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Displays Hardware Technology

Where Are All the High-Resolution Desktop Displays? 565

Posted by timothy
from the doubtless-killed-by-big-oil dept.
MrSeb writes "Ever since the release of the iPhone 4 with its 326 pixels-per-inch (PPI) Retina display, people have wondered about the lack of high-PPI desktop displays. The fact is, high-resolution desktop displays do exist, but they're incredibly expensive and usually only used for medical applications. Here, ExtremeTech dives into the world of desktop displays and tries to work out why consumer-oriented desktop displays seem to be stuck at 1920x1080, and whether future technologies like IGZO and OLED might finally spur manufacturers to make reasonably-priced models with a PPI over 100."
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Where Are All the High-Resolution Desktop Displays?

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  • by Xaduurv (1685700) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:23PM (#40265621)
    "Ever since the release of the iPhone 4 with its 326 pixels-per-inch (PPI) Retina display, people have wondered about the lack of high-PPI desktop displays" I'm pretty sure gamers have been wondering about this a heck of a lot longer than that!
    • by fredgiblet (1063752) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:57PM (#40265875)
      Not me. I'd rather have current resolution and anti-aliasing than a slightly higher resolution. Also I like not needing to have Quad-SLI to run last-gen games at low settings.

      I'm currently running a 19" monitor at 1440x900, when the next-gen graphics cards come out I'll probably upgrade to 1920x1200 (or 1080 if I have to) in the 20-22" range, and that will be good enough for me.
      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @12:00AM (#40266215) Homepage Journal
        Recently...I was looking for a new set up, both for a job I was contracting to do (windows based)...needing large screen for multiple windows at once...and also, I had just bought a new Canon 5D3, and looking to edit high resolution stills and HD video....this was on a macbook pro I gave myself last year. Contract was paying for the monitor, nice side job.

        Anyway, wanting something nice, I had a major surprise trying to find something larger that 1080p.....I shopped around and finally found the best deal I could on a Dell u2711....2560x1440.

        I paid about $800 on it, most priced it then about $1K.

        I was shocked, not so much at the price, which was steeper than I'd thought...but at the sheer lack of higher resolution monitors out there even available.

        I mean...nice that TVs are all nice 1080p, but the influence has seemingly killed the computer monitor market.

        I guess like how the general public has forgotten what good sound reproduction can be, and the value of it.....we've lost how nice a higher end resolution monitor can be for working. Sure...multiple monitors are nice, but why not START with a nice big high resolution one...and later..save and pair THAT with a 2nd nice one?

        Sure is nice having a LOT on one screen....having multiple 'screens' with lots of real estate on them is even nicer.....double that eventually..and..well...

        • by kyrio (1091003) <slashdot&lurkmore,com> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @12:35AM (#40266347) Homepage
          Interesting. The Shimian and Catleap have been around for a few months now, at least, at under $350 shipped. Not only are they both 2560x1440 IPS displays, but the Catleap was able to do 120Hz, and a new set of 120Hz capable Catleaps are being produced.

          Sucks to be you.
          • by glitch0 (859137)
            This is awesome, I had no idea monitors like this existed for this price. I found Shimian for sale on ebay but I can't find Catleap on Google except for some kind of owners club. Could I please have a link to where I can buy these monitors, or are they just on ebay?
            • by jpapon (1877296) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @06:08AM (#40267287) Journal
              As far as I can tell, they're only available on Ebay, shipping directly from Korea.

              I may be wrong, but I suspect there's something in place preventing these from being imported to the US/European markets for resale. Dell may have some sort of deal with the panel manufacturer or something.

              There has to be something like that, since the price (shipping included) is ~$300... meaning you could probably import them to the US in bulk for under $250. They would sell like hotcakes at $350, especially since they're the same panel as the Dell U2711, but with an LED backlight instead of the power hungry tube used in the Dell. It's basically the Apple Cinema Display at a third of the price.

            • by guises (2423402) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @06:31AM (#40267353)
              Shimian panels are rejects from Apple, meaning that they often have problems.

              It's buyer beware and the fact that you have to get it shipped from Korea means that you're probably not going to be able to return it. That said, they're cheap and often good so, you know, there you are.
        • by lightknight (213164) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @02:22AM (#40266709) Homepage

          Indeed. 1080p is kind of a downgrade for those of us who had higher resolution monitors from yesteryear.

