With widescreen monitors setting the trend for, what some might describe, as
the next evolution in viewing it might seem hard to believe that its less
fashionable brother – monitors that feature a 4:3 aspect ratio format –
still enjoys popularity, particularly amongst South African corporates.
Indeed, at distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC), approximately 70
percent of its corporate monitor business comprises the standard, 4:3 aspect
ratio format. "We are finding that a lot of organisations, particularly in
banking and insurance, require 4:3 as their software does not support the
widescreen 16:9 format," explains Bruce Byrne, visual communications
specialist at DCC.
"These corporates have invested a lot in their software and business
applications and are not willing to change to support the widescreen format
and resultant monitors."
Put in layman's terms, normal and slightly older televisions and monitors
support the 4:3 aspect ratio whereas HDTV and 16:9 go hand in hand and
resemble movie theatre ratio, therefore, widescreen.
It would also seem that South Africa's continued support of 4:3 is quite
unique, as in mature marketplaces such as Singapore, widescreen posted
triple digital sequential growth rates for the fourth quarter of 2007,
according to the IDC's recently released Asia/Pacific Quarterly PC Monitor
Tracker 4Q 2007 report.
So what does this reluctance to switch over to 16:9 bode for the South
African channel? For one, Byrne believes that organisations will eventually
switch over, particularly when faced with 4:3 monitors that are totally
out-priced when compared to 16:9 models.
"Resellers, will, as long as the demand lasts, continue to support banks and
other industries with 4:3 monitors. However, we are finding that from a
manufacturer's perspective some vendors are putting pressure on the channel
to start phasing out 4:3 aspect ratio monitors, which I believe is premature
as it is still a lucrative marketplace to play in," he adds.
"At DCC we will continue to stock our entire range of 4:3 monitors to meet
the ongoing demands of the corporate market. Indeed, we will provide these
monitors until widescreen outsells it by quite a margin."