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Alienware's Curved Monitor 269

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-for-desktop-publishing dept.
ViperArrow writes "Alienware has showcased a curved display prototype supporting a resolution of 2880x900, aimed mainly toward gamers, with a refresh rate of .02ms. This 3-foot-wide DLP with LED illumination will be available by the second half of 2008. The monitor is still showing some flaws, but Alienware assures us that these will be gone by release. No price has been revealed as of yet."
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Alienware's Curved Monitor

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  • hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wwmedia (950346) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:41AM (#21953676)
    did everyone notice in the video the way the monitor seems to be broken into 4 with the colors being dimmer?

    anyways image how pRon would look on that!
    • by peragrin (659227)
      I am wondering though how visible the seams are when viewing it in Real Life. sometimes Video camera's pick up subtle differences that can't normally be seen. Also Proper color correction should fix that.

      I do hope those kinds of issues are sorted out before shipping.
    • by Smidge204 (605297)
      I noticed the seams too. It's actually a tad unreasonable to actually make one huge curved LCD panel... manufacturing alone would be a challange.

      It may be an effect of the video camera, though, that makes it look so noticible. You know how LCD panels look offcolor and dim when viewed from an angle... so if you are sitting the proper distance from the unit, all the panels would be facing directly at you and it might look very nice.

      What gets me is the "0.02ms refresh" thing. 0.00002 second refresh rate? 50,00
      • Re:hmm (Score:4, Informative)

        by Smidge204 (605297) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:06AM (#21954036) Journal
        Aha. The article says 0.02ms response time not refresh rate. Very different measurement there. The incorrect summary fogged my mind when reading the article... 0.02ms response time is slightly more believable.... not my much though. It's about 100x faster than current consumer-grade units (2-3ms).

        =Smidge=
      • This isn't actually an LCD panel; it's an array of DLP rear-projection screens. DLP devices can hit over 1kHz refresh rates, so I don't think that 50kHz response is out of the question. What vexes me is that it's only 900 lines tall; when is something 1080 or above going to be standard in the widescreen display market? Standard ratio monitors have been 1024 to 1200 lines for years.
      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Funny)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @12:27PM (#21955234)

        What gets me is the "0.02ms refresh" thing.

        Maybe the person who said that used to work for Verizon?

    • Just don't try to play any rhythm games on it (or any hidef tv) from a 480i input game...
      • by ajs318 (655362)
        480i? Who would want such a picture? That's worse than ordinary low-definition TV, which has 625 lines interlaced.
        • No, 480i is standard def, and that's what most PS2 games (and all of the DDR series) output as.
        • Re:hmm (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @12:22PM (#21955160) Journal
          480 is the number of lines in an NTSC picture. You probably live in an area with a slightly less primitive colour TV encoding. PAL encodes 625 lines, although only 576 are visible. Since PAL picture have 20% more vertical resolution, standard definition TV in the USA and other places which use NTSC looks terrible to someone used to PAL (the colour reproduction is very poor too, leading to claims that it stands for Never The Same Colour). It's probably one of the reasons why HD is doing better in the USA than Europe; the quality difference is much more apparent.
          • by Sockatume (732728)
            RGB SCART's popularity probably has an effect too. YPbPr component video's been viewed as rather a high-end feature in my experience (coming on either progressive scan or HD TVs), but every TV in Europe since the middle of the 1990s pretty much has an RGB socket on it, from the 14" portable upwards. The video quality of any component video system in comparison to composite is pretty staggering.
          • Re:hmm (Score:5, Informative)

            by Trixter (9555) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:29PM (#21960522) Homepage
            NTSC has many flaws, but the higher refresh rate is an advantage to a country that seems to live and die by its professional sports Since all pro sports games are transmitted/recorded at the full 60Hz framerate (ie. there is a new piece of temporal information every 1/60th of a second), they are more fluid than PAL.

