Future Display Technology: Progressive Digital

by Mike Shea on 22 April 2003

An article in Widescreen Review by professional video snob, Joe Kane, had me thinking. He has always been a proponent of progressive displays instead of interlaced ones, saying that 1080i displays are the pits.

"Progressive scan is another issue. I thought we had finally got rid of interlaced, with the interlaced to progressive converters, then along comes 1080i. It's a holdover from the analogue ways of doing things. Few people are willing to take the time to realize that true progressive is better."

He points out that computer monitors have had better displays than that for a long long time and he's right. My 21" Sony monitor can display a true 1920x1080 progressive picture with every pixel displayed. It has been two years since I unpacked it but it still is the best looking display I have ever seen.

The only problems with this display is the lack of HDTV Component, DTV Component, S-video, and composite video inputs and its sheer size and weight. The Sony SDM-V72 17" Widescreen LCD Monitor fixes that. It has a 1280 x 768 widescreen display capable of true 720p output and 1080i compatibility (downscaling I assume). It accepts just about every input except DVI-HDTV digital video input. The stats are nice. It weighs 13 pounds.

Digital displays are the future. Digital displays have no trouble with progressive signals. Progressive signals are easier to compress, look better, and easier to display with digital displays. While this Sony monitor is not a home theater substitute, it is an excellent desktop theater / multimedia monitor and in a couple of years, digital front projectors will have solved the black level problem, the fan problem, and the cost problem. By 2005 you will be able to get a high quality 100" HDTV widescreen digital display for about $3000. This will make home theater and home gaming a totally new experience.

If I can find a way to get rid of the three extra monitors I have now, I'd like to pick up one of these new widescreen displays for my multimedia monitor. This way I have a single desktop display for my Xbox, Playstation 2, Progressive DVD player, multimedia computer, and Tivo.

Mike's Ideal Desktop Display

1280 x 768 resolution

17" minimum size, 21" ideal

Under 20 lbs

DVI, VGA, HDTV Component, S-Video, and Composite Video inputs

Able to display perfect NTSC 6500k display specs

Under $800

Mike's Ideal Home Theater Display

1280 x 768 resolution

at least 110" max screen size

Under 20 lbs

DVI, VGA, HDTV Component, S-Video, and Composite Video inputs

Able to display perfect NTSC 6500k display specs

Silent Operation

3000 hour bulb life for $200

If the InFocus ScreenPlay 7200 was $3000 instead of $10,000 I think we'd be there. My timeline is pretty conservative it would seem.

Update! Instead of dropping $800 on a new monitor, I went a cheaper route and got the $200 Key Digital Systems KD-XB adapter to send progressive component signals to a vga output. Now I can pull my Hitachi monitor out of mothballs and use it instead of my crappy Samsung TV. I still need a way of sending composite signals to the monitor, though. Hopefully this is a tad cheaper. I am really looking forward to progressive gaming on a CRT.

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