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Displays IT

Are There Affordable Low-DPI Large-Screen LCD Monitors? 549

Posted by timothy
from the special-retro-edition dept.
jtownatpunk.net writes "As time goes by, I find myself supporting a greater number of users moving through their 40s and into their 50s (and beyond!). I notice more and more of them are lowering the resolution of their displays in order to 'make it bigger.' That was fine in the CRT days, but, quite frankly, LCDs look like crap when they're not displaying their native resolution. My solution at home is to hook my computer up to a big, honkin' 1080p HDTV, but that's a bit of a political risk in an office environment. 'Why does Bill get a freakin' big screen TV?!' Plus, it's a waste to be paying for the extra inputs (component, s-video, composite), remote, tuner, etc. that will never be used. And a 37-47" display is a bit large for a desk. So here's my question: Is there a source for 24-27" monitors running at 1366x768 that are affordable and don't have all of the 'TV' stuff? Or is my only choice to just buy 27" HDTVs and admonish the users not to watch TV? (And, no, just giving them big CRTs is not an option. Most people would rather stare at a fuzzy LCD than 'go back' to a CRT.)"
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Are There Affordable Low-DPI Large-Screen LCD Monitors?

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  • Is it THAT hard to get Windows to use a larger font for everything? Wouldn't that address the issue?

  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:23PM (#30121680) Homepage Journal
    Because there is more to look at than fonts... like the 16x16 icons everywhere.
  • by NoYob (1630681) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:24PM (#30121710)

    Because there is more to look at than fonts... like the 16x16 icons everywhere.

    Isn't there a "large Icons" selection?

  • by pin0chet (963774) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:25PM (#30121718)
    Easy. Get a 30" Desktop LCD like the Dell 3007wfp and run it at exactly 1/2 its native vertical and horizontal resolutions (1280x800). You essentially get the same quality as if it were the native resolution (well, one to one mapping at least) and none of that crazy TV stuff. The best part is that if somebody with, well, "normal" eyes wants to use the monitor in its full 2560x1600 glory, they can simply switch the resolution.
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:27PM (#30121754) Journal

    Yes, that works. Except for the cheap part. Much cheaper to buy them a 32" TV and throw away the remote.

  • by MartijnL (785261) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:27PM (#30121760)
    And all sorts of business critical applications that use unscalable texts in the UI. Now you can blame the application for not scaling but usually just buying a bigger screen for the user is a lot cheaper than having the application fixed (if it is even fixable at all).
  • by Lord Byron Eee PC (1579911) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:32PM (#30121876)
    Reading glasses - they are cheap ($5) and available (Walgreens). Why everyone feels the need to solve easy problems with complex solutions, I will never know.
  • by MartijnL (785261) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:33PM (#30121924)
    Go tell that to the CEO who usually also falls in the same user/age group with regards to this particular issue.
  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:37PM (#30122002) Journal

    The impression I get is that DPI is not a selling point, other than in particular (very expensive) niches like medical imaging. That's fairly understandable, I will admit, as I doubt it ever comes into most regular users' purchasing decisions.

    What I find odd, however, is that I've never seen them selling standalone high-res LCDs even at a moderate markup. It'd be one thing if they weren't manufacturing the panels, but it's not too hard to find a laptop with a 17" screen at 1920x1200 - a very quick search shows full laptops (with those panels) selling at £700, so they're not exactly ultra-premium products. Replacement panels alone seem to show up in the $300-400 range (aplogies for mixing currencies, but it was easier to find a US supplier). Even so, nobody decides to wrap a plastic case around the screen and slot in a DVI port, rather sticking them on a laptop, and make a bit of cash from the people who do happen to consider high DPI desirable.

  • by V!NCENT (1105021) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:43PM (#30122128)

    And there is another problem; applications nowadays are made for larger resolutions. A netbook for example, like the ASUS EEE PC 900, has a resolution of 1024*800. Almost all applications out there do not even fit on it!