        • by bertok (226922) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @03:31AM (#40266867)

          Bureaucracy and penny-pinching can often override logical technical decisions that would actually result in a good product that people are willing to buy.

          I have a 17" laptop with a tiny, cramped, unusable keyboard on it that was clearly designed for a much smaller laptop. There's something like 6 cm of unused area on either side of the keyboard, but every key is mashed up against every other key to save millimeters of space that don't need saving.

          If any employees of Dell, HP, or Asus are reading this, print this out, walk up to your boss, and show him: You've saved maybe 50 cents per laptop by re-using the same keyboard part across every model, but I am willing to pay a $500 price premium to any company that is willing to sell me a laptop that has a standard sized keyboard. I type 50 pages of text or code per week. IT IS WORTH IT TO ME.

          To my knowledge, no such thing exists. Nobody is willing to take my money. Maybe I'm a unique and special flower, and too small a market to bother with, but I suspect that maybe, just maybe, there might be a few people out there who, you know... type things... with their laptop keyboards.

          Once some dumbass starts the race to the bottom, and every company in a market is doing the same thing, it can be hard to break of the endless cycle of shaving features or quality to under-bid the other guy. It takes vision to come up with a "revolutionary" product -- which is often blindingly obvious -- to shift the market. An example is Apple: they demonstrated that mobile phones don't need to shave cents off by using teeny-tiny screens. Customers are perfectly willing to pay $1000 for a phone that isn't made to the lowest possible spec, and they're now giving that money to Apple instead of Nokia. Remember Nokia? They're the company that used to be the biggest phone manufacturer in the world.

          PC Monitors are in the same boat. When Windows 7 was announced, I got all excited about "deep colour", improved high DPI support, etc... I looked into monitors and whatnot too see if I could get a significant upgrade. Turns out that there are something like 4 or 5 models total that support 30-bit colour, none that support 36-bit, and most only at 1920x1080 or below. You can have high-resolution and deep colour, but not in combination with 120Hz or 3D. Don't even bother looking, because Displayport cables can't transmit that much data, and the only HDMI displays that go that high are all TVs.

          • by thoth (7907)

            I think the answer to this, why that doesn't exist, is a misunderstanding.

            The free-market isn't a magic factory that produces stuff tailored to your specific desires. It responds to aggregate demand. If this item isn't made then either 1) no corporation perceives demand, or 2) no corporation thinks they can make it AND sell it for more profit than some other product that is already out there.

            I think #2 applies here. The people willing to buy a nicer laptop (screen, keyboard) at a higher price aren't a large

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @05:04AM (#40267101) Journal

        I started wondering when I got my Nokia 770 in 2006 with its 225dpi screen. A few months later, I used a 23" IBM monitor with the same resolution... which cost $10K. And then the reason became quite obvious. Modern displays are solid state parts. Just like ICs, they have a defect rate per area, which translates to dead or stuck pixels. As the feature size increases, the chance of defects increases. The bigger the display, the more chance that a defect will result in some dead or stuck pixels. If you make a single 27" panel, one defect will make it unsellable. If you make the same area of TFT but make it into smaller panels, then a defect will just make one unsellable[1].

        There's also the secondary issue that unless you scale the DPI by a factor of 2 users are likely to see aliasing effects in bitmap rendering, and so perceive the display as being worse, which is why we don't see many intermediate sizes.

        [1] Or, at least, harder to sell. There are lots of applications, such as control panels for industrial equipment, where a dead pixel or two is unimportant, and companies making these are quite happy to pay a bit less for slightly lower quality small panels. Selling defective 27" displays is much harder.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pegasustonans (589396)

      "Ever since the release of the iPhone 4 with its 326 pixels-per-inch (PPI) Retina display, people have wondered about the lack of high-PPI desktop displays"

      I'm pretty sure gamers have been wondering about this a heck of a lot longer than that!

      I don't know if gamers in recent years care as much about this.

      If you're sitting on a couch 6+ feet from a TV or you're sitting a couple feet from a 27" monitor, I think putting more pixels per inch has diminishing returns relatively quickly.

