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Displays Hardware

Why Are We Losing Vertical Pixels? 1140

An anonymous reader writes "Switching from 1600x1200 to wide 1680x1050 to HD 1600x900, we are losing more and more vertical space, thus it is becoming less and less simple to read a full A4 page or a web page or a function call. What's the solution for retaining the screen height we need to be productive?"
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Why Are We Losing Vertical Pixels?

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  • Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:50PM (#33811128)

    Buy a different monitor or buy two or turn one sideways.

  • Rotate (Score:1, Informative)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:52PM (#33811172)

    Rotate 90 degrees.

    What's happening to this website?!

  • Re:Rotate (Score:5, Informative)

    by DanTheStone ( 1212500 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:55PM (#33811298)
    The linked article was talking about laptop screens, where that's not really an option. I could see some humorous results if you tried. The solution is just as simple: Develop on an external monitor (optionally rotated 90 degrees).
  • Re:Rotate (Score:2, Informative)

    by discord5 ( 798235 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:57PM (#33811340)

    Rotate 90 degrees.

    Mod +1, Practical please. Nearly every monitor does this these days. I'm not a big fan of it but I see lots of people doing it.

    What's happening to this website?!

    It's grown into a monster that feeds on the tears of admins whose webservers die.

  • Re:Rotate (Score:5, Informative)

    by TimeForGuinness ( 701731 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:58PM (#33811388) Journal
    Yea, I tried that but my desk isn't long enough for my legs.
  • by atomic brainslide ( 87546 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:14PM (#33811808) Homepage

    stop upgrading to shittier technology.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:16PM (#33811890) Homepage

    > You get what you pay for.

    Excellent. I've got some real estate to sell you...

  • Re:Rotate (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:16PM (#33811898)

    You don't lose that ability, you just have to configure vertical instead of horizontal hinting or vice versa.

    System Settings / Fonts / Use Anti-aliasing / Configure

    Then select horizontal or vertical from the drop down box depending on your mode.

    Hope that helps... It works fine for me.

  • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:18PM (#33811960) Homepage

    Even large ones have ridiculous aspect ratios designed for entertainment. I am typing this on a 22in Iiama 1920x1080 which has about the same usability as a 19" classic 4:3. If not less...

  • by Tetsujin ( 103070 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:19PM (#33812012) Homepage Journal

    What monitors do you recommend that have worthwhile vertical viewing angles? I tried rotating one of my screens but it seems the cheapo Dell displays at my office just aren't designed for above/below viewing. Makes me wonder who was on the design team that thought adding rotation to a cheap panel that has no vertical viewability was a good idea...

    People want monitors cheap, so the manufacturers make cheap monitors. The most common type of panel is the Twisted Nematic (TN) - which has fairly limited viewing range and color depth. (According to Wikipedia - most TN panels are actually only 6 bit per color channel, they fake 24-bit color via flickering and dithering)

    I got the HP ZR24W - it's a 24" 1920x1200 monitor that sells for around $400. It's my first LCD monitor (apart from laptops). Its panel is some variant of the In-Plane Switching technology (IPS) - which is generally said to have slower switching time than TN panels, but better viewing angles and better color.

    Really, it's kind of low-end as IPS panels go. The black levels are brighter than I'd like, but in general I've really enjoyed the monitor. It's a great improvement over the two 19" CRTs I was using before (combined total resolution: 3200x1200 pixels - but the clarity wasn't nearly as good as with the LCD) I've also got it mounted to a monitor arm (E-Bay special! Dirt cheap!) so I can move it around and rotate it and stuff. I do use it sometimes in rotated mode - the main problem there is that it's such a wide monitor, when rotated it becomes a very tall monitor... Almost uncomfortably tall. I find myself longing for the old 4x3 aspect ratio. :) But I'm very happy with my purchase. Going to a better IPS monitor would have meant spending at least another two hundred dollars... And going cheaper would have probably meant a TN panel or a loss of vertical resolution, or both. (There is a 22" model, the ZR22w - which is basically the same except smaller and only 1080 pixels high instead of 1200...) Viewing angle was a big issue for me, as was vertical resolution...

  • Re:What? 1600x900? (Score:2, Informative)

    by belphegore ( 66832 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:26PM (#33812188)
    The *software* resolution of HD is 1920x1080. There are practically no TVs available today which have panels with more than 1366x768 pixels on them. The fact that these all advertise themselves as being "Full HD" is pretty obnoxiously misleading marketing.
  • Re:Sideways! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:29PM (#33812260) Homepage

    Have you ever tried to use a 16:9 monitor turned sideways? It's ridiculous. The viewing angle on the vertical (now, the horizontal) part of the monitor is terrible so you have to be sitting exactly in front of it or you can't see it. This is no good if you have 2 monitors. The monitor is so tall that your focus on the top and bottom parts of the monitor are different.

