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Toshiba's new LCD makes 30-inch LCDs and wallets weep

Typically, the highest resolution seen for LCD computer monitors comes from the 30-inch variety sporting 2560 x 1600 like the recently announced Gateway XHD3000.

Toshiba decided that 2560 x 1600 just isn’t high enough and announced a 22.2-inch TFT color LCD boasting a headache inducing QUXGA-W screen resolution of 3840 x 2400 resolution.

Unfortunately, the other specifications for the display aren’t nearly as interesting as the resolution. The brightness is only 235 cd/m2; most high-end displays feature brightness in excess of 300 nits. The contrast ratio is 300:1 and the display can produce 16.7 million colors. Viewing angles are simply abysmal at 120 degrees horizontal and 100 degrees vertical.

Toshiba advertises that it will sell the display for 2,079,000 yen, or approximately $18,000 USD. Toshiba also lists a required video card at a price of 312,000 yen or about $2,700 USD, though most high-end video cards today should have no problem supporting ultra-dense resolution -- but don't expect a casual game of Crysis at that resolution.

Toshiba's insane price tag likely has to do with the fact that there are no production lines capable of producing LCD substrates with such high resolutions.  Such high resolutions only come from experimental facilities from NEC and Toshiba for medical imaging displays.

The ship date for the display is Q2 2008. With a small 22.2-inch screen size and a mega resolution of 3840 x 2400 it would seem reading text on the display would be very difficult. Many users complain 2560 x 1600 on a 30-inch display makes text too small.

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Text Size
By PrimarchLion on 11/2/2007 6:56:08 PM , Rating: 6
|xxxxxxxxxx| <----Text size on 24" 1920x1200
|xxxx xxxxx|
Text size on 22.2" 3840x2400

RE: Text Size
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 11/3/2007 10:46:54 AM , Rating: 2
Extra points for creativity :)

RE: Text Size
By GeorgeOrwell on 11/3/2007 3:40:27 PM , Rating: 5
The drawing is wrong. What was not mentioned by the author of this article is that the monitor is likely a placeholder to get Toshiba a stake in the upcoming high density display (HiD) market.

Text on a HiD display is not drawn using a fixed number of display pixels, but rather " visible units", so that a small font will actually contain many more pixels, making it easier to see than the equivalent font on a lower resolution monitor. The additional pixels give each letter, each font, greater visual density, making reading the screen more like reading paper. It is easier on the eyes.

Hence we would have (22" HiD on left, 24" 19x12 on right):

|xxxxxxxxxx| |x x x x x |
|xxxxxxxxxx| | x x x x x|
|xxxxxxxxxx| |x x x x x |
|xxxxxxxxxx| | x x x x x|
|xxxxxxxxxx| |x x x x x |
|xxxxxxxxxx| | x x x x x|
|xxxxxxxxxx| |x x x x x |
|xxxxxxxxxx| | x x x x x|
|xxxxxxxxxx| |x x x x x |
|xxxxxxxxxx| | x x x x x|

(physical width of each column is roughly equivalent, but not drawn properly here due to lack of a fixed width font and text processing done by the messaging system)

One can see that the number of pixels available to draw clearly, in the same space, is much higher on the HiD monitor vs. the lower density displays available today.

To help understand how this works, one partial analogy is sub-pixel rendering, i.e. ClearType and others. With ClearType, the individual color sub-pixels that make each LCD pixel are rendered in a manner that makes anti-aliasing work better. Now consider that you can not only keep doing this, but that you have twice as many pixels available.

Another analogy is 600 dpi laser printer vs. 300 dpi laser. Text is not drawn on the laser using physical pixels, but outlines. These outlines are much smoother and easier to see on a 600 dpi printer vs. a 300 dpi model.

Anyone who has used an older HiD (Viewsonic, IBM) knows just how amazingly clear a PDF is on this sort of HiD display. The first time seeing images that look like print, but on the screen, is quite sublime.

In the next few years, we will see HiD expanding into the market. Eventually, over a longer time period, HiD will be commonplace for "knowledge workers". The monitors we have today are not really suited for anything beyond games and television. Manufacturers will continue to market low resolution displays to the vast numbers of people who mainly play games and watch videos and occasionally use their computers for something beyond entertainment.

