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Gaming at 1920 x 1200

by David Trammell - May 27, 2008, 5:43 pm EDT
Total comments: 26

The main problem with the monitor is that 1920 x 1200 is a 16:10 ratio not a 16:9 ratio. That 11.1% increase in vertical resolution is far more noticeable than I ever would have suspected. It's incredibly annoying anytime a large shape is encountered that should be symmetric (the doors in Metroid Prime 3 come immediately to mind). Even in games without obvious symmetry, all the human characters and doorways seem unusually tall.

In theory, a well designed monitor could fix this problem easily. For example, when my particular monitor detects an HD signal, it can be set to display a proper 16:9 ratio by putting "black" bars above and below the pictures. However, these not-quite-black bars are a little annoying since they serve as a constant reminder that you're not really playing on a 16:9 unit. Even so, it's the best they could do while maintaining the vertical resolution (which is essential for competing with the 1600 x 1200 resolution that CRTs have easily displayed for years).

The thing that's particularly problematic for me is that the 16:9 option inexplicably vanishes when my monitor detects a non-HD source. Obviously, the designers assumed that a non-HD source would never be presented in 16:9 (completely forgetting about several hundred million DVD players and legacy game consoles in the process). The implications of this are that Wii games, even running in progressive scan, are stuck with an 11.1% vertical stretch (not to mention any classics with a 16:9 option such as Eternal Darkness and Goldeneye). If this sounds like something that would bother you, be sure to investigate the particular model you're looking at before picking up a 1920 x 1200 monitor for gaming.

Two more things are worth mentioning. Even when kicking back with a traditional controller in a relatively comfortable chair, I find it really hard to locate adequate leg room without getting so far from my computer desk that even a 24 inch wide screen starts to look a bit small. Additionally, making the Wii sensor bar work well at that short of a distance is rather difficult.


Sounds like you got a sick price, but I'm not surprised by the last paragraph of this blog post.  For HD resolutions, 24 inches is not a very big screen.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusMay 27, 2008

Yes, the price was incredibly sick, although I had to bring back the first two on account of dead pixels (thank you Sam's Club).  Third time's a charm apparently as this one has been doing perfect for 5 months straight.

The worst thing about the leg room issue for me is that, at 6'3, I have really, really long legs!  I also have my corner computer desk crammed next to a queen sized bed (which is itself butted up against a wall).  So, in my case, I actually can't back up any more.  I've taken to moving my keyboard out of the way and pulling the monitor to the edge of the desk and backing up as far as I can, but it's still not enough.

Actually, all this bitching has just inspired me to dream up a potential solution.  I'll need a saw and a longer power cable for the monitor...

Yeah, I pretty much had the same experience with my current monitor. I had intended for it to be my "HDTV" of sorts, but it just didn't work out due to the whole 16:10 thing, and the fact that scaled 4:3 SD signals look terrible on it anyway. I love it as a computer monitor, though!

I got a Samsung Syncmaster 245BW (same size and res as Rize's) in March for $296.  There's a cool adaptive contrast feature (10000:1 effective) on the monitor that isn't good for computer use, but is great for bringing out the vividness in games and movies.  Any movies/shows required 16:9 have been played through my computer so far, which handles the black bars.  I bought an XCM 1080p VGA box so that I could play consoles on the screen since it didn't have component input or HDMI (though it does have DVI w/ HDCP, so I could get a cheap adapter whenever I get a console that needs it).  My monitor properly adds the black bars when using the VGA box.  I was wondering how everybody else is getting their signal into their monitors, direct input?

My monitor has a component video in jack, which is what I used for my Wii and PS3 when I was fooling around (yeah, no 1080p).

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusMay 27, 2008

The one crazy cool thing about my otherwise bottom of the line monitor is that it has hdmi in, component in, s-video in, and composite video in...  it even has built in speakers.  it really was designed to be marketed as a monitor/tv.  If I ever want to use DVI, I can get a DVI to HDMI converter cable (supposedly it's essentially the same signal anyway except for a couple of extra pins for audio, so the converter is cheap and simple).

BranDonk KongMay 28, 2008

All widescreen PC monitors are 16:10. This is because the spec is based on the idea that people would like to have fullscreen video, but still have and OSD for fast forward, pause, etc. If it's anything like my 22" Westinghouse monitor (1680x1050), you can watch 16:9 not-HD content with the black bars, without the 11.1% stretch. Just go to the settings and choose auto adjust, that usually puts it in 16:9 for me, or you can manually set the size of the image. Just go up 120 pixels and you're all set.

RABicleMay 28, 2008

I'm doing PC gaming in 16:10 it's awwllright since most games have a 1400x900 mode.

KDR_11kMay 28, 2008

Careful with terms like "vividness", many people seem to think that high contrast and saturation are signs of a good screen but it's usually more than the source material should have, grass just isn't THAT green, people just aren't THAT pink.

BranDonk KongMay 28, 2008

Well you might as well get an XBox 360 and put that HDMI port to good use, or if your monitor supports HDCP (if it uses HDMI it probably does, usually with only DVI they do not), hook up a BluRay player or HD cable box.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusMay 28, 2008

Yeah, it does support HDCP.