  • Non-problem? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:45PM (#30122166) Homepage

    I've noticed this option doesn't cross the minds of some IT guys, but how about letting the users do what they want?

    If they want to look at an awful non-native resolution on their LCD, why don't you shed your single tear about the waste of technology and let them go about their business? Does it actually affect you in the slightest?

  • by Hope Thelps (322083) on Monday November 16, 2009 @05:12PM (#30122616)

    So my solution is to hand out reading glasses to the older users I support?

    No. But recommending a visit to the opticians to any users who complain of bad eyesight would be a good idea, regardless of age. Are you planning on getting comfy sofas for those that don't like the office chairs too? If there's a genuine medical need for special equipment like a larger monitor then of course it's good practice to provide that where it's economically viable to do so. But that's after they've sought medical advice and can support a need for special treatement. The reason you need to worry about other staff asking 'Why does Bill get a freaki'n big screen TV?!' is because you don't have a good explanation for it. That should tell you evrything about the situation.

  • Windows Vista and 7 do this too. Applications can set a flag to tell the window manager that it is high-DPI aware, and get nice big sharp windows. Apps without this flag are rendered at 96dpi and scaled up to avoid any issues with dumb programs.

  • by rockNme2349 (1414329) on Monday November 16, 2009 @05:30PM (#30122826)

    Just hold control with the desktop selected and scroll the mouse wheel up.. voila! Changable icon sizes (in Vista and 7)

    I found that doesn't work in Outlook 2003. Imagine that - MS Outlook for frack's sake!!

    So there is a feature in windows Vista and Windows 7 That doesn't work with Outlook 2003. Have you tried Outlook 2007, which was released along with Windows Vista and 7?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2009 @05:57PM (#30123206)

    Any lame "Fixed that for you" jokes will be modded into oblivion.

    ...from your sock-puppet account? How elaborately antisocial.

  • Re:Non-problem? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Monday November 16, 2009 @05:58PM (#30123222)

    If they want to look at an awful non-native resolution on their LCD, why don't you shed your single tear about the waste of technology and let them go about their business?

    Where does it say that the submitter was whining about the "waste of technology" or forbidding his users from using non-native resolutions? Where does it say that the users are happy with the non-native-resolution "solution?"

    He's just trying to find an optimal solution, instead of a half-assed one. Which is exactly what a good IT guy should do

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2009 @06:35PM (#30123674)

    Tons of websites out there insist on ridiculously tiny font sizes like 8 point.

    Websites don't have the ability to "insist" on anything like that. Your browser is your browser and is going to use whatever size it wants to, and there's not a damn thing any website operator can do about that. Find a browser that serves you instead of them, and I think you'll be pretty happy.

  • by dfghjk (711126) on Monday November 16, 2009 @06:46PM (#30123782)

    Why? because reading glasses are the proper, high performance solution that also happens to be low cost. Large, low resolution monitors are not only expensive and demanding of desk space, they are lower in performance.

    The only reason not to use reading glasses when they are necessary in a work environment is vanity. There is no "convenient and pain-free" tool that will solve every older worker's presbyopia problem except proper eyesight correction.

  • Great. Now point me to some modern software (or hardware, for that matter) that can run with IRIX.

  • by mikep554 (787194) on Monday November 16, 2009 @07:20PM (#30124138)

    "Guideline" is incompatible with "require".

  • Congratulations. In your attempt to brag that you had an even larger monitor *with the same resolution* and only cared about handing it off, you completely failed to understand the concept of density.

    How very nice of you to not understand the original posters' problem. I understand the concept of density - but older people suffering from loss of visual acuity need more ABSOLUTE SIZE, not density. A 21" with the same 1600x1200 will be a lot more useful to them than a 17" with the same resolution.

    How very Alanis of you, then, to be so dense. Doncha think? (Seriously, do you not? I recommend trying it.)

