By Steve Bass
Display Spec Baloney
DisplayMate Technologies’ Raymond Soneira is a well-known display expert (in some circles — mine, for instance — he’s legendary). Ray says:
Most monitor and HDTV user menu options and selections are actually unnecessary features added for marketing purposes. Most actually decrease image and picture quality; in many cases it is not even clear what they really do.
Ray wrote Display Myths Shattered: How Monitor & HDTV Companies Cook Their Specs, a useful piece in Maximum PC, the only tech magazine worth a print subscription.
Viewing Distance Revealed
Alfred Poor, a writer (for PC Magazine, among other spots) I’ve known for years, is also a display maven. Who knew? Alfred wasn’t all too happy with the viewing distance calculator I mentioned. Here’s his take:
Any viewing distance calculator that does not take into account the resolution of the display cannot be accurate. And the difference between a 720p image and 1080p image is enormous; one has about twice as many pixels as the other.
I’m probably losing most of you (and me, too), but for the two dozen HDTV geeks in the audience, here’s more of Alfred’s advice:
1080p sets have about twice as many pixels as 720p sets, so for a given size, you’ll need to sit closer to a 1080p set to see all the detail. I developed a viewing distance table and explanation that takes into account resolution, human vision physiology, and field of view factors. Measure the distance from your chair to the screen’s location in inches, and multiply by the factor for your screen’s resolution. The result will be the recommended diagonal screen size in inches.
Two spots that take everything into account when deciding on viewing distance: Ken’s Does Size Matter? and Carlton Bale’s Home Theater Calculator. And TechBite subscriber H. Davis recommends 720 or 1080… 1080i or 1080p AnswersIt’s a historical post that started in 2006. Pack a lunch, because it’s 48 pages.