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Displays Hardware

Users Want Matte LCDs While Glossy Screens Dominate 666

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the the-doctor-says-they're-bad-for-my-adhd dept.
Barence writes "A survey of PC Pro readers suggests PC makers are out of touch when it comes to glossy vs matte screens. Almost three quarters of those surveyed said they preferred matte screens despite laptop makers moving almost exclusively to glossy screens. ... Why is the industry hell-bent on not giving customers what they want?"
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Users Want Matte LCDs While Glossy Screens Dominate

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  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:01PM (#36219780) Journal

    The reason they don't give customer matte LCDs is because shiny screens look nicer on photographs and on showroom floors because they look perfect and pristine and oh-so-high-tech. The customer will go to the showroom (with their nice, bright, and diffuse lighting) or see the photos online and they'll think: "Wow, that's shiny, it must be new and sleek" and then whip out their credit cards.

    When they take it home, they'll complain about the glare, but that doesn't matter to the manufacturers and retailers because they already had your money at that point and they know that you probably wouldn't go to the trouble of returning the laptop just because there's a bit of glare on the screen. Meanwhile, you're stuck with your crappy super-specular screen and you're going to go through any sort of mental gymnastics necessary to justify not returning it. And then, the next time you need a new computer, the same process will begin anew because we, as consumers, are idiots.

  • Maybe, but.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:04PM (#36219808) Homepage

    1) PC Pro readers probably don't represent the general population.

    2) There's always a difference between what people say they want, and what they actually end up buying when given the choice. They may actually want matte screens, but purchase based on different criteria such as "oh, shiney!" once they're actually on the spot.

    3) I'm pretty sure device manufacturers are doing more robust consumer research than PC Pro.

  • Old, you bet! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by attah (1217454) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:05PM (#36219826) Homepage
    This should have been news 5 years ago :(
  • Same with 1080p (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:08PM (#36219886)

    Why in the world anyone would choose a 1920x1080 monitor over 1920x1200 is beyond me. I can't wait until the day those bastard TV "monitors" die.

  • physics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:13PM (#36219966)

    It's the laws of physics, as they relate to sales.

    Glossy surfaces tend toward deeper blacks. This in turn gives better shadow detail, wider gamut, and a steeper gamma curve (aka contrast ratio). Which in turn makes the image on the screen pop. Which in turn leads to better sales numbers.

    Matte screens are, in comparison, dull and lifeless.

    But in the "real world" of uncontrolled lighting, ceiling fluorescent strips, and glare everywhere, matte screens are easier to read and easier to use. People who have some experience with the devices want matte screens. People who are first buying the devices want glossy screens.

    And therein lies the problem.

  • by fast turtle (1118037) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:14PM (#36219976) Journal

    I'm sorry but the glossy screen is actually easier to use in bright lighting conditions. The reason for this is pretty effen simple: The glare is constrained to a very limited area and does not wash out the entire screen as those so called Anti-Glare have happen.

    Sorry but if I get a laptop, I much rather have the gloss screen for just that reason because lighting is to damn erratic instead of being diffused like in the stinking showrooms.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:21PM (#36220072)

    So the real problem is: how do we get the ladyboys to the general pool?

  • by blair1q (305137) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:22PM (#36220080) Journal

    And infant on a teat is getting an all-natural, perfectly balanced product, for free, that comes in a reusable and all but universally appealing container.

    So maybe you should find another pejorative metaphor for "consumerism".

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:22PM (#36220084)

    Or sell matte displays for a $50 upgrade premium. And if most people really want the anti-glare display, then chances are they're willing to just pay the $50 rather than hate their laptop forever.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:29PM (#36220150) Homepage Journal

    I realize that shiny sells, but I still don't understand why I can't buy a 4:3 laptop these days. Everyone I talk to says he'd prefer one to the current wide-screen offering. Do people really only use computers for watching movies?

    In practice, most users find that width is more important than height. You have two documents. Do you place one beside the other, or one above the other? Most people put them beside one another. The only thing extra height buys you is seeing more of a single document at once, and beyond a certain point (usually a couple of paragraphs), this turns out to not be a significant benefit for most people.

    The people who benefit significantly from taller screens are mostly people reading books—a task for which a portrait mode display (such as an iPad) would be more appropriate.

    In other words, it's another case where what users say they want isn't necessarily what would actually serve their needs best.

  • Re:Maybe, but.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:33PM (#36220188) Journal

    1) and /. readers do! FTW!

