Widescreen monitors: Where did 1920×1200 go?

Some of the most popular and widely recommended monitors from the last decade seem to have vanished from shop shelves. Why?

January 10, 2011
Widescreen monitors: Where did 1920x1200 go?

While the 16:10 aspect ratio isn’t something one usually comes across in widescreen television sets, in computer monitors it’s fairly widespread.

The aspect ratio of a screen describes the relationship between the lengths of its sides, measured in pixels.

According to the latest hardware survey results from Steam (Valve’s digital content delivery platform) the most common resolution on the primary monitor of gamers using Steam is 1680×1050, a resolution with a 16:10 aspect ratio.

This is closely followed by 1920×1080, the resolution for 1080p HD which has a 16:9 aspect ratio. Full HD has a 16:10 sibling, 1920 pixels across by 1200 high, which once upon a time was a fairly popular resolution among PC users.

1920×1200 not popular enough?

Steam’s December 2010 hardware survey results reported that 1920×1200 is less used than even the old non-widescreen resolution of 1024×768.

While it may be reasonable to conclude that the resolution just isn’t that popular among users, one can’t ignore the fact that 1920×1200-capable monitors seem impossible to come by nowadays.

According to Samsung, there’s a perfectly logical explanation as to why this is, and it isn’t necessarily related to demand.

1920×1200 gone the way of the 5.25” floppy

Bennie Budler, product manager of IT products at Samsung South Africa, confirmed that monitors capable of 1920×1200 resolutions aren’t being manufactured anymore.

“It is all about reducing manufacturing costs. The new 16:9 aspect ratio panels are more cost effective to manufacture locally than the previous 16:10 panels,” Budler said.

“Square monitors” an endangered species

Non-widescreen displays with 4:3 aspect ratios are still being manufactured, but in very small quantities, Budler added.

“Demand for the old ‘Square monitors’ has decreased rapidly over the last couple of years,” Budler said. “I predict that by the end of 2011, production on all 4:3 or similar panels will be halted due to a lack of demand.”

Treat her well

Even as the 1920×1200 display goes extinct and monitors with 4:3 aspect ratios seem destined to soon follow suit, Samsung promises new developments in the form of higher resolution panels and 3D LED monitors.

Until something better comes along, however, treat your old 1920×1200 monitor well. You might not be able to call it a priceless computing artefact, but it is no longer a piece of equipment that can be easily replaced.

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