LCD Monitors for SDR Displays

Frank Gentges fgentges at
Mon Nov 5 21:48:35 CST 2007


We have been watching and buying in the current LCD monitor wars. 
Several discussions have ensued on Saturdays around the table whilst 
consuming tacos.

The high end high resolution monitors of 6 months ago are now showing up 
with discounters at very tempting prices.  I bought a really nice 24 
inch, 1920x1200 pixel monitor from the Costco web site recently for less 
than $350.  That deal has disappeared now while others have replaced it.

Similarly, we have watched HDTVs some out and prices dropping.  The 
problem is the resolution is staying fixed at a maximum of 1920 x 1080 
pixels for a few sets while most are being built with a maximum native 
resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.  For use with computers and SDR 
displays this is good but.....

The news now is that HP has come out with the LP3065C monitor which has 
a 30 inch diagonal measurement.  This monitor is similar to the Apple 30 
inch Cinema display which sells for $1799 today and sold for $2500 last 
year.  Not only is it 30" but it has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels 
so it is not just a rehashed HDTV.

They call it a consumer device and do not specify the number of colors. 
  I suspect it is less than 8 bits per plane which would be 32 bit 
color.  It is probably 6 bits per plane or 18 bit color (more or less 
depending on internal processing and dithering).

If you want to put this on your PC you will need a special video card 
that will output half on one DVI channel/connector and the other half on 
a second DVI channel/connector.  Unlike its smaller bretherin, it will 
only work at the specified resolution.  You cannot just connect it up to 
your old VGA connector to try it out or use it.

Once up and running, think of the detailed presentation you could get. 
My first thoughts go to LinRAD and WinRAD waterfall display 30 inches 
big and with 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution.  Of course, LinRAD and WinRAD 
would have to be specially written to provide that kind of resolution. 
Down in the engine room, the computer has to provide the spectral data 
for this monster.  The work needed climbs at least by the square and 
probably more to feed the new monitor.  Multicore processors may be 
mandatory to run all the processes.

Anyway, it is impressive to think about.  I think of the monitor, 
software and processor as giving you the ability to see into the heart 
of a signal.  It is kinda like getting a new and more powerful 
microscope to look at the water in the lake down the street.  The bigger 
and better views reveal new and unseen things that go unseen with lesser 
equipment now and in the past.

These HP monitors are now selling in the range of $1300 but the history 
of prices is that they will go to half in 6 months and then half again 
in a year.  Asia has tooled up to build TFT screens in large and 
economical quantities for HDTV and now they have chosen to build more 
resolution for computers.  We will benefit from their volume production 
cost reductions.

I suspect Alberto, I2PHD, (AMRAD member) author of WinRAD is already 
thinking about getting to these higher resolutions.  Boy, what a sight 
we will have in store for us when this is all available.  We are 
starting to reap the benefits and spinoffs of HDTV.

We now return you to the present reality.

Frank K0BRA

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