Press the down arrow once to highlight the 0-255 setting
    7. Press the Enter button to select that data setting.
    8. Press the Menu button to exit the Gefen Menu.

    Select the desired Color Space preset on the LP2480zx

    1. On the LP2480zx bezel press any button to bring up the OnScreenDisplay(OSD) button labels
    2. Press the “Open OSD” button to display the “Main Menu”
    3. Press the “Select/Open“ button to open the “Color Space” menu
    4. Press the “Next” or “Previous” buttons to highlight the desired Color Space preset (e.g., Rec. 709)
    5. Press the “Select/Open“ button to select the highlighted Color Space preset
    6. Look at the Luminance setting. If it is as desired, skip to step 11
    7. Press the “Next” or “Previous” buttons to highlight the “Luminance/Brightness” setting
    8. Press the “Select/Open” button to change the Luminance
    9. Press the “+” or “-“ buttons to adjust to the desired setting
    10. Press the “Select/Save” button to accept the selected Luminance setting
    11. Press the “Exit OSD” to exit the OSD

    The Gefen box and LP2480zx should now be connected and set for maximum contrast.

    If the black level is still a little light, you may want to adjust the black level setting on the monitor. First put an image on the screen that will let you adjust the black level setting (a pluge target, for instance).

    1. On the LP2480zx bezel press any button to bring up the OnScreenDisplay(OSD) button labels
    2. Press the “Open OSD” button to display the “Main Menu”
    3. Press the “Next” button to highlight the “Image Control…” setting
    4. Press the “Select/Open“ button to open the “Image Control” menu
    5. Press the “Select/Open“ button to enter the “Black Level” menu
    6. Press the “Reduce Set“ button until the black level is set to produce the best result.
    GD Star Rating
  • Glenn Chan


    JVC and eCinema have some good models at the $4k price range (JVC is less than that) for professional use, e.g. 1920×1080 resolution, good color, 1000:1 contrast ratio, higher-quality deinterlacers.
    Some info here:

    I wasn’t very impressed by the BVM-L. The Barco RHDM might have been more interesting had the eCinema DPX not existed.

    But above all, get demo units for yourself and use your own eyes. There’s stuff you can’t figure out from reading a spec sheet.

    2- Some great info on the dreamcolor here:

    GD Star Rating
  • Eric


    Thanks for your review and follow-up to these comments.

    I am hoping you can get to the bottom of something about this monitor. The documentation (web site, specs and manual) clearly state “the LP2480zx monitor provides a 10 bits/color (30 bits/pixel) input, with true 10-bit drivers within the LCD itself.”[1]. The FAQ states “A full 30-bit pixel is sent from the DreamColor Engine to be displayed on the HP 30-bit LCD panel with no dithering or frame rate control. “[2] Even the chart in your review says “30 bit LCD panel”.

    In the thread Glenn cites on HardForum ToastyX claims the service menu indicates the panel is LG.Display’s LG LM240WU5[3]. No specs are yet available on this panel that I can find.

    However, Martin Euredjian of eCinema Systems (a high end LCD display manufacturer) claims “it is, in fact, an 8 bit display with FRC-based dithering. … We contacted LG –who manufacture the panel for HP– and quickly learned that it wasn’t a real 10 bit panel but rather an 8 bit with built-in FRC.”[4]

    And in the same thread noted above, ToastyX claims observing dithering on the system.[3]

    My question is if you observed any dithering or similar issues in your review, and if you could contact HP to get to the bottom of this? Is it a 10 bit IPS panel, or is it an 8 bit panel with dithering for 10 bit RGB? And why is an apparent 24 bit source getting dithered?

    I was planning to purchase this display, but these observations and comments have caused me to pause. Any help you can offer to determine what is really going on here is appreciated.


    GD Star Rating
    • Eric,

      I personally did not see any dithering or other issues when I looked and the LCDs; however, when I did this review I was at an HP workshop and the LCDs were setup in very controlled configurations.

      I will pass your other questions onto HP, and I will let you know if I get a response.

      GD Star Rating
    • I finally got a response from HP. The engineer does not go into a lot of detail, but he offers a few bits that you can chew on. I edited the email a little to take out some personal information because I didn’t have permission to post it in its entirety.

