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Displays Upgrades Hardware

HDTV Has Ruined the LCD Market 952

alvin67 writes "Microsoft Evangelist Pete Brown rants about the lack of pixels available in today's LCD screens: 'OK, that's it. I've had it. I want my pixels, damn it! For a while, screen resolution has been going up on our desktop displays. The trend was good, as I've always wanted the largest monitor with the highest DPI that I could afford. I mean, I used to have one of the first hulking 17-inch CRTs on my desk. I later upgraded to a 21-inch job that was so huge, that if you didn't stick it in a corner, it took up the whole desk. It was flat-panel, though and full of pixels. It cost me around $1,100 at the time." After some years of improvements, we've regressed, in Brown's opinion: "At the rate we were going for a while, we should have had twice or three times the DPI on a 24- or 23-inch screen. But nooo."
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HDTV Has Ruined the LCD Market

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  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @08:37PM (#31948738)

    And it cost me an ass load 2 years ago.

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Thursday April 22, 2010 @08:40PM (#31948774) Homepage
    When Windows Vista added better support for high DPI and scRGB for 16-bit-per-component color with higher gamuts, I was really looking forward to some awesome screens. Given that screens stopped being able to compete with response times and contrast, it seemed like the next thing for them to go for. Unfortunately, it's basically just been ignored.
  • by slashuzer ( 580287 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @08:45PM (#31948862) Homepage
    Frankly for most people the existing 'HDTV' resolution has more than enough pixels, to get full benefit from increased number of pixels you would need a larger screen and sit closer to it. As it is, reading text on these high DPI screens is hard enough, and I often find myself increasing the default font size. This issue is particularly pronounced in laptop screens.

    What I do want is more vertical resolution. The 16:9 craze means today we buy displays that are physcially larger and have more pixels overall than ten years ago, yet do not provide any more area for vertical display. You still have to scroll down far too much. It would be nice if someone still made decent, affordable 4:3 displays; a 1600 X 1200 in 21" format is going to be a killer!

  • Price has gone up... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Braintrust ( 449843 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @08:49PM (#31948912)

    My 2.5 year old Samsung 275T monitor is currently retailing at the same location for appox $75 more than I paid for it at purchase. In 30+ years of building systems I think that may be a first.

    (Freaking great monitor, btw.)

    Some of this is of course due to currency fluctuations, I think... never seen a piece of hardware increase in price over time before.

  • Which do you want? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by voss ( 52565 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @08:50PM (#31948932)

    The 2560 monitor that sells for $1200 or the 1920 monitor that sells for $200-300? the market has decided.
    The 1080p standard is beneficial to both computer users and tv watchers in driving prices down.

    1440p is probably the next stepping point thats 2736x1440, its less of a step than 2160p.

  • Apple Displays. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vonsneerderhooten ( 254776 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @08:51PM (#31948946)
    Yes, really. The 30" Apple has really high ppi.
    Not an Apple fanboi, just sayin'
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @08:57PM (#31949002)
    That's the problem; 2560x1600 is basically just 2x 1600x1200, which has been available for... I don't even know. Surely over a decade.
  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:05PM (#31949082) Journal

    Another display will not increase the resolution (dpi) on the one display you have. I rarely wish more physical space on my display. What I'd like is higher resolution.

  • high-DPI displays (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:07PM (#31949108) Homepage

    The problem with high DPI displays is bad software support. Two things need to happen for this to work:

    1) Applications need to work properly with high DPIs.
    2) The OS needs to do a good job scaling old applications that don't respect DPI. That may include lying to them about the resolution and DPI, and stretching the window.

    For #1, we are getting better. But many modern apps *cough*iTunes*cough* completely botch it. In some cases text on buttons gets bigger but the button does not, so instead of "Configure" you get the top half of the letter C. Or maybe the text gets bigger, and it spaces just fine, but the column sizes still default incorrectly. It would be better if they just ignored DPI than supporting it half-way.

    For #2, you basically need to scale the window and adjust the mouse coordinates to compensate. There's gonna be quirks, but it sure beats an app that is just too small to be usable. Also, scale it well (not bilinear!) so it isn't a blurry blob.

  • by Cliff Stoll ( 242915 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:07PM (#31949110) Homepage

    Making many assumptions, the human eye has about 500 to 600 megapixels of resolution.

    But determining visual acuity is nontrivial. Lots of physics, physiology, and neuroscience enter into it.