  • Re:Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anpheus ( 908711 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:30PM (#33812282)

    The ribbon can be minimized, double click one of the tabs (Home, etc) and it will shrink the tab bar.

    You can then access everything via hotkey or click on the tab and then the item you want. For many tasks your average "clicks per action" will be around 2 anyway (clicking a tab group, then an action). This just makes it a flat 2.0, instead of maybe, 1.6 or whatever. If you're doing some action repeatedly, it's always smart to learn the hotkey.

  • Cleartype fails. (Score:5, Informative)

    by gknoy ( 899301 ) <<moc.smetsysizasana> <ta> <yonkg>> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:30PM (#33812284)

    The trouble with turning an LCD monitor sideways is that text looks terrible. I use a widescreen monitor rotated for code visibility purposes. The excess cruft of IDE subwindows is much less disruptive. However, text (and even code) is significantly more readable (and less painful) on the smaller, non-rotated monitor.

    Windows doesn't seem to properly do sub-pixel rendering on a rotated monitor -- all of the ClearType profiles are based on the configuration of subpixels in a normally-oriented monitor. Moreover, the settings don't seem to be on a per-monitor basis, which means that I would get to choose to have one of my two monitors look terrible and one be legible. Does anyone know of a ClearType (or similar) tool for Windows which properly adjusts to rotated screens? (I'm off to Google it... maybe it's easier to find this year?)

    Then there's the issue of viewing angles -- most LCDs have a wide horizontal viewing range, but a narrow vertical viewing angle range. Rotating the monitor flips that. (It's not as big of a deal as you'd think, in that I sit in generally the same place, but it makes it harder to read stuff there if someone is sitting next to me.)

  • by yet-another-lobbyist ( 1276848 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:36PM (#33812464)
    I totally agree. I tried "rotated" for a while and performance and overall experience was bad. The colors looked slightly different and unbalanced. My guess is that viewing angles are optimized for using the monitor in "normal" (un-rotated) mode, and the average viewing angle may not be normal to the screen surface. So when you rotate the thing it all gets messed up. There are also more subtle issues: how to handle sub-pixel anti-aliasing (like in Windows ClearType) when one monitor is rotated and the other one is not?
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:45PM (#33812716) Journal

    Most people are impressed by 1920x1080 HDTV, because they had been watching analog cable or broadcast TV, and those formats are only ~440x486.

    So basically it's a 9 times jump for them.

  • Re:Where.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by amorsen ( 7485 ) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:45PM (#33812728)

    I'm not sure what you're on, but reading narrow columns is way faster than reading wide lines. That's why newspapers have columns. One of the many deficiencies of CSS is that it's practically impossible to a newspaper-like layout which works at any screen size (adapting the number of columns as needed).

  • 30" Monitors (Score:3, Informative)

    by DocSavage64109 ( 799754 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:46PM (#33812770)
    A year or so ago, I picked up a Dell 30" monitor with 2560x1600 resolution. It pretty much solves all of your monitor issues. The only concern, is that you need a video card capable of dual-link dvi output (Nearly all recent gaming cards).
  • incorrect (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chirs ( 87576 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:49PM (#33812866)

    If you've got a 1366x768 panel then you don't have a 1080P display, you have a 720P display. The fact that many 720P displays can handle 1080i/p signals doesn't make it a full HD display, and I've never seen one advertised as such.

    Please provide examples of a tv claiming to be "Full HD" that doesn't have a 1920x1080 panel.

  • Re:Solution (Score:4, Informative)

    by adisakp ( 705706 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:50PM (#33812878) Journal

    Buy a different monitor or buy two or turn one sideways.

    IF YOU READ THE ARTICLE you will notice he is complaining about the drop in vertical resolution on laptops where it is not very convenient to carry along an extra monitor and its near impossible to type or use a trackpad holding a laptop sideways.

  • by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:02PM (#33813244)

    Yeah, no kidding. 1600x1200 displays weren't cheap when they were common, and were only to be found on the high end monitors and latter the very high end laptops of the time. It took me all of ten seconds to got to dell.com and find a laptop that was 1920x1200. I don't know why people keep acting like you are losing something going from 1600x1200 to 1920x1200.

  • Re:What? 1600x900? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:04PM (#33813300)

    Then still, some sort of reference please, because I've looked on google, can't find anything and I genuinely want to know.