    You might take your own advice, and actually RTFS ...

    Seriously, there is no excuse for people in a business environment to still be using crappy monitors - or even single screens. Spend a grand on a couple of decent monitors and a dual-head video card - amortized over the next 5 years, that's less than 10 cents an hour - and your people will more than pay back the extra cost in increased productivity and FEWER MISTAKES.

    Errors cost money. Having to squint at stuff on-screen, or having to continually flip through a stack of windows, is $MONEY. The investment will pay for itself within months (or even weeks, if it prevents a few errors or lets people find them quicker).

    When a crappy 14" 640x480 VGA monitor cost $600, and a 15" SVGA was in the 4 figures, being cheap on displays was understandable. It's not now, not when businesses should be seeking every method to increase productivity and lower error rates so they can keep clients happy and retain customers (and thus retain their employees).

    When a company has a RIF (reduction in force), they should at the very least reapportion material such as LCDs so that more people can double their video real estate. It's not just a morale booster, it more than pays for itself. And while they're at it, cannibalize the ram to bump up those marginal boxes that the underlings, who do the work, are stuck waiting on while the boss has the very latest to watch an f***ing useless podcast on. It's really a shame to walk into a company and see the boss doing that on a half-decent 22" LCD while the secretary in front is struggling to transcribe figures into a spreadsheet on a fuzzy 14" CRT. So yes, I laid the 21" on them. She needed something better, and it was just taking up space here.

    I understand that peoples priorities are different, and not everyone understands the cost/benefit ratio of having decent displays. "Oh, it's just a monitor."

  • by oasisbob (460665) on Monday November 16, 2009 @07:55PM (#30124442)

    I never did understand why many people cant grasp the concept that system font size is independent of screen resolution. You'd think they'd notice the stupidity of buying a 30" 2560x1600 monitor then running their whole desktop at 1366x768 but noooo....

    I thought the same thing: at $DAYJOB, we have a policy to run all 4:3 monitors at 1024x768 because of readability issues. One of the first things I did was to try and change the font sizes instead, hilarity ensued. Not a single business-critical app we used handled the setting correctly. Some ignored it, while some scaled their text up within a fixed-size (x by y pixels) area, which cropped the text on the right edge.

    Support for this feature in applications is awful.

  • by coaxial (28297) on Monday November 16, 2009 @08:43PM (#30124788) Homepage

    If there's a genuine medical need for special equipment like a larger monitor then of course it's good practice to provide that where it's economically viable to do so.

    "Good practice" and "economic viability" don't enter into the equation. It's the law. [eeoc.gov] As it should be. You can't simply say "Well that costs money, so no." That's unlawful discrimination. Now not everything can or needs to be accommodated, but easily rectifiable things must. Even if you think that it's "too expensive," it's the employer's responsibility to search out equally effective, less costly options, and "must also consider whether funding for an accommodation is available from an outside source, such as a vocational rehabilitation agency, and if the cost of providing the accommodation can be offset by state or federal tax credits or deductions. You must also give the applicant or employee with a disability the opportunity to provide the accommodation or pay for the portion of the accommodation that constitutes an undue hardship."

    But that's after they've sought medical advice and can support a need for special treatement. The reason you need to worry about other staff asking 'Why does Bill get a freaki'n big screen TV?!' is because you don't have a good explanation for it. That should tell you evrything about the situation.

    You do have a good explanation for it: "Bill can't see."

    Honestly, if you're worrying more about some pathetic gossiper versus your responsibilities under the law, and a civil society, you have more problems than having to make a CostCo run.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday November 16, 2009 @09:28PM (#30125078)

    It's not a question of bad eyesight but of bad design by windows.

    The system font is increasingly small and can't be changed.

    All they need to do is fix that issue and then this wouldn't matter. A 3000dpi moniter is great if it displays letters a reasonable size but not if it displays them 13 pixels high regard less of the resolution.

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