I had a good discussion today with colleagues about the impact of widescreen monitors on application and web design. I am skeptical about the usability of widescreen monitors for readability (due to the well known design principle of narrow text columns increasing readability). I've also noticed that generally stores are discounting widescreens below the cost of standard aspect ration monitors. For all I know, this is because they are having trouble getting rid of them.
Then, seemingly explaining all this, I came across this tidbit:
Philips: Widescreen adoption in LCD monitors not as quick as expected
By: Calvin Shao, Taipei; Carrie Yu, DIGITIMES [Friday 20 January 2006]
Friday, January 20, 2006 15:23
Although panel makers have aggressively pushed widescreen LCD monitor panels, the adoption rate is not expected to proceed as fast as expected, with the penetration rate of the segment now set to increase from 2% in 2005 to 9.8% in 2008, according to Sara Liu, assistant manager of market intelligence, Philips CEBLC-MMFD, Royal Philips Electronics.
Panel makers have rolled out various widescreen monitor panels, as it is more cost-efficient to cut glass substrates from later generation panel plants into widescreen models, rather than into standard (4:3 ratio) panels, sources said.
For example, a sixth-generation (6G) LCD substrate can output four more widescreen 20.1-inch panels than standard 20.1-inch panels. In addition, the utilization rate of the substrate would increase by 15 percentage points to over 90%, the sources indicated.
However, when purchasing monitors, consumers tend to judge the size of a monitor by the height of the model. As a result, widescreen models, which look smaller, may not end up being as attractive to customers, Liu said. In fact, a 16:9 20-inch LCD monitor has a 182 square-inch viewing area, compared with 194 square-inches for a 4:3 20.1-inch model, she added.
Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) was the main producer of 19-inch widescreen LCD monitor panels as of the end of last year. ViewSonic, Acer and CMV all use CMO panels in their 19-inch widescreen LCD monitors.
And I thought it had to do with pushing users to view movies on their computers. Instead, it looks like the marketplace is trying to push users to want to view movies on their computers so that they can sell them the less expensive widescreens.
Or something like that.