      Personally, I'd be very interested in higher resolutions for larger displays, but the PPI issue is not as important to me.

    • by Korin43 (881732) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:35PM (#40266095) Homepage

      High resolution without AA > low res with AA.

  • Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:26PM (#40265639)

    It's because of 2 reasons.

    1) It's currently "good enough" for most people
    2) Because of the 1080 standard which has a large advantage due to economy of volume sales which would be lost with constant incremental improvements

    Basically, the cost is not justified for it's marketability (in most manufacturer's eyes).

    • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:47PM (#40265787) Homepage

      You can actually get 16:10 displays with 1920x1200 resolution to a decent price. Those few extra pixels actually helps quite a bit.

      But if you are willing to go up to a larger screen, 27" or above then you can get a size of 2560x1440. But you have to pay for it.

      What we really need to do is to blame the HDTV format which forces us to get those letterbox size screens.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        If you are willing to drop $1200 you can get a 2560 x 1600

      • Re:Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:07PM (#40265941)

        But if you are willing to go up to a larger screen, 27" or above then you can get a size of 2560x1440. But you have to pay for it.

        Not as much as you might think, if you don't care about name brands. Search for "Yamakasi Catleap" on eBay. These are South Korean-made 27" monitors with 2560x1440 resolution. They cost $300-$320 including shipping. I don't own one myself, but they seem to be fairly well regarded by those who do. The panels are probably made by the same companies as the name brand monitors anyway, since there aren't that many panel vendors out there.

        What we really need to do is to blame the HDTV format which forces us to get those letterbox size screens.

        The designers of ATSC chose a 16:9 aspect ratio because it matches many theatrical films and offers a better viewing experience than 4:3 on movies and TV shows. It wasn't their intent to create a de facto standard for computer monitors; that is due to cost-cutting on the part of the consumer electronics industry.

        • Yeah, this article's assumptions about pricing already seem like some quaint notions around three years out of date. These higher-res monitors are now appearing in retail:

          EQ276W 27" LED Monitor [microcenter.com]

        • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by anethema (99553) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @12:17AM (#40266297) Homepage
          The only problem is this is barely over 100 ppi, which is kind of what the article writer is complaining about.

          I know you're just answering the grandparents question, showing the 27" for cheap, but it is no great stride in PPI.

          There was another post though saying gamers have been begging for higher PPI for a long time and I somewhat disagree. This is the area I would least want higher PPI. 1080p with nice anti aliasing etc.

          But for desktop use, web browsing, reading documents, etc higher ppi is a godsend.
        • Re:Easy (Score:5, Informative)

          by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor[ ]et ['f.n' in gap]> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @12:17AM (#40266299)

          Not as much as you might think, if you don't care about name brands. Search for "Yamakasi Catleap" on eBay. These are South Korean-made 27" monitors with 2560x1440 resolution. They cost $300-$320 including shipping. I don't own one myself, but they seem to be fairly well regarded by those who do. The panels are probably made by the same companies as the name brand monitors anyway, since there aren't that many panel vendors out there.

          Or when you think about it - prices haven't really changed all that much. Prices on the low end have dropped, but good stuff is still priced pretty much the same as it has over the years.

          A good 20" CRT monitor would've cost $2000+ easy in the 90s (one that could do 16x12 and not be fuzzy/blurry/blooming but nice and crisp). Heck, a 17" monitor doing 1024x768 flatscreen would've been several hundred bucks.

          Likewise, nice monitors are still several hundred bucks. It's just that we're used to seeing huge 20" LCD monitors go for $100 or less that makes us think they're a good deal. It's the same as a $500 laptop - the good ones still cost a lot of money (want a GPU and more than 1366x768? You'll be spending $1000 minimum).

          All that's happened to technology is manufacturers have perfected the art of making something to a price. A laptop for $500? What bits and pieces can we chop for that? A monitor for $100? Sure! What can we sacrifice?

          Ditto 1080p displays - because of the commodization of technology, the video circuits to drive a 1080p display is insanely cheap - when millions of TVs are made, it's easy to make a very cheap computer monitor by reusing the exact same parts.

          Anyhow, hopefully the Apple rumors are true and high-res displays are coming down the pipeline.

