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Going wide

1996 – I got my first ever colour VGA monitor. I bought it off of a friend for a tenner, and didn’t ask any questions about where it had come from, mainly because he suggested that it would be wise if I didn’t ask any questions about where it came from, so I didn’t. All I knew is that I could play X-Wing in 256 colours at last, on my high resolution 640×480 screen. Wow!

1997 – I upgraded to a 1024 wide pixel my monitor by making sure that some ‘old’ monitors that were being thrown out of work got thrown in my direction. I even remember taking it home on the bus, lugging a 14″ SVGA with bubble wrap around it up onto the top floor and no one thinking it strange that I was carrying such an item home not in a box.

1999 – I won the lottery. No, not the lottery – but instead the BBC Club took a tiny percentage of my wages each month and put it into a lottery. When I won £125 one month, I realised that I’d only have to chuck in another £80 of my almost-hard earned cash to get an NEC Multisync 17″ monitor (CRT) that allowed me to got 1280 pixels wide. Wow! The decadence. I gave this to my friend Jennifer and she’s still using it to this day.

2001 – And if there’s one thing to help you get over a break-up, and that’s to spend lots of money on gadgets. And so this was the year that I got my first digital camera and my first ever flat screen monitor. A little 15″ thing, and meant to run in 1024px wide, but you could run it in 1280 if you were prepared to have a not-so-high colour depth, and could squint a little. I didn’t care – I just wanted to have a flat screen monitor for the first time ever. My sister has this screen now.

2004 – And I got my first 17″ flat screen, because they’d eventually dropped below the ‘magic’ £200 mark at last. It was an Acer AL1715 and I felt like I had soooo much space on my desktop.

2008 – Now I’m all grown up. The next blog post I’ll write will be on another new flat screen monitor. And it cost $220 – which is about £110. A ridiculously small amount for a 19″ flat-screen, wide-screen on which I’m happy to report that DVD movies, and widescreen TV programmes that I’ve down loaded look fabulous.

2011-ish – I’m guessing that this may be the year that I’ll get my next new screen. Will it be LCD? Will it be 24″ big? Or will another technology altogether have come onto the scene by then. I wonder.

Aspect RatiosIt’s the way of the world. We’re all going widescreen. Just as polaroid film is no longer being made, soon standard 4:3 TV’s and monitors will no longer be made. Blu-Ray seems to have won the format war, and we’ve all finally learnt what HDMI stands for.

Not that I actually know the difference (yet) between an LCD, Plasma, Projection and Front Projection. All I know is that I’m tempted to get once. Just as soon as I’ve decoded what phrases such as Letterbox, Pan & Scan, Windowbox and Anamorphic actually mean.

And finally, when I’ve caught up with all that, the curve has moved on as the Japanese are already working on the next (literally) big thing.

What size monitor have you got then?

19 responses to “Going wide”

  1. Paul Leonard says:

    And I thought size wasn’t important ….

  2. Paul Webb says:

    No interesting monitors I’m afraid, but my TV is an ITT Squareline FST that, I guess, is at least 20 years old. Aside from a bit of transformer trouble about 7 years ago it works just fine.

    Oh, and remember that car that you thought was crap in 2005 ( It has just completed 200,000 miles and has some trouble with its exhaust again.

  3. Yorkie says:

    I hope that this is the future of display technology:

  4. I would have thought a geek and a photographer like you would have invested in better quality screens.

    In answer to your question, I have sony and lg widescreen flat panels.

  5. Kirk says:

    I have a 19″ LG L1919S. It’s 4:3. I’m really really happy with it, especially after my 17″ CRT (ie equal to a 15″ TFT) Unfortunately it’s only 1280 x 1024, so I’d like to move to a widescreen, higher dot pitch one, but that means money.

    But my Mac is happy feeding this for now.

  6. Mikey says:

    Owned myself, as oppose to using parents comp as a kid:
    17″ Proview TFT (£300)
    17″ Mikomi Widescreen LCD (£250)*
    19″ Acer Widescreen TFT (£130)

    Oh, and without looking, High Definition Multimedia Interface

    *Utter Crap, such a poor resolution, a bad judgement, and replaced after 18 months. I now use it as my TV

  7. Julia says:

    If theres’s one thing I’ve learnt from this post is that, just like your quest for the next Ipod, you’re never happy with a monitor are you?

