Computer monitors: Beyond Full HD- 1920x1200, 2K-2560×1440, 4K-3840 x 2160

Computer monitors: Beyond Full HD- 1920x1200, 2K-2560×1440, 4K-3840 x 2160

I have used a series of computer monitors with a resolution above Full High Definition: 1920x1080.

The obvious question is why? The highest resolution for most movies is 1920x1080.

The answer is simple; I don't watch movies on a computer but read a lot; web pages, books and magazines. The higher the resolution the better!

The high resolution gives a better quality display of a PDF document. PDF originally was a printing format and generally has a higher resolution than a computer monitor can display. Printers typically can print at 600 or 1200 dots per inch, about ten times higher than a video monitor.

LCD monitors produce their best display at their native resolution, anything less usually looks bad as there are not enough pixels to give a sharp image. Try lowering the resolution of your own monitor and you will see what I mean.

Ultra high resolution has been picked up by tablet manufacturers, particularly Apple, with "Retina Display". This is a resolution higher than the human eye can distinguish individual pixels. Retina Display is 326 pixels per inch for the iPhone/Mini iPad 2 and 264 for the later model iPads. The reason is simple, the displays look better!

I am writing this on a Samsung 28" U28D590 4K 3840x2160 (16:9 diagonal) monitor with screen dimensions of 620mm x 340 mm. The resolution per inch is 157 pixels per inch horizontally and 161 vertically. Despite the resolution, still a lot less than the Apple iPhone or iPad.

The Samsung uses a TN panel, older LCD monitor technology that does not have good contrast; 1:1000, and poor side-viewing. The poor side view is very important with a large monitor only 500mm from your face, as you look sideways to see the edges. The effect is bad enough to be nuisance in normal viewing. A poor-man's 4K monitor at about $700. It will be useful when I start getting 4K video. The resolution does improve the look of fonts in PDF documents, so the high resolution has some benefit.

I also have a Kogan 28" 2K 2560x1440 TCN monitor. While the resolution is lower, the contrast and angle view is better, but not brilliant. Quite a good monitor for about $450. The 2K resolution is a big improvement over 1920x1080 monitors for reading PDFs on screen.

An important caveat of the 4K and 2K monitors is that they need modern graphics to drive them. The best way is to use Displayport cable, but this is only possible with the Intel HD4600 graphics of the latest Haswell CPUs, I5 or I7. It is possible to use a graphics card on older machines, but they need a Displayport connector and the capacity to run 2K and 4K. The cost of the cards is over $200.

The 1920x1200 resolution are business monitors giving an extra 120 pixels vertically, still an improvement over 1920x1080 monitors for reading.

For watching TV I have a couple of Panasonic plasmas; great colour, contrast and good side-viewing. I would like to buy a plasma monitor, but they don't make them.

I am hanging out for OLED monitors (, similar picture characteristics to plasma, but without the problems of plasma. The technology is just entering the TV market. Hopefully in a year or so, high resolution OLED monitors will be available and affordable.

Cinematographers are using full-HD, 2K and 4K video cameras instead of film. Digital SLR cameras in video mode are becoming very popular as produce high quality, high resolution video, and are very cheap compared to film or cine-video cameras. Further, the DSLR lens are much cheaper than their cine equivalents but still very high quality, a function of respective production volumes.

I am trying to use DSLR cameras for my amateur TV, but only up to 1920x1080, still a big improvement on web or analogue cameras that most DATV amateurs are using. However, digital video and device inter-connection is quite complicated.


  1. Computer monitors: Beyond Full HD- 1920x1200, 2K-2560×1440, 4K-3840 x 2160. I have used a series of computer monitors with a resolution ...

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