Thunderbolt Display: is mine defective?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Roman2K~, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Roman2K~, Dec 14, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011

    Roman2K~ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #1
    I received my Thunderbolt Display yesterday. Impressed by the build quality as always with Apple.

    Colors look just right, but black areas in the bottom corners aren't deep black. I can see light coming from these corners, making blacks lighter.

    I can see it very clearly while sitting in front of a black image in fullscreen like an instance of Terminal while sitting in front of it. Couldn't manage to capture it with my iPhone so I took two pictures, one on each side where the light is most visible:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Different color on each side. While sitting straight in front, I get a blend of both colored lights. The bottom right corner is the most annoying. I can see it even while watching a normal video (namely, not all black).

    Given the price, I didn't expect this. Is that bleeding or another defect? Is it even a defect?

    I was on the verge of ordering a return but I'd like to know what more experienced people think, first. Thanks!
     
  2. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #2
    It's fine. You're being nitpicky. They have to light the panel somehow, you'll never get absolute uniformity. My $3000 TV has the same issue, it's normal.
     
  3. Roman2K~ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #3
    @MovieCutter
    Thanks for your input. Your experience with a $3000 TV is reassuring :).

    I would greatly appreciate if someone else who owns a Thunderbolt Display could compare theirs with mine, displaying a black image in a dark room ;).
     
  4. colshine macrumors regular

    colshine

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    My Thunderbolt displays has the same characteristics - it doesn't bother me though. As said it happens with TV's as well.
     
  5. convergent macrumors 68000

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #5
    I think this is normal. If you want true colors its best to calibrate the display with a colorimeter. Plus, how often do you use it with a totally black screen?
     
  6. Roman2K~ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #6
    That's what I hoped to read :). Thanks!

    I've calibrated the display using the regular 5-step wizard of OS X but it mainly affected colors other than black. I'm no expert, I wouldn't have a colorimeter but images look better to me now, than before calibration.

    Blacks in bottom corners are still not real deep blacks like in the center.

    I do run Terminal in fullscreen from time to time, when I'm on a coding rampage and don't want to be tempted by the VLC icon :D.
     
  7. Roman2K~, Dec 15, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011

    Roman2K~ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #7
    I should have re-checked AnandTech's review, because I just got my answer. It looks like the phenomenon I'm experiencing is considered normal and just a characteristic of this model, as the following maps of black levels can attest:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    All details about brightness and contrast are on page 6.

    The spots with the highest "nits" match the two bottom corners where I find black to be lighter on my display. Problem solved.

    P.S.: I did call Apple today. The woman:
    • Told me I would have to bring it to an Apple Store so they can perform checks before potentially proceeding with an exchange. [:confused: but alright]
    • Asked me to update the firmware. [:rolleyes:]
    • Wanted to me to plug the display into another Mac. [:rolleyes:]
    • "It could come from the graphics card." [:mad: who hired her?]
    Fortunately, I don't need to go through bringing this massive display to an Apple Store, as it sounds like a new unit wouldn't be any better.
     
  8. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #8
    The time you're wasting obsessing over this is more valuable than any "improvement" you'd find in a new display. Get over it. It's not a "phenomenon", it's the way the technology works...
     
  9. Roman2K~, Dec 15, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011

    Roman2K~ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #9
    It's not an obsession, I received the thing 2 days ago, and that "way technology works" seemed weird to me, in this price range.

    I'd rather get to a conclusion as soon as possible, than wonder whether I could have done something about it while I still could -- for years.
     
  10. Orlandoech macrumors 68040

    Orlandoech

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #10
    I too have a TB Display and have this issue. Its normal.
     
  11. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #11
    Conclusion found.
     
  12. jeremyshaw macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2011
    #12
    Yeah, that's the downside of a single side, edge lit panel.
     
  13. bobt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    Opposite problem

    I'm having kind of the opposite problem with a 27 ACD display (not Thunderbolt) that I received yesterday.

    When displaying a solid color, especially all white, I notice a bit darker area along the bottom of the screen. It is up just a touch from the bottom and about a fuzzy inch or so high all the way across, a little darker toward the right edge. Not very pronounced but still visible. I'm assuming it is backlighting or the way the panel is made since I can also notice it with solid red, blue or green.

    Is this something typically or worth screwing with trying to get a replacement (purchased from Amazon). No stuck pixels, edge bleed, yellowing or anything else. Opinions appreciated.
     
  14. Roman2K~ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #14
    Thanks very much for sharing your experience. One more that is reassuring (in a way) :D.

    It was already found before that.

    For sure!

    No idea what could be happening there. Can you take a couple pictures?
     
  15. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #15
    Seemed you weren't satisfied with your conclusion
     
  16. bobt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    #16
    Here is photo of mine with a white background. Along the bottom is a darker area, more pronounced on the left side and right sides. Ignore the moire.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #17
    Wow, I don't see a single thing wrong with it...do you always just have a grey screen on your display?
     
