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Displays Hardware

Users Want Matte LCDs While Glossy Screens Dominate 666

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

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  • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:01PM (#36219780) Journal

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

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

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

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:08PM (#36219886)

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

      • by alta ( 1263 )

        amen brother. I have me a psuedo TV-Monitor,a samsung T260HD, we bought last year. Guess what, Native IS 1920*1200. I call it psuedo TV because it actually HAS a tuner in it, no computer needed.

        We tried to get another this year but can't. It's been replaced with the newer betterrer model, the T270somethingornother... which maxes at 1920*1080.
        What shit.

      • by blair1q ( 305137 )

        You're wrong here.

        1050 was the shite format. It fit into no rational schema for sizing monitors and it was inadequate for native HDTV resolution. I'm certain it's because LCD, PC makers, and TV makers were colluding to keep the price of US-bound HDTVs high. The moment computers got 1080 height, they would take over from TVs as entertainment devices.

        1080, on the other hand, is native HDTV, meaning I can do my computing at a perfectly useful resolution, and I can get pixel-perfect TV playback, with no lett

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

          by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:52PM (#36220446)

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

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

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

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

        by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMpitabred.dyndns.org> on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:38PM (#36220248) Homepage

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

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        Because 1920x1200 monitors go on sale about 10% as often as 1920x1080 displays do. The price premium isn't worth it for the extra 120 vertical pixels, especially on 24+ inch displays. Especially when you are buying two of them.

        • by tedgyz ( 515156 ) *

          I disagree. I have dual 24" Samsung 2443 models - 16:10 1920x1200. It is definitely worth the premium. I paid less for two of these than I did for a single 21" 1680x1050 in 2006. I find the 16:10 is much better to work with and watching movies isn't annoying. I don't even notice the letterboxing.

          • by tedgyz ( 515156 ) *

            I was pondering my own comment about letterboxing and realized why it isn't annoying. Basically, top/bottom letterboxing is less noticeable than left/right letterboxing. Since human peripheral vision scans the horizon, those left and right black boxes are distracting. Contrariwise, top and bottom black boxes go unnoticed since we tend to focus on the central plane of vision.

      • by ichthus ( 72442 )
        Agreed. I even prefer 4:3 1600x1200 to 1920x1080. More vertical pixels = more lines of code.
    • Also: LCD screens are produced mainly in sizes and resolutions that are valuable for TV's and desktop monitors, and laptop makers typically just buy off-the-shelf sizes. And for TVs and desktop monitors, the glossy doesn't have the same downside. (Users just position it so that any glare isn't a problem.)

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:23PM (#36220094)

      One is that glossy is brighter than matte. Matte screens do reduce the transmission of light. That is a reason laptops hopped on the glossy thing to early, more transmission means less power usage. Well in terms of things in the showroom, people like brighter screens. It is just now humans work. You'll prefer the brighter (or louder in the case of sound) of two otherwise identical objects.

      Also glossy is easier to do right. It costs a little more money to do a good matte screen. Do it poorly and it can look way too grainy and so on. No, it isn't a big price difference but it is there and for cheap displays, pennies count.

      What I tell people is if you care, get a high end monitor. They are better in all kinds of other ways too (like using a better panel technology that gives better colour and viewing angles) and with the pretty much sole exception of Apple, they are all matte. A Dell U2311 or U2410 are good choices for quality but not super expensive. Personally, I really like NEC's PA series. Serious cash, but they look great.

      • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @03:07PM (#36220630)
        It's not that they are brighter, per se, though that's part of it. What it is really about is contrast.

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

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

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

        As has so often happened in the past, technical specifications have (for now) won out over real-world usability. That will change, however, once mfrs. get a real grip on how much end-users hate the damned things.
      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        How are the high end monitors compared to old high quality CRTs these days? I still prefer CRTs for their rich colors. :(

  • by mms3k ( 2192016 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:01PM (#36219782)
    The stupid thing with glossy screens is that they're completely unusable in the sun. Every year I spend half of the year in Thailand and want to get some work done by the pool, but it just isn't possible with a glossy screen. It's distracting and gives headaches. Now matte screen isn't that great in direct sunlight either, but even if you get some shadow for it glossy screen is completely unusable.