    • Re:Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:49PM (#40266165)

      How you got modded Informative is beyond me. Repeat after me: 1080p is a resolution, not a density, and you need to standardize on a density to achieve economy of scale.

      Manufacturers make panels with specific pixel densities. They can then cut those panels to a number of different sizes in order to achieve a number of different resolutions. If I cut a high-density panel at a small size, I can get 1080p, or I could cut a low-density display at a large size to also achieve 1080p. 1080p just means that there are 1920 pixels across the display and 1080 pixels down the display, but it gives no indication of how you got there. And because there are dozens or hundreds of different density panels to choose from, you cannot achieve economies of scale unless you standardize on specific densities.

      As for "good enough", it's all a matter of what we can see. The iPhone 4's display was called a "Retina Display" because it had passed the threshold at which the human eye could distinguish individual pixels when held at a normal viewing distance (12" was what they said, I believe). Similarly, the new iPad has a Retina Display even though it had a lower pixel density, because they consider a normal viewing distance for it to be slightly further away. "Good enough" for most people will be at the point when they can no longer distinguish pixels. At that point, the pixel density race will likely become about as moot as the dpi race between printer manufacturers was, and as the megapixel race between camera manufacturers is quickly becoming (note: there are benefits to more megapixels, but they're already past the point where the normal user cares since most of them aren't blowing up their images afterwards).

      Of course, there are benefits to going even higher in density than "retina" levels, since Vernier acuity [wikipedia.org] allows us to still distinguish slight variations in lines, even if we are not able to distinguish the individual pixels making them up. As a result, you can still make curves look smoother or straighter by increasing the pixel density further.

  • by jmd (14060)

    In 1998 SGI was ahead of the pack. @ 110dpi

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SGI_1600SW

  • No OS support. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zadaz (950521) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:28PM (#40265649)

    Neither of the most popular desktop operating systems (Windows, OS X) work very well at arbitrary DPI. Windows is surprisingly ahead of OS X at the OS level, but lots of windows applications misbehave if you change the DPI settings. For example hard-coded interface layouts can mean that controls will be displayed outside the window area and are therefore inaccessible.

    • Re:No OS support. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by starseeker (141897) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:44PM (#40265759) Homepage

      If we have to wait for "proper" OS support, they'll never come - the OS support won't be fully fixed until there is a demand for it. And the higher cost/lower yield for high PPI display production means it's a risky, difficult task to try boostraping the market from the manufacturing side.

      I'm hoping a hybrid approach might be workable - at SIGGRAPH a few years ago, Microsoft was presenting work on technology for splitting a display signal up over multiple screens. If a way could be found to mount multiple iPhone-type screens into a monitor configuration and translate input over them, that might offer a viable way forward.

      High density PPI displays are extremely expensive to produce because of the zero-defect-over-large-surface-area manufacturing issues. Since iPhone screens are smaller and already being produced in large numbers, it might be more practical to splice a bunch of those together. Edge visibility when "stacked" is probably the greatest physical hurdle - I'd guess it's a toss up between that and the inability of current graphics cards to drive such a monitor for "biggest practical hurdle."

      Still, if one manufacturing process could turn out vast numbers of small screens that can either be used for phones or assembled into monitors... that seems to me like the only viable approach to the "too expensive to manufacture" problem you face with things like the IBM T221.

      • Re:No OS support. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NormalVisual (565491) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:53PM (#40265835)
        Edge visibility when "stacked" is probably the greatest physical hurdle

        I dunno - people *loved* the old Sony Trinitron CRTs, even though they had painfully obvious shadows from the stabilizing wires on the aperture grille.
      • Re:No OS support. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dgatwood (11270) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:10PM (#40265961) Journal

        High density PPI displays are extremely expensive to produce because of the zero-defect-over-large-surface-area manufacturing issues.

        This. The failure rate for a panel equals the subpixel failure rate times the number of subpixels. A 2x increase in DPI means at minimum a 4x increase in the percentage of defective panels, and that's if you managed to keep the subpixel failure rate constant as you doubled the density. In practice, I'd expect it to be worse than 4x. And even at current DPIs, I've read that large LCD panels still have about a 10% reject rate as of a couple of years ago, which means you'd probably have to toss about half of them if you doubled the DPI....

