Tech Nous: Skinny Screen Starlets

Don’t look now, but audio and vision technology is on serious diet. I discovered it when visiting local accountant’s office – that LCD screen on the receptionist’s desk was just downright skinny! Where was the chunky, curvaceous CRT rear-end that traditionally justified huge desk and was part of the office landscape for decades?

Now I find myself attracted to those slim, svelte, plasma monitors at Harvey Norman. Computer resellers are bundling slender LCD monitors with their systems, and have you seen the latest-generation DVD players? Everywhere you look it’s ‘slim city’!

My pick in the plasma monitor stakes is the recently released Black Diamond BLD-42F – 42-inch high-definition TV plasma monitor with 852×480 pixel resolution, desktop stand, SRS surround sound, BBE sound processing, and built-in stereo speakers. It performs well on both video and data inputs, and the screen is just 95 millimetres thick, I mean thin.

And it’s not just monitors that have slimmed down drastically – audio speakers have gone through the same process. visit to the Carter Holt Harvey New Zealand Pavilion at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour during the America’s Cup campaign confirmed it. There were floor-to-ceiling metal poles supporting multitude of slim screens and speakers.

The pavilion featured Multi-Layer Display Technology (MLDT) monitors from Hamilton-based company Deep Video Imaging – which has already found overseas markets for its technology. MLDT enables people to view two layers of information at the same time on two separate physical depths, all on single monitor. Layers of information can be moved forward or back, or separated at the click of mouse.

Think of the advantages: for example it can be used to monitor or analyse two linked sets of information. finance market trader could layer related graphs and data without having to resort to another monitor.

Graphic designers, web designers, CAD users and programmers can see full-screen image on the front layer, and detach toolbars to the back screen, maximising the work area while avoiding toolbar clutter.

In process control application, layering allows more data to be viewed and interpreted at the same time.

There’s also potential in the entertainment field, particularly in casino and arcade gaming where the 3D effect of the MLDT screens is impressive.

Flat panel speakers also featured at the New Zealand Pavilion display (which is expected to move to other locations around the country following the sinking of the America’s Cup). The speakers are the work of Auckland-company SLAB Sound, which again, is generating significant sales to overseas manufacturers, including Philips, Mission, Packard Bell and Maxell.

The technological anorexia has produced speakers as thin as nine millimetres, including the enclosure. No longer does the size of the speaker box matter – flat panel speakers offer number of benefits from the design stage, through manufacturing, shipping, and finally, to saving space in the home. Interior designers and consumers prefer flat panel speakers for home theatre applications.

“Slim and smart” sums up every entertainment or business productivity tool on today’s market, from scanners and projectors to digital cameras, smartphones, handheld PCs and notebooks. And we owe most of the slimming down to the humble microchip, which today wafts in at just 0.13 microns.

It’s fashionable, and functional to be ‘Twiggy’ thin.

Glenn Baker is regular contributor to Management.
Email: [email protected]

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