Tuesday 6 July 2010

Are monitors going anywhere at all?

It wasn't so long ago that computer monitors were far superior to ordinary household TVs. My old trusted Sony CPD-G500, for example could manage 2048x1536@75Hz while at the same time providing excellent color fidelity. For practical reasons I never really used it at it's maximum resolution. I rather used 1600x1200 which was a bit easier on the eyes due to lower DPI. The TV I had at the time managed a pathetic PAL resolution of 720x576@25Hz (50i). It had nice colors, but nowhere near the monitor.
To put it another way, it took me a few years to even have a graphics card that could output the monitor's maximum resolution while TVs only recently moved to 1080p resolution, but broadcasts still snail behind with PAL resolutions.
A few years back (6 I think) I moved to a LCD monitor. I needed the desk space and I also figured display geometry would never again be an issue. So I bought a Samsung 215TW which managed a decent 1680x1050 resolution while still having a decent enough response time to be quite useful for gaming. In the beginning I missed those 150 pixels of vertical resolution, but their lacking wasn't exactly killing me. Since FPS isn't exactly my favourite genre I have no idea about any processing lag, but I can not detect any, so the monitor works just fine for me.
I can't really say that my current monitor is becoming unsatisfactory, but I must admit I would like to have more resolution and I would also like to have 3D. Windows 7 is getting better at handling higher DPI, though it's still nowhere near where it should be in this regard. My water cooled Radeon 5870 can certainly take a bit more resolution though AMD 3D support is still getting nowhere. Additionally I'm also limited by space to max 24 - 27" diagonal. Actually 27" is stretching it a bit - it would barely fit into my corner of zen and peace.
So I went looking for a decent monitor that would give me at least 2560x1600@120Hz, possibly with 3D shutter glasses included.

What a dissappointment!

The only monitors supporting this resolution are 30" in size with a semi-exception of Dell U2711 which has a 2560x1440 resolution (16:9). None of them has 120Hz and none further with 3D shutter glasses included.
I dug a bit more and discovered that the vast majority of monitors on sale today are 1080p.
On top of that, very few are 120Hz, I couldn't even find one that would come with shutter glasses.

What a dissappointment!

So while TVs are pushing 3D today, not to mention 600Hz samples on sale, monitors on the other hand found no progress whatsoever.
When I was buying my 215TW, I decided for it instead of a 1920x1200 model because of price. Today 1920x1200 monitors are just as rare and (almost) just as expensive as then. Not to mention a hint of 120Hz support. Higer resolutions are more or less reserved for 30". None of these supports 120Hz, naturally.
I would expect that by today, I'd easily find a WQUXGA (3840x2400) monitors, maybe not with 120Hz support, but they should be there as a much superior version of today's TVs. After all, not everybody uses their computer just for writing documents and calculating spreadsheets (not that these two wouldn't benefit).
Instead I find that the monitor market has actually DEGRADED to a not-really-impressive 1080p resolution; not even 3D is common place :(

So in my opinion I'm currently stuck with my 215TW or I could marginally go for U2711. At least it ups the DPI to a bit over 100...

But if I could pick, I'd take the following:
RGB LED backlit
Color reproduction and lag naturally should be at least average

Now, that would be a monitor worth it's name today

Hell, quit the dreaming: I'd settle for a 2560x1600 120Hz 24" as long as the rest of parameters were satisfactory :(
Please, monitor maker, sir: make a monitor worth it's name so that I can spend some cash...