EPI this week announced a new 4K monitor under the Philips brand called the Philips Momentum 436M6, which will arrive in mid-to-late June for $999.99. At 43 inches, it’s big, but most notably it’s the first PC monitor to gain DisplayHDR 1000 certification from the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), the organization that sets standards for displays and other electronics.
VESA introduced the DisplayHDR spec last December to create a consistent and open standard for high dynamic range (HDR) performance on LCD displays, most prominently PC monitors. There are three tiers to the benchmark: DisplayHDR 400 for low-end HDR panels, DisplayHDR 600 for those in the mid-range, and DisplayHDR 1000 for higher-end screens. We’ve seen a handful of monitors sporting the first two classifications in recent months, but this is the first to officially claim the top-level spec.
Broadly speaking, the name of each DisplayHDR level corresponds to its peak brightness: DisplayHDR 400 reaches up to 400 nits of luminance, DisplayHDR600 goes up to 600 nits, and DisplayHDR 1000 reaches up to 1,000. That means the Momentum 436M6 should get as bright as some mid- to higher-end TVs at its peak. That said, Philips says the monitor won’t always run at 1,000 nits—it says the Momentum 436M6 will sit around 720 nits with typical use. That would still be much brighter than other high-end monitors with similar specs, though.
That level of luminance is important to faithfully display HDR content, which is designed in part to produce brighter highlights and increase the gap between the whitest white and blackest black tones in an image. Many monitors (and TVs) on the market that claim to support “HDR” today use the term loosely: they may have the software to read HDR content, but they don’t have the display tech to boost picture quality significantly beyond the level of a standard dynamic range (SDR) image. (Though any increase in luminance and color saturation range can have some benefit, and all of this is still dependent on HDR content that’s properly optimized for the display.) DisplayHDR 1000 panels shouldn’t have as many problems staying lit up.
But as we’ve noted before, HDR isn’t just about sheer brightness—it needs a wider color gamut and greater color depth as well. Philips says the monitor will utilize its “Ultra Wide-Color” tech to provide that wider color gamut, along with quantum dot tech that is said to particularly boost “dark reds and greens.” The company advertises a 4,000:1 contrast ratio and says the monitor covers 97.6 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut; the DisplayHDR 1000 spec requires at least 99-percent coverage of the BT.709 color space and 90-percent coverage of DCI-P3, plus low black levels.
Philips says the Momentum 436M6 does utilize local dimming—something VESA recommends but does not outright require for the DisplayHDR 1000 spec—to improve contrast and HDR performance, but the company does not specify the exact extent of it. We’ve asked for further clarification. The monitor is not capable of native 10-bit colors, either, instead opting for 8-bit colors with 2-bit dithering. Still, while we’ll need hands-on feedback to be sure, there’s reason to believe the Momentum 436M6 will be capable of stronger HDR reproduction than most past monitors.
The Momentum 436M6 is an MVA panel, which suggests it’ll provide better contrast and deeper blacks than your typical IPS or TN display but slower response times. Philips, for its part, lists the device’s response time at 4ms. It lists the monitor’s refresh rate range as 23-80 Hz—4K is at 60Hz—and says it’ll use the company’s “Adaptive Sync technology.” That implies it’ll work with AMD’s FreeSync screen-tearing-reduction tech.
There are two USB 3.0 ports on board, along with single connector ports for USB-C 3.1, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, and Mini DisplayPort 1.2. The monitor uses Philips’ “Ambiglow” tech, which detects colors onscreen and duplicates them through LEDs on the edges of the monitor, the idea being that it’ll create a feeling of the onscreen image extending beyond the screen itself. There are a couple of 7W speakers built in as well.
We’ll likely see more DisplayHDR 1000 monitors as the year rolls along, and, as it is, the Momentum 436M6 is priced out of most people’s range. Slowly but surely, though, eye-catching HDR looks to be making the jump from TVs to PC monitors.