    2) when i go into the store for raspberries, i often come out with raspberries. when i go to the store for matte screens, if i come out with a glossy screen (and yes this did happen last time i shopped for a foldable) it's because "yuck! all the ones with matte screens are 18 months out of date". i ended up with one that pretty much only had the screen issue as a flaw, and came at a sick price ($650 for what at the time should have been $1k worth of kit).

    3) once the marketing cost function falls into the wrong attractor it takes a rather large bump to sinter it into another, and in a low-energy process like mature-product marketing there isn't much chance of large bumps. the impressiong of continuous change comes from "game changer" product improvements that may not be in the part of the computer you've been wanting improved. glossy screens and blue LEDs on random parts could be here for a long while.

  • Re:Same with 1080p (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabred. d y n d n s . o rg> on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:38PM (#36220248) Homepage

    I would prefer 1920x1200, but 1080 vertical pixels are enough. 768 however, are not. THAT is the resolution I have issues with... 1366x768 is completely useless.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:38PM (#36220260) Homepage

    Even IF your job is editing 1080p video, 1200 is superior because you get room at the top and bottom for a scrub bar, and additional controls, without intruding on the image.

    Computer displays should have stayed 1920x1200, but it's a lot cheaper just to make tons of 1920x1080 panels and use the same panels in both TVs and computer displays. Economies of scale.

    I love my old Dell 2407WFP. 1920x1200 all the way, damnit.

  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:47PM (#36220386)
    If you read the actual article rather than starting ranting about whether glossy or matte is better, you immediately see some problems. First, it's the readers of one particular magazine that was supposedly polled. How can we draw conclusions about the market as a whole from that? Second, it just says that readers were asked. Was that a self-selecting "online poll"? If so, it would have just as much statistical validity as throwing darts at a chart. Unless you have a random sample of the overall population that you're trying to draw conclusions about, you have no hope of coming to an accurate conclusion. This story isn't an effort to get at the truth. It's simply an effort to claim support for what its writer already believed. It's just plain flat-out dishonest journalism.
  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:48PM (#36220408)

    I'm sorry but the glossy screen is actually easier to use in bright lighting conditions. The reason for this is pretty effen simple: The glare is constrained to a very limited area and does not wash out the entire screen as those so called Anti-Glare have happen.

    This is contingent upon how bright the screen itself is.

    You mention the reason that you prefer the highly specular screen screen over a less glossy one because whatever light source being reflect is limited to a 'small area'. However, within that small area is also effectively all of the the reflection's energy, easily stronger than the light coming from the laptop to the point of saturating your visual response.

    On the other hand, a less glossy screen may have the reflection spread out over a larger area.. but so is its energy. If the less glossy screen 'blurs' the reflection by a factor 4, the energy per surface area within that reflection is decreased by a factor four as well. Depending on how bright the screen is, this usually means the reflection is weak enough that it combined with the image actually being displayed does not saturate your visual response.

    Depends on the situation and screen brightness, essentially.

    Personally, while a less glossy screen may not be so good for using with the sun right behind you, it's a lot better when dealing with reflections of windows, of pretty much any other object indoors.. like glassware, some random cupboard, etc.
    ( Which additionally, due to the mirror-like reflection, means you're more easily distracted by the reflection with your eyes attempting to focus on those, rather than the screen. )

  • Re:Same with 1080p (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:52PM (#36220446)

    You can get pixel perfect TV playback on a monitor with 1200 pixels as well. There's unused bands at the top and bottom, but you are getting the EXACT SAME THING in the middle 1080 pixels. And then you get extra height when computing or gaming.

    Honestly, this "NO BLACK BANDS!" is some sort of bizarre OCD thing at this point. I could see it back in the standard def days because letterboxing smooshed the image into less pixels, but 1080 mapped on to a 1200 screen is the same as 1080 on a 1080 screen.

    Or are you using some crappy playback system that can only do stretching and not just place the video in the middle?

  • Manufacturers aren't dumb. They don't produce things totally wrong just to satisfy their own urges.

    A survey of technical people may say we want matte.

    An analysis of sales probably showed that glossy screens sold better.

    Manufacturers produce products for sale. If a survey said that consumers prefer black laptops, but they preferred to purchase hot pink laptops with sparkles, we'd all be running around with sparkly hot pink laptops, regardless of what the people said they wanted. It's a fun game to watch. It works in so many industries. People are frequently influenced by irrational things.

