Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 21, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Furuno's new multi-touch MUxxxT monitors are intended to play nicely with NavNet TZtouch MFDs. Using its DVI output, the TZT9 or TZT14 can send a screen mirror to the wopping 24-inch widescreen MU240T above -- at 800x480 and 1280x800 pixels, respectively -- and USB takes the touch commands back to the TZT (using a standard Windows driver). Meanwhile, the TZT Black Box has enough DVI and USB ports to drive two of these glass-bridge-style monitors (and two keypads, like the one KEP recently introduced or the one Furuno is purportedly working on)...
The Furuno MUxxxT monitors support multiple video inputs and have both Picture in Picture (PIP) and Picture by Picture (PBP) so that you can, say, navigate "while also keeping track of the news or your favorite sports team, when connected to an on-board TV/DVD player." They're also optically bonded and have a "typical" viewing angle of about 89° in all directions (which seems amazing) and they can be powered by both AC and DC with uninterrupted fail over to the latter.
It doesn't take much sleuthing to learn that Furuno's monitors are at least based on Hattleland Series X displays like the ones above on display at the NMEA Conference, and that's not a bad thing. The two companies have a long term relationship (as does Raymarine and Hatteland, though I'm not sure we've seen results yet), and Hatteland quietly manufactures a lot of high-end marine monitors.
Interestingly, Hatteland also offers X Series panel computers, which are essentially the same displays with a PC fitted to the back. I can't help but notice that one of these X Series computers is shown as the PC of choice for Furuno Deutchland's MaxSea PC Radar package, which has expanded to include open-array DRS radars since Kees covered this no-MFD-required concept last winter. I haven't asked Furuno USA about PC Radar since then, but they seemed confident then that it's not doing very well in Europe and wouldn't garner much interest here in the States.
Besides, Furuno and even its software sibling, Nobeltec, have been focused on the commercial market recently and one very interesting result is TimeZero Coastal Monitoring. It's essentially a small VTS system that's unusually easy and economical to install, because it's based on Furuno hardware and Nobeltec software that's relatively mass produced (check this PDF for detail on what a more official VTS involves). There's some neat extra sauce, though, like the ability to play back four VHF audio streams along with vessel tracks, radar and FLIR video recordings. The software also has impressive facilities for setting up custom monitoring zones and sophisticated alerting, which are well illustrated toward the end of the demo video.
I know that some boaters dislike the idea of more surveillance, but I prefer to look at the bright side, like the opportunity for more coastal authorities to be able to help me better if I get in trouble and the chance that some of the new aspects of this system will trickle down to regular boating.