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Monitors: Ultra-High Definition Vs. Stereo-3D

Whether we like it or not, but the monitor is the most important part of any computer. Any kind of information the computer can process it has to output onto the screen and hence the evolution of monitors means the evolution of user experience.

The high-definition is here and while everyone continues to enjoy the high quality of movies, photographs and graphics user interfaces, the HD can no longer amaze or be considered as the next-generation. By the year 2020 the world will likely enjoy something that is now known as ultra high definition (UHD) and that has maximum resolution of 7680x4320 pixels (16:9). The tech will hardly reach the masses in ten years from now as presently it is only a proposed standard by several TV-channels from Japan and Europe. Nonetheless, it is likely to at least emerge as the final standard that will again redefine the market of home video as well as entertainment in general.

Besides television, many professionals and gamers would like to have higher resolution displays to improve visual quality. Although 2560x1600 resolution has been the highest consumer monitor resolution for many years now, ultra high-end displays for medical imaging and other applications that support 3200x2400 or 3840x2400 resolutions. There is a clear need for more screen real estate and higher clarity of graphics. As soon as leading manufacturers of LCD panels find a way to make such ultra high resolution panels more or less affordable, they will offer appropriate products to the consumers.

Stereoscopic 3D technology is adopted very slowly these days. According to DisplaySearch, sell-through of “3D Vision-ready displays” as listed by Nvidia in the first two quarters of 2010 is less than 3500 per quarter in all major U.S. PC outlets combined, a clear indicator that at present people do not want to pay for stereo-3D. Why should they? Wearing special glasses and sitting in a special position is definitely not something comfortable, especially amid the lack of content. The so-called autostereoscopic 3D screens (that do not require graphics) can certainly make a huge difference, but present auto-S3D technologies are far from perfect and it is unclear when proper technologies emerge. In case manufacturers continue with the current approach that required glasses, virtually all monitors and TVs in 2020 will support S3D, which will barely be used.

The types of panels to be used in 2020 still remains to be seen given rather uncertain prospects for OLED (organic light emitting diode). In fact, given that large displays consume too lot of energy, it is more than likely that manufacturers will increase their efforts and will finally establish mass production of OLED-based products. As a result, by the end of the decade virtually all monitors and TVs will feature OLED screens. Perhaps, an even more interesting prospect for OLED technology in the next decade are bendable displays that can be used in loads of different applications.

To put it short, in 2020 displays are likely to get astonishing resolutions along with new types of panels. While stereo-3D with shutter glasses may become a feature found on the vast majority of consumer displays or TVs, it will hardly be the most important capability of future devices. Perhaps, autostereoscopic 3D technology changes the whole industry.

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