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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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PixelThis ( 690303 )
      That's my solution, two monitors... one vertical and one horizontal.
      • Re:Solution (Score:4, Interesting)

        by GIL_Dude ( 850471 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:58PM (#33811376) Homepage
        That's my solution too: I have one "real" panel (a 20" 1600x1200 4x3 panel) and one "short screen" panel (22" 1680x1050 16x9) that is rotated 90 degrees. Word processing docs and web pages work great on the short screen (wide screen) when rotated. In fact, I am typing this post on the rotated screen right now.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mcsqueak ( 1043736 )

          In fact, I am typing this post on the rotated screen right now.

          No wonder your post looked sideways.

    • Re:Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:55PM (#33811300) Journal

      Sadly, this is what I've had to do. Unfortunately, it seems to be harder and harder to find non-wide-format monitors.

      So few apps are written to handle monitors with vertical resolution of less than 1k pixels, that these new monitors are getting rather obnoxious.

      I think UI design should have an option to put menus on the side now, to handle the wider formats.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think UI design should have an option to put menus on the side now, to handle the wider formats.

        ^^This. The problem isn't the hardware, but a mentality that still basically codes for 640x480 screens.
        • Re:Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

          by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:28PM (#33812248) Journal

          It's harder to design menus for left or right positioning because our languages flows horizontal, not vertical.

          For example if I drag the Windows tab bar to the left ("zip"), it creates a mess. It's taking up FAR more room on the left than it did on the bottom. The same would be true if you moved the Web browser or Word processor menu to the left or right.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          Not necessarily - the "mentality" isn't all about that. Some tools makes no sense to run widescreen. Especially tools for software development where all sides already are used for something.

          The big problem is that every computer screen is manufactured the same way as TV screens and the manufacturers wants to save money and says that a widescreen is "better" for the customer.

          B.t.w. Widescreen/portrait has been around for a long time, even some text terminals like Facit Twist had it where the alternatives wer

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I know this isn't a discussion about Linux, and I'm not trying to turn it into one. But I will say one of the things I love about KDE3.5 is that I can adjust all the toolbars the way I like, and I like to put them on the side. I've also got a monitor tilted 90 degrees, for the same reason: I want to see a whole page at a time, and want as much vertical space as possible. So for someone with those requirements, KDE3.5 is a pretty sweet desktop. I don't know if KDE4 lets you have that same flexibility or

    • 30" Monitors (Score:3, Informative)

      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).
    • 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.

      • 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.

    • Re:Solution (Score:5, Funny)

      by travisco_nabisco ( 817002 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:28PM (#33813852)
      I find rotating my monitor 45 degrees gives me the best of both worlds, more vertical pixels in some spots, more horizontal in others. Unfortunately I can't make WinXP play nicely with it.
    • Don't be wedded to opening everything full screen.

      I do just fine by sizing my apps so they fill about half the screen horizontally. Added bonus that it leaves me half my display for another app.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by T-Bone-T ( 1048702 )

        That's one thing I like about widescreens and Windows 7. Aero Snap makes it super easy to put things side-by-side. I use it almost constantly.

  • Buy a 4:3 display for a development machine?

    • by Zarf ( 5735 )

      Buy a 4:3 display for a development machine?

      I keep around some 4:3 monitors for development. When using two screens I typically stack them, I don't go side-to-side.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MarcQuadra ( 129430 )

      It's getting hard to find 4:3 displays bigger than 19", or with higher resolutions, or with better underlying technology.

      It's sad, but it seems everyone has fallen for the 'wider is better' idea.

  • My second monitor is on an arm so I can rotate it as needed. It's also handy for showing documents to clients as they can move it around themselves.
  • Losing resolution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:52PM (#33811202)

    This depends entirely on the monitor you buy.

    I went from a 1600x1200 CRT to 1920x1200 LCD. In other words, I lost no vertical resolution.

