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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 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.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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