Technology is going backwards

You might be confused by the title. After all, every few months, computers get faster and faster, and get more features.

So why am I saying that technology is going backwards?

Well, I should be more clear. It’s display technology that’s going backwards.

Let’s start with what you can get right now, brand new.

Right now, the highest resolution computer monitor that money can buy is an impressive 3840×2160. It’s a 56″ display, made by several manufacturers, although they’re all using the same panel, Chimei Innolux’s V562D1. It uses SMVA technology, which is a fine technology, and provides good viewing angles and color accuracy, although not the best (which is IPS.) That said, the cheapest I’ve seen them is in the $40,000 area, and 56″ is, quite frankly, huge.

What about more reasonably sized displays? How about a 30″ display, at 2560×1600? The cheapest are around $1000, and IIRC, they’re all IPS. Or, the 16:9 version, 27″ 2560×1440. These are around $1000 as well, or you can get a whole computer with one built in for $1700. (But, it’s made by Apple, so…)

Even more practical sizes get you 2048×1152 in as little as 23″… but it’s TN, to get anything better (IPS,) you’re down to 1920×1200 at 24″.

What about laptops?

Well, right now, the highest resolution you can get is 15.4″ 1920×1200. This is on a TN panel, though. Even *VA is almost impossible to find in a laptop nowadays, let alone IPS.

And, 15.4″ machines are getting replaced by 15.6″ machines, where the best you get is 1600×900. That leaves 17″ and bigger machines for 1920×1200… but 17″ is being phased out in favor of 17.1″ and 18.4″, which are 16:9 sizes, meaning you get 1920×1080. Of course, all of this is TN.

I won’t continue going down in laptop sizes, because everything smaller has either always been bad, or is actually getting better.

Instead, I’ll jump back to 2005.

Now, the highest resolution display money could buy was 3840×2400. Oh, and did I mention, it’s IPS, not even SMVA? And, $6,000, not $40,000? Of course, it’s 22.2″. So, there you go, insane resolution, AND it’s small. (Well, the panel’s small. The rest of the monitor is kinda bulky. But it’s smaller than a 56″ monitor, that’s for sure.)

Want more moderate resolution? Well, those newfangled 30″ Apple Cinema displays were just coming out. They were pretty expensive, though – $3000. Same resolution (really, the same thing altogether) back then as they were today, BTW. So I guess there is SOME progress, at least the same thing got cheaper.

No point in going through more desktop displays, but there’s always the laptop displays.

Now, your average 15″ business laptop was available with as much as a 1600×1200 LCD. The trick is, on many machines, this was actually an IPS LCD. So, while it’s lower resolution than today’s (well, yesterday’s still hanging on 15.4″ machines) laptops, it was higher quality.

But, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here to talk about how LCD technology is backsliding.

In 2005, you’d have to pay for it, but you could get a laptop with a 15″ 2048×1536 screen. More than 1920×1200, more than 1600×900. Oh, and yes, you could get that in IPS, too.  🙂

Oh, and those extremes from 2005 for desktops and laptops? They came out in 2001.

This stuff all got discontinued between 2005 and 2006. By 2007, we were to the current state.

And they say technology is moving forward.

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