Have you seen the ads on television where hip young people are sprawled around the city, watching their cell phone screens? The Japanese have already made watching TV content on cell phones a hit, and it looks as though some markets in our country may be ready to go for this feature in a big way. (The cell phone companies have to do something to expand their services and sales!)
I’ve noticed a lot of people have the same reaction these TV ads, however. They all ask “why would you want to watch television on such a tiny screen?” Good question, but size is not as important as you might think at first. Here’s a quick experiment. Take a regular sheet of paper and tape it to a wall. Now get a 3-by-5 file card. Hold the card midway between you and the sheet on the wall. Move the card closer or further from your eyes until it appears to just cover the sheet of paper. If you had an image printed on the page using a certain number of dots per line, and had the same image printed on the card using the same number of dots per line, then at these two distances, the images would look exactly the same. So a small display with sufficient resolution held close to the eye will look the same size as a much larger display when viewed from across the room.
Now, those of us with over-50-something eyeballs know that getting a piece of paper or display too close to our eyes results in a blurry image, requiring the addition of a pair of reading glasses. Hmmm, I don’t recall that any of those hip young people watching their phones in the TV ads were wearing glasses.