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Thin is in, again

This week at the 2006 Korea Electronics Show, Samsung showed off a 17-inch AMOLED that was only 12mm thick -- the panel itself is only 1.8mm thick. Being one of the thinnest in the world, the display is based on organic LED technology and produces brightness and image quality to LCD displays available today. This display is able to run at 1600x1200 resolution, which is the sweet spot for many of today's larger format displays. At 17-inches however, 1600x1200 may be a bit too much for some.

Performance for the new AMOLED screen also appears to be excellent. Pixel response time is rated at an extremely fast 0.01ms. The screen has a constrat ratio of 1000:1 and a brightness rating at 400cd/m2. In terms of specifications, both constrat and brightness appear to be on par with most of today's popular LCD panels, which indicates that AMOLED technology definitely has room for maturity. Full specifications are as follows:
  • Screen size: 345.6 x 259.2mm
  • Aspect ratio: 4:3
  • Viewing angle: >170 degrees
  • Resolution: 1600 x 1200 (UXGA)
  • Pixel pitch: 216um
  • Response time: 0.01ms
  • Colors: 262,144
  • Brightness: 400cd/m2
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1
One of the current limitations appear to be the color support of the screen, supporting only 262K colors instead of the millions of colors of today's LCDs. The other issue is that most consumers expect screens to be produced in a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio these days. The 4:3 aspect ratio is definitely on the way out.

Despite a few needed improvemnts, it's clear that AMOLED technology holds a great deal of promise. Thin products are becoming the norm and TVs and displays being thin are no exception.

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By RyanM on 10/22/2006 10:28:46 PM , Rating: 4
"At 17-inches however, 1600x1200 may be a bit too much for some."

Shut up, shut up, shut up. Don't even let these guys think that. I'm sick and fscking tired of the 90 to 100 pixel per inch crap we've had to put up with on computer LCDs since they've been making them.

I *WANT* an LCD that can EXCEED the resolution of my CRT. I'm running a 23" viewable HP A7217A widescreen CRT at 2176 x 1360. I'd be running it at a higher resolution (2560 x 1600, maybe) if the monitor could output it clearly enough, but sadly it can't.

That's 115 ppi give or take, and my idea would be about 120 to 125. It's about freakin' time these companies starting putting out LCDs that could display graphic design resolutions worth a damn. 1600 x 1200 on a 17" viewable screen is 117 PPI. That sounds freaking glorious, and about damn time.

By Lord Evermore on 10/22/2006 10:44:44 PM , Rating: 3
The majority of people aren't doing graphic design. We're looking at pictures on web pages that are a certain pixel width and height, or looking at personal photos where zooming might make the image look crappy or just be annoying to have to do, looking at fonts that look smaller and smaller at higher resolutions, menus that get harder to maneuver on because they're so small unless you manually adjust settings.

The ideal of course would be a screen that can actually display far far more pixels than the resolutions that we use, so that each of the RGB pixel-units could be used as only like 1/4 of a pixel of the resolution, providing finer detail and better dithering, which is pretty much what a CRT does.

By Etsp on 10/23/2006 1:16:46 AM , Rating: 2
I'd be running it at a higher resolution (2560 x 1600, maybe) if the monitor could output it clearly enough, but sadly it can't.

When you say clearly enough, do you mean like the static images have one or more erm, "Fuzzy copies" of itself next to it? On my 21" CRT from IBM, I had to use lower resolutions and lower refresh rates because of that problem.

but, I found a solution, it turns out, standard VGA cables arent shielded enough for (some) large CRT's at high resolutions. If what you're experiencing is fuzzyness or the ghosting I described, spend some money on a high quality VGA cable, you will be completely satisfied. I think I spent $20-$40 on mine, and the problem dissapeared completely at all useable resolutions and refresh rates. Try it!

and as far as resolutions are concerned, Evermore is half right. for gaming, yeah I want resolution. When I'm browsing the web or just using a non full screen program, the menus and the text for everything get too small for most people at high resolutions, and you cannot simply lower the resolution in windows to solve this, as it causes some visual distortion on LCD's... your only choice is to tell windows to use a larger DPI, which I've found causes bugs on certain web things (My sister wanted to play this slot machine game that was made in java with a non resizable window, and the DPI settings made it too large for its own preset window, rendering it unplayable) I use 1600x1200, but my monitor is 4 inches bigger than that one, If I had a choice, I would use 1280x960 on a monitor that size because sadly, my eyes arent perfect.

By Johnmcl7 on 10/23/2006 5:01:58 AM , Rating: 3
I fully agree with you - the odd part is, laptop displays have had significantly higher resolution panels for ages as you can get 1920x1200 on a 15.4 inch display. You need to go all the way up to 23 inches to get that resolution on a desktop display.


