XO 1.75 screen

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Mon Aug 2 08:54:54 EDT 2010

On 02.08.2010, at 08:28, John Watlington wrote:

> We are considering a change to 1280 x 720 for XO-1.75, but it too would be fixed.

I understand this is about cost and going with the main stream. But IMHO it would be a bad move.

Please, if at all possible, stay with a 4:3 ratio. It's easy to scale content, but to redesign it for 16:9 is hard even for professionals (*). Making user-content authored both on wide and regular screens be exchangeable is almost impossible. E.g., currently Etoys projects made by the kids are 4:3. On a wide-screen machine, Etoys by default shows black borders left and right. This can be turned off, but then we would get projects authored in both 16:9 and 4:3, and viewing them on a different screen makes them unusably small. Stretching is not really an option because 5 units should represent the same distance horizontally and vertically. 

Also, when turned to portrait mode, 3:4 looks much nicer than 9:16. Wide-screens are much too tall when rotated. E.g., Apple Macs use wide screens exclusively, and are not designed to be rotated. But Apple's iPad and iPhone, which are often held in portrait or landscape, have a 4:3 screen. Given that there are thoughts for a future tablet version of the XO, which hopefully would use 4:3, I think a wide-screen interlude should be avoided.

- Bert -

(*) Some people seem to be fine with stretching. While touring the US last month (which has many more public TVs than Germany) I was amazed how many showed fat people, just stretching the 4:3 broadcast to fill the whole screen. For an educational machine I don't think that's a good idea.

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