The official 16:9 screen protest thread

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by iGrim, Jun 22, 2009.

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  1. DetlevCM

    DetlevCM Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    That is where you hit a problem - indeed.
    But:
    a) screens would develop no matter what, the only question is how quickly (i.e. a higher resolution in 6 month or 2 years, we can't tell, but within a reasonable timeframe (less than 10 years) I am pretty much certain we will see a much higher screen resolution in small laptops - and if only to make images smoother)

    b) Horizontal pixels determine which "resolution class" the screen falls into, and thus is the only viable option for comparing between those screens.
    You are right if you point out that technological advances are an issue here in that 16:10 is the old generation while 16:9 the new, however 16:9 didn't bring along any improved resolutions and as a such can be nicely compared to the last 16:10 resolutions in terms of resolution classes.

    Your point about reality is a good point - but it's also a bit of a daft argument because screens have become so different.
    A 13,1" Sony Z can have a 1920*1080 screen - what's that scaled up to a 17" in resolution? (And that's the screen it should have)
    At the same time people pointed out you get 15" laptops with 1366*768 pixel screens - there is too much variety. Now you say "same model", originally the Sony Z had 1366*768 & 1600*900 on offer, now it's 1600*900 & 1920*1080 as far as I am aware, just because of a model refresh.
    -> So you can't say that a new 16:10 model would not have been 1650*1080 rather than 1440*900 again.

    The other major point:
    There are always these "creatures" that crave for a "free market economy", at the same time "we" as consumers are getting a technology (or product) effectively stuffed down our throat without choice.
    What do you buy? An old laptop with a better screen or a newer model with better energy consumption? Especially in a laptop key - and newer components = more powerful laptop, in all productive applications (Photography, modelling, CAD, etc.) key.
    -> Can you see a problem? Consumers were never given a choice which screen they wanted.

    What's standard? There are only imperial and metric - imperial is idiotic. Have you ever tried to work out a length? How on earth does one convert imperial measurements? -> They make absolutely no sense at all.
    Have you ever tried to go from inches over feet to yards and then miles? -> I think it's something daft like 12 inch per feet or so, and then?
    It's easier to go inch -> cm -> m/km -> imperial nonsense.

    On this note, science has gone metric :) the only logical measurement.

    Why is metric ideal - all based on base 10.
     
  2. Regnad Kcin

    Regnad Kcin Notebook Evangelist

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    I agree that screens will evolve and it is quite likely that we will see resolution increase and and least some computer out there with some really high, resolution given it's size. What was that baby Sony with the 1600x765 screen, the Y series or something?

    However, baring odd balls like that when we are looking at laptops that could still be considered mainstream we have the likes of Thinkpads, Latitudes etc.

    I don't agree that horizontal resolution is any better thing to standardize on than diagonal size. I can't help but think my older 1600x1200 screen is not really in the same "class" as a 1600x900 screen or the odd ball Sony 1600x768. At the time the 1600x1200 was closes in price and what not to a 1680x1050 screen.

    You are choosing to standardize on horizontal resolution but I wouldn't consider an older 15", 4:3 1600x1200 laptop to be the same size as a 14" 1600x900 8440W even though they both have very similar horizontal screen widths and identical horizontal resolutions. I've also noticed that a 19" 5:4 screen seems much larger than a 18.5" 16:9.

    While I can see why horizontal resolution is one standard we could chose, I think laptop class is as good as any. Yes, even the class of laptop gets blurred. Do we could a 16" 16:9 as a 15.4" replacement that grew or a 17" replacement that shrank? What is the correct replacement for my old 14" or 15" 4:3 computer? Still, based on Dell and HP and Lenovo etc model names I would claim that computers are still divided roughly into classes based on diagonal screen size.

