Modern displays designed to look good with old computers

Originally published at: Modern displays designed to look good with old computers | Boing Boing


My first LCD monitor was a 20" in a 5:4 ratio. Considering I replaced a 19" CRT running at 1280x1024 it was a direct drop in. I can’t wait until OLED gets to be affordable. I miss the days of the having the only light in the room be the display and black being black.

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I don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum but it’s really needling me that these are way too shallow to contain actual tubes. If you don’t want your retrocomputer to be an authentic, hulking architectural destination, fair enough, but that’s why modern computers exist.

I do appreciate a 4:3 screen though. When those were outlawed, it was one of the first times I realised how easily and completely people can be persuaded that bad is good.

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Are you also annoyed that film went to 16:9 earlier? If you look at classic movies a lot of them are 4:3 (or similar).

I’m not even sure how to parse that. 4:3 likely died off due to DVD and video more than any other reason, at least in the early 2000’s. Film cinema has been some type of wide screen for a fairly long time. However, making a CRT in a wide rectangular shape is not easy and comes with it’s own set of problems. Obviously those problems go away when you move over to a digital based display setup like LCD. In TV land I do remember a few wide aspect CRTs, but with plasma and projection leading the trend of wide screen it gave consumers the ability to watch correct resolution and aspect DVD movies. It was basically a natural progression into the PC realm from that point.

I get that the “old” gets left to rot and die. There just isn’t much of a market for specialty LCD setups that can mimic the functionality of a traditional CRT. While the retro scene has continued to grow modern computers have fully embraced the wide screen format. Everything seems just as natural now in 1920x1080 as 1280x1024 did 25 years ago. If anything better 4:3 LCDs in the early 2000’s would have helped ease the transition over. Not all graphic cards supported wide screen formats and running games in non-native resolution made them look terrible.


Just pretend that you’re very diligent with the Retrobrite.

My mom is in her 80s, every time I upgrade her computer I have to make it look an behave exactly like the old one or she freaks out.

Change is not her thing.

She must have a 4:3 monitor, it can not be wide screen sized to 4:3 because she does not like the black bars.

Her current computer is Windows 7, she wanted Windows 10 so last year I set up her computer with a second drive and Windows 10 to look like her current set up.

It’s been a year and she still hasn’t even looked at it.

Windows 7 with that old monitor will probably be her last setup.

I’ve supplied her email with a custom domain since around 2000. You should have seen her reaction when I had to upgrade her web mail interface because I changed providers to Microsoft 360.

If I see a cheap 4:3 monitor i buy it to have as a spare. I am not trying to convince her to change.

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