    Visual acuity depends on a number of physical limitations set by the optics of the lens of the eye as well as the sampling on the retina.

    For example, the point spread function of the lens roughly matches the sampling of the retinal mosaic (well, within a factor of 3 or so). A nicely evolved system!

    Our eyes' acuity are influenced by

        - Refractive error (out of focus lens, often correctable by glasses or contacts)

        - Size of the pupil (physical optics tells us that a wide open iris will reduce diffraction)

        - Illumination (brighter scenes give more photons, and our neuroprocessing can do more

        - Time of exposure to the field

        - Area of the retina exposed

        - State of adaption of the eye (night [scotopic] vs day [photopic] vision.

        - Eye motion & object motion in scene

    See []

    For a good review of visual acuity, see: []

  • by confused one ( 671304 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:36PM (#31949436)
    Why I remember when we had 320x200 in 2 colors (black and green), the "graphics engine" produced only text, and we LIKED it. Why, that was a huge improvement over the previous generation, the teletype. The young these days. Pampered and always complaining...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:40PM (#31949488)

    Anyone notice that a *good* crt looks way better than nearly any LCD. Ive stopped buying LCDs and went back to CRT... sounds crazy but they just look sooooo much better.
    One down side is that a mediocre CRT is really bad while usually a mediocre LCD is acceptable.....and since most people buy mediocre equipment most people saw poor CRTs and have no idea what they are missing..even ten years after they've essentially left the market.

  • We actually do have a vector-based GUI in Vista/7.

    It works quite well on apps that are written to use it.

    Aero is also a desktop compositing engine, which means that the GPU handles a lot more of the screen redraw and such.

    It also handles such things as... raster-scaling GDI applications to the appropriate size (rather than relying on the GDI app to get the size right, they never do,) when you've got the DPI increased in Vista/7.

  • by TypoNAM ( 695420 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:48PM (#31949562)

    ... Fourth, fuck you both Firefox and Opera. You both should do a better job of separating the CONTENT (read.. the fucking text) from the rest of the bullshit on the webpage. Let me, the viewer, decide what color I want for the background and text.. and figure out how to make it look halfway decent!

    That's funny I can right now go to View -> Page Style -> No Style, and Firefox will display slashdot as linear context using my font and color settings in Tools -> Options -> Content tab. Of course this only works if the site only decorates the page using CSS. I think there's a Firefox add-on that allows you to override the site's CSS and replace it with your own in a user friendly manner.

  • Re:2+ TB Hard Drives (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:57PM (#31949656) Homepage

    Because the stigma associated with the 32-bit LBA fields in the MBR [] (MS-DOS) partition table format. While a nearly-4TB drive could still be utilized in full, it would have to be divided up with the last partition starting at just under the 2TB mark, and be a size of 2TB. And this may not even work unless the implementing OS or partitioning tools handle the arithmetic with more than 32 bits. Windows 7, Linux, and most BSDs support the newer GUID Partition Table [] format (and even provide for an easy 128 primary partitions), drive makers know there will be issues that complicates the sale of the drives. Older OSes won't handle the size and/or the new partition table format. And besides, they are also working the 4096 sector size issue, too, which adds its own complications that minimize the market.

    RAID arrays have already gone long past this limit (we have four 20-TB arrays at work) and use the new partition tables. But these are the exceptions, and they typically aren't even using drives beyond 1 TB (our 20-TB arrays have 24 drives of 1 TB). They will eventually get past these issues and you should be seeing 3TB and 4TB drives in a few months. But be prepared for 4096 byte sectors and a new partition table format (that is more powerful and even has a backup copy at the end of the drive or array).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:00PM (#31949684)
    I have low vision and the pixel density is very important. I have to a lot of external magnification to see. When my Gateway 22" Sony based crt monitor bit the dust last year, I began searching for a replacement. So far nothing has come close. The best I have found is an Apple iMac 22. I keep hoping someone will produce a higher density.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:13PM (#31949784)

    You can get high gamut monitors all over the place. The problem is that very few apps deal with colour management. Windows Vista and 7 have powerful colour management built in so they can be aware of the gamut of different devices and let apps know. However most apps don't check, and even some of those that can don't by default (Firefox can, but doesn't unless manually told to).

