The development of PC display technologies over the last 30 years has taken us through many chapters: from IBM, the creator of the IBM PC, pioneering color display technologies (and ceding development to third-parties ATI, 3dfx, and nVidia); to the quest to provide both sharp text and colorful graphics; through the ever-increasing size of displays; to LCD flat panels overtaking TV-type CRTs; the move to 3D graphics rendering and, currently, to 3D viewing. Here's a brief history of these and other milestones in PC graphics history.
BenQ promises that its E2400HD LCD monitor will provide “a brand-new standard for personal digital audiovisual entertainment….” And while we’ve grown weary of marketing hyperbole, at first glance, this 24-inch panel has the specs to back up this statement. The E2400HD sports a 1080p HDMI interface and utilizes a 16:9 aspect ratio (rather than the more common ratio of 16:10 for widescreen panels), two features that should improve the movie-watching experience. OK, perhaps “brand-new standard” is a bit overboard, but as we unboxed it, we did think that a 1080p 24-inch monitor for less than $400 was certainly intriguing—even if it sports a 6-bit panel.
A 16:9 aspect ratio should, theoretically, provide a better image when viewing high-def widescreen movies because a 16:10 monitor has to either stretch an image by 10 percent or add black bars to the top and bottom of the image to compensate for the additional space. In our tests with multiple DVD movies, however, those ubiquitous horizontal black bars appear during playback. While TV shows and many movies (typically romantic comedies) are filmed in a native 16:9 aspect ratio, many films are matted using a wide 2.35:1 aspect ratio where you’ll still see black bars. Therefore, while the BenQ is capable of displaying a movie in its original widescreen glory, many DVDs will still not be able to utilize all of the screen’s space.
While Dell stays busy jazzing up its Studio line of laptops and desktops with various color schemes, the OEM let loose another product but without all the fanfare. Available now is Dell's S2409 24-inch widescreen LCD panel, representing the company's first 16:9 aspect ratio display. That puts the screen resolution at 1920x1080 (as opposed to 1920x1200 for 16:10), matching the 1080p output of most high definition content including Blu-ray movies. Other notables include:
HDMI with HDCP
1000:1 contrast ratio
0.276 mm pixel pitch
5 ms response time (gray-to-gray)
16.7 million colors
The new display doesn't come with bells and whistles such as a USB hub or integrated speakers, but it does carry a relatively friendly price tag at $379 with 3-year warranty.
With today's widescreen monitors and laptop panels providing 16:10 ratios, but tomorrow's monitors and laptop panels switching to the HDTV 16:9 standard, it's time to prepare for the future - now, warns market research company DisplaySearch. In the next 4 years, 16:9 panels will almost completely replace both conventional 4:3 and current 16:10 widescreen displays in both desktop and laptop applications. To learn more, see the report summary.