At about the same time, two readers sent in questions about those expensive LCD panels that, if you are not fortunate enough to own one, you are envious of anyone who does (I know I am!). However, these two questions raise some interesting issues which I'm sure those of you looking to buy one, may be asking as soon as you make that purchase. One issue is longevity: how long do those LCD pixels last? Another issue is cost: why don't LCD manufacturers make lower-cost Monochrome LCD screens available for those who don't need to work in full-color glory?
Jack Frost IV asks: "Since higher resolution LCD panels have started to become a lot more common, many people have been complaining about dead pixels. I just received two SGI flat panels direct from the factory, and each shipped with a single dead pixel. In fact, the second display was a replacement for the first (for an issue unrelated to the dead pixel). While I understand the difficulties in manufacturing the displays, the single dead pixel doesn't concern me right now, as I don't notice it often. What bothers me is how many more pixels these displays will lose during a lifetime; say over the next three to five years. I want to replace a lot of my CRTs (Yes, *some* of us don't do color critical work, and LCDs are perfectly OK) with LCD panels, but if, say, a dozen pixels are going to die in 3 - 5 years, it's going to be quite annoying. SGI claims that once the pixel burns out, you'll never notice it was gone... but I don't buy it. Can anyone explain some of the longevity and degredation issues relating to flat panels?"
O'Bunny queries: "How come nobody apparently sells monochrome LCD monitors for PC-like devices? I'd love to have a largish (say, 1600x1200) flat monitor that: doesn't weigh five thousand pounds; isn't fifteen feet thick; and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
The rationales that I've heard behind the high costs of these monitors were:
- The manufacturing yield is low because of the large number of transistors that need to all work properly to display colours.
- The economy of scale currently is aimed at laptop users, for whom a 1600x1200 screen is impractically large (unless you happen to be Andre the Giant)
Ignoring the second part, why doesn't anyone make a decentmonochrome LCD monitor for those of us who want a large screen but don't necessarily need color?
In my case, I want to edit multi-channel audio. A Color display adds almost nothing to the information that I extract from the screen. I can select, cut, copy paste, apply effects, and otherwise mangle the sounds as well on a 1-bit per pixel display as I can on a 32-bpp monster.
I am also a technical writer. The documents I write are produced on a B&W laser printer, mostly. Certainly, on-line documents (and even most printed ones) can benefit from intelligent use of colour for various reasons, but most printed documents end up in black and white (mostly for cost reasons). Again, colour adds little to the experience.
So, I guess my question really comes down to the following:
- Where can I get a large monochrome flat-panel monitor for a PC?
- If I can't get one for $less than a colour flat panel, why not?"