    Now if you mean panels with greater bit depth for smoother colour gradients, those are here though pretty scarce. The problem is that DVI doesn't handle more than 8-bits per pixel. So to do anything higher you had to hack something with using a dual-link cable sending two signals or what not. However DP supports high bit natively. As such, they are coming, but slowly as it is fairly hard to do. Heck many panels are still 6-bit panels that are dithered to 8-bit. NEC has some new monitors comming out, the PA series, that are 10-bit panels and will do that with DP input. Windows 7 has full support for that, though I don't know how many graphics cards do.

  • According to a friend of mine who worked at Apple and did a white paper for them on resolution independence, you need ~200 DPI on the display before you can get away with scaling all the UI elements without them jumping around by 1/2 pixels, etc and it being annoying to the user. That's why the iPhone as a ~200 DPI screen. So, the IBM T-221 display would be awesome for resolution independence, but typical monitors, "not so much".

  • by perryizgr8 ( 1370173 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:22PM (#31950438)

    I think Mr WrongSizeGlass should accept the fact that cramming more and more gigabytes into hard drives will make them more and more expensive. Since HDDs have become commodity items in the PC market people want them to be good quality and cheap, not super duper mega high capacity & low latency and very very expensive. The normal consumer doesn't have a need for a shit load of gigabytes so he needs to find an HDD maker who will deliver on to his desk so he can stop whining about it.

    BTW, if this is his biggest complaint about things then he's got it pretty easy and obviously doesn't have enough to worry about.

    do you realize how weak/stupid your argument is?

  • by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:35PM (#31950546)

    The 24-inch 600dpi display he so desperately wants requires a resolution of 12,000 x 7,500 pixels. A 600dpi, 24-bit colour 12,000 x 7,500 @ 60Hz display requires a 129.6Gbps communications bandwidth, which well and truly exceeds any (currently available) display bus connectivity.

    HDMI 1.4 has a maximum video bandwidth of 8.16Gbps. Even a 4-lane DisplayPort connection has a maximum bandwidth of only 17.2Gbps. It's not HDTV that's limited the progress of desktop display resolutions, it's the lack of a decent high-bandwidth display communications link.

    All this is academic, though. How many people would *really* be able to tell the difference between a 96dpi and 200dpi display on their desktop (IBM makes 200dpi displays, by the way), let alone a 600dpi display.

  • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:35AM (#31951040)
    Huh? A 24" display with 1920x1200 resolution is a completely boring 100 dpi or so. 27" at 2560x1440 is only 110 dpi or so. A high resolution display would be more like 150 dpi, ideally more like 200 dpi. Any idea where I can get a display that's at least 2560x1440, and at least 150 dpi?
  • by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:46AM (#31951130) Homepage

    All this is academic, though. How many people would *really* be able to tell the difference between a 96dpi and 200dpi display on their desktop

    Basically all of them. The difference is extremely noticeable when it comes to fonts and other things that require pixels smaller then what a 96dpi display can produce to render properly. The difference between 200dpi and 600dpi might be a little trickier, as with 200dpi you can already start to render a font that looks like a print font, not like a screen font.

    But 96dpi is really extremely low and its a little depressing that computer power has increased by orders of magnitude, while the last big dpi jump was back when things switched from 320x200 to 640x480, everything after that has mostly about larger displays, not higher dpi displays.

  • by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:49AM (#31951160)

    It's worse then that even, they can't even decide what they mean. I've seen WXGA mean 1366x768, 1280x768, 1280x800, and 1280x720. I have even seen a projector that had a resolution that was a 17:10 aspect ratio. It probably wouldn't even bother me that much, except that many times, the only thing listed in the spec sheet is "WXGA" with no actual resolution listed.

  • Have you thought about trying Eyefinity []? As it seems to me Eyefinity is gonna be the way things end up, as it is cheaper to go triple monitors than it is to make one mega screen. And if you are wanting it for coding according to Jeff Atwood [] you just can't beat coding on triple monitors.
  • by LinuxAndLube ( 1526389 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:14AM (#31952244)
    As far as I know, IE8 is the only browser that behaves as expected given a high DPI setting. It is one of the very few advantages that IE8 has over the other mainstream browsers.

    Note that DPI-awareness is very different from zoom functionality.
  • by sco08y ( 615665 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:34AM (#31952366)

    OS X does do all that stuff and has been resolution independent under the hood since at least 10.5. If you have Developer Tools installed, Quartz Debug can alter the UI resolution.