    Hell, the reason TVs were marked differently (and confusingly) in "HD Ready" and "Full HD" was exactly that, the HD Ready models had 1366x768 resolution, and Full HD models had 1920x1080.

  • Re:Where.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:07PM (#33813360)

    Your monitor probably doesn't support HDCP. Blu Ray players expect your hardware to participate in the protection of the MPAA cartel content.

  • Not so fast (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:15PM (#33813538)

    it seems to be harder and harder to find non-wide-format monitors

    The list of 1920x1200 monitors is making a comeback on Newegg [newegg.com]. 1920x1200 is now the third most popular resolution according to what Newegg sells. Maybe there is hope yet. I am about to purchase this one [newegg.com] myself, which has enjoyed nothing but stellar reviews.

    To hell with TV screens. I want a real computer monitor, for real work.

  • you're not (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:16PM (#33813564)
    You're not losing pixels, you're just throwing numbers out there without actually knowing what you're talking about. 1600x1200 is UXGA. 1650x1080 is WSXGA+, which is the widescreen variant of SXGA+ (1400x1050). If you want widescreen based on the 1600x1200 resolution, buy a WUXGA monitor(1920x1200). Pretty simple, really. You only "lose" pixels if you don't research the monitor you are purchasing.
  • Re:Solution (Score:2, Informative)

    by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <glandauer@charter.net> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:18PM (#33813612) Homepage

    I don't see how this is an issue. Monitors appear to be getting wider, but not smaller height-wise.

    They may not be getting smaller height wise in linear dimension, but they have gotten at least a little bit smaller in pixel dimension. Those wide computer screens are usually based on either 720 or 1080 vertical pixel HDTV screens, which means that you are losing some vertical pixels compared to an old 1600x1200 high definition monitor. There are screens available with a larger vertical pixel count, but you have to pay a substantial price premium for them.

    OTOH, it looks to me as though this is more because HDTV based monitors are really cheap, not because the other monitors are expensive. I remember 1600x1200 monitors costing a lot of money back when they were considered high-end. Now you can get a 1920x1200 monitor for between $300 and $500 depending on size, and there are 2560x1440 monitors available for under $1000. What's really new is that you can get a 1920x1080 monitor for under $200.

  • Re:Where.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:20PM (#33813676)

    Your reading speed will increase with the wider format, and that trend continues until a single line of text takes up a whopping 80-90 degrees of your horizontal field of vision.

    Maybe if your eyes read every word, one at a time, like a dot-matrix printer's head. Maybe you're mouthing these words as you read them.

    For those of us that read (that is, who scan in blocks of text at a time), blocks consisting of columns limited to 8-10 words can be taken in with zero horizontal movement, and our eyes' limited vertical movement speed is more than fast enough.

    We may miss optical illusions like the typo in
    in this example paragraph a little more often than you,
    but we read a hell of a lot faster.

    In a word: bullshit.

  • Re:Solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by ddillman ( 267710 ) <dgdillman AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:23PM (#33813766) Journal
    Maybe because in addition to correcting the spelling, which is noble enough, it's profane and personally attacking, inviting some form of response, thus qualifying as a troll?
  • Re:Cleartype fails. (Score:4, Informative)

    by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:26PM (#33813812)

    ClearType can't fix that problem. The issue is that ClearType is limited by the physical layout of the RGB sub-pixels in the display. LCD typically have the RGB sub-pixels as 3 vertical bars side by side (in the orientation for which the display was designed). That allows for sub-pixel rendering in one dimension (normally horizontal), but not in the other (normally vertical) dimension. Rotating the display changes the orientation of the sub-pixels, so there is nothing ClearType can do to enhance it.

    The fundamental problem is that many manufacturers are trying to standardize on the 16:9 format used for HDTV. While a wide field of view is great for movies and TV, it sucks for most computer displays. I only buy 16:10 or 5:4 displays for my computer, if a laptop is only offered with 16:9, it is removed from consideration. As many comments have suggested, for most computer work, display height is more critical than display width. Yes, the wide formats work better for notebook and tablet form factors, but 16:9 is just not a good choice, stick with 16:10.

  • by EnsilZah ( 575600 ) <EnsilZah AT Gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:29PM (#33813880)

    Try a Thinkpad, they have 15" ones that go to 1920x1080.

  • Not really true.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by wanax ( 46819 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:00PM (#33814510)

    There is no significant difference in latency or duration for vertical vs. horizontal saccades (eg: see [nih.gov] ), and you're dead wrong about reading speed: In English, the optimal column width for fast reading is somewhere between 50 [google.com] and 100 [wichita.edu] characters per line, depending on exact circumstances.

