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Re: Monitor question

Dne, 28. 12. 2010 08:24:22 je George napisal(a):

If you do your work in text mode, why do you want a widescreen monitor? Widescreen is good for films but horrible when it comes to reading, which is
what you normally use your computer for.

It's also horrible for web browsing, and for many other tasks. It actually only has two uses I can think of: widescreen movies and side-by-side document viewing. Given that movies are best viewed on large TV sets anyway, the usefulness of widescreen computer monitors is further reduced to just side-by-side document viewing. Arguably, even for that task, dual-head setups are better.

Why is it then that the widescreen standard has taken over the computer market so preponderously? Well, forcing the widescreen format allows the manufacturers to charge us the *same* amount of money for a *reduced* screen real estate. It's all about marketing (also called indoctrination, or brainwashing): making buyers gladly accept less bang for the buck. Sadly, as many times before, we, the consumers, have allowed them to force this new obnoxiousness upon us without moving a finger.

Let me give examples which will hopefully corroborate my assertions (the numbers given are however just illustrations and far from accurate).

The widescreen fad allows a vendor to make a LCD panel having the overall area of a 15" classic panel (roughly), and market it as a 19" monitor. To get (roughly) the same vertical size as with a classic 32" TV, you now have to buy a 42" widescreen TV set. Of course, a 42" widescreen TV is much wider than a classic 32", no arguing with that: it may also be seen as a "widened" 32" TV, a 32" TV expanded with two additional lateral "bands". Incidentally, a figure of 42 is also a lot more impressive (and easier to market) than a humble 32.

Maximum laptop width is limited -- by ergonomic and other factors -- roughly to ca. 40 cm. Well, with the widescreen format, that limitation allows a far smaller screen real estate than classic 4:3 screens did. In other words, the usefulness of laptops for serious display-dependent work has arguably *decreased* over the last decade or so. This trend is further enhanced with laptops progressively becoming more convenient, and more of a "toy" than a "work tool".

About a decade ago, the absolute minimum resolution for LCD laptop screens was 1024x768. Finding 800x600 laptops was becoming increasingly difficult, and the standard was moving toward higher resolutions, such as 1600x1200 etc. A decade later, additionally spurred by the netbook fad, the absolute minimum is again set back to around 1024x600 or less, with entry-level laptops generally having a meagre 1360x768 resolution. Compare these numbers to, say, CPU speeds or hard drive capacities over the same period, and tell me the LCD marketing guys aren't sheer geniuses!

Of course, this is strictly my personal, and quite biased, point of view.


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