            That's a very minor issue, though; the bigger issue is how movies are transferred to PAL -- standard transfer is to speed them up 6% to translate 24fps to 25fps. Up until very recently, that altered the pitch of the sound! Thankfully newer transfer methods are able to speed up the audio without altering the pitch.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Agreed, looking at the playback it's quite clearly 4 monitors stitched together, very cheesy and disappointing. It is not at all a "seamless" curved display , and looks surprisingly dumb compared with say, the zenview 6-way monitor which has defined seams. At least the picture remains sharp besides the seams, instead of having that weird fade line.

      http://www.bornrich.org/entry/zenview-announces-elite-six-screen-monitor/ [bornrich.org]
      • by prelelat (201821)
        In the article alienware acknowledged that this was a problem and that it would be resolved before it was released in late 2008. This is just an early prototype. If it wasn't fixed I agree there would be no benefit over something like a zenview 6-way. I might still prefer something like that anyways, looks cooler and you can breakup work when you want to, to different screens. Even if you could with the alienware model it would probably be a little more confusing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dmdavis (949140)
      If you RTFM, you'll see that it is described as "four nearly seamless and sharp screens", and "You can see the seams between this monitor's four segments, but the Alienware humanoids tell us that flaw will be gone by the time this craft lands on Earth." So yeah, I think that was noticed.
  • More for presentation than gaming, so why does Alienware have this product?
    • by steveo777 (183629)

      More for presentation than gaming, so why does Alienware have this product?

      Because they hope that people will buy it, and that they will make money.

  • initital thoughts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fierythrasher (777913) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:42AM (#21953702) Homepage
    This might perhaps be good for gaming, but the fact that it is curved makes me shudder at the thought of people doing, say, photoshop work on a naturally curved surface. Sure, having a 3' flat monitor would be hard to see, having it curved is going to make drawing a straight line, or anything other than gaming, really difficult I would think.

    Moreover, I'm wondering if this will result in a fish-eye lens (or reverse fish-eye lens) effect even in games.

    As for price...you can bet it will be steep, but Apple thinks they can charge $3k for a 32" monitor, so I'd expect a similar cost for a 36" monitor.
    • by digitig (1056110) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @12:03PM (#21954900)

      having it curved is going to make drawing a straight line, or anything other than gaming, really difficult I would think.
      Well, I'd like one for side-by-side comparisons of documents. Two ordinary monitors side-by-side wouldn't be as good because -- er -- give me a moment to think...
      • by novakyu (636495)
        Because my notebook has only one crappy video output! My integrated graphics cannot drive more than one external monitor, and God knows I don't want an external monitor the size of my laptop LCD.

        And yes, I am absolutely sure that my crappy integrated graphics can drive 2880x900 just fine. Absolutely fine.
    • having it curved is going to make drawing a straight line, or anything other than gaming, really difficult I would think.
      Well, in that case artists should just switch to the Gimp. It's impossible to draw a straight line then anyway ;-)
    • by Solandri (704621)

      Moreover, I'm wondering if this will result in a fish-eye lens (or reverse fish-eye lens) effect even in games.

      That would be a non-factor for 3D games. It's trivial to code your viewport for rectilinear vs. fisheye [wikipedia.org] output. The game's authors just need to add a switch to let you choose which output you want.

      From an angle-of-view standpoint, a curved screen is more efficient at filling your field of vision. A flat screen can never fill more than 180 degrees of your vision. As the viewing angle approach

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:46AM (#21953752) Journal
    Can any graphics card handle the sort of fill rate required from this yet?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by quarrel (194077)
      I have a 30" Dell, running at its native 2560 * 1600. Apple makes one, lots of others.

      2560 * 1600 = 4,096,000

      This Alienware monitor:

      2880 * 900 = 2,592,000

      So this new monitor is nothing special total pixel wise..

      Looks cool though.

      --Q
    • by cyber0ne (640846)
      It's maybe half the pixils of a 30-inch cinema display (be it Apple's or someone else's). DVI connections can handle plenty more than that, and there is no shortage of video cards that can do it. Cute toy, but hardly super-high-res.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Brad1138 (590148)
      Can any graphics card handle the sort of fill rate required from this yet?

      Are there any games designed to run at 2880x900?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bigbutt (65939)
        And that's the $64,000 question. I have three screens at home running on two adapters (512M video ram). It'd be nice to be able to use all the extra real estate to see more of a battlefield (StarCraft or Command and Conquer for example).

        The three screens work great for my programming projects though.

        [John]
        • Wallhacker eh? (Score:4, Informative)

          by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @02:16PM (#21957054) Homepage Journal

          I have three screens at home running on two adapters (512M video ram). It'd be nice to be able to use all the extra real estate to cheat at StarCraft or Command and Conquer for example.
          The number of square meters of the battlefield that each player can see is one of the game rules. If you increase an overhead RTS like StarCraft from 640x480 to 1280x960, you don't quadruple how much battlefield you can see; instead, you just increase how much detail is shown in each texture. This detail can be real (hi-res texture packs) or fake (smart line art resizer [hiend3d.com]).
      • by berashith (222128)
        Oh NO!!!
        Time to restart Duke Nukem for native 2880x900

      • by Have Blue (616) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @12:28PM (#21955240) Homepage
        Many modern games will let you specify arbitrary pixel dimensions and aspect ratio, either with the console or by hand-editing the config file. I imagine it'll make the HUD look a little weird.
    • Uh?

