Video conferencing has taken on an outsized significance thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, families have stayed connected, businesses have kept running, and schools have kept educating.
There are a few things you need to make your video conferencing sessions successful. The first is a reliable internet connection, the next is a PC that’s capable of keeping up with your streams, and the third is a good webcam and microphone combination. Often overlooked, though, is the monitor used for video conferencing, and we’re going to cover some of the things to look for along with some good options.
You may already have a webcam suitable for your video conferencing needs, and there are many great webcam options to choose from. However, some monitors have webcams built in, saving you the hassle of adding on a separate component. Add in a microphone and speakers, and you can greatly streamline your video conferencing setup.
There are a number of monitors that provide this functionality. One example, the ASUS BE24EQK, is a 23.8-inch IPS monitor all for around $207 that runs at Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution and offers an adjustable Full HD webcam — a dramatic improvement over the HD 720p webcams in most laptops — along with a noise-canceling microphone and a pair of speakers.
The Asus monitor is fine for individual use or managing small conferences, but if you need to share your display or display a large number of videos, then the Philips 499P9H is an option. It’s expensive at around $1,810, but it’s a large 49-inch IPS superwide monitor with a high 5,120 x 1,440 resolution.
The monitor includes a webcam, speakers — a microphone isn’t built in — and a KVM (keyboard, video, and mouse) switch that allows the display to be used with multiple PCs. You’ll also appreciate the high dynamic range (HDR) support and excellent image quality, and the integrated infrared camera supports Windows 10 Hello password-less login via facial recognition.
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Size, Resolution, and Performance
As with most tasks, video conferencing benefits from higher resolutions. At 4K (3,840 x 2,160) versus Full HD, you can fit more videos on the screen at once or enjoy sharper versions of the same number. There are a host of 4K monitors available, ranging in price from under $250 to over $4,000.
For video conferencing, you want a monitor that’s not just high resolution but that also offers a minimum refresh rate of 60Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the video. Another specification that helps ensure smooth video is a monitor’s response rate, which you’ll want to be 5 ms or less. You’ll want an IPS display with wide viewing angles to allow for sharing your conferences if necessary.
Size is another factor. Starting with a 24-inch class monitor is a good idea and you can go up from there. As with the Philips monitor above, a widescreen format can be useful for displaying more videos and for multitasking while you’re in your conference. You can consider a large display for managing a group conference.
In terms of image quality, brightness is the most important specification. You’ll want your monitor to be bright enough to handle harsh office lighting (or a sunny home office). Contrast and colors are important as well, although not as much for some other purposes like performing creative tasks.
Again, there are many excellent 4K monitors available at a variety of price points. One excellent example, though, is the LG 27BL85U-W, a 4K IPS 27-inch display that runs right around $400. Not only does the monitor support 4K, but it also has tilt, pivot, and height adjustability and offers USB-C connections. HDR support and wide colors ensure a quality image.
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Few computing tasks demand as much persistent attention as video conferencing. You may not be attending the longest online meetings, but you’re required to pay attention throughout with your eyes glued to the screen. Ergonomics is therefore the final important consideration in picking a monitor for video conferencing.
You’ll want to look for a flicker-free display and one with low blue light emissions. Both will help reduce eye fatigue and make for more comfortable sessions. Fortunately, these two characteristics are more common on contemporary monitors and easier to find than in the past.
Another ergonomic monitor aspect is its adjustability. A monitor that can tilt, swivel, and pivot and is height adjustable will allow you to place the display in precisely the right position. The last thing you want while attending a video conference is neck and shoulder pain due to a poorly positioned monitor.
The BenQ DesignVue Designer PD2700U offers just those characteristics. It’s also a 4K monitor at 60Hz with high brightness and accurate colors. It’s also a reasonably priced 27-inch monitor at about $500. The built-in KVM switch lets you use the monitor with two PCs while also sharing a mouse and keyboard between them.
A larger monitor for sharing with a group is the LG 43UN700-B, a 43-inch IPS display running at 4K and 60Hz. It offers an 8ms response time, which is a little slower than preferred but still fast enough for video conferencing. It, too, offers flicker-free, low blue light, and anti-glare functionality, and is tilt adjustable.
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Advanced Solution Support
Finally, there are some high-end video conferencing solutions that can work directly with a wireless monitor. One example is Cisco, which offers a number of solutions and utilizes a Cisco Certified Compatible Display program to ensure a monitor will work well with its products.
One such certified monitor is the Samsung QB55R, a 4K 55-inch monitor with built-in wireless (both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) connectivity for about $1,009. It works with Cisco’s WebEx Room Kit that integrates a webcam, speakers, and microphone into a single device and wirelessly connects to the monitor. The QB55R supports HDR and wide colors for an exceptional image.
We have a wide array of Televisions as well
Technically, any monitor will support video conferencing using today’s most popular tools. But if you want the best possible experience, then the features and performance characteristics outlined here will help make your video conferencing sessions as successful and enjoyable as possible.
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