RE: Text Size
By omnicronx on 11/3/2007 4:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
Good post, very informative

RE: Text Size
By GaryJohnson on 11/3/2007 11:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
Text on a HiD display is not drawn using a fixed number of display pixels, but rather " visible units", so that a small font will actually contain many more pixels, making it easier to see than the equivalent font on a lower resolution monitor.

That's entirely dependent on the application the text is in, not the monitor, is it not?

RE: Text Size
By caqde on 11/5/2007 2:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
... Well yes and no... In windows text is a fixed size. In a video or movie it is scaled. So unless the monitor is upscaling to the Resolution from another the text is going to be the size that he stated it would be.

If you want to understand what I am saying change your computers resolution and notice the text going up and down in size along with everything else.

But since this is a 1600x1200 resolution displayed using 4pixels like below where each pixel from the computer is represented using 4pixels instead of one.

|X X | |XXXX|
| | |XXXX|
|X X | |XXXX|
| | |XXXX|

In the case of this monitor a resolution given to it of 1024x768 would come out as 2048x1536

RE: Text Size
By lemonadesoda on 11/28/2007 6:26:42 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. Try going into display settings and setting your fonts to "120dpi" instead of "96dpi". When you up the resolution, you can up the dpi, so that MORE PIXELS are used to render the font. And it looks much better.

RE: Text Size
By kmmatney on 11/4/2007 8:55:47 AM , Rating: 2
Pixel size ~0.12 mm...

RE: Text Size
By inperfectdarkness on 11/6/2007 4:19:49 PM , Rating: 1
i ran 1920x1440 on an NEC 22" for 5 years. text is no problem, you just have to adjust the font sizes.

i can't wait to get my hands on something like this. 22" is sufficient for my personal computing needs...i'm just a resolution junky.

it's shit like this which makes me laugh at the fanboi's who think the ps3 & 360 are so great because of "hi-def". 1080p is like 8 bit graphics compared to this stuff.

i'm jumping with both feet on the first mainstream SLI graphics solution that can run this resolution in gaming at 60+ fps w/ AA & AS.

RE: Text Size
By Quiescent on 11/6/2007 9:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but it's excellent for when you need to work with programs that require all that space such as Photoshop, 3d modelers, and programs such as Fruity Loops Studio. ;)

I'd get the monitor, but that's way too expensive for me. I'll stick with the old CRTs that support that high resolution I need.

Good to see a higher resolution desktop screen
By Johnmcl7 on 11/3/2007 8:04:10 AM , Rating: 3
I find it irritating that desktop screens are comparatively low resolution compared to notebook screens, whereas I can have a 15.4 and 17 inch 1920x1200 screen you have to go up to 23 inches to get that same resolution on a desktop screen.

Of course I realise this is not realistically a production panel and something I'll never be able to buy sadly.


By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 11/3/2007 10:47:58 AM , Rating: 3
Oddly enough the panel manufacturers cite lack of demand as the largest reason for not introducing those panels.

RE: Good to see a higher resolution desktop screen
By johnsonx on 11/3/2007 12:51:13 PM , Rating: 3
precisely; very few consumers want such displays. They used to sell 19" 1600x1200 displays, and maybe 17" too (I don't recall for sure), and end-user reaction was almost universally horrible. No doubt panel manufacturers would like to make laptop and desktop displays from similarly spec'ed panels, but if no one will buy them (or worse, buy them, then complain, return them, etc.) then they have nothing to gain by making them.

Ironically, now that such high-res displays are gone, we have Windows Vista that could make good use of the higher resolution. Tuning XP for larger fonts, etc. was always a crap-shoot, but Vista appears to deal with it much better. Alas, the displays are gone, so it's a moot point.

RE: Good to see a higher resolution desktop screen
By jak3676 on 11/3/2007 9:16:27 PM , Rating: 3
I think this is largly because of how close to the laptop screen people sit, relative to how close they sit to a desktop monitor. I'm perfectly happy with my 13.3" 1280x800 laptop screen, but I haven't had a 13" screen on my desktop since 1993. Once you get past about 20", you actually have to start pushing the monitor further away on your desktop or else you end up looking like you're watching tennis match when you're just reading a document.

By BZDTemp on 11/4/2007 11:08:48 AM , Rating: 2
It may be you feel like at a tennis match with a big screen but try using it differently - like say having a document you edit on the left at a browser on the right used for research. One can do the same with two screens but one big is better.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that monitors will someday came close to what we take for granted when printing but I know it will be a long wait.