    I do agree that in general the 16:9 move is a loss for consumers and it is possible that had things stayed the same I might have had the option of a 1680x1050 screen in a 14" computer. I would take that over 1600x900 and might trade some portability resolution and go from 15.4" 1920x1200 to this theoretical 14.1" 1680x1050. We just don't know. I do wish that laptops had the modularity of desktops. I like the idea of getting a good monitor even if I don't want to buy a high end computer. My sib has a 15.4" older Dell. The computer is just a P4 mobile and not a fast one at that. It would be nice to keep the UWXGA screen and put that on a new, low end laptop.

    The free market works but in this case the free market said, 16:9 are going to be much cheaper. Most of the market didn't care and 16:10 is basically dead. I do lament that say 1920x1200 monitors are rather rare but it was nice that when 1920x1080 screens came out they were nearly $100 cheaper from the word go. I wish I knew how much of that was due to the extra cost efficiency of the 16:9 vs 16:10 format vs just the normal reduction in display costs.
     
  3. DetlevCM

    DetlevCM Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Well, I think you are slowly heading to out side :)

    -> You say it yourself, you do not consider 1600*1200 to be the same class as 1600*900 -> In terms of useability it isn't, you are right. -> that's the whole point.
    16:10 was only a step down for that very high end resolution 2560*whatever to 2560*1600. All other resolutions were effectively upgraded or had a higher resolution screen to replace them.
    -> Mainly, the lowest regular resolution which was 1024*768 got upgraded to 1280*800.
    So yes, a few professionals had a good reason to complain - but the majority gained.

    The issue you hit now is, that the majority loses - and doesn't gain.
    You also need some metric - and as we discussed earlier, the diagonal is useless. You could state width*height, but that is messy. The horizontal resolution works best for a reason - it's comparable over generations of screens.
    2560*something in 4:3, 2560*1600 in 16:10 and 2560*1440 in 16:9, similarly you can draw up tables for other resolutions.
    1920*something in 4:3, 1920Ü*1200 in 16:10 and 1920*1080 in 16:9.

    It's a standard reference that holds true across generations and avoids the issues other measurements like the diagonal bring (e.g. smaller area the wider the screen in relation to its height).

    And lastly, the market economy:
    The market hasn't decided, a couple of suits in companies have decided they want to increase their profit by a few cents and decided the resolution should be change.
    16:9 and 16:10 were never sold side by side to give the consumer a choice. It's not a free market - it's a socialist economy, and it's even worse because product quality goes down...
    (Look at Poland back in the Communist era, some of the cars are still in use, 20 years after communism fell! - that was a quality product (well taken care off))
    Also, as Blacky pointed out - 16:10 desktop monitors are sold for 30 Pounds more than their 16: counterparts - are we supposed to believe that is the difference in screen production costs? Definitely not - 30 Pounds is possibly what the manufacturer pays to produce an average sized screen (18-20" range) if not less - the 16:10 screens are priced higher on purpose, to make those who need them pay.

    The other problem:
    Manufacturers praise the new screens as "HD" and whathavenot - there are people on this planet who can still read. And as we pointed out a couple of times on earlier pages, when reading or writing code every line counts.
    Same with editing photographs - and simulations benefit from higher resolution screens too.
    There is ZERO reason for 16:9 other than an increased profit margin for companies.
    At this point, coming back to the price argument - electronics get cheaper anyway, there is no benefit with respect to price that you can attribute to the switch to a 16:9 aspect ratio.
    Electronics get cheaper over time as technology advances - not because of a few cents saved in the screen.
     
  4. Regnad Kcin

    Regnad Kcin Notebook Evangelist

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    Well rather than pick horizontal we should pick vertical resolution as the standard. Why is horizontal the standard? That was my point. I decided since we are talking laptops the laptop size (which I referred to as 14" class or 15" class) should be the standard.

    Since you are saying horizontal resolution is the standard metric then a 1600x1200 is supposed to be the same class as 1600x900. The two are just so different that it's not a good comparison. With 4:3 vs widescreen I think we always have that issue. If you have a say 50cm wide spot to place a monitor a 16:9 leaves you with a very narrow screen (or a very tall one in portrait mode). Of course if I have only 40cm vertically but no width limit I think a 16:9 is great.