        On the other hand, if they did it right, they could ostensibly build the panels in such a way that a defective panel could be remanufactured into a dozen smaller panels for mobile phone use (discarding the one with the bad subpixel), and then they could cut their waste to near zero. I wonder if anybody has attempted such a design....

      • Re:No OS support. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Endymion (12816) <slashdot DOT org AT thoughtnoise DOT net> on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:57PM (#40266203) Homepage Journal

        http://www.antigrain.com/research/font_rasterization/index.html [antigrain.com]

        It's even worse than that: the horrible legacy of hacks that windows uses pretty much guarantees that apps will always render horribly in anything by the default PPI. Their rounding "tricks" cause the text to scale inconsistently, as it's snapping individual letters to horizontal pixel boundaries. (err, it's more complicated than that; see the above link for a very well written discussion of the problem, and a very nice discussion of font rendering issues in general)

        As long as windows apps scale badly, there's a strong incentive to *not* produce a high-PPI display; customers would likely blame the monitor for "screwing up windows".

        • Can't Windows just scale the image if the app is not marked as "multiple DPI compatible"? Instead of scaling the text etc, why doesn't Windows just render the image (like a screenshot) and scale that (together with active areas)?

          Though I would like a high DPI monitor (currently using a 24" CRT at 1920x1200) so that I could fit more things on the screen.

          • Re:No OS support. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @02:51AM (#40266765) Journal

            Can't Windows just scale the image if the app is not marked as "multiple DPI compatible"? Instead of scaling the text etc, why doesn't Windows just render the image (like a screenshot) and scale that (together with active areas)?

            Since Vista, it's precisely how it works - the app has to have a flag in its manifest that basically says "I know what DPI is and will adjust accordingly". Old apps don't have it, since it was added in Vista. If an app doesn't have it, Windows tell it to render at 96 DPI, and then bitmap-scales the output.

            It works in a sense that it prevents broken layout, overlapped widgets etc that plagued non-DPI-aware Windows apps running at non-standard settings for a long time. But it still looks crappy, since now you've got those huge oversized logical pixels. And if it's not scaled by a nice whole number - 2x and such - then you have to approximate the scaling, too, which is even worse.

            If you want to fit more things on the screen, by a 2550x1440 or 2550x1600 27" or 30" display. 30" is big enough that you actually have to move your hand to focus on different parts of it. So that, we already have, so long as you're willing to pay around $1k. But it would also be nice to have nice, sharp text without hacks like ClearType pixel snapping.

            • Re:No OS support. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Confusador (1783468) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:48AM (#40267621)

              If you want to fit more things on the screen, by a 2550x1440 or 2550x1600 27" or 30" display. 30" is big enough that you actually have to move your hand to focus on different parts of it. So that, we already have, so long as you're willing to pay around $1k. But it would also be nice to have nice, sharp text without hacks like ClearType pixel snapping.

              You've hit on my problem: I don't really want a 30" monitor, I want to be able to see the whole thing at once, sitting fairly close to it. 23" is my preference, but 25" would be OK. Why* can't I have a 2550x resolution at that size?

              *note, this is rhetorical, the whole thread is about why.

        • It's even worse than that: the horrible legacy of hacks that windows uses pretty much guarantees that apps will always render horribly in anything by the default PPI. Their rounding "tricks" cause the text to scale inconsistently, as it's snapping individual letters to horizontal pixel boundaries. (err, it's more complicated than that; see the above link for a very well written discussion of the problem, and a very nice discussion of font rendering issues in general)

          Pixel snapping is what gives clear, crisp text on current (low-DPI) monitors. Call it a "hack" if you want, but the only alternative is to have blurry text, and use larger and bolder fonts to compensate for that (see also: OS X).

          For high-DPI, yeah, it doesn't work so well. Which is why various Windows frameworks were trying to switch to ideal rendering for a long time now - WPF did just that in 2007, for example, and people hated [microsoft.com] it.

          These days, WPF (for .NET apps) and DirectWrite (for everything else) both

    • Re:No OS support. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:46PM (#40265777) Journal
      Honestly, even in the land of tight hardware control and contempt for legacy applications that is Apple's little post-PC-playground, the challenges of resolution changes are on display(literally)...