By hannibal the mechanical bull on 11/6/2007 9:49:19 AM , Rating: 2
LOL - very true (pans to the left)

By Flunk on 11/9/2007 12:23:38 PM , Rating: 2
You have a point there. After I have been using my notebook for a few minutes I really don't notice the difference in size between it's 14.1" screen and my 19" monitor on my desktop machine. I don't know why anyone would really need a >20" monitor.

By miahallen on 11/4/2007 6:01:05 AM , Rating: 4
Viewsonic made a display with these specs a few years ago, the VP2290b: You can still find them here and there on ebay for $1000-1500.

Trusted reviews checked it out back in June 2004

As far as I am concerned the ViewSonic VP2290b out performs every LCD I’ve come across to date specifically when image quality is paramount. It’s simply awesome for static image manipulation and when married up to the 256MB Matrox Parhelia HR256 graphics board, there’s little to touch it. And to all the gamers and movie viewers out there you should look elsewhere – it’s simply not intended for you with its 50ms response time . The only issue is cost. At £4,641.25 for the VP2290b and £1761.33 for the Parhelia HR256, this setup is clearly the preserve of the well funded research institute or the individual with more than a passing interest in detailed imagery.

It uses the same panel, so results should be similar.

By Macungah on 11/7/2007 3:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
Everyone goes "OMG I want!"
Then everyone realizes the obscene price.
With $18,000, you could buy a lot of 20-something inch monitors with 1680x1050 resolution, which is probably a lot more useful than one monitor with a gratuitous amount of pixels.

What for?
By timmiser on 11/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: What for?
By daftrok on 11/2/2007 6:40:48 PM , Rating: 5
Medical examinations of X-rays and whatnot.

RE: What for?
By AsicsNow on 11/2/2007 7:03:52 PM , Rating: 3
There is no such thing as too high for text applications. That is a really naive statement. Text can be scaled very easily considering fonts are vector based. Also any webpage coded worth a damn should be using very little image based text aside from logos and possibly a few buttons. There is very little reason to have lower resolution displays over higher resolution, but plenty of reasons you might want a higher resolution display. One reason I'd love to have a display that large is for image editing. It'd be really nice to have a 100% scaled version of high res images fit completely on reasonably sized desktop/laptop monitor. Something of this resolution could show a full 10-12 megapixel image (which is about the highest that our current lens technology can handle without having the physics of lens limit the resolution).

RE: What for?
By wrekd on 11/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: What for?
By boogle on 11/3/2007 1:27:32 PM , Rating: 4
Something of this resolution could show a full 10-12 megapixel image (which is about the highest that our current lens technology can handle without having the physics of lens limit the resolution).

Erm, standard negative film (35mm) can be scanned at 20-30 megapixel. Medium format (6x4.5") can be scanned up to 120-130 megapixel. This is without using a drum scanner.

Why is this important? Well, if the lens limited you to 10-12 MP, we wouldn't care about the extra resolution. Canon wouldn't have a 21MP digital SLR (1DS Mark III - and Medium Format would be thoroughly pointless. Quite frankly, we're no where near the limit of what glass can do. Lenses haven't really improved in quality for 10 years or so, zoom lenses on the other hand is where all the R&D is going and this is fantastic because the latest zooms really are approaching the quality of a good prime.

I have found a good comparison here:
I know it's Ken Rockwell, but it just shows how we're far more limited by the sensor (possibly even the film) in a camera than the lens. The Canon 5D uses a 12mp 35mm sensor.

Don't just assume just because your £20 lens attached to your compact doesn't have great resolution, that a £5000 prime doesn't either.

As for resolution with text - I beg to differ. Most computer graphics are designed around a DPI of 72-100 ( Regardless of whether the OS can scale the fonts properly, the applications have to support it too (many use their own internal font engines, especially any using Qt or GTK). Additionally any graphics will shrink radically due to the ludicrously high DPI of this screen - and there are more of those than you might think. Windows also doesn't handle DPIs over 100 particularly well... This monitor is very much a niche (and probably a PR) product.

Let's say you did display a 10MP image on it - you won't be able to clearly see every detail anyway. The DPI is so high that dust specs, or any other imperfections will be so small you'll not even notice them. You'll end up zooming in on the image anyway (which you wouldn't have to do on a 30") making the $18,000 purchase (or assuming it was the price of a standard 22" - the monitor that destroyed your eyesight) a bit of a waste.

