Vista Certification on Monitors

Katherine Stevenson

We've recently been getting letters from readers wondering what the difference is between a monitor that sports Windows Vista certification and one that doesn't. After all, since when is a monitor's functionality tied to an OS?

The fact is, Vista certification on monitors is primarily a marketing gimmick to spur monitor sales. In fact, the press releases monitor vendors sent out announcing their Vista certification, were suspiciously vague on details. The only clear thing is that certification leads consumers to believe that if they’re going to run Vista, they need to buy a specially designated monitor.

There is nothing about Vista that requires any unique monitor technology. An LCD certified as Vista Basic or Works with Vista won’t give you anything more than a similarly spec’d LCD that’s not certified. Same goes for the Premium logo. Near as I can tell, the “strict standards” for Vista Premium certification include a widescreen format—so people can take advantage of Vista’s productivity features—and DVI/HDCP for viewing copy-protected content, features that can exist with or without Microsoft’s blessing. And what’s more, a vendor has six months from the time of certification to implement features. The ViewSonic VG2230WM that I review in our June issue is Vista Premium certified, but the model I received lacked HDCP support, so I could only view copy-protected content through the analog port, which is bunk. Yes, ViewSonic plans to “cut in” the HDCP in future production runs of the monitor, but it has six months to do so.

The lesson here is to look for the specs you want in an LCD, not the Vista logo.

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