Your Next Monitor Will Be A Curved 4K: You'll Like It - InformationWeek

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1/15/2015
10:57 AM
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Your Next Monitor Will Be A Curved 4K: You'll Like It

Curved, 4K monitors were on display at CES. Is their next stop on your corporate desktop?

 =CES 2015: 11 Peeks Into The Future
CES 2015: 11 Peeks Into The Future
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

At the just-concluded CES 2015, many eyes were on some of the glorious televisions on display. With sizes that approach measurement in acres, curves that surround you in vibrant colors, and resolutions involving numbers that threaten to match the national debt, these home-theater wonders leave viewers dazzled and amazed. They also offer a glimpse of the enterprise desktop of the near future.

A number of companies were showing off curved, 4K-resolution desktop computer monitors. The 4K part isn't particularly new: Dell, HP, Viewsonic, and even Monoprice have been offering 4K monitors, usually in the 27" class, for some time. Beloved by photographers, videographers, and other "artsy" types, these monitors allow editing full-frame video while software controls or other software are displayed next to the editing suite.

The new parts are the curve and the idea that these could be mainstream enterprise desktop tools. For the first of these you can blame the monitor manufacturers and their "we build it because we can" mode of product design. For the second, feel free to lay the responsibility directly in the laps of SAP, Oracle, and Hadoop.

[Take a look at the latest smart tech to protect your home and self. CES 2015: 8 Innovative Security Products.]

It's one thing to have mountains of data for analysts and applications to paw through. It's quite another to be able to understand the information that comes from the analysis. Data visualization is the name of the game, and an outstanding monitor that presents information in bright, beautiful color is the field on which that game will be played in the enterprise.

Visualizing big data in ways that are useful requires the sort of screen that was, until recently, the concern of gamers and streaming-video addicts. The fact that the monitors can, in some cases, represent a cost saving is icing on the cake for IT purchasing managers, but several factors must still be taken into consideration.

The first is obvious: Not every computer graphics board supports 4K (or UHD in the language of some vendors) monitors. Further, it's not a given that you can attach a 4K monitor to a standard HD port and be happy with the results. A particular 4K monitor can actually look worse than an HD monitor with a given graphics card. If you're thinking about buying curved 4K monitors and letting your systems "grow into them" at the next refresh cycle, you'll need to sandbox the results before you go into wide deployment.

The next factor is one where cost savings might come into play. In some applications, curved 4K monitors could replace twin-monitor deployments on certain desktops. Some of this is sheer size: I haven't seen any vendors presenting the curved 4K monitors in less than the 27" class. Some of it, though, is due to the number of pixels on the monitor. With four times the number of pixels available on HD monitors, applications and users can simply put more on the screen.

It's easy to go online and find pundits talking about how silly the notion of curved monitors is, especially for the enterprise. At our current early-market stage, it's not hard to poke fun at the mere idea of these "consumer gadgets" on corporate desktops. When I look at the monitors, though, and remember the technology I've seen at SAP and big data conferences, I'm convinced that these rather lovely pieces of display art are the future of the business display. Have you ordered yours yet?

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Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
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JohnA324
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JohnA324,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/19/2015 | 11:09:09 AM
4K curved monitors When?
All I see out there is 1440. When is a curved True 4k monitor going to be available? If I'm going to drop a grand on one I want that takes advantage of the actual specs instead of just sorta like the specs. Running an 980ti and wanting to replace my dual 23's. Gaaaaa!
sgittleson
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sgittleson,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2015 | 5:15:52 AM
Which companies are offering true 4K monitors that are curved?
hi, You mention that there are several companies offering 4K curved monitors but I don't see you mention model numbers? Thanks! -Steven
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/15/2015 | 5:38:54 PM
Re: Like it curvy?
@Curt- Perhaps it is because I'm always jealous of the people with the multi-creen rigs at work. I only warrant a tiny laptop. 

As I said, it will be a must for gaming. Still not sure I want it for spreadsheets.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
1/15/2015 | 4:27:04 PM
Re: Laptops
The only thing that makes me think we could be saved from the curved-screen laptop is that 4K (and curved screens) only make sense at sizes that take them out of laptop range. You can't really tell the difference on a 15" screen and I know that I'm far too...experienced...to be enthusiastic about carrying around a laptop that's much bigger than that.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
1/15/2015 | 4:25:15 PM
Re: Like it curvy?
@Dave, to be honest I think the curve matter most when you start pushing to 27" and beyond. And while it's easy to scoff at the idea of a 32" (or more) monitor, how many people have a pair (or more) of 24" monitoris on their desk today? I know that I keep the monitors on my desk angled in at the edges and the principle is much the same -- you don't want the information at the edge to go drastically out of focus.

The curve is coming, my friend -- it's coming to a desk near you!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/15/2015 | 12:49:09 PM
Laptops
Also, when do you think some foolhardy company is going to try to make a 20 inch curved screen laptop with a bubbly top? I'm not syaing it is a good idea, but some fool is going to try it. And someone is going to buy it. :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/15/2015 | 12:48:08 PM
Like it curvy?
I know I'm supposed to jump on the curvy bandwagon, but honestly I don't get it. 4K I totally get. I have 4K drops of drool going down my chin every time I see one. But the curve doesn't make sense to me for enterprises. I mean, how often do I need to work on something so big that I need the screen to curve? 

I mean, I'll probably have it on my gaming rig. And I can see if for animators and other arty types. But who needs a curved screen to look at a spreadsheet or email?
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