  8. Fimb says:

    One of the problems with me answering this, is that we weren’t a normal family doing normal jobs.. Me, my Dad and my bro at one point all worked for BT Research,a nd thus, tended to be well ahead of the game. Plus, as Dad hadd been designing computers since the 1950’s, we always had pretty much cutting edge technology at home.

    I got my first flats creen at work in ’95, and before that had been using a 20″ CRT.. I got my first flat screen at home in 1999.. 17″ and under £200 even then!

    At home I’m currently using a shit 15″ Acer laptop, with a shit screen.. The need to upgrade is strong in this one..

    At work, pah, now I work for the wonderul NHS I am back to a 17″ CRT *laughing* People here think the fact I use an optical mouse to be something quite advanced and amazing, and our IT department still only supply ball-mice!

  9. Fimb says:

    I’d also like to say that the small TV we use in our bedroom was my 9th birthday present in 1983 🙂 And it still works perfectly!

  10. Jono says:

    Two 17in. 1280×1024 LCDs — one directly ahead, one off to the right.

    Oh, and the 32in. LCD telly in the living room.

  11. Chz says:

    22″ screens are going for about £140 and I’m tempted…
    For now I’m sticking with my 19″ I got for £400 4 and a bit years ago.

    TV’s a 28″ CRT. I’ve yet to see an LCD that looks better in that size. Only plasmas look nicer, that I’ve seen. LCD TV quality is rubbish, and I’ve no idea why people tolerate it unless they need the larger screen sizes. Over 32″ the CRTs get crazy-big, that I understand – but under that? (caveat if you pay for HD content – then you need one)

  12. DivineMrsM says:

    I got my first flat screen monitor from you when you moved to the US (your old Eizo). I’m looking at it right now. However, I don’t know how you measure the things – is it diagonally or horizontally? – so I don’t know how big it is. And where does it figure in your list of monitor aquisitions?

  13. garda says:

    Your journey in time brough back memories to me.. This will indeed tell my age

    1962- No we didnt have a color tv but we had a plastic sheet that was multiple color that one placed against a black and white TV to have color. The colors were primary colors and it was WIERD!

    ~1969 the TV changer which was very big like the size of a small shoe box.

    ~ 1970s- 8 track players(God how I hated carrying those tapes around in a box)

    ~1972 one the the first video plays the BETAMAX

    ~1980 INTELLIVISON beginning of video games (I remember the gold game)

    ~1984 My first cell phone which was as big as a shoebox and very heavy

    ~1984- My first voice beeper (easy to miss the calls if you werent listening all the time)

    ~1987 Computers at work with Prowrite and DW4 then Q&A

    ~early 1990s my first experience with the internet and I never was the same!!!!
    Thanks for the indulgence.

  14. jaq says:

    I have one of these, and it does the job nicely. I got it when I had to buy a whole new system when I moved to the US.

    I was a bit skeptical about widescreens (I used to call them ‘short screen’), so I made sure I got one that had at least the same vertical resolution and size as the last 4:3 monitor I was used to, so it felt more like getting extra width rather than losing height.

  15. Geoff's Mum says:

    We bought our first flat-screen 2 1/2 yrs ago a 17″. We were getting them at work, so I ordered an extra one, and yes I DID pay for it. It has been brilliant, cost about £120 and I still prefer a box, keyboard, mouse and screen. Can’t be doing with all that fiddly lap-top stuff. What happens to all those boxy monitors we threw out, do they get
    recycled? Mrs M – I think it’s Diagonal.

  16. dan says:

    22-inch HP flat-screen, baby. I LOVE this puppy.

    Have fun with your dinky 19-inch, nerd…

  17. The newest technology for TV screens (not suited to PC monitors just yet) is OLED. Having worked on the technology in research in the past, I am quite certain that Sony’s XEL-1 will look absolutely stunning for TV. Only about £1100 for 11 inches 🙂

    OLED gives vivid colours, superb contrast (can view in a dark room without the blacks becoming grey), much less motion-blur than LCD, and no viewing-angle issues.

  18. (William) Andrew says:

    I have a 15″ Sony LCD at home, bought in 2002 for about £400. It gives much better colour-reproduction than the rather newer £100 17″ screens we have at work. This matters when you’re scanning and tweaking photographs! More pixels at home would be great, but for now I’ll wait… My next screen will probably be in a wide format.

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