    Most apps have issues, even some Apple apps are still glitchy. Interestingly, in 10.6, I noticed that iTunes will actually zoom the whole window, indicating that they have an upgrade path for non-resolution independent apps. So we'll probably see it working smoothly by 10.7.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:55AM (#31953014) Journal

    IBM was selling 225dpi TFTs about a decade ago. I played with one for a bit. It predated dual-link DVI, so you needed two separate DVI connectors to drive the 28" screen. They don't make them anymore - not enough people bought them for the line to be profitable.

    The only other company I've seen ship screens that high DPI is Nokia. The 770 and its successors all use 800x480 screens at 225dpi.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:28AM (#31953520) Homepage Journal

    Most apps have issues, even some Apple apps are still glitchy. Interestingly, in 10.6, I noticed that iTunes will actually zoom the whole window, indicating that they have an upgrade path for non-resolution independent apps. So we'll probably see it working smoothly by 10.7.

    The question is how and why Apple broke this when they got their hands on NeXTStep. This should have been working in the very first release, since it was a major feature of NeXTStep. That is to say, the OS did this when Apple got their hands on it. Now it doesn't. WTF? Apple truly ruined everything good about NeXTStep except for Objective C, and a lot of people think that's a drawback.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @09:49AM (#31954566)

    According to a friend of mine who worked at Apple and did a white paper for them on resolution independence, you need ~200 DPI on the display before you can get away with scaling all the UI elements without them jumping around by 1/2 pixels, etc and it being annoying to the user.

    Whitepaper or not, that's total bunk. Hasn't he heard of subpixel rendering? The font guys at Apple do that every day, maybe he should talk to them about it. Now, you might use the argument that widgets might become a bit blurry, but they sure wouldn't "jump around" unless you're doing something crazy-wrong.

    Also, the iPhone doesn't have a 200 DPI screen, so in addition to being conceptually wrong, you're factually wrong. Apple's own webpage says it's 163: []

    Besides, even if icons "jumped around" by half a pixel, why can't I set the DPI in OS X anyway and just decide to take that risk? Could it be because (gasp) Apple doesn't have the fucking feature working yet, despite talking about it since 10.2? Ask your friend what the hold-up is... we all saw a mostly-working demo in the 10.3 dev tools, where's the finished feature?

  • by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @10:26AM (#31955006)

    From 6088x2276 to 6000x4000 you would only need 2x the performance. And like I said, 3x GTX480s offer well over 3x the performance of a single 5870 used in that review.

    And you may be surprised, the latest GTX480s push nearly 90% SLI Scaling.

    And then consider the price of the gamers' setup you suggested, and what percent of users could afford it.

    I never said it was cheap.

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @11:57AM (#31956440)

    you think 300dpi is "high resolution?" that's a crappy laser printer's resolution. I want Linotype quality, 2400+ dpi, then we can call that high resolution. Until screens reach that point, we're all working in low res.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:38PM (#31957050) Journal

    The problem with font embedding (and specifying fixed font size) is that this disregards user's preferences and disabilities (low vision etc).

    To give a very simple example, I hate Arial with a passion for purely aesthetic reasons; my browser sans-serif font is sent to Verdana, and if a website comes with CSS which says something like "font-family: Arial, sans-serif" (so Arial always takes precedence if present), my first urge is to find the designer and punch him in the face. My second urge is to immediately leave the site, which is what I normally end up doing.

  • by Arterion ( 941661 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @01:54PM (#31957978)

    Totally agree! I think pixel pitch ought to be a function of DDC (or it's modern equivalent), and when you set a DPI, you're actually dealing with DPI.

    So a 3" x 2" dialog box on my screen is the exact same size as one on your screen.

    THEN, and ONLY THEN do we apply a second "scaling factor" which can resize the entirety of the visual interface, or maybe even apply it to individual elements.

    Given LCD's are the norm now, and they have a native resolution, this kind of technology would only make sense. Even for games: you render the frames at whatever resolution you can handle, then have the video card do a computationally cheap scale up (or, gasp, down!) to fit the resolution of the screen.

    I really hate when people in my old office would change their LCD to a non-native resolution and have it look all, ahm, "janky", just so they everything was big enough for them to read. I would try the ole' DPI setting, but it really just did more harm than good. Some video cards had a workaround that sent the signal to the monitor at native resolution, and scaled the image, but for the most part, we had to rely on the monitor's scaler, which usually totally sucked.

The number of computer scientists in a room is inversely proportional to the number of bugs in their code.