Oh yeah - congrats to Toshiba nonetheless, it's mighty impressive especially if there aren't any dead pixels / sub-pixels.

RE: What for?
By Zoomer on 11/4/2007 6:25:29 PM , Rating: 2
I think he means the crappy lens on consumer p&s cameras, not the white L lenses. ;)

RE: What for?
By Quiescent on 11/6/2007 9:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
Additionally any graphics will shrink radically due to the ludicrously high DPI of this screen - and there are more of those than you might think. Windows also doesn't handle DPIs over 100 particularly well... This monitor is very much a niche (and probably a PR) product.

It doesn't shrink that dramatically. My boyfriend has a 21 inch monitor which supports 2048x1536. Yeah the text is small, but the pictures don't shrink that badly. And it's excellent for image editing as the person said. I already posted this before, but really the amount of resolution needed is ideally great for programs which things inside them consume much of the resolution that I even have, such as Fruity Loops Studio. I just never have enough space. Sure the suggestion of several monitors may come handy, but only if you physically have the space for so many monitors in the room you currently house your computer in. I wouldn't mind reading the small text and if you haven't noticed: There are tools in which you can 'magnify' the text. Many programs support the idea of enlarging text anyways. There is really no problem with using higher resolution. The problems you state can be easily fixed. Saying that using them for image editing is stupid means you're wrong.

Now I do agree with you about his wrongfully stated megapixel limit. However, perhaps he was talking about home use and not professional, expensive ware. I don't see myself going out and spending more than $1000 on a camera any time soon.

RE: What for?
By mindless1 on 11/5/2007 2:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
Those are grand ideals, which in practice are just plain wrong. Many many many many many apps and webpages don't scale well even if you think they "should".

yes, of course ideally a monitor would be such a gosh darn golly high resolution we can't even tell we're looking at a monitor anymore but there are practical considerations and the fact is, people will monitors already higher than average resolution are already finding this frequently problematic.

RE: What for?
By timmiser on 11/5/2007 1:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
Also any webpage coded worth a damn should be using very little image based text aside from logos and possibly a few buttons.

You don't get out much on the Internet with a high resolution monitor, do you?

By bplewis24 on 11/2/2007 6:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
Over/Under on Frames Per Second that at this resolution on Crysis (if it supported it) on an Aurora ALX Alienware desktop:

7 fps


RE: Over/Under
By xsilver on 11/3/2007 11:21:43 AM , Rating: 2
with full AA/AF High quality @ 3800x2400
I would say WAY under.

In fact I would think it would be closer to 0.7 fps than 7 fps

RE: Over/Under
By fk49 on 11/3/2007 12:43:54 PM , Rating: 5
Nah, it would probably be negative -7 fps. You would actually go backwards as you tried to walk forward.

RE: Over/Under
By CBone on 11/5/2007 1:07:58 AM , Rating: 2
Why would you turn on AA? At that resolution, there wouldn't be any jaggies.

RE: Over/Under
By hannibal the mechanical bull on 11/6/2007 9:51:53 AM , Rating: 2
because you can!!!

I think there might be some jaggies, I see them at 1/2 the res (1900x1200) adding 2x the dimentions to both poles would not make them dissapear, just be 1/2 as pronounced.

RE: Over/Under
By SlyNine on 11/8/2007 3:42:49 PM , Rating: 2
7 minutes a frame lol.

Go Big or Go Home
By HammerStrike on 11/3/2007 12:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
Toshiba commercial display unit has had a 56" 3840x2160 out for a few years:

While the pixel pitch is .324, it does boast 500 nits and 1200:1 contrast ratio.

I work in B2B sales at Best Buy and, if I recall, these things listed at around $65K, but that was a few years ago. I wouldn't be suprised if you could get them around the $20K-$30K mark now. Still expensive, but compared to the $18K for the 22" unit it is not that bad, asusming the pixel pitch is not an issue.

RE: Go Big or Go Home
By Odeen on 11/3/2007 1:52:26 PM , Rating: 5
I've said it before and I will say it again.

Pixel pitch on a digital (fixed-pixel) display is a non-issue. That is, pixel pitch is a direct function of the size and resolution of the display. For instance, having a pixel pitch of .255mm will result in a 20" 1600x1200 screen. If you were to stretch the screen to 21", the dot pitch would grow to .270mm.

Resolution * Pixel Pitch = Screen Size.

Larger pixel pitch = larger screen with same resolution, or same size screen with lower resolution.