By Fluppeteer on 10/23/2006 1:09:50 PM , Rating: 3
To be fair, the article does say "for some users". I still cringe whenever a journalist comes out with something like this, though. Some of us like having more desktop real estate (and use applications with dynamic scaling capabilities - few can't be at least partly configured these days, and Vista is alleged to improve things a bit). There's a big push to make things work with different DPI settings (and I'm not sure the correct approach is being taken), but I'm prepared to be unashamed about wanting everything small.

The problem with journalists objecting to this is not that, for some people, they don't have a valid point - it's that it's discouraging, both to customers and manufacturers. There's always been a premium to screens over the "standard" SXGA. I've never objected to people who want everything bigger having a low resolution screen, I've even recommended a 19-inch "see the pixels from the other side of the room" screen to people with poor eyesight, but that doesn't mean more pixels are worthless. If the reviews pan any device that steps out of the norm, fewer will be sold, and such devices will either be unavailable or more expensive than they need to be.

I'd love a 17" UXGA desktop screen. What I'd really love is a 15.4" WUXGA or 15" QXGA laptop screen in a desktop housing, but the manufacturers seem convinced that nobody will buy one (unless there's a better reason that they're not sold). I don't want to waste most of my desk on a 30" monitor just to get 2560x1600. I don't need a 24" screen for WUXGA, but these days I have little choice. I rejoiced when I heard that 22" monitors were getting cheaper (woohoo, cheap WUXGA at last), then screamed when I found that 22" was the new 1680x1050 size, even though 22" WUXGA panels had been around for ages. If we all ran 19" CRTs at 1600x1200 (or 2048x1536 in some cases), why be scared of a - sharper - UXGA flat panel with a similar visible area?

I'm perfectly happy with my old 17" 1600x1024 SGI LCD. I'm even happier at home, with my 22.2" QWUXGA T221. I've used a 19" UXGA Iiyama, and it was fine. 19" SXGA screens drive me nuts. The claim that "tiny text is illegible" is generally based on CRTs with poor focus; the T221 is pin sharp and perfectly legible. Everyone can read 9.5pt newspaper text, after all. I wish the industry weren't obsessed with bigger pixels, and leaving those of us who want more of them paying the premium (in money and space) that comes with the larger panel size. Even 15.4" WUXGA laptops are rare and expensive these days, and for some reason 17" seems to be the target; why would I want to carry a 17" laptop around just to get WUXGA?

Kudos to them for going with this resolution (but more to Epson for putting 1920x1080 in a 7.1" LCD). I appreciate the author trying to tread the line, but it's a line that's done lots of damage in the past, and the issue is sensitive.

By wien on 10/23/2006 9:45:11 AM , Rating: 3
I would agree with you if (and only if) we would get some kind of resolution independant GUI for our OSes. Just imagine a completely vector-based GUI where you could change the "resolution" at will, and fluidly (Not just text DPI like today). Going for a browse? Zoom in a bit and you'll have text crisp as chips. Working with enormous images? Zoom out a bit to make room for them.

This way monitor makers could make monitors with as high a pixel density as technology would allow, without having to worry about near sighted users complaining about their text being too small.

I was hoping both OSX, Vista and XGL/Compiz would allow stuff like that since they're using 3D hardware for the GUI, but it seems like they all just render to textures instead of using real polygons. Maybe next time around...

By trabpukcip on 10/23/2006 11:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
The icons in vista were supposed to be vectors weren't they?
Vectors and ultra resolutions are the future.
I think that panel cost and video card power are the current real limitations on the resolution front.
Firefox has zoom extensions to zoom full pages with enlarged text, pity it doesn't work that well.

When i do design at work i try to use illustrator as much as possible as pixels aren't the best for fine screen printing and I use a heavy amount of vector based smart objects in photoshop (the best photoshop innovation in years) where illustrator is not practial.

I can't wait for the day when we start to talk about screens more frequently in terms of megapixels of resolution (at least the 30 inch displays are 4MP).
I only wish my 24 inch widescreen had a higher resolution than 1920 x 1200 (rotating two 30 inchers to portrait side by side would be fun!).

By wien on 10/25/2006 5:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
By johnsonx on 10/23/2006 5:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
They used to sell 19" 1600x1200 displays, and no one bought them. They had so many complaints and problems that not one single vendor offers such a panel any longer.

Even at 1280x1024, many end-users complain that everything is too small and set the resolution to 1024x768. The fact is that while 'us' enthusiasts like extremely high resolutions, most users want everything to be big so they can see easily.

By Visual on 10/27/2006 8:52:22 AM , Rating: 2
but then obviously a 19" 2048x1536 would be perfect - dumb users can still set 1024x786 in desktop properties, and it'd scale perfectly without any filtering - just use 4 real pixels for one virtual pixel.
us enthusiasts can keep the resolution at max, and adjust DPI settings and font sizes instead
best of both worlds.

once screens get to tens of thousands of pixels in a row, it'd be possibly to select any of today's lower resolutions with almost no scaling artifacts.

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