      My Dell 30" LCD screens are 2560x1600 pixels (each), which is almost 1.5 million more pixels than this screen. Even my MacBook Pro can drive simple games in that resolution and using any new graphic card in two or three way SLI will let you run state of the art graphics in those resolutions.

      Extreme example (3-way SLI): http://www.slizone.com/object/slizone_3waysli.html [slizone.com]
    • Naw, I'm not drooling, so please don't speak for me. In fact, the resolution leaves me distinctly unimpressed, given the size of the beast. The only wow-factor is the curved form, but I'm not yet sure how much, if at all, that will improve gaming experience. Not sure it's useful for working at all, as others have pointed out. Also, if you need screen estate, it's probably cheaper to put 3 1920x1200 monitors or so next to each other.
  • Does anyone else feel like they are going to be sick or at least get a huge headache when looking at DLP displays?

    If I sit perfectly still it's OK. But even little movements cause my eyes hurt. Turning my head to talk to the person next to me is likely to cause me to puke into their lap.

    I don't suffer from motion sickness or anything like that. It is just these displays, front or rear projection don't seem to form a stable picture to my eyes.
    • Your reaction to fast motion on DLP is really interesting - it's the first I've heard of it. We have a 61" DLP at thome, and have not noticed any illness during fast movies like any of the Bourne series of flicks.

      Maybe you have what I jokingly call "Sniper Eyes," which my kids have, when they focus rapidly on my moving head during TF2 sniper war sessions on 2Fort (insert booming UT voice here: HEADSHOT!)

      I did some googling, and it might not be the fact that it's a DLP screen. See here [pcworld.com], where the wr
      • I can see the blur on some LCDs; it doesn't bother me it just looks like motion blur.

        Of all the display technologies I've seen I prefer the "look" of plasma or good ol' CRT. They seem the most natural.
    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      I have a 56" DLP and have never experienced those symptoms... I also have a Nintendo Wii that causes me to get up and move around while focusing on the TV and still have never felt like it was making my eyes fatigued.
  • Flight Simmers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PowerEdge (648673) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:57AM (#21953906)
    I can see this product geared towards flight simmers. Figure out how to drive four of these displays (front, left, right, back) and I'll be happy. That and I won't have to worry about installing a furnace in my new house.
  • set up around me and I'd never leave the house.

    Oh, wait, how much is the video card?
  • by mushadv (909107) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:57AM (#21953926)
    but backwards?
    • by niceone (992278)
      Yeah, it's like being inside a CRT - but without the electron gun burning a hole in the back of your head!
  • Will this monitor serve any productive purpose outside of enhancing gaming experience? I can personally see myself having a curved monitor as a hinderance for writing applications or anything that closely resembles writing on a flat surface (i.e. code, documents, spreadsheets, etc.).

    • by Itchyeyes (908311)
      I could think of a few things, robotic surgery, piloting UAVs, flight simulators, etc... anything that involves immersing the user in another point of view. Obviously this is a niche device, but for what it is, it's pretty cool.
    • How could you let virtual reality porn slip your mind? Get with the program man.
      • Hookers are cheaper.

        • Yeah but a hooker is only good for one thing. You could call this monitor the Swiss Army Hooker. I mean, it can show more than one hooker at a time and when your hands are idle and you're not in the mood, you can play games too. I mean, sure, this thing probably cost about 20 hookers but can you play WoW on a hooker?
  • So will Gizmodo take a hint and develop a website that looks good in a short and wide window?

    I get sick of having to scroll vertically stacked content into view when I'm on a wide-screen display.

    Maybe someone could memo the BBC and Ars about this too.
    • I don't see how this is offtopic to be honest. The problem is that huge lines of text aren't practical to read - after some experimentally verifiable length, it's too far for your eye to follow down back to the start of the next line. That's why I didn't bother buying a widescreen monitor - mostly I'm reading or writing, with some gaming and TV watching. For reading, the vertical pixels are much more useful, since they let you see more on the screen at a time. Perhaps if we begun to see webbrowsers which di
      • I don't see how this is offtopic to be honest.