    But other than that glossy screen really is better. The colors come out a lot nicer and more vibrant. So if you aren't like me who enjoys laying down at the pool watching beautiful thai ladyboys and drinking some beer while getting work done, just get a glossy screen. It's much better and nicer to look at.

    What I've been wondering tho, since iPad 2 has glossy screen, does any of the Android ones have matte? iPad like device would suit me even better at the pool since laptop is still kind of a hassle to carry around and gets really hot in the sun. I was already going to buy an iPad, but people said it's unusable in sunlight too.
    • The stupid thing with glossy screens is that they're completely unusable in the sun. Every year I spend half of the year in Thailand and want to get some work done by the pool...

      You know...as I was reading your post, my first thought was "who the hell works outside in the sun with a computer?", then, I read the next part about you wanting to work by the pool.

      You're work habits, it sounds like, are definitely one of the far outlier scenarios if you were to look at the general pool of those that do work on

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        You're work habits, it sounds like, are definitely one of the far outlier scenarios if you were to look at the general pool of those that do work on a computer.

        I do work on my laptop on the bus ride to and from the office, and depending on which way the bus is headed relative to the sun, I get glare on the screen from the sunlight shining in through the windows. Am I also an outlier?

        • by AAWood ( 918613 )
          See also; anyone who works by a window that gets any sun. While mms3k's exact circumstance might be rare, his complaint certainly isn't.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

      • How about those who work in offices, and they have floor to ceiling glass windows behind them. Not an unusual situation at all.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      The stupid thing with glossy screens is that they're completely unusable in the sun.

      Actually, I would say the opposite is true. Matte screens are completely unusable in sunlight because they wash out to the point that you can't see anything. With glossy screens, they are usable outdoors, so long as the sun is not directly behind you. You can adjust the angle to get the hot spot to disappear. With a matte screen, you get a washed out view at any angle.

      I use my glossy-screened iPhone outside all the time.

      • by Amouth ( 879122 )

        I use my glossy-screened iPhone outside all the time. By contrast, my TomTom's matte screen from about the same year is almost completely unreadable at certain times of day.

        your iPhone being usable in the sunlight has nothing to do with it being glossy or matte bur rather that it is also a transflective screen (at least the 3GS is, your mileage may very as the iphone 4 isn't and is crap in direct sunlight)

    • I checked your comments -- both of them mention ladyboys. I challenge you to mention ladyboys in every comment you make from here on out -- It would be epic.

      If you need help you could just use ladyboys instead of cars for your analogies.

    • >So if you aren't like me who enjoys laying down at the pool

      It's not that hard to put up an umbrella so you get some shade, ya know.

      Not only can you read your screen better but you won't have freaking skin cancer in your 40s. But then I'm probably an oddball in that I can't tan and burn like no tomorrow in the sun. Freaking stupid freckles.

    • You had me going with the first paragraph. Then you almost lost me with "glossy screen really is better." But then you completely lost me with "beautiful thai ladyboys." WTF dude?!

  • Shiny Sells (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:03PM (#36219798)

    Users want to use matte, but are initially attracted to shiny screens which make the images displayed seem more vivid. So shiny sells.

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

    by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:04PM (#36219808) Homepage

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

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

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

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

      by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:33PM (#36220188) Journal

      1) and /. readers do! FTW!

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

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

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

    by attah ( 1217454 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:05PM (#36219826) Homepage
    This should have been news 5 years ago :(
  • I figured glossy screens were cheaper to manufacture in mass quantities, so they became the new standard. I have no idea if that's true or not. I too miss the matte lcd screens, even though the colors aren't usually as bright I find the screens are easier to look at in almost any lighting.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Look at manufacturers of business notebooks, like Lenovo. I doubt they even have glossy models. And, yes, glossy is cheaper.

      • Even lenovo is finally being forced to gradually shift.
        the X1 has a glossy screen, and the new T series is 16:9 instead of 16:10

      • Re:Cheaper? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Unequivocal ( 155957 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:44PM (#36220344)

        Yeah - I was just eying my T410 and it's matte. I turned it to face the window (where the sun happens to blasting in right now) and I can read the screen fine, disproving in the above mentioned thesis that "all matte screens wash out in direct sun."

        I just checked T43 and it's also matte and shows up ok in the sun (not as nice, maybe related to being an LCD instead of an LED screen?)

  • I guess because it's more important for the screen to look sleek when it's off than to function optimally when it's on?

