Monday, December 8, 2008

How do you compare monitor screen sizes?

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Monitor screen sizes are measured diagonally. The adoption of the diagonal measurement is driven more by historical than technical reasons. Earlier TV monitors were circular, which meant that they only needed to measure the diameter to describe their screen or tube size. Later on when round screens were replaced by rectangular screens, the diagonal measurement became equivalent to the diameter measurement used in earlier TVs. Besides, TV manufacturers like to mention the diagonal size because it’s the largest line on the screen. No manufacturer wants to reveal that their 29 inch TV sets are actually 23 inches across. Not only that, a substantial portion of the CRT tube (not applicable to LCD monitors) is concealed behind the case and so the actual viewing area is even lesser.

Customers still have a hard time figuring out how big or small their TV sets are. This confusion doubled when wide screen TVs came into market. Now there are two aspect ratios – the traditional 4:3 and the new 16:9, and both uses the diagonal size. How much bigger or smaller a 29 inch 4:3 TV screen is compared to a 29 inch 16:9 screen? How much screen area will I get when watching regular 4:3 content on a widescreen TV? If you are troubled by such questions, then you should checkout DisplayWars.

 displaywars

Screen size comparison of a 29 inch 4:3 and 16:9 TV

DisplayWars is a website that allows you to visually compare monitor or TV screen sizes of two different monitors. By using this site, I found out that a 30 inch 4x3 TV has the same viewing area as a 32 inch 16:9 TV. If I watch 4:3 content on the 4:3 TV, I get 31% more viewing area than the 16:9 TV. But if I watch widescreen videos, the 16:9 TV gives me 35% more area than the regular TV. This we already know, but now we have actual figures to compare. So if I want to enjoy regular 4:3 TV broadcast like I enjoy in a 30 inch regular TV, I should get a 36 inch widescreen TV. See how DisplayWars make buying decision easier? (Thanks Appscout)

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