  18. bobt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    #18
    Nope, just a blank screen showing the darker shading I see along the bottom. Not very pronounced in the photo but it still is visible (at least to me).
     
  19. Roman2K~ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #19
    Correct. I'm relieved knowing it's normal, but not satisfied that it's normal.

    Thanks for the photo. I can see the darker area along the bottom. Seems less pronounced on the sides (in the photo at least), as opposed to what you noted. I'll check on mine if I have this issue too.
     
  20. bobt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    #20
    Did you get a chance to check? Thanks!
     
  21. Roman2K~ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #21
    I just checked, I'm seeing the same fuzzy darker area along the lower part, just narrower it seems. I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't brought it up:

    [​IMG]
    (Sorry the picture isn't framed properly, the iPhone's bezel tricked me. It was too late when I realized this :D.)
     
  22. bobt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    #22
    Yes, it seems like the same thing I'm seeing. I'm wondering if they all are like this.

    Thanks for posting the pic.
     
  23. JronMasteR macrumors 6502

    JronMasteR

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #23
    Mine looks exactly like yours. I have noticed it on day one, but it doesn't bother me too much.
     
  24. Lennyvalentin macrumors 6502a

    Lennyvalentin

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    #24
    As with most things in life, it's really not possible to expect perfection from every single aspect of every single individual component in a mass-produced device. LCD panel displays included.

    Solution to your problem: turn on some bloody lights. :p Don't sit in a totally dark room looking at your monitor. It's bad for the eyes doing that anyhow.

    Consider that these panels have roughly 3.6 million pixels, and that each pixel (wich is very small in of itself) consists of three microscopic sub-pixels, each controlled by two transistors etched and vacuum-deposited right into the glass panel itself. That's over 11 million sub-pixels and 22 million transistors spread out across roughly 60 by 33.5cm on a thunderbolt display.

    That's over 2000 square centimeters and a lot of room for error, and yet performance is at least in my opinion very uniform on the whole.

    That modern LCD panels work as well as they do, and give the kind of performance we get, for a relatively low price all things considering, is quite amazing at least to me. Maybe that's because I've followed video and computer development since the early 80s, so I remember clearly what we used to have to settle for in the past. It certainly wasn't better than today's stuff, that's for sure! :D

    In 1998, I bought an Eizo 19" CRT monitor; it pulled around 250W from the wall socket, it weighed 28kg, and it was probably at least 40cm deep from the front glass surface to the rear edge meaning it was a real back-breaker hauling around. It supported a pixel resolution of 1600*1200, but using it at that high res wasn't comfortable, text was small and kinda fuzzy in the outlines, and moiré in thin vertical lines caused by the trinitron tube was annoying. Usually I settled for 1200-ish rez to improve readability and pixel sharpness.

    Other peculiarities included heavy bass sound which could cause the entire front aperture to "shimmy" (with very strange visual results, if you've ever witnessed it), and of course, the monitor needed to be degaussed regularly and carefully calibrated to compensate for the earth's magnetic field and other sources of distortion. The working temperature of the electronics controlling the electron beam also caused shifts in image size and position as the unit heated up after being turned on... On top of everything else, CRTs also suffered from "backlight bleed", or rather the analog equivalent, and it was much more visible than on today's flatscreen displays when turning up the brightness high.

    Pretty much all of that we won't have to deal with anymore with modern LCD panels. They're much lighter, pin-sharp and draw much less power and can be made a lot bigger too without cost and weight galloping out of control. If you were in the market for 24" computer monitors 10+ years ago, you probably remember that such displays were enormously expensive, very bulky and monstrously heavy.

    Today we can buy even IPS-panel 24" or even 27" LCD displays of that size for a fraction of the price, and most of them probably weigh around 5-6kg or so. Isn't that an improvement so say!

    Be happy that Apple seems to have a zero-defect policy with regards to stuck pixels; you don't always get that from other manufacturers. That you get some backlight bleed in the corners is just something you will have to live with. It's inherent to the technology used, and it'll stay until we switch to some other panel type like OLED for example, where every sub-pixel is a discrete light emitter, which we'll undoubtedly find new or even the same issues with as well!
     
  25. macrumorsuser10 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #25
    I just got a new Thunderbolt Display as well. I'm seeing the same brightness in the corners, except I see brightness in the upper left and right corners as well. The Anandtech review said that the unevenness in brightness should be in the lower two corners.

    I know that LED screens have weird backlighting. I just want to know if my screen is too abnormal so I can exchange it.

    To get a completely black screen, I downloaded the 1080p Youtube video here and started it in QuickTime player in fullscreen mode.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7OZSBPU5Ys


    Here's my screen in complete darkness.

    [​IMG]


    Here's my screen with some room light.

    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page