      Though I’m new to HP, I’m not new to the DreamColor monitor. Before joining HP I was the senior product designer at ***, in charge of ***, ***’s finishing editing system. As part of my work there I became involved in the DreamColor monitor early this year and was involved in evaluations and assessments of the monitor for ***.

      Using beta drivers from NVIDIA and a custom build of our editors, we fed true 10-bit test patterns and video into the box and the monitor definitely responded correctly for a 10-bit device.

      In the brief time I’ve been at HP, I’ve been able to confirm a few details regarding the DreamColor:

      It is a true S-IPS 30-bit panel and is a custom-designed panel for HP. In addition, the hardware drivers are true 10-bit per channel drivers.

      I’ve had some interactions with Martin over the years and I can’t speak to what he believes, but I look forward to speaking with him and helping to clarify his understanding. Hopefully I’ll be able to speak with him sometime next week when I’m back in the office.

      One key note I should point out is that it is entirely possible that the dithering they are seeing takes place in the signal before it was fed to the monitor. As I mentioned above, we worked with beta drivers from NVIDIA. We definitely saw situations where the display drivers were introducing dithering into the signal.

      I hope this answers some of the issues. Now that I’m in Houston and back in my office at HP, I’ll read through the forum threads you provided links to. I look forward to speaking with you further regarding this display as I’m quite excited about it! (So much so that I left **** after fourteen years to join the DreamColor team at HP.)

      GD Star Rating
  • John

    “HP Introduces World’s First Affordable Color-critical Display
    BERLIN, June 10, 2008”

    First of all, That’s funny. Affordable? Of course. There are stuff that Bill Gates can afford that YOU can’t. So when they posted the news announcement, I wonder WHO exactly they had in mind when they said “affordable”?

    ViewSonic also has an LED backlight panel which sells for around $470. I don’t know how that compares to HP, but I’d call the $470 affordable.

    GD Star Rating
    • John,
      I don’t think you are the intended target for this monitor, just like you are not the intended target for a BMW. Even though BMW and FORD cars have a lot in common, the BMW cars are a lot more expensive. People buy BMWs because they recognize there are certain things that make the extra cost worth while.

      I am like you, I will probably never buy one of these monitors, or a BMW, because I do not need the benefits that the extra cost provide.

      These monitors are targeted directly at video and design companies that use color critical applications. Notice I said companies, I did not say individuals, these monitors are not for personal use. As I mentioned in the review these monitors have certain things that they are really good at, and unless you need those specific abilities, you do not need this monitor. In addition, to take full advantage of this monitor you also need a 30-bit graphics card, those are not only hard to find, but they are also very expensive.

      I hope this was helpful and good luck in your monitor hunting.

      GD Star Rating
  • Rich Wagner


    I own one of these monitors. The first that I obtained suffered from display non-uniformity and had to be returned for a replacement panel, as it was not suitable for color-critical work. I know of two others who also had to request replacements for the same reason.

    The display ships without calibration software or a colorimeter, and standard software (and hardware) from X-Rite (Match, ProfileMaker Pro, PROFILER) and others (BasICColor Display, ColorEyes Display) will not work with this monitor. A developer from one of these companies told me that HP has not been forthcoming with a SDK, so they have no immediate plans to add compatibility. Although standard colorimeters like the X-Rite i1 Display are not matched to this wide-gamut monitor, there is no reason that a spectro like the i1 Pro would not work – if only companies had the info they needed from HP to tune their software and communicate with the display.

    To calibrate and profile the monitor, which is essential before any professional work can be performed, it is necessary to purchase HP’s custom, matched X-Rite colorimeter and HP’s software, which was developed by X-Rite, to the tune of another $350. Unfortunately, the software is the absolute bare minimum needed to calibrate and profile the display. It simply sucks compared to BasICColor Display and ColorEyes Pro or even X-Rite’s Eye-One Match. There is not even feedback to confirm the actual measured values reached after calibration and profiling, and there’s certainly nothing like CIECAM02 available.