  • Rotate the screen 90 degrees. I have a coworker who did this with two 5:4 LCDs. Looks funny but it seems to work for him.
  • by immakiku ( 777365 )
    Your screens are getting more dpi and more inches per screen. You're getting relatively fewer vertical pixels because you're simply getting more horizontal pixels. This is an improvement, especially considering most people don't need tall screens. If you're one of the few who do, do what the guy posted and rotate 90 degrees.
    • Re:Deal with it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:05PM (#33811584)

      Actually no.
      DPIs are now static because they expect us to use them only for movies. 1080 vertical pixels is all that you should need.

    • Re:Deal with it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:32PM (#33812346)

      It's not an improvement and there's no way to sugar coat it with the excuse that you're getting more pixels overall. In almost all use cases text is rendered on screen horizontally (even in East Asia). Losing vertical resolution reduces the amount of information you can fit on the screen for any particular task. The extra horizontal space doesn't factor in since the only way to leverage it is with long lines of text which has negative consequences for ease of reading.

      We're getting less vertical resolution because there is a convergence of resolutions used for HD television displays and humdrum consumer level monitors. The manufacturers are taking advantage of the economies of scale. For those of us that were enjoying 1600x1200 back when everyone was wallowing in 640x480 and 800x600 it's a step backwards. Most people don't know what they're missing out on so there is no demand to do better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:54PM (#33811254)

    As you loosen the screen requirements to a less-stringent format, the vertical pixels flatten since the horizontal pixels cannot support the additional weight.


  • by bilbravo ( 763359 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:54PM (#33811264) Homepage
    Is to make sure they are fastened down properly!

    Geez, get a new editor!
  • I thought HD (1080p) was 1920x1080?

    OK, same ratio I guess. Still.

    I actually don't need my 24 inch monitor to go much higher, my eyes generally occupy one, comfortable level. If I had a smaller widescreen monitor I can see the argument perhaps, but this is fine.

  • I do see this happening in monitors. Sometimes, what you end up is a computer monitor optimized for movies, but not computer stuff as the pixels are actually wider to fit the screen, instead of being nice square pixels where a circle in the native resolution is actually round. So, it's like "fake" widescreen which is good if you're gonna watch movies but not edit text.

    Of course, I'm still trying to figure out why a year after I bought my Acer 23" flatscreen with 1920x1080, I can't even buy the equivalent

  • I use three monitors for my development work. One of these monitors is a traditional 4:3 LCD; I use this to refer to longer documents and source code. The other two monitors are my "main" monitors and are identical 1600x1050 native resolution models. I use these for my IDE/editor and debugging panels. It's the perfect setup for me.
  • Where.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iONiUM ( 530420 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:55PM (#33811286) Journal

    Where did this obsession with Widescreen come from anyways? I understand for "widescreen films", but why are all monitors wide now? It's weird that it kind of slowly crept into the norm..

  • I think this trend has more to do with the size and shape of laptops than anything else. A keyboard and touchpad usually don't need to take up a 4:3 rectangular space, and space is at a premium for laptops.

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:56PM (#33811316) Homepage


    Maybe because you haven't tightened it enough?

  • by Temkin ( 112574 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:56PM (#33811330)

    The low-end computer monitor market is using commodity HD TV LCD's. The solution is to pony up and buy a middle tier monitor that does proper 1600 x 1200 or something aspect ratio appropriate.

    You get what you pay for.

    • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 )

      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.

  • why is it suddenly so hard to find a laptop with a good screen?

    it is nearly impossible to find a laptop with anything other than 1366x768.

    my 4 year old 14" dell has a 1440x900 screen and at the time a fairly high end cpu/memory combo (core duo/1gb). I paid $650 for it.

    today I can't get a laptop with an equivalent screen for under 850. nearly all laptops don't even offer high res screen options anymore.

    just because you can market a 1366x768 screen as HD does not make it good enough. especially if we are talking 17" laptops.

  • Ha! That's easy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:58PM (#33811374)

    We're now a culture that prefers consuming the latest HD pulp over reading.