      Why is the 'retina display' 960x640? Because that's exactly twice as many pixels in each dimension as the 3GS's display, so trivial 1->4 pixel scaling wouldn't look like total suck. The same thing occurred when the iPad display received a resolution boost.

      Arbitrary DPI is a nontrivial problem, especially if you aren't willing to abandon all the legacy crap at the same time, and cherry-picked DPI increases that carefully match trivial special cases in scaling aren't cheap.
    • Solution: Enjoy lots of high-density information onscreen, without "OS support".

    • Re:No OS support. (Score:4, Informative)

      by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:42AM (#40267065)

      Windows is surprisingly ahead of OS X at the OS level, but lots of windows applications misbehave if you change the DPI settings.

      Apple have already started adding support for so-called HiDPI modes (that you can currently enable with a hack [redmondpie.com]) to OS X, which is the source of the rumours that they're going to release double-resolution "retina display" MacBooks real soon now.

      They're also in a good position to get applications fixed, since they can dictate standards for admission to the Mac App Store. Although, unlike iOS, you don't have to distribute applications through the App Store, there are plenty of incentives for doing so.

      Of course, once hi-def displays become standard, it should be easier to write resolution-independent code and rely on the OS to render things properly, without manually tweaking things to line up with pixels, and use vector-based icons without lovingly hand-optimising them for particular resolutions.

  • by Shag (3737) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:33PM (#40265703) Homepage

    The DuraVision FDH3601 [eizo.com] from EIZO is one example.

    Expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars for it, though - these are targeted at oil companies and government.

    Conveniently, the latest Intel chipsets can apparently handle such "4K" resolutions.

    • If you don't bother with puny details like 'color' you can go a bit higher still [eizo.com]...

      Don't expect much change from $30k, though...
    • It's nice to see a "4k" display that's actually 4096 pixels across. That term is unfortunately also used for 4x 1080p, or 3840x2160.

    • by QQBoss (2527196)

      I won't complain about 127 DPI on a 92cm diagonal monitor (if you sold me one for a price I could afford). If they had even 1/2 the DPI of the iPhone, though, it would only be a ~64cm diagonal monitor and I would have a lot better chance of being able to afford it- assuming screen real estate is more expensive than more drivers in a smaller space.

      Given the usage model of a computer monitor versus a smart phone, 1/2 the DPI of an iPhone seems quite reasonable to me (at least until next year).

  • by pbjones (315127) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:37PM (#40265721)

    sure you can build a 10" display with mega dpi, but imagine the hardware required to drive a 20" or 30" version, 4 or 9 times the VRAM and bandwidth. Not to mention the manufacturing issues associated with producing zero dead pixels at high dpi values on large display panels.

    • Re:cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by White Flame (1074973) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:56PM (#40265867)

      That's why we need dirty-rectangle updates, instead of this retarded continually full-refresh holdover from CRTs. For games and movies, the monitor should do the full-screen scaling, thus not needing some uber-bandwidth sci-fi connector.

      • That's why we need dirty-rectangle updates, instead of this retarded continually full-refresh holdover from CRTs. For games and movies, the monitor should do the full-screen scaling, thus not needing some uber-bandwidth sci-fi connector.

        But we already do have the uber-bandwidth connectors, they aren't sci-fi.
        DisplayPort 1.2 [wikipedia.org] can handle 3840x2160@60Hz with 30 bits-per-pixel. The spec was finalized at the end of 2009.

  • Focus Circle (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anna Merikin (529843) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:38PM (#40265725) Journal

    A pad or phone is usually held closer to the eye than a screen on a laptop or desktop is placed. At normal distances, (say, two feet) a 20-inch 1080x1920 monitor's dot pitch is barely visible. A 5-inch monitor held 6-inches from the eye will need exactly the same resolution to appear as clear.

    On the larger end, the lack of computer sales volume seems to have led manufacturers to limit cheaper large-screen offerings to HD -sized playback; one can still find professional large-screen monitors with enormous resolutions for photo- and video editing at very high prices. ,

  • 1. It's a lot more expensive 2. The vast majority of people won't notice, at all.
  • What about bit depth? A bazillion pixels is all well and good, but I still find it frustrating that those pixels are limited to 256 grey levels. What would it take to bump displays up an extra couple of bits per channel? Or even doubling them? I think the visual improvement from HDR would trump that of higher pixel density, at least in the things that matter to me (games and movies).
    • Re:dynamic range? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by White Flame (1074973) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:03PM (#40265911)

      I'm not sure this means what you think it means. HDR is a *scanning* feature, not a display feature, the benefit being that you can extract very minute intensity transitions and expand them out clearly.