    However, there are two other relevant facts: 1) The lower visual hemifield has a larger cortical representation than the upper visual hemifield, and shows modest improvements in visual performance [sciencedirect.com] (this is unsurprising, since our hands/tools/ground near us is usually in our lower hemifield) and 2) We can move our head side-to-side more rapidly, and with a larger range of motion than we can up and down, which changes some saccade distributions [physiology.org].

    Irregardless of the mechanics of the situation, reading is a highly trained activity, and direction of reading is not universal. Chinese, for instance, can be read top-to-bottom, or with either horizontal possibility as the initial direction, with the reader cued by slightly differing strokes and punctuation . I'm not aware of any bottom-to-top sequential reading in any culture, which is probably due to the above mentioned processing differences. However, there are also mixed reading sequences that use multiple horizontal and vertical elements in a single block, like Mayan hieroglyphs (2x2 blocks LR->TB within block, blocks are read TB->LR ) or the Korean Hangul system (variety of block sizes, read TB->RL). Arguably, the latter systems are most efficient in terms of leveraging the early geometry of the visual system (log-polar [bu.edu], with resolution dropping exponentially with distance from the fovea.

  • Re:Solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by wagnerrp ( 1305589 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:11PM (#33814694)
    If your display has pixels large enough that your eye can resolve them, the density is too low. If you have a high enough resolution display, all the psycho-visual tricks like anti-aliasing and sub-pixel rendering become unnecessary. Remember that fonts sizes are based off the size of your physical display, and have no relation to the number of pixels used to render them.
  • Re:Solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by GizmoToy ( 450886 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:36PM (#33815168) Homepage

    That annoyed me too, at first, but eventually I realized it was just wasted space. It's far easier to simply trigger Expose to find the window I want, rather than associate which box in the tab bar is associated with which window on my desktop... especially if you have multiple windows from the same program open. On Windows you need the title bar text to distinguish between multiple instances/windows of the same program. On OS X, just select the one with the contents you're looking for.

    Microsoft recognized this and made a similar implementation for Windows 7, but left the task bar this new feature rendered obsolete. I expect they'll get rid of it at some point, and didn't want to change too much all at once.

    I imagine there are cases where the text-in-box method is preferable, but I don't encounter them in my usage.

  • Re:Obligatory (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @04:25PM (#33815996) Homepage Journal

    Uh, what?
    (reading this on a > 3.6 MP display)

    Kid, if you want more than 2 MP - there's this thing called "buying stuff" that you could try.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @04:36PM (#33816196)
    mplayer can flip the video image upside down with a simple command-line option.
  • Re:Obligatory (Score:3, Informative)

    by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @04:49PM (#33816444) Homepage

    And yet, that's old technology (Apple released their 30" monitor in 2004 [macrumors.com] ... that's the same one they still sell today. Even earlier than that, IBM sold a 200dpi greyscale monitor back near 1999/2000 that was 2560x2048 [ibm.com], intended for doctors viewing x-rays.

    Before the HD standards were finalized, you could get higher resolution TVs, because there was no limit set.

    Samsung and a few others had "Quad HD" monitors (3840 x 2160) [gizmodo.com] on the market for a while, but I believe they've all been discontinued. (and it also cost something like US$25k)

  • Re:Where.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @04:59PM (#33816614)

    CSS 3 has columns.


    Maybe, one day, CSS3 will became a finalised spec.

  • Re:Solution (Score:2, Informative)

    by jared9900 ( 231352 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:02PM (#33816662)

    BTW one of my chief annoyances with the Mac OS is the inability to quickly and easily switch between windows. You have to juggle windows around on the screen.

    What do you mean by this? Command-Tab lets you switch between applications and Command-` lets you switch between windows within an application. Personally, since switching to Macs a few years ago I've found this to be a much nicer way of managing windows and applications than the every-window-for-itself approach of Windows.

  • Re:Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:27PM (#33817016)

    Unfortunately for him, he's Just plain wrong.

    A laptop with a 1600x1200 pixel screen was typically very high end in the past, very high end laptops now come with 1920x1200 screens.

    A more mid range machine might typically have had a 1280x1024 screen, and now come with a 1680x1050 one.

    A low end one might have had a 1024x768 screen and now come with a 1280x800 one.

    We haven't lost vertical pixels, we've gained horizontal ones.

    As for the aspect ratio making it harder to view vertical things, I also vote this just plain wrong. You can still view your vertical things with the same height – just now you can view two of them! I love being able to have 2-3 code windows side by side, it's great for cross referencing.

egrep -n '^[a-z].*\(' $ | sort -t':' +2.0