I have a 360, but auto-adjust can't make software wide-screen appear correctly.  Wide Screen for old GameCube games, Wii games and old N64 games like Goldeneye didn't actually output extra pixels, it's still running in 640x480.  They just adjusted how much the camera takes in so that everything looks squished into the 640x480 (horizontally) and when you stretch it out into a 16:9 TV the dimensions turn out just right.

BranDonk KongMay 28, 2008

Wii runs in 720x480 widescreen and 640x480 FS. Try doing the auto adjust for the 360 when you're in the game, and not at the dashboard. That's usually what I do, though now I just play on my Samsung 52" 1080p LCD (sorry I had to).

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusMay 28, 2008

It doesn't matter.  This Westinghouse only offers the option to stretch the image, except in the case of the 360 (I assume because it's HD since I've tried the 360 and the Wii both on the component channel, and the Westinghouse only allows the 16:9 letterbox mode for the 360).

eborringMay 29, 2008

Maybe this will sound noobish but if your monitor supports 1920x1200 why can't it support 1920x1080? I run my ps3 through my 24" monitor, using HDMI, I don't notice any difference when it is connected to the 42" HDTV my parents have. 

NinGurl69 *hugglesMay 29, 2008

It means their monitor will take the 1080 and stretch it to 1200, which is not desired.  If 1080p was properly recognized, 1080 out of 1200 lines would be occupied, leaving slight letterboxing, but have the proper square pixel aspect ratio.

KDR_11kMay 30, 2008

Screen manufacturers don't seem too concerned with maintaining correct aspect ratios, they'd rather boast more resolution or "widescreen" (either to wide or not wide enough, why are these things geared for the stupid 16:9 format when movies are something like 2.5:1 by now?)

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusMay 30, 2008

Yes, most movies display the cinema format (although the DVD versions do this by letterboxing them into a 16:9 format).  Anyway, it's a huge mess imo and most consumers don't even know how to fix it.  I frequently find my parents using the wrong format on their HDTV while watching DVDs.

NinGurl69 *hugglesMay 30, 2008

I'm actually writing a technical article/rant about the current tragedy of aspect ratio inconsistencies across consumer electronics.


Who's right/wrong?  THEY'RE ALL WRONG on the simple basis we consumers are bombarded with products that don't conform to a convenient, reasonably universal standard.

TVs had it good for 50+ years before the widescreen craze.  All 4:3, and not much argument beyond that.

BranDonk KongMay 30, 2008

Everything should be in 16:9, period. A lot of movies are 2.35:1, which is too wide of a screen for me, but this also depends on the theater that you go to and how they want to display the picture, sometimes. All TVs produced now are 16:9, and all HDTV is 16:9, so it should be a universal standard for anything that goes on a TV screen now.

animecyberratMay 30, 2008

I was at Shop-Ko and their HDTV promo video says there are "2 types of HD, 720p and 1080p and they all have 16:9 Aspect Ratio" then they proceed to tell you which type of HD works best for "cable" or "movies" with no other explanations whatsoever. They take the "the consumer is an idiot" approach.

NinGurl69 *hugglesMay 30, 2008

Hollywood sucks.

2.35:1 movies don't properly use up the screen real estate in our 16:9 TVs.

Things get even worse when you deal with a 16:10 monitor.

It's really effing:stupid.

FamicomMay 30, 2008

Quote from: eborring

Maybe this will sound noobish but if your monitor supports 1920x1200 why can't it support 1920x1080? I run my ps3 through my 24" monitor, using HDMI, I don't notice any difference when it is connected to the 42" HDTV my parents have. 

The PS3 is an HD device; it naturally outputs 720p and 1080p at their proper aspect ratios, and thus a monitor can simply upscale (720p) or display native 1:1 (1080p) and you get things the way they're meant to be seen. The problem comes with SD content, which all output at a ratio of 3:2 (720x480), and televisions re-interpret this as 4:3 or 16:9 (which for dvds is called anamorphic). Many (if not all?) widescreen monitors don't have a "scale as 4:3" or "scale as 16:9" option, only the ability to just "scale", which leaves the video in the improper 3:2, "fill screen", which stretches the screen to an improper 16:10, or leave as 1:1, which would be a small 720x480 window in the middle of a sea of black on the screen.

I just bought a 24" widescreen monitor myself this month (BenQ FP241W) and went through these same frustrations in testing out the Wii on it. I never got it with the intention of viewing SD content on it though, so it's not that much of a dealbreaker for me.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusMay 31, 2008

What I don't get about the 16:10 monitors that are 1920x1200 is why they don't make 16:9 monitors that are 2133x1200 or 2144x1206 (if they want evenly divisible ratios), it would hardly be any more pixels per screen and it would at least make the aspect ratio correct without screwing up the vertical resolution.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJune 01, 2008

From what I read it's more cost effective to cut the individual 16:10 LCD panels from the big source panels than 16:9, considering the physical sizes of various screens are dependent on the fact that the physical dimensions of the LCD pixel hardly changes across a type of device/product.

ShyGuyJune 01, 2008

Projectors will solve all of this in the future.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJune 01, 2008


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