.324mm pixel pitch is not an issue, it's simply a function of a 56" screen with that given resolution.

The reason you THINK that high pixel pitch is bad is that it WAS the case with CRT monitors. CRT's are analog, and they could technically display ANY resolution up to the limits of their electronics.

So, instead of a fixed relationship (screen size = pixel pitch * resolution), you had this:
Screen Size * Dot Pitch = Resolution * Blur
Here, a finer dot pitch resulted in sharper pictures, given the same screen size and resolution.

Fortunately, we now have fixed-pixel displays with no geometry problems and perfect sharpness, regardless of dot pitch.

RE: Go Big or Go Home
By ebakke on 11/3/2007 3:03:26 PM , Rating: 1
That was helpful

2160p at its finest
By daftrok on 11/2/2007 6:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
But it would have been nice if it was a 30 inch screen. Is it LED backlit?

RE: 2160p at its finest
By BladeVenom on 11/2/2007 6:41:28 PM , Rating: 5
Would you buy one if it was?

Which Graphics Card is Needed?
By Assimilator87 on 11/2/2007 7:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't say in the article and current ones don't support that resolution. They only go up to 2560x1600.

RE: Which Graphics Card is Needed?
By Azured on 11/4/2007 10:19:47 AM , Rating: 2
Just for fun I did a search on newegg for 3840x2400 capable video cards, and this is the list:

Strangely, the 8600 series is on the list, but otherwise it's only Quadro and FireGL. I wouldn't take this as an exhaustive list of video cards that support that res., most likely newegg has quite a few errors on their specifications.

By hannibal the mechanical bull on 11/6/2007 10:08:29 AM , Rating: 2
"supporting" that res and supporting it bug free may be 2 diff issues as well.

DPI scaling
By raskren on 11/3/2007 10:46:20 AM , Rating: 3
Has anyone ever wondered what that "DPI Scaling" feature is in Windows XP and Windows Vista?

This is what it is for.

Crank up the DPI to compensate for the pixel desnsity of this display and you will have text (and some graphics) that are just as big as a normal monitor and much sharper.

RE: DPI scaling
By johnsonx on 11/3/2007 12:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
As I mentioned above, it doesn't work nearly as well in XP as it does in Vista. Now that all the high-res displays are gone, we have Vista...

Similar to older IBM unit
By sdsdv10 on 11/3/2007 8:50:52 AM , Rating: 2
For those who remember, IBM release a monitor with similar resolution back in 2000/2001. It was called the T220/T221.

Interesting thing is, the original selling price was the same $18K as listed here.

By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 11/3/2007 10:46:29 AM , Rating: 2
I think NEC is the one supplying those high resolution panels. There's probably a set price for everyone.

$18,000 may be a little too much for what you get
By wingless on 11/4/2007 8:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
I do believe that $18,000 can get you a much better computer setup with a monitor larger than 22.2" that any high end home user would be more than satisfied with. I do believe that even professional CG artists can attain a high end monitor and complete system for less than this amount. I do believe Toshiba is wrong for pricing this monitor at such a high cost.

By Zoomer on 11/4/2007 6:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
$18k is peanuts to a corporation big and profitable enough, especially if the users push out a few studies about how the cost can be recouped in 2 years.

How many bad pixels to return?
By bupkus on 11/3/2007 4:35:23 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know if I would even see a bad pixel.

By Gholam on 11/3/2007 3:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
IBM T221 is reborn, with pretty much the same specs. Considering that it was initially released at $18000 and eventually went down to $8400, any word on price for this one? Hope it doesn't take two video cards to drive :)

i guess
By DeepBlue1975 on 11/3/2007 8:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
These are meant for designers and fotographers, rather than normal users.

Some 9mp in a single screen is simply awesome por hi res photo viewing.

Future of DVI?
By Nobear on 11/4/2007 2:12:28 PM , Rating: 2
First, as was pointed out above, this display doesn't seem like any new feat compared to the 2001 IBM display.

Second, I assume it connects with two dual-link DVI connectors or something. Isn't that necessary to get a near-decent refresh rate with this resolution?

So what's the future of DVI? Or the next interface standard? It seems impractical to make something like quad link DVI, and it would only double the bandwidth. Does anyone know of an upcoming digital display interface that can support much higher bandwidth? One that might allow both far higher resolutions at good refresh rates, and maybe higher bit depth color for HDR displays?

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