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Grim's rants...

LCD monitor design fail

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Why are computer monitors getting wider and shorter? Anyone?

It appears that monitor manufacturers have been bamboozled by *someone* into thinking that all we care about is watching HD content on our computers. I can count the number of movies I've watched on my computer on my fingers... actually, I could limit that to my thumbs. When I want to watch a movie, I put it on a 52" flatscreen and listen to the sound in proper 5.1 surround.

I don't know about you, but I still use my computer for surfing the 'net, reading and composing email, writing documents, scheduling, and so on. All things that work better if you increase the vertical resolution - and, oddly enough, benefit very little if at ALL from horizontal resolution. Ever wonder why newspapers are written in columns? It's because there has been a lot of really expensive research that proves we read faster, with better comprehension, in tall, thin, sections. (The exception to all this is project management - Microsoft Project is the only product I've found that actually benefits greatly from increased horizontal space.)

My old 19" CRT ran at 1600 x 1200, and was pretty good at it. My, now old, Acer 24" LCD runs at 1920 x 1200. Marginal improvement. Virtually everything I look at these days that's 24" is 1920 x 1080. Folks, that's a DOWNGRADE. Hell, the last Acer 27" I looked at ran at 1920 x 1080 too... that's just plain ridiculous. Even Apple is drinking the same Kool-Aid, their 27" monitor is 2560 x 1440 - at least they did squeeze in some extra vertical pixel real estate, however, this doesn't get them entirely out of hot water in my book.

To compound the problem, the guys writing computer software are further reducing the useful area of my monitor. Windows, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Word - all these put the menus and toolbars at the top and the bottom of the screen, taking away another couple hundred of my useful pixels! These guys should look into moving their menus to the side, but that's a topic for another rant.

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Comments

  1. emiliorescigno's Avatar
    Once you install it, you will never go back.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5890/
  2. GrimJack's Avatar
    That is a pretty awesome plugin for FF, dude. Thanks for the link!
  3. emiliorescigno's Avatar
    No problem, my roommate showed it to me and I've been hooked since. I frequently browse with 10+ tabs open, and when they start getting crammed across the top, they're just about impossible to see what each one is. Moving it to the side not only makes all the different tabs WAY more easy to differentiate, but also manages to capitalize on this new widescreen LCD trend. They're not going away, so I guess we should make the best of it.
  4. emiliorescigno's Avatar
    Actually, the same roommate has 3 19" Widescreen LCDs, this same thing bothers him, so we came up with a solution. One of the 3 monitors now has a custom-made stand that holds it vertically, so it has an insane vertical pixel count. We regularly use it to write in C++ or read articles - super useful!
  5. Poodles's Avatar
    I watch movies and TV on my PC all the time. But, I will agree with what you're talking about. It's why I often use the cool Windows 7 feature where you can put 2 windows side by side. Also, for gaming, a widescreen rez is an advantage in most FPS games.
  6. FIL's Avatar
    I watch movies on the laptop... the only 'desktop' at home is on the loungeroom floor for file storage and hooked up to the TV and stereo for when we want to watch movies...

    When I finally buy a big LCD, it'll be to process photos on, which I currently do on a 15" laptop... And I'm talking a big LCD... 24" or bigger, with the highest resolution possible... Until then, I'll just keep plugging away with the laptop, zooming in to check detail whenever I need to... The main thing a big screen would do for me is to speed up the quick sorting of photos... Working on the laptop lets me sort them during my lunch break and at the track, so it's got it's advantages over a desktop setup...

    Oh, and to add to the list of stuff that benefits from a wider monitor, Adobe's Lightroom. The images themselves are wide enough to start with, but then LR has a pop out menu on both sides of the screen... Most of the time they're hidden away, but with a wider monitor you could leave the menu you're using open instead of sliding it away to check the image...
  7. GrimJack's Avatar
    Good point on the lightroom - Corel Draw has the same kind of feature, where the main doc you are working on stays unobstructed even when you have a bunch of tool popouts open on the side.
  8. zambini's Avatar
    monitor aspect ratios that feature a long horizontal proportion are for digital editing software: adobe programs, ( photoshop, illustrator, web design, flash animation, etc) as well as Cad, and other 2d and 3d modeling/ editing programs with complex interfaces featuring lots of tools (brushes, selection tools, etc.) and shelves (layers, levels, views, multiple in-program windows, etc.)

    complex program interfaces require lots of shelves and palletes, which in turn take up lots of space. if all of the tools for editing can be docked on the sides of the monitor, LEAVING a 4:3 aspect ratio of CLEAN WORK SPACE, improved workflow is achieved.
  9. bioskyline's Avatar
    if you can run dual monitors, simply stack one on top of the other, or roate it 90 degress for a real tall and skinny one
    Updated November 7th, 2010 at 08:15 PM by bioskyline (typos)
  10. micheesupra's Avatar
    What is making me mad is I buy a 55 inch wide screen tv and every movie I watch has a black bar at the top and bottom. Damn it seems I bought a wide screen just in time for them to make a wider screen.
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