  • by Saint Stephen ( 19450 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:58PM (#33811384) Homepage Journal

    All the monitors are 16x9 now (1920x1080). I have the same problem - I don't want to go "up" to 1920 from 1600x1200 (20" 4:3 flat panel I have from 2002 - cost 1000$) and lose 180 vertical pixels!

    I tried to find a 16x10 but there are none in the stores and hard to find even on newegg etc. I asked on some forums and it's just because they aren't making them anymore.


  • Obligatory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P ( 655590 ) <ejkeever@neDEBIA ... com minus distro> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:00PM (#33811436)
    Obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com]

    I too find it disturbing that displays have gone to 2MP and stopped. We were this close to being able to actually read a PDF on 100% zoom without squinting. WTF is going on?
  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:01PM (#33811464)

    Have you ever actually benchmarked video performance on a rotated display? Even with hardware supported rotation, the framebuffer read-out order is no longer consecutive which completely fucks video performance.

    I seriously can't believe the suggestions... It's like saying "What happened to all the compact cars?" and you reply "Stop whining, just crush your car down to size." Why can't we just buy something in the form factor we want?

    • 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?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PsychicX ( 866028 )
        What monitor type are you using? Remember that most PC monitors are TN type, which have terrible vertical viewing angles. You don't normally notice vertical angles -- until you turn it sideways and discover massive color shifts. IPS screens (Dell has a whole line now) are vastly better.
  • by atomic brainslide ( 87546 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:14PM (#33811808) Homepage

    stop upgrading to shittier technology.

  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:18PM (#33811980) Homepage

    16:10 computer displays were great for watching 16:9 video on a computer. They had room outside the video for playback controls or status information. With a 16:9 display, you can't reasonably have any permanent status or controls without them overlapping the video.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TeknoHog ( 164938 )

      Personally, I find on-screen controls incredibly distracting. When I watch a movie, I want to focus on the movie itself, not a GUI, just like you would in a movie theatre. A keyboard is fine for controls, at least in MPlayer which is designed for watching a movie instead of a GUI.

  • by countSudoku() ( 1047544 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:26PM (#33812200) Homepage

    Try scrolling your document to see the portions above or below the screen using the handy scroll bar to the right or left of your document. It's amazing! You only work with one page at a time anyway, get over not seeing all of it, or just print it out, gammit!

    Also, why can't I have a screen view that flips 180 so I can watch movies upside-down? Fix that before we "fix" not being able to scroll, I mean, "view" your +5 Tall Document of Nonsense. Don't make me come down there! Get on my lawn and subscribe to my newsletter!

  • 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.
  • Backwards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shagg ( 99693 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:50PM (#33814318)

    You're not losing vertical space, you're gaining horizontal space.

    Just don't tell that to your wife.

  • Full HD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Oryn ( 136445 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:00PM (#33816634) Homepage

    It really bugs the hell out of me the way manufacturers like sony and asus have the cheek to put out a laptop with a 1440x900 screen or a 1600x900 screen and call it "Full HD". As far as I'm concerned Full HD is 1080 pixels vertical and 1920 pixels horizontal, since when does 900 = 1080 and 1440 = 1920?????
    Unsatisfied with the screen res on my laptop I decided to upgrade it myself.
    Luckily after a long phone call to a supplier, I was able to convince them to send me a 1920x1200 LCD panel that was a direct replacement for the 1440x900 panel, They told me it was unlikely to work, but it works great :) If anyone is interested I used a panel designed for a sony and fitted it to an asus g70. It cost me about 160ukp for the panel and about an hour to fit. I was able to try my g70 on a 1920x1200 panel first to see if it would drive it. Most LVDS LCD panels are interchangeable provided that they use the same backlighting technology.
    Size and aspect ratio can be an issue too. I'm sure that case modders could make even a screen of totally the wrong aspect look ok. I guess it boils down to having the bottle to mod your brand new laptop. Yeah yeah I know someone is going to reply telling me the g70 is 2 years old, well simplyasus were selling off old stock cheaply, so I got a bargain.

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