        Dumb mods. For their education, this thread is about usability issues caused by increasingly wide screens and the inability of old-media to break out of a narrow-columns mindset. TFA links to a website designed to be taller than it is wider, and that website is showing a monitor that is very much wider than it is tall. This is irony of a very mild sort.

        The problem is that huge lines of text aren't practical to read - after some experimentally verifiable length, it's too far for your eye to follow down back to the start of the next line.

        Somewhere about 15 words per line is optimum. It cuts both ways, as making lines too short increases eyeball 'flyback', which reduces reading speeds and

  • Differing specs (Score:2, Informative)

    by clegrand (1082829)
    Eh.. Gizmodo sez .02ms refresh ... wow.. Macworld sez 2ms refresh ... sounds more reasonable

    Okay, this one still resides in the land of dreams, but tell me the mere sight doesn't set your salivary glands into overdrive. Alienware's working on a curved monitor that actually helps simulate peripheral vision in gaming. The resolution on this truly remarkable feat of engineering is an astounding 2880x900 and it's run off a Dual Link DVI set up (with some serious graphics horsepower). As if that's not enough, it uses DLP technology, is backlit by LEDs, and has a 2ms response time.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/131451/2008/01/gboxces1.html [macworld.com]

  • it's not exactly wrap around, with that shallow curve, it wouldn't fill your field of vision much more than a flat monitor of the same size. They nee to make it even wider and even more curvy.
  • Gaming on RPTV (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jaktar (975138)
    I'm not sure how many other people have done it but I've attempted to game on my rear projection HDTV. It looks like poop. Their refresh rate is based on 60hz which is where they got their .02 refresh rate (1/60hz). I'll pass on this one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Brad1138 (590148)
      Their refresh rate is based on 60hz which is where they got their .02 refresh rate (1/60hz)

      The article says .02ms not .02s. hz is cycle/second not per Millisecond.
  • with all the high def mania out there, why is it that monitor resolutions keep going lower and lower? I still run mainly CRT's because I like 1600x1200 and I don't want to pay a bunch of $$ for an LCD that will support that (most traditional ratio LCD's are 1280x1024, widescreens are Something x somethingcloseto 1024). Now, 900?

    A common arguement I hear is 'well, you loose some there but you make up for it on the sides'. HELLO? If I am browsing a web page, looking at a document, or basically doing just abou
    • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:22AM (#21954254) Journal
      Turn the display on its side.

      No seriously. We have monitors like that at work that have a stand that allow them to be turned on their sides to view or use "sheet like" programs like web browsers, word processors etc.
    • by pizzach (1011925)
      LCDs, because of how they are made have only one resolution that doesn't look like poop called the natural resolution of the display. So companies usually choose the resolution for the monitor size that works the best for the most people and make that the natural resolution. Another words, they choose the resolution that ensures the icons and texts don't get so small it's an eye sore. Because of the above, saying that you want a higher resolution LCD is basically synonymous with I want a larger LCD.

      When
    • I felt the same as you until I finally switched from a 1600x1200 CRT to a 1680x1059 22" LCD. It's more than high enough res, I enjoy the widescreen format, and it's so much easier on my eyes. YMMV.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KillerBob (217953)
        Likewise... I switched from a 21" CRT @ 1920x1440 3 years ago, when I bought a Gateway 2185W 21" widescreen LCD at 1680x1050. I love it. My new laptop has a 15.4" screen at the same resolution...

        It's not that resolutions are going down. It's that the standard aspect ratio has changed. I can't remember the exact name of it, but there's a general rule out there which describes how a widescreen aspect ratio is more aesthetically pleasing than the old standard 4:3. Has something to do with how the eyes themselv
    • by gnuman99 (746007)
      1200x1024 19" HP LCD which I bought almost 3 years ago. The text is *much* better than a 1600x1200 res. CRT. *Much* better.

      CRT are just blurry by comparison. The higher the refresh rate, the fuzzier they are. And the lower the refresh rate, the sorer my eyes are. You can't compare resolution of any CRT to native resolution of any LCD. CRT pixels are fuzzy be design. LCD pixels are sharp by design. Enough said.

