Letters to the Editor

A clear view on pixel pitch

In your review of large LCD monitors, 'The GCN Lab monitors a dozen upper-end LDCs', you did not mention pixel pitch. I have however noticed a general trend in LCD monitors: Usually as the size increases the pixel pitch increases.

This, from what I've been told, decreases the sharpness of the picture. Is this true? I am looking to make a large purchase of monitors and would like 19-inch screens, but not at the expense of sharpness.

Am I overemphasizing the importance of pixel pitch?

Joe Mosimann

Budget analyst, Office of the Director

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, Md.

The lab staff replies: Thank you for a good question about the importance of pixel pitch. You are not overemphasizing the importance of pixel pitch, which is the distance between pixels. That distance is proportional to the resolution of the image on a given monitor.

Suppose you have a 15-inch monitor with a resolution of 1,024 by 768 and pixel pitch of .25 mm. If you switch it for a 19-inch monitor with equal resolution, the 19-inch monitor would have greater pixel pitch, and you would see a decrease in image quality. As a budget analyst looking at lots of figures in large spreadsheets, that might be a problem.

But larger monitor size doesn't necessarily mean diminished sharpness or image quality as long as the resolution rises proportionally to the size of the monitor. Most 19-inch monitors are shipped with a native resolution of 1,280 by 1,024, or even 1,600 by 1,200 at the high end. Both have an average pixel pitch in the .20-mm range. They therefore produce images as clear as or clearer than their 15-inch counterparts with lower resolution.

Bigger isn't always best value

I have both comments and a question for Defense procurement director Deidre Lee, as quoted in 'DOD forced to change process for service buys'.

First, Lee said that DOD is requesting at least three bids from vendors'through a General Services Administration schedule contract. 'DOD will have to make time because 'it's the law,' ' the article states, quoting Lee. 'The goal here is to get real competition.'

Well! How does this statement square with the governmentwide push for best-value procurements?

Small companies like ours, trying to grow to $1 million in sales on our GSA schedule contract, must compete with big companies like Dell Computer Corp. doing hundreds of millions in sales on a GSA schedule contract.

Our company might have a great product, but there is no way in heck we will win in a three-way bid on lowest price. It has to be decided on best value for the dollar.

Lee needs to explain herself better than she has in this article. Companies like ours will never get the lowest price. We have niche products and services. We have to work 10 times harder then the bigger companies.

A large manufacturer tried to buy us two years ago. The owner said no. The big reason she gave was the government's push for best value. This should allow us to compete with the big companies that can produce in volume.

DOD must look at purchasing as a more logistical process, and contractors need some flexibility in that process.

Steven Braun

Vice president of operations

Advanced Military Technology Inc.

Tigard, Ore.

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