In-plane switching (IPS) display technology — integrated into many of today’s desktop monitors and laptop computers — represents the next evolutionary step in marine multifunction displays (MFDs). Now reflected in models from Garmin, Lowrance and Simrad — and soon in other brands — IPS offers crisper details and wider viewing angles than any other LCD technology.
IPS emerged in marine displays last year in Garmin’s high-resolution GPSMap 8400/8600 glass-helm MFDs, including the 17-, 22- and 24-inch models. For 2017, Lowrance offers IPS — trade-named SolarMAX HD — in 7-, 9- and 12-inch displays with the new HDS Carbon series. At the same time, Simrad offers IPS in 7, 9, 12 and 16 inches in the new NSS evo3 series.
With IPS, the liquid crystal molecules align horizontally to the screen rather than vertically as they do in other LCD displays. This nearly doubles the viewing angle and enhances clarity and sharpness to see more details.
Mass production of IPS computer displays has driven down the cost in recent years. As a result, brands like Lowrance and Simrad can now integrate these advanced touchscreens into MFDs without increasing prices, says Daren Cole, global brand director for Lowrance and Simrad. “The Lowrance HDS Carbon pricing is the same as when we introduced the previous generation, HDS Gen3, a few years ago,” Cole reveals.
“We need displays that match the resolution in our high-definition sonar technology such as StructureScan HD,” Cole says. “The super-bright 1,200-nit backlighting on the displays lets you easily read that kind of detail on screen, even in bright daylight.”
Viewing angles have increased by 80 percent, Cole says. “You can see the display better than ever, even when you’re away from the helm,” he adds. The HDS Carbon and NSS evo3 offer a number of other advanced features, including two-channel chirp sonar and support for C-Map Max-N and Navionics SonarChart Live.