      Also, you can turn most business class LCD sideways. Generally these are the 4:3 ratio ones, so you
    • by Dog-Cow (21281)
      My widescreen has a native resolution of 1900x1220. It's great for working with documents because it's big enough to have two windows side by side. Really handy if I need a web reference or a couple PuTTY sessions open.
  • Just looking at the screen, my first thought was that the format would be great for code/system development with seamless transition across multiple open applications.

    It would also be great for different industries (I'm thinking the financial markets) where more than two screens are the norm. The curved structure might allow for a smaller workstation.

    In any case, it's a kewl concept and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

    myke
  • Nine hundred pixels high seems a bit low. You probably can't do anything with this monitor except play games or watch cinamascope movies.
  • by trongey (21550) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:35AM (#21954462) Homepage
    I thought I was supposed to be excited about a perfectly flat screen in a super thin frame. Now I'm supposed to go back to being all googly about a curved screen with big bulge in the back again? This is too hard, I give up.
  • Rubbish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot @ s p a d . c o.uk> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:44AM (#21954592) Homepage
    My two 17" LCDs do 2560x1024 - they may not be seemless, but that doesn't really bother me. 2880*900 is pretty poor, especially when you consider the size of the thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vimh42 (981236)
      Not sure if I'm ready to call it rubbish. I'd have to sit down in front of the thing. Looking at the pictures, I'm not sure I'd like the curved screen.
  • I heard a little blurb in there about it being powered by oznium [oznium.com] LEDs. This monitor is powered by the same brand of LEDs I used to rice a car a while back! One thing I will say: those little suckers are bright!
  • At some point, it's going to stop making sense to make the monitors bigger and bigger. If you're going to do something exotic and expensive like this, why not glasses?
    • If you're going to do something exotic and expensive like this, why not glasses?

      Because then the pixels have to be tiny. It's almost certainly much easier to make a 100DPI screen than it would be to make a 1,000 DPI screen!

      Incidentally, most HMDs (especially reasonably-priced ones) tend to be VGA resolution. Making one with this many pixels would be super-expensive.

  • Surely all computer displays used to be curved, not so very long ago?
  • Yes, a curved monitor does present great field-of-vision opportunities, but it's breaking one of the unwritten rules of 3D graphics: software perspective curving isn't necessary because the gamer's physical world does the job for you.

    What do I mean? Modern 3D engines generally make a flat projection of a plane, with the drawn size of an object being related to the z difference between the player and the object. However, basic geometry says we should take the true distance, equated with the x, y and z diff

  • Has anyone playtested these curved monitors to see whether they work that much better than flat screens? For games? How about for movies - is the "experience feeling" any easier to forget you're looking at a simulation, a picture on a monitor?

    And are these curved monitors going to trap us in "sweet spots" that are more "hifi" than flat screens, but require a single viewer to occupy a very specific viewing position at their focus, like stereo speakers do? If you're not in the sweet spot, does it look any bet
  • 2x dual DVI graphics cards that can drive (nVidia 8800 w/ 320Mb) this @ ~$250 each = $500
    4x 19" 2-5ms LCD monitors for equivalent screen space @ $220 each = $880

    I already have the cards and two monitors, so I'd only need to spend $440 to reach an equivalent. Those starting from scratch would need to spend $1400+ to do this.

    Not sure a seamless (as they promise) display that wide is really worth however much more than $880 it will cost. Knowing Alienware's high prices, I'm sure it will likely be 3-5x that

  • Crap for gaming. With a screen that size/shape you can't see the extremities without physically turning your head quite a bit. In FPS games you really need to have your whole FOV in view to be competitive. If you move further back (to get the whole screen in your field of vision) you defeat the point of the screen being curved and may as well be looking at a conventional panel. In terms of enhancing gaming it's right up there with fancy LED's on Heatsinks.
  • AFAIK, it seems like there still quite a few games that don't even properly support normal widescreen aspect ratios. Furthermore, I would imagine the FOV will have to be pretty damn high (Close to 180), and I think most games see that setting as a cheat/hack. It will probably take while, if at all, for developers to actually feel its worth the time and money to beta test on these monitors. For multiplayer games, developers will have to be faced with a tough decision of giving people with this monitor a
  • I'm not so sure it'd be good for gaming. Several years ago we had a lan party where someone had wall projector for a monitor. We all tried to play counter-strike and most of us were pretty horrible on it. We found it far easier to play on a normal monitor and let everyone else just watch for fun on the projector. The problem was there was too much screen to scan quickly with your eyes. We'd even miss enemies we'd normally see on the smaller screen.

    If you had two of these with dual monitor support, could you

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