    I'd guess that that glossy screens make people feel that they have the newer or cleaner model. People tend to like shiny things. The dull matte finish looks older or more worn.

    I've spent plenty of time in computer stores, selecting the best specifications. While I'm doing that, I listen to the people around me. "Pretty" and "Shiny" are definitely what customers want. The next (for computer) is the "memory". I quote that, as most consumers consider the drive space and RAM as the same thing. {sigh}. People will lean towards a PC with a 500GB drive and 1GB RAM, over a 25GB drive and 4GB RAM. I've also noticed they get confused by TB drive sizes. 1TB is obviously smaller than 500GB (1 500). Flash memory sizes are hilarious. They don't judge size based on the storage size. They judge it on the sign that says "This will hold 500 songs" :) And back to the pretty factor, they'll go with a pretty 4GB USB flash drive over a plain looking 16GB USB flash drive. I've pretty much given up on helping random strangers in stores because despite their request for "help", they'll still buy fashion over function. The only way I can make someone buy the better devices is to purchase it for them (who then pay me the purchase price). I do that for friends and family only.

    So, it's not our fault (generally people who would read here), it's the general consumer's fault. The manufacturers may even offer both what's favorable and not, but retail stores will only stock the items that sell well. It doesn't do any retail store any good at all to stock items that won't move. It wastes floor space, and will eventually have to be sold at clearance for cheap. Consider the WalMart effect. They buy in huge quantity. They only stock what will move, and they put substantial research into that. There's a science behind it, and they study it carefully, from what items to stock, to where to display it, down to the direction you walk through the store. Do most people turn left or right when they enter the store? Will they do high dollar impulse buys first or last?

    As I've noticed, they stock low dollar impulse buys ( $20) at the entrance, and cheap impulse buys ($10) at the register. In a Walmart close to me, the traffic path goes from the entrance to the right. You encounter the departments in the following order. I note departments on each side of the aisle together.

    $20 impulse buys. HBA (health/beauty) and home decor.

    Womens clothing and toys.

    Sporting/fitness and womens/teens clothing. Stuck back in a corner from there is hardware and tools.

    The newly designed electronics section with cell phones in the front, TV's hanging on the wall in the back in clear sight, and more home decor (bedroom).

    Children's clothes and pet supplies

    Pharmacy and food

    HBA/fashion (makeup), and food.

    Jewelry and frozen food, with fresh produce in the corner.

    Mens and boys clothes, as well as shoes, housewares are buried in the middle of the loop. They aren't usually impulse buys, so they don't get the high visibility spots. People assume (correctly) that the department exists, so they will go off of the

  • by wisdom_brewing (557753) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:58PM (#36220538) Homepage
    I'm still thinking of whether its worth going back to my 22" flat(screen) LaCie CRT currently in the attic.

    2048*1536 - just glorious, but space is a constaint...
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:07PM (#36220630)
    It's not that they are brighter, per se, though that's part of it. What it is really about is contrast.

    For a long time, a problem with LCD screens was that their contrast ratio (full bright white to black) was not very good, in comparison to CRTs and other technology. Contrast ratio is very important when it comes to visibility, clarity and eyestrain.

    Matte screens reduce the perceived contrast ratio, while glossy screens transmit a fuller range. Therefore glossy screens do better on technical specifications... and the hell with the reflections, because they aren't a problem during testing. A mfr. of a glossy screen might be able to claim a contrast ratio of thousands to one, while the very same screen in matte finish may be well under 1000.

    What's kind of ironic is that a higher contrast ratio is supposed to help when viewing a screen in bright light like sunlight... but of course that doesn't help if reflections keep you from seeing it at all.

    As has so often happened in the past, technical specifications have (for now) won out over real-world usability. That will change, however, once mfrs. get a real grip on how much end-users hate the damned things.
  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:09PM (#36220652)

    Please take a reading comprehension course. You're vehemently agreeing with him.

  • Re:Same with 1080p (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:10PM (#36220656) Homepage

    "black bars?"

    Wow. I find it interesting and even amazing that people care more about "null space" than about the positive space. At restaurants and bars across the US I see "stretched out" video everywhere. Often I ask why? Turns out, people hate the "black bars."

    To me, I hate seeing the fat squashed people. Aspect ratio is far more important to me than some null space I I cease to notice in a short time.

    It just fascinates me. I wonder what it says about the minds of the people who think this way?

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