    • Uh. Yes. Do you live in the USA? ;)

      This country's all about form over function, even when the form gives false impressions as to the function.

      See: Wings/tail fins/fender holes on cars, false fronts on buildings, iPods that you can't change the battery on because someone thought screws are ugly, botox, breast implants, TV news, food photography, politics, and the Star Wars prequels.
      If given a choice between doing the job right and doing the job to look good, 9 times out of 10 people will pick what looks good

    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      Glossy screens look futuramic because of the glare. They also give a significantly crisper picture. Side-by-side with matte screens, the glossy screens pop.

      So the glare works ironically, while the pop sells you what you desire.

  • But if the screen is already matte to begin with, you can't sell adhesive matte sheets for $20 a pop.
  • The reason might be that consumers claim they want matte screens but they go and buy glossy screens. Manufacturers are probably substantially less interested in what these surveys say than what their sales numbers say.
  • I realize that shiny sells, but I still don't understand why I can't buy a 4:3 laptop these days. Everyone I talk to says he'd prefer one to the current wide-screen offering. Do people really only use computers for watching movies?

    I just bought a new HP ProBook with 1366x768 resolution, but at least it has a matte screen.

    • Do people really only use computers for watching movies?


      see http://www.ideastorm.com/ideaView?id=087700000008WhXAAU [ideastorm.com]


      http://www.ideastorm.com/ideaView?id=087700000000knXAAQ [ideastorm.com]

      (my idea for non widescreens actually got voted down to -10 (The 2nd link) , so you know that a majority of those on ideastorm prefer widescreens)

    • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:19PM (#36220042)

      Laptop manufacturers discovered that their keyboards fit better with widescreen displays.

      It used to be laptop keyboards were always cramped. with widescreen displays they keyboards are just that much bigger and it looks better too.

      though I do I agree with you. I miss my 12" Powerbook. small lightweight yet still useful.

      To bring back onto topic. I am waiting for mirasol display tech to catch up with LCD's . Low power and daylight readable here we come.

    • Because "widescreen HD" means "best and newest" to the uninitiated. They aren't really aware that computers had resolutions far beyond "HD" a long time before the HDTV became common. So while an HD widescreen LCD is a downgrade to those of us who had higher resolution 4x3 monitors (which are now hard to find), it is a perceived upgrade to everyone else.

      Also, yes, a lot of people who don't work with a computer - whether it be for a living or for fun - usually do one of three things: Office, Internet Explorer

      • Also, yes, a lot of people who don't work with a computer - whether it be for a living or for fun - usually do one of three things: Office, Internet Explorer, or watch movies.

        Two out of these three are easier on a non-wide-screen monitor.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:29PM (#36220150) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can almost not find laptops with normal aspect ratio monitors any more. 10 years ago I bought a laptop with 1600x1200 resolution. Even desktop LCDs are vanishingly rare any more except in widescreen.

    Yet people prefer widescreen for TVs, not for monitors, where it's inferior for almost every common task such as web browsing, email, or programming, where vertical space is critical. A laptop can't be easily used on its side!

    Same thing: there is demand for normal aspect ratio laptops, but there are almos

    • by smelch ( 1988698 )
      I find horizontal space to be way way more valuable, as horizontal scrolling is generally a bad thing to do, and vertical scrolling is on everything. This is also why generally there is a verticle scroll wheel on mice but no horizontal unless you click the wheel first.
  • Of course "matte" will win in a survey of people who read a PC magazine or frequent PC sites. They know what they want and why they want it. Survey people running around Best Buy looking for a new email machine and they'll want shiny because shiny = new and new = representative of affluence (but not class). Just look at the stylings of kitchen and bathroom fixtures, appliances, and wares.

    Note that these less-knowledgeable shiny-mongers also think that their monitors are no longer good when their "computers slow down" (thus requiring them to buy new ones) and don't reuse those monitors for newer builds. They toss it out or give it away only to buy another.

    They should have also asked of the audience, "How frequently do you purchase new monitors?" and "Where do you buy them?"

  • this further proves shiny stuff is what most people will buy regardless of what they want.

    perhaps everything should have either a mirror finish, or be fluorescent blue/green/red/pink in colour for it to get a majority marketshare

  • Why give something to the customer for "free", when you can charge for a customer built machine with a matte screen?

