Non-Widescreen Format making a possible comeback?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by TSE, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    This is pure speculation, but I also took some observations from around the internet.

    I have been on various computer forums, including MacRumors, and it seems to me like a lot of people still miss the standard ratio format for displays, specifically on laptops. There were rumors awhile back (November-December 2008) that Lenovo tried to get their LCD manufacturers to make in bulk 4:3 15" 1600x1200 screens to create a non-widescreen 15" Thinkpad portable but the idea was canned after Lenovo found out the unreasonable cost of such a display from the manufacturer. This brought up the point that the LCD manufacturers are the ones running the show when it comes to what the screen format standard is, as the widescreen format is cheaper to produce and more consumers prefer it, however, since consumers make up most of the market, this has also forced professionals that prefer the non-widescreen format to use something against their tastes as well.

    Several companies around the Twin Cities that I know of and have visited, 3M, Deluxe Corporation, several small law firms, recycle their laptops regularly. This meaning, they are still using laptops from 1999-2004. I asked my father once who works as an IT specialists for one of these companies why they don't upgrade if it could possibly make things work faster with the new specifications of technology today and the answer was,"The small gain of productivity that we would gain from enhanced specifications would be greatly outmatched with the productivity lost by adopting the widescreen format."

    I wouldn't be wrong if I said the vast majority of professionals prefer the 4:3 aspect ratio. This is because you can fit a webpage easier, you can edit and type word documents easier, the keyboard is more aligned with the screen which makes it for some easier to type, and for some the squared size is more portable. In general, 4:3 allows you to fit more on the screen, while also being more portable.

    So why did we switch to widescreen? There are multiple reasons for that, the biggest one was that it is a lot cheaper and efficient to make displays that are widescreen than it is to make 4:3 for the manufacturers. The other key advantages of widescreen is the fact that it is great for digital media. Almost all DVDs, digital pictures, Blu-Ray movies, etc. are all done in widescreen format. This is great for consumers, but is it for professionals? 99% of the time, no. Of course, professionals that deal with media are a different story.

    How is 4:3 going to make a comeback? I shouldn't say the majority, but a lot of professionals and large corporations just simply haven't been buying new laptops, simply because of the inefficiency that comes with widescreen displays. Even though the professionals and corporations get their work done with ten year old hardware, if they upgraded to a current age laptop with 4:3 ratio, it would be much more efficient.

    Another huge reason why the 4:3 aspect ratio may come back is the emergence of the netbook. The 4:3 aspect ratio would arguably be a lot better made for netbooks than either the 16:10 or 16:9 ratio. The 4:3 ratio can hold more on the screen for the size than a widescreen ratio, which is crucial when dealing with such a small display, and the fact that the only other real advantage of the widescreen format is for movies and digital media, which netbooks weren't made for in the first place since they lack an optical drive. 4:3 screen format also makes the notebook more portable, which is also a very crucial advantage of a netbook over a traditional laptop.

    I am not saying widescreen format is going to die and standard format is going to make a huge comeback. What I am saying is I think personally that the widescreen format will always be much bigger than the standard format, but I wouldn't be surprised if I start to see the majority of netbooks, professional laptops, and maybe a very limited amount of consumer laptops go back to the standard format of 4:3.

    I, myself, am a consumer but also a huge 4:3 screen advocate, as I don't usually watch movies or do a lot of digital media on my laptop, I have a TV with a PS3 for that, and I am sure there are a lot more consumers like me, but most consumers prefer the widescreen format, and that is fine. More options would be great, though.
  2. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    This is nonsense. The aspect ratio of the display has nothing to do with how much content it can display. The resolution and size of the display is more important - combined these two factors are known as "pixel density" and that is the factor you are thinking of.

    Also, widescreen displays in notebooks are much better because in most designs they correspond to the width of the keyboard. If you make the display narrower then you reduce the amount of available space on the base for a keyboard. I haven't seen too many keyboards which are almost square like 4:3 is.
  3. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030


    Oct 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    According to whom? This entire post is riddled with "facts" that it sounds like you pulled out of thin air.
  4. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    4:3 . . . yes, you can hear the clamor for it at every audio visual consumer expo or gathering . . . Not!
  5. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Look on the Thinkpad forums, the, etc. and you will see posts complaining from professionals asking where the 4:3 aspect ratio is. Many companies around the Twin Cities refuse to update to widescreen. 4:3 is just made for professionals, it does almost everything better except for gaming and media, which professionals (unless you deal with media as a profession) don't need.

    That's like asking why Fedex doesn't prefer using a Corvette to carry luggage around instead of those huge trucks, one of them might be nicer and better for the masses (Widescreen), but not made for the job that the truck is made for (Standard).
  6. Tower-Union macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2009
    Perhaps you could enlighten us with some links to other threads where people share your idea?

    Also, what kind of "professional" are you referring to here? Obviously not media (as you mentioned) but I can't see why a doctor/lawyer/accountant/etc. would prefer to type on a 4:3. . . :confused:
  7. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    I like Apple's 3:2 widescreens. Them match my camera perfectly with no croping for the screen
  8. uberamd macrumors 68030


    May 26, 2009
    I work for the University of Minnesota (Duluth), and I can tell you we have been GLAD to adopt widescreen laptops, and nobody at work has ever requested a non widescreen laptop. ALL LCD's and laptops we purchase are widescreen, and we buy a LOT of equipment.

    So, as someone who also works in Minnesota for a very, very large employer: you are nuts.
  9. FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    15.4" 16:10 screen: 118 sq in
    15" 4:3 screen: 140 sq in
  10. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    3:2 please That's what photographers should be using
  11. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    I hope not. So I'm not a professional, but you haven't given any reasoning in your OP to define what exactly makes the widescreen format any less productive/efficient than the taller 4:3 format.

    I like the widescreen format simply because my field of vision at the distance I'm sitting at allows me to basically 'see' out of my peripheral where everything is without intermittently glancing around. Besides, our eyes are side by side horizontally, so I'll say that we can see more left/right than up/down in a single glance.

    Plus there's all this stuff about how the golden ratio is much more aesthetically pleasing, but that's got nothing to do with efficiency. Maybe if you're aesthetically pleased with the way your information is presented to you, you will be more productive.

    You could always just buy a couple of widescreens and put them in portrait next to each other.

    Finally, if there is any change, 3:2 should deserve to win. Although 3:2 resolutions would be weird numbers.
  12. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    And I work in a "professional" environment for a large company and I know all of my coworkers and myself would kill for a widescreen. Too bad we all have crappy CRTs
  13. wbvanrij macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2009
    Personally, I would love a comeback of non-widescreen displays. I use a 4:3 laptop for work and a widescreen laptop at home. When doing work on my private laptop I always seem to run out of vertical space when reading e-mails, reading word-docs and making presentations. Especially for making presentations a 4:3 screen fits my needs better.

    Too bad that they aren't being made anymore, I will just have to avoid upgrading my business laptop I guess. Or wait doing so until someone relaunches 4:3 displays.

    And actually I did find some links of people sharing this view:

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