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NEC Display Solutions of America is looking to Microsoft’s Windows Vista as a way of gaining ground in the LCD market.

Currently ranked seventh in the U.S. LCD space, NEC is bringing Windows Vista Premium certification to its latest LCD, the MultiSync LCD2470WNX.

Launched March 20, the new display with the certification allows the company to offer an LCD that provides users with high image resolution as well as enhanced color features, which could come in handy when working with content that is rich in color, company officials said.

“The quality and capability of LCDs have been ramped up significantly [across the market],” said Kevin Christopherson, product line manager for consumer and commercial displays at NEC, in Itasca, Ill.

IDC analyst Tom Mainelli said that for displays to get the premium certification for Microsoft’s new operating system, vendors need to “have both a digital interface such as a DVI [digital visual interface] or HDMI [high-definition multimedia interface], as well as the ability to support HDCP [high-bandwidth digital-content production].”

By supporting HDCP, the latest LCD display from NEC protects digital entertainment content that uses the DVI interface while also encrypting the transmission of digital content between the computer and digital display. Mainelli said NEC has an advantage in this because it “produces higher-end monitors that, by and large, already offer DVI connections.”

LCDs have become an integral part of the business market, giving businesses a replacement for older CRT technology.

According to IDC, NEC currently has a 2.5 percent market share in the United States and a 2.4 percent market share worldwide.

That puts NEC behind companies such as Dell, which leads with 32.6 percent market share, Hewlett-Packard with 12.3 percent, and Samsung and ViewSonic with 6.4 percent each. The other two companies ahead of NEC are Acer and Gateway, with 5.6 percent and 4 percent shares, respectively.

To keep pace with the market, NEC officials said they needed to get the Vista certification.

“NEC positions itself as a premium brand and does quite well in that role, as the company’s LCDs are generally well-designed with a classy and refined feel,” Mainelli said.

Christopherson said the LCD2470WNX display, since it is configured to be compatible with Vista, offers improved image resolution and colors. “This is important for color-critical programs and documents with a lot of graphics,” he said.

There also are updated Vista-compatible versions of NEC’s NaviSet display, including the LCD2470WNX. The displays with Vista compatibility use DDC/CI (Data Display Channel/Command Interface) and an external color sensor to provide automatic calibration of the monitor’s color balance. Users also can make adjustments to their displays by using a mouse.

“For displays, in particular, Windows Vista certification means that consumers can expect accurate and vibrant colors for slide shows, games and graphics and that displays meet Windows Color System standards for consistent and accurate color across multiple mediums,” said Dave Wascha, director of Windows client partner marketing at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash.

The Vista Premium certification means NEC will be able to tell customers that it has set “an even higher bar for performance and features, to highlight products that really take advantage of some of the architectural changes and new features of our operating system,” Wascha said.

That also could help in attracting new customers, Wascha said.

NEC’s LCD2470WNX display is priced starting at $815 and features a wide-format screen that allows users to view wide documents or multiple pages while eliminating the need for scrolling from one end to another. Users also can view documents side by side, Christopherson said.

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