    I suspect the trend will be coming to the auto industry very soon - Oh you want four wheels? That'll cost ya extra.
    How about the airline industry. A trip to New York will cost you $500. Oh you want to land safely once you get there? That'll cost you extra.

  • physics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:13PM (#36219966)

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

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

    Matte screens are, in comparison, dull and lifeless.

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

    And therein lies the problem.

  • by fast turtle ( 1118037 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:14PM (#36219976) Journal

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

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

    • Doh!
    • Glossy == Mirror (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I can't use a glossy screen in bright lighting conditions because it behaves like a mirror. My eyes focus on the distant objects reflected in the screen rather than the text. Very tiresome. Matte does wash out in the sun, but at least I can still focus on it.

    • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:48PM (#36220408)

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

      This is contingent upon how bright the screen itself is.

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

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

      Depends on the situation and screen brightness, essentially.

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

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Depends on the environment in which you use the device. If you're in what the sysadmins call "the Big Blue Room", light is coming from a single, very strong source set very far away. If you are in an office with little natural lighting, then you've got dozens of weak light sources scattered all over the place.

      A diffused reflection from the light in the Big Blue Room is still powerful enough overwhelm the picture from a matte finish monitor. A glossy surface is preferable there because it directs that ligh

  • Reminds me of the widescreen fiasco, and something I tend to be slightly bitter about (regardless of the rectangle-ness of our overall view of the world, what isn't considered is that our accuracy of colour/detail/shape perception when we concentrate on something without looking directly at it, is proportional to the distance from our direct line of sight, so a square TV would be ideal in that sense).

    Glossy screens affect even everyone who's aware of the problem, because purchasing say a laptop becomes much

  • Does Dell use glossy screens now? I have an older Dell with a traditional widescreen(16:10, WSXGA+) that is matte, and it's great. The only glossy screens I've seen are the newer HP model types you see at Best Buy and Costco, but can't go there to check Dells
  • They also use mostly crappy 1366x768 pixel displays on 13-15" laptops where decent 1920x1200 pixel displays have been available for years. Apparently it makes laptops $300+ cheaper, but is the sub-$500 (i.e. throw away after 1 year) laptop business really even profitable when people pay more than that for an iPad 2? What's next, a low-resolution touchscreen display instead of a real keyboard (Nintendo DS style)?
  • Just like Intel's GHz, most people only buy based on easily understood numbers. Bigger = better. By my understanding, glossy screens are cheaper to produce. Therefore, the user can pay less for their 17" screen. Same with 1080i vs 720p. Another grossly under-reported feature of LCD is the viewing angle. Poor quality screens on bargin laptops are unbelievably terrible. I find that these screens are impossible to configure such that the colors look correct on both the top and bottom of the screen at th

  • Glossy screens are needed to match the glossy plastic cases that most consumer electronics are packaged in these days. This is all part of the latest fad in product design. Remember when everyone was copying the iMac candy colors with translucent plastic bits and pieces a few years ago? Now everyone is copying Apple's current styling. It will fade away once people realize how unsightly that stuff is when it gathers dust.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:20PM (#36220050) Homepage

    Skip the article and just look at the pictures.
    Anti-Glare Matte Screen cover review [notebookreview.com]

  • Why is the industry hell-bent on not giving customers what they want?"

    As the title says, industry knows best. One can use nearly any product that has come out in the last ten years and see the same scenario.

    Windows 7: No way to see every program installed on your PC in one location, twice as many steps to complete simple tasks, making Programs a flat file rather than seeing everything in one shot (sound familiar?).

    Cars: getting rid of stick shifts despite better fuel mileage and better safet
    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Cars: getting rid of stick shifts despite better fuel mileage and better safety

      On mileage, CVT kinda throws a kink in the 'manuals are more efficient' argument. I'm not sure what's particularly safer about a stick shift, though I might buy more reliable on average. I think driving stick is more fun, personally.