    When we move to 16:9 vs 16:10 it at least is a better comparison. If we exclude resolution then I prefer 16:10. For desktop screens if I look at what was/is commonly available 16:9 is compelling because it's not hard to get a 1920x1080 for say $150. In a 16:10 range that might get me 1680x1050. At the same time for ~$300 I used to have 1920x1200 in a ~24" screen. Now I get a ~24" screen with less vertical resolution. So I lost out on choice but I must say right at the time of the switch 1080 screens were looking like a good value and a nice way to up the standard resolution of desk screens even if they pulled the carpet out from under the 1920x1200s that I favored.

    BUT in laptops we can't mix and match so I have to call the 14" screens in favor of 16:9 but favor 16:10 for just about every other size because it seemed that 14" was the only size that gained pixels with the new aspect ratio. I don't see horizontal resolution as a good metric and you haven't convinced me that I should reconsider. I don't think diagonal is a great measure either but really I would consider it just as good as horizontal pixel count (presumably combined with some measure that relates back to pixel size).

    16:9 and 16:10 most certainly were sold side by side. It wasn't like one day Best Buy cleared all 16:10 monitors from their shelves and replaced them with 16:9s. Dell didn't switch all laptops to 16:9 one Saturday night. The change happened over a period of time. Even today you can still buy a 16:10 Windows laptop from Lenovo (the T410 is still available new). Dell didn't say I could have the newest Latitude in either 16:9 or 16:10 so in that regard you are right but when we bought the 8440w the choice was a 16:10 T410 or the 16:9 8440w. In that case we got the 8440w in part because it WAS a 1600x900 screen vs a 1440x900.

    I didn't say I knew how much extra it cost to make a 16:10 screen. I do know that before when the 1920x1080 screens came out we saw a quick and sharp drop in price when comparing a 24" 1920x1200 to the 23.5" 1920x1080 (roughly equal pixel pitch). We got less screen but for something like $250 vs $350 which is what the older, higher resolution screens cost at the time. We decided the extra 120 pixels wasn't worth the money. However, I can't tell you if the cost difference was because the screen was slightly smaller, or because 16:9 is that much cheaper to make or because some new manufacturing technology cam out but the LCD makers weren't using it on older models. I wish I knew how much savings we were really talking about.

    You are preaching to the quire when it comes to "HD" not being as good as 1920x1200. When I do coding (not much but some) I really want that extra vertical. When I do CAD is sometimes doesn't mater as much. When I have two models side by side it makes almost no difference.

    Finally, you are wrong about "ZERO" reason other than increased profit margins for companies. That isn't how this works. If Apple were the only computer maker and they switch and didn't pass the savings on to us you would be right. However, we the consumers are seeing the savings. Cheap computers cost less because the screens are cheaper. The LCD makers are selling screens to the OEMs for less. That means the LCD makers aren't keeping all the savings. The OEMs are charging less for the laptops so $500 delivers more computer than it did not long ago. How is it that we can buy a surprisingly decent laptop for $400? It's because everyone in the supply chain is constantly figuring out how to save a few pennies. There never was a single break through that let us drop laptops from $2000 in say 1997 to $400 today. That happened because everyone in the chain figures out how to save money. The 16:9 screen does benefit the consumer in terms of price. Perhaps it only saves $10 on a low buck notebook but that is still a savings and the market has spoken.
     
  5. DetlevCM

    DetlevCM Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    -> The selling argument isn't entirely valid as the 16:9 screens are newer. Even if the 16:10 screens are still made, they will generally not have any other benefits of newer screens, e.g. larger gamut, better viewing angles etc.

    Same with laptops - the fact that you can buy something new doesn't mean it contains the newest components.