      You'd only need HDR in a physical display if you can regularly see the banding between consecutive shades of those 256 levels on the display (and if you can, your display is most likely not calibrated). Also, if monitors got backlights twice as bright, and blacks significantly darker, that would exaggerate the range and require more levels of control. Neither of these cases are quite likely, nor are they IMO as important as getting past the commonplace 1080p "barrier".

  • Meh (Score:2, Informative)

    by bhcompy (1877290)
    I don't care about DPI, I care about resolution. Laptop standards have degraded. A high powered laptop now has a 1920x1080 screen where as 18 months ago they has 1920x1200. Lovely downgrade. Hurray progress?
    • by Dynedain (141758)

      DPI is resolution.

      Dots Per Inch = resolution quality, aka, how refined and precise the display is.

      What you care about is the total number of pixels on the screen.

  • Not For Long (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:50PM (#40265811)

    Things are about to change. In a couple of days, Apple will refresh all of their laptop and desktop machines with Retina displays. Once they do this, it won't be long before PC manufacturers start moving to higher-res displays, in order to keep up. Exactly the same happened with the MacBook Air and Intel's Ultrabook initiative.

    • Re:Not For Long (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:06PM (#40265933)

      And thank fucking god. As usual, Apple has to step in and raise the bar. God forbid some other company did anything. We'd be stuck with 1920x1080 and 1366x768 til the end of times if not for Apple doing what we expect them to do at WWDC.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:55PM (#40265855)

    As I've suggested before, the existence of ill-behaved applications is one major reason why we don't have high-DPI monitors. (And as others have pointed out, the low cost of 1080p TV panels is another.) Windows 7 scales DPI pretty well, but some applications go out of their way to break it.

    There have been strong rumors for a while that Apple is preparing a Retina Display for the new MacBook Pro. If they keep the price point to $999 (and they did a good job of maintaining existing price points on the new iPad), it might be a good deal even for those of us who don't care for OSX – just blow off the default image and install Windows 7. The ultrabook market, like the tablet market, is one area where Apple is actually competitive in price.

    Also, at the most recent consumer electronics shows, many TV manufacturers have demonstrated quad-HD (3840x2160) sets. While these will be very expensive at first, they will be heavily pushed as the next big thing, and prices will go down to reasonable levels eventually. I currently use a 32" 1080p TV as my monitor; it works great, but you can see a tiny bit of pixelation if you lean in close. A Quad HD 32" TV would be a retina display in all but name.

    • "Apple is preparing a Retina Display for the new MacBook Pro. If they keep the price point to $999"

      A) the cheapest Macbook Pro is currectly $1200, and now they are going to be adding a super advanced low produce screen that no other manu is using.

      B) expect the Retina Macbooks to be in the $2000-2500 range.

      • Half (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:38PM (#40266109)

        B) expect the Retina Macbooks to be in the $2000-2500 range.

        Since I correctly halved the consensus guess of the original iPad at $500, I'll also guess we'll see a retina Macbook Air for $999.

        Apple doesn't like changing prices, up or down. The only precident for such is the Mac mini, which did have a price jump for the lowest model.

      • of the IPad 1 & 2, and there's no other comparable competitor for that product either. Kinda makes your prediction sound silly.

      • B) expect the Retina Macbooks to be in the $2000-2500 range.

        From a leaked price list of new part numbers referenced to expected models, it looks like the 13" will be US$1199, 15" will be US$1799. Go to apple insider.com for details.

  • Less necessary (Score:5, Informative)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:20PM (#40266029) Homepage

    I'd like to see high resolution displays as much as the next guy, but it's much less necessary on desktop displays and television sets.

    I'm sure someone will freak out about me saying that, but here's the thing: it's not just about DPI, but about the viewing distance. The reason the retina display is called "retina" is that (we can argue about the validity of the claim, but...) it's roughly the maximum resolution discernible by the human eye at the distance you're expected to view a smartphone. That is, approximately a foot away from your eyes.