  • by bl8n8r ( 649187 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:33PM (#36220184)
    I find that 600 grit carbide emery cloth works great to reduce the glare.  -BOFH
  • Glossy vs. matte is a minor issue compared to the ever-widening aspect ratios. Except for watching movies, the usefulness of a screen is determined by its vertical size. The 4:3 aspect ratio is by far the most useful. 16:10 is dramatically worse. 16:9 is an evil plot to prevent computer users from doing their jobs. Yet, the LCD industry is increasingly cranking out displays that are wider and shorter. The pinnacle of laptop displays was the Thinkpad T60's FlexView (aka IPS) 1600x1200 display. It's al
    • I wish they applied the IPS screens to their "Pro" line of products, the MacBook Pro.... To me, the Macbook Pro is grossly overpriced because its main fault: that crappy TN panel it comes with. The iPad's IPS panel is miles better in comparison.
  • by Anaerin ( 905998 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:35PM (#36220208)

    Glossy screens reflect ambient light back at the same angle at which it hits the screen, which means when there is light shining on them they're next to useless. However, when there isn't direct light, they allow for much deeper blacks and higher contrast.

    Matte screens, on the other hand, scatter ambient light and reflect it back at all angles, thus diminishing the amount of light. So when there's a light shining on them, you can still see the image on-screen. But this also means that all ambient light is reflected back, no matter the direction of the light as it hits the screen, leading to much weaker blacks and less contrast.

    While consumers love the non-reflective nature of matte screens, they prefer the higher contrast and darker black level of a glossy screen much more, and are typically willing to sacrifice occasional reflections for better picture quality.

    I do note, however, that there is a kind of glass that's (almost) entirely non-reflective. Head down to your local picture framing place (Michaels, for certain, has it) and take a look. Quite why this glass/coating isn't in use on LCD screens right now, I have no idea.

    However, there may be a new option on the horizon: Japanese scientists have manufactured a "screen" for projectors that only reflects light beamed on it from a certain angle. So if you have a projector on the floor pointing up, it'll reflect the projector's light out into the room, but not the light from the overhead fluorescent tubes.

    • AR coatings are thin films, often more than one, applied to glass to reduce the reflection. I used to be in optics. The problem is that they are often tuned to variuos wavelengths, and even slight variations across a surface can cause noticable (to the human eye) distortion. You will find that it can be quite expensive (Edmund Scientific sells a 10"x12" sheet for $70), and likely will double the cost of the display in question (that is my gut feeling, so flame away).

      FWIW, I have a macbook pro with the gl

    • I do note, however, that there is a kind of glass that's (almost) entirely non-reflective. Head down to your local picture framing place (Michaels, for certain, has it) and take a look. Quite why this glass/coating isn't in use on LCD screens right now, I have no idea.

      I'm not sure about the picture framing glass, but IIRC most economical anti-reflection coatings are softer than the glass and are susceptible to scratches and/or wear. Since laptop screens get touched a lot more than a picture on the wall, it makes them impractical for that application. Some interesting information about Anti-reflection coating [wikipedia.org] - there are several kinds, and it's an interesting entree into refractive optics, in the thick- and thin-film regimes. There's even some bio-nano-materials techno

  • Well, maybe there's another use for those graphene panels, as they're supposed to be extremely strong, and virtually invisible.

    What I'm slightly confused is why we really need a coating at all. Okay it protects it to a degree, but there's got to be a better material which doesn't scatter or reflect light. Heck, my glasses seem to do a much better job of avoiding reflections.

    Maybe OLED or QLED will reduce the need for a coating?

  • Same reason as LCD / Plasma... in store contrast appearance...

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

    A survey of technical people may say we want matte.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Womens clothing and toys.

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

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

    Children's clothes and pet supplies

    Pharmacy and food

    HBA/fashion (makeup), and food.

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

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

  • by technofix ( 588726 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @03:38PM (#36220932)

    Glossy screens are not a problem as long as you are wearing a black turtleneck.

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @04:24PM (#36221380) Homepage Journal

    When I used to do video and film work years ago, we had something called matte spray or anti-reflective spray.

    We would spray it on anything that was causing reflections during the filming. It was temporary, and could be washed off (I think with alcohol).

    I just did a Google search for "matte spray" and I saw some permanent sprays that are used on photographs. I'd prefer something that I could wash off with alcohol if I didn't like it or if it got dirty. So it would take some research to find the removable stuff.

    But that might be a quick, cheap fix, or at least something to try out.

    (I would however check very carefully first to make sure it didn't hurt the screen and could be cleaned off if you didn't like it. But you knew that.)

    P.S. Be sure not to use matte black paint by mistake.

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