    The color of the display is magnificent. It model appears well-made, although even the hood is optional and seriously overpriced. The software nearly neuters the display, though, and HP really needs to allow competing software products access to the information that they need (through a SDK) to allow those products to work with this display.

    As far as the 30-bit business goes, my understanding is that there is a 10-bit per channel LUT in the monitor, similar to other high-end monitors, that is accessed through calibration. This is certainly a big improvement over low-end monitors that do their “calibration” via the LUT on the 8-bit video board, resulting in a loss of levels from the 256/channel available on the video board.


    GD Star Rating
  • Eric


    An update to my question. Apparently someone from HP responded to a similar set of questions on

    The responder, Dan Bennett, claims it is a 10bit panel created especially for HP, commits to follow up on the dithering issues and has a new firmware release (not sure if its related to the dithering).

    GD Star Rating
  • tim

    you mentioned playing games on the hp and said that it would look better.
    do game writers code the colors on a 24bit range or what?
    pictures i can see benefiting but if it was drawn on a pc it would be in 16.7m colors right?

    GD Star Rating
    • I had to read my review again to make sure, and I did mention playing Doom with this monitor, but you have to put that comment in context. I was referring to how well it did distinguishing dark colors. Here is what I said:

      “The next picture shows the DreamColor LP2480zx displaying dark pictures. With a contrast ratio of 1000:1 this monitor does a really great job, even when you are dealing with dark subjects. I would love to try out this monitor with Doom, I might actually be able to tell the monsters apart from the dark.”

      As far as games being coded for 24-bit color, I cannot say because I am not a game programmer, but I doubt it. Like I mentioned in a previous comment, this monitor is not for consumers (gamers), because it will not benefit them in any meaningful way. Even consumers who view a lot of pictures are not going to benefit from this, because they are not going to have a 30-bit graphics card or even pictures that are high enough quality to need a monitor like this.

      GD Star Rating
  • johnny

    Thanks for good post

    GD Star Rating
  • Dan

    Comparing this monitor to Apple Cinema Displays is pointless. They’re not even among the best color-critical displays on the market (not even close). High end screens from LaCie, NEC and Eizo are all better points of comparison to see what this monitor can really do because they cover close to or over 100% of Adobe RGB, have between 12 and 14 bit gamma correction, etc. ACDs are prosumer displays at best despite how Apple advertises them.

    GD Star Rating
  • joe Ricci

    I have had display port problem running HPZ800 with NvideaQuadroCX and LP2360 monitor. Out of box monitor runs fine. Installed updated firmware and drivers. No problem. Calibrated moditor with Colorvision spider Elite. No problem.

    One hour later, no video input on display port. Run display port with adaptor to DVI cable and DVI input works. New display port cable did not fix. Seems to be a display port monitor input issue. So far HP has been little help. Going to get another Display port monitor to exclude my workstation and thecable.

    Any thougts would be appreciated. Hoping HP will escalate this soon. Very frustrating

    GD Star Rating
  • Lydia Robertson

    I am having trouble identifying a video card for this new monitor and calibration software that will work with Snow Leopard. Currently the monitor is grossly over saturated and am at a loss as how to calibrate it so that I can be assured of it’s accuracy. I bought it, based on reviews, to do professional color correction using Apple Color for video as well as Photoshop. My computer is the latest MacPro, with Two 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, processors and 16 gig of ram. It currently has a stock video card installed, the # NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB. I have purchased two Hp monitors, one the LP2480xz, the other is the HP LP2475w.

    Some time in the next 6 months I need to get a video card that will drive it’s 30 bit capabilities as well as proper calibration hardware software. If it can not be done I need to return these monitors and find another solution.

    Thank you so much for your review!

    GD Star Rating
    • Min Tu

      Hi Lydia, I currently have a lp2475w and have a glitch with my screen. I am thinking of purchasing the lp2480zx. Do you see a substantial difference in performance between the two monitors, not just in color accuracy?

      GD Star Rating
  • Rampage

    The information is very interesting. But I like DELL more.

    GD Star Rating
Review: HP DreamColor LP2480zx LCD display, reviewed by Ryan McLaughlin on 2008-06-10T05:00:15+00:00 rating 9.5 out of 10