    Your desktop display should be about 3 feet from your eyes. My TV at home sits... I don't know, somewhere around 12 feet from my eyes. Though it might be really cool to get a 300 dpi television, I'm not sure it makes sense to worry about it when you're talking about a television that's 12 feet away.

    • by Chirs (87576)

      I don't need the "retina" aspect of it, I want the _pixels_. Even with virtual desktops I'm always running out of room...I'd be more efficient with a bigger screen.

      Sure, you can go multimonitor (and I do) but the gap between the screens just annoys me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No idea how old it is but I'm using a 1920x1440, 23" CRT. It's basically irreplaceable. I got it off a relative about 5 years ago.

    Yes it weighs 90lbs but I care more about actual function than formfactor. Why am I the only one?

    • You're not the only one, brother. I'm still running on an old 23" CRT that does 2048x1536 @ 120hz ...it also has kelvin color temperature controls (and sRGB and a few other) color profiles built in. The color detail for editing photographs is vastly better than you can get on LCD's.

      Also, since it does 120hz, I also can use it for stereo3D (yes, this is a 12-14 yr. old monitor!) at 2048x1536... (which is BLOODY AWESOME for nvidia 3D-vision gaming, especially since I can turn the brightness -way- up to 10
  • HD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conspire (102879) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:48PM (#40266163) Homepage
    HD killed the mass market for higher and high definition displays. All the notebooks, even desktop displays no longer had to fight over resolutions, they all just went "HD". and hence the mass market settled on 'HD". The display makers were pleased, they could finally stop building new production lines every time DPI went up every 6 months before they got their capex back. The laptop makers were pleased, they could stop worrying about competing on display resolution in the mass market and spam out "HD" or even "HD Ready" on everything (HD Ready was SD with HDMI input...what a scam in itself". There are some interesting articles about how this phenomena killed the race for higher DPI displays in the mass market. Its been going on for years, the longest stagnation in the display mass market since the introduction of the PC to the masses............
    • HD Ready was SD with HDMI input...what a scam in itself

      In Europe, HD Ready was standardized to mean 720p capability. From your words I gather that 480i/SD displays were sold as "HD Ready" in the US?

  • by proxima (165692) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @01:10AM (#40266485)

    The bottom line is that at the distances people view their desktop monitors, they don't want the buttons, graphics, and text to be any smaller than they appear with about 80-100 ppi screens. Give all but the most recent applications and operating systems a 130 PPI screen, and there will be UI items that don't scale. Some UI items, like text, will, leaving the interface feeling out of proportion. Higher PPI screens are available on laptops because 1.) Some people demand the implied screen real estate and 2.) Laptop screens are generally closer to your face. I won't discount the whole 1080p standard putting a natural cap on many screens these days (though my 24" BenQ is one of a dwindling set of 1920x1200 panels).

    This is why when Apple put high PPI screens in the iphone and ipad, it doubled the PPI. Existing apps would look the same*. Apps can trivially use perhaps the single greatest feature of high PPI: more crisp text with less dependence on antialiasing to mimic round corners.

    And it's why, I suspect, if Apple does release Macbooks this year with "retina" displays, they will be double the PPI. While Mac OS X in theory supports a reasonably scalable UI, applications may not. And web browsers will want to operate as if they're rendering in the lower PPI, though rendering text and non-bitmapped elements at the higher resolution. Eventually (maybe next year), we'll see expensive Apple Cinema displays doing the same thing. And there will be the normal competitors (especially Dell).

    But until recently, a 150 or 200 DPI LCD was crazy expensive to produce. Judging from the ipad 3, it also takes significantly more backlight capacity (provided by very bright LEDs in that case). We're just now entering a stage in which there are rumors about the 11" and 13" Macbook line getting them, maybe the 15". It will be a while before the 27" and 30" panels can be produced at a price people are willing to pay. That said, I'm holding off buying any more monitors or replacing my T series Thinkpad until they're available. I'm hoping I don't have to wait past 2013.

    * Or at least ought to. Some apps on a third gen ipad will actually look fuzzier than it should.

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