Display Systems

What are the differences among LCD, TFT and OLED displays?

A liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat panel screen or other electronically modulated optical device that uses the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals do not emit light directly, instead using a backlight or reflector to produce images in color or monochrome.

A TFT display is a Thin-Film-Transistor LCD, which improves image qualities (over basic LCDs) such as addressability and contrast.

OLED displays use organic light-emitting diodes whose emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compound that emits light in response to an electric current.

What is a “nit?”

A nit is a nickname for cd/m² (candelas per meter squared), the unit of measure for luminance (of a display, in General Digital’s case).

Why do you recommend DVI rather than HDMI on your rugged monitors?

Because of the nature of rugged applications—often involving exposure to vibration and shock—we strongly recommend the use of DVI video input. DVI features a locking connector, ensuring continuous functionality in a wide variety of “active” environments. Upon request, we will supply a DVI-to-HDMI adaptor with your order.

Why don’t you provide optical bonding on all of your monitor and display offerings?

Although it’s true that optical bonding is a highly-effective display enhancement (increasing contrast/readability and ruggedization of the unit, while decreasing distracting internal and external reflections), for some applications it is an unnecessary expense. A typical office or lab setting may not present many of the factors that an outdoor or rapidly changing environment will.

However, General Digital will often include pricing for optical bonding as an option, so you can decide if the extra cost is justified for your application.

How do you resolve obsolescence issues?

Obsolescence of various components cannot be avoided. For decades, we have supported our products, long after component obsolescence, with like or equivalent replacement components. These like or equivalent components will always offer form, fit and function compatibility of the end product.

Once informed of upcoming component obsolescence, General Digital notifies all affected customers and offers last-time-buy (LTB) opportunities. Customers are occasionally given the opportunity to opt-in to a last-time-stocking option, wherein we purchase the discontinued components, and hold them until needed by the customer. We don’t charge the customer until we use the components in their finished product.

What is the difference between NVIS Compliance and NVIS Compatible?

NVIS compliance implies full compliance with MIL-STD-3009, as well as certification at an independent lab.

NVIS compatible implies full compliance with MIL-STD-3009, but not independently certified.

Are your LCD monitors subject to ITAR enforcement by the U.S. DDTC and the U.S. State Department?

Although General Digital’s clientele is largely military (both domestic and international), the only products included on the USML (United States Munitions List) are monitors that are NVIS (Night Vision Imaging System) or NVG (Night Vision Goggle) compatible, or those that are designed specifically and exclusively for a military application. With this in mind, even though a monitor may be used by the military, it may not be listed on the USML for ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) or the DDTC (Directorate of Defense Trade Controls).

Because the majority of our products are LCD monitors that contain no computers, they are considered “EAR99.” This means that though our monitors might be subject to EAR (Export Administration Regulations), they are exempt and not included on the CCL (Commerce Control List) with a specific ECCN (Export Control Classification Number).

Read our blog, Understanding ITAR, for more information.

Software Engineering Services

What is the “Full Life Cycle” software development that General Digital offers?

In short, it is control of the software development process from beginning to end.

The full life cycle encompasses requirements, design, coding, testing and documentation.

Sourcing from a single company creates better quality and efficiencies. This, in turn, leads to faster completion, which means a greater liklihood that product or software gets to market faster, and at a reduced cost.

How do I know if my software needs to be developed and/or tested as “safety critical?”

A safety-critical system or life-critical system is one whose failure or malfunction may result in one (or more) of the following outcomes: death or serious injury to people; loss or severe damage to equipment/property; environmental harm.

There is a risk analysis that General Digital can do for you to determine if you are required to have a safety-critical standard in place, and the level of criticality required.

How can I tell if I need help with meeting my software requirements?

If you aren’t sure, it’s likely that you could use a Processes and Procedure Analysis.

General Digital offers a no-obligation SSRA (Software Services Requirements Analysis), which identifies areas that you can handle in-house, and other areas where you would benefit by retaining outside help.

I have heard the terms “Verification” and “Validation,” but what is “IV&V?”

Independent Verification & Validation are procedures used together for checking that a product, service, or system meets stated requirements and specifications, and that it fulfills its intended purpose.

“Independence” is required for safety-critical environments that are governed by corporate or government entities, such as the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) for medical devices, and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) for avionics and aerospace applications.


What are General Digital’s warranty periods?

Most products come with a standard 1-year manufacturer’s warranty from the day of shipment from General Digital. Extended warranties are available upon request, where applicable.

Additionally, our Software Services Group has its own Terms and Conditions, which are covered within the same document.

How do I ship Customer-Consigned Materials?

Instructions for CCM Shipments

General Digital Optical Bonding Laboratories (OBL), is happy to accept Customer-Consigned Materials (CCM) for use in producing your bonded display solution. However, we do have some requirements regarding this material. These requirements will apply to all sales, unless otherwise agreed to in writing between you and OBL. This document will serve to help you with getting your materials into our system.

NOTICE: Do not ship any material to OBL before you receive our acceptance of your purchase order. Any material shipped prior to issuance of our acceptance is done at your own risk should the parts be misplaced.

There are two broad classes of CCM which we can accept: material drop shipped to us from the vendor, billed to you and material which you acquire and in turn ship to us from your facilities. Each has somewhat different requirements.

Drop-Shipped CCM

Parts which are drop shipped directly from the manufacturer or their distributor shall be shipped in the same shipping package as used for any of their shipments. Included in the shipment must be a packing slip which clearly identifies the part number, your name and our sales order number. We will fax and/or e-mail you a Receipt of Consigned Goods for your records.

You will be solely responsible for warranty issues on these parts. Any parts that arrive in damaged condition will be returned to the party who shipped the parts to OBL so that a claim for damage may be promptly filed with the transportation company. Parts that do not conform to the manufacturer’s quality criteria at our incoming inspection will be rejected and returned to the location from which they were shipped. We will provide a copy of our test results documenting the reason for rejection with the returned parts. A copy of our determination that parts are unfit for further processing, with the specific reason they are unfit, will be provided to you within one week of parts arrival at our dock.

Customer-Shipped CCM

Material that you ship to OBL must be packaged in a manner that will minimize the risk of mechanical and electrostatic discharge damage. All materials used inside of the packaging must be static dissipative or antistatic in construction. No plain poly packaging materials shall be used in contact with the display or display-related items. The only exception to this is if you are re-using materials from the original vendor of the part. Boxes used in shipment must be adequate to allow the box to be handled by the shipping company without causing damage that may result from being dropped, struck by other items, etc. Failure to observe these packaging rules may result in excessive rejects at our incoming inspection.

Include within the package a packing slip with the following information:

  • Your name and purchase order number
  • Date of shipment
  • Quantity of components shipped
  • Description of the nature of the items included in the package
  • Value of items (for insurance purposes)
  • Serial number of all units so identified by the manufacturer or by you (if applicable)
  • Our quotation number

We will acknowledge receipt of the CCM by fax or mail, using the Receipt of Consigned Goods form and a copy of your packing slip. We will notify you of any parts damaged in shipment so that you can place a claim against the transporting company. Parts that fail to meet the manufacturer’s quality specifications will be rejected and returned to you at your expense for final disposition. You will be solely responsible for any and all claims against the manufacturer for failure to meet the test criteria. Our responsibility is to return rejects to you promptly, along with a copy of our test findings.

Does General Digital have multiple locations?

General Digital is a one-stop shop!

All three of its business units—Display Systems, Software Engineering Services, and Optical Bonding Laboratories—are under one roof. This allows for efficient and effective interdisciplinary engineering, support and design efforts for seemless implementation.