    -> And computer costs: Again, it's not the screen - electronics are generally getting cheaper (and worse in quality).
    Yes, you can buy rubbish for 400$ nowadays and then 6 months later people discard it because it broke or they want something better - it's a broken system.
     
  6. Regnad Kcin

    Regnad Kcin Notebook Evangelist

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    You are right and I said as much. I specifically said we don't know how much of the cost advantage was due to better manufacturing technology vs the savings specifically related to the claimed 16:9 manufacturing savings. All I can say is that 16:9 desktop screens were quite a bit cheaper.

    As for laptop cost, it's not just the electronics that are getting cheaper. EVERYTHING in the computer is getting cheaper. Talk to the LCD component makers (I have) they have schedules for dropping the price of key screen components. The screen isn't the only place where money is saved by it is one area.

    Yes, some aspects of laptops are just cheaper (as in junkier) while other bits are cheaper (as in more cost effective). I would say LED back lighting and most of the chips are cheaper but better. I mean an Atom N280 is more powerful than the CPU in my first laptop yet uses far less power yet I bet it will last just as long. On the other hand the cheap laptops often don't feel as well built as the Compaq I was using in 1998. The 1998 model had pop out feet to change rake the keyboard. Even Apple doesn't have that now.

    BTW, I bought a clearance HP for $350 in 2007. It has been very reliable and held up well.
     
  7. DetlevCM

    DetlevCM Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    There you go - but this point pretty much removes the cost argument unless we can get specific data on the cost savings.
    -> Additionally, we also do not know about a lot of other factors, for example, have retailers increased prices of 16:10 screens because they fear consumers will not buy them etc.

    -> The other question is, should we sacrifice usability to profit?

    And on computer - I know that my 6 year old laptop has a CPU about 4 times as powerful as the first Atoms... -> Atoms for me are a step back and pointless technology.
    Maybe in a few years they catch up with the technology of a few years ago, by which time they are outdated again.

    -> Ultra Low Voltage CPUs are another matter though - they are meant for long battery life, and still significantly more powerful than any Atom every will be.
     
  8. booboo12

    booboo12 Notebook Prophet

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    Never, personally, for me usability comes first and I'm willing to spend a reasonable premium to get it. If it means buying slightly outdated technology (EG, not buying the newest generation latitude and going back one to a E6410 in order to get a proper screen) then so be it.

    Companies can choose to "conform" to save as much money as they want. In the end I'll vote with my wallet and buy from makers who meet my needs.:)
     
  9. Regnad Kcin

    Regnad Kcin Notebook Evangelist

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    Well we no longer demand feet that rake the keyboards on our laptops. We accept that not all laptops have pointing sticks. We accept keyboard layouts that require us to press "Fn+somekey" to do things like page up and page down. We accept many things that don't help usability. Why do we put up with gloss screens when more expensive matte screens match the color quality yet don't have reflection issues. Why do we accept manufactures even selling lower powered CPUs and graphics cards? We accept it because we save money. We may not understand the full extent of every little change but the fact is we accept these things to save money. Saving the consumer's money IS a good thing. When I got my $350 laptop it was a killer clearance deal that I couldn't replicate. The more typical price for that same system was $450-500. Now I can get a surprisingly decent system for $350 just about every day.

    I don't like that we have no choice but to move to 16:9 screens. I also don't like that more and more manufactures are moving from keyboard layouts similar to older Thinkpads and Latitudes with a block of 6 keys (insert, delete, home, end, up, down) in the upper right corner. Instead PC makers are going for the more stylish but less usable layouts. We see the same thing with flat topped keys that look better but don't type better. Oh well. We can protest and sometimes they will listen, sometimes not. That said, if someone out there has a loaded Thinkpad W520 they would like to trade for a WUXGA M4400, let me know :D
     
  10. Indrek

    Indrek Notebook Virtuoso

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    I'd pick WXGA+. The extra 160 horisontal pixels that HD+ offers would be completely useless to me.
     
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