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Old 04-12-2005, 04:03 PM   #1
Michael Rowley
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Default Clear Type for the CRT?

I've only just tried switching Clear Type on in Windows XP, and it seems to produce a noticeable improvement on my CRT screen. As Microsoft doesn't claim much improvement on CRTs, as against those other devices (which almost everyone else seems to have), I'm wondering whether the apparent improvement is just my imagination. Is there anyone else too poor to possess a superduper screen on the forum? If so, what is your experience of ClearType?

   
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Old 04-12-2005, 07:22 PM   #2
Stephen Owades
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
I've only just tried switching Clear Type on in Windows XP, and it seems to produce a noticeable improvement on my CRT screen. As Microsoft doesn't claim much improvement on CRTs, as against those other devices (which almost everyone else seems to have), I'm wondering whether the apparent improvement is just my imagination. Is there anyone else too poor to possess a superduper screen on the forum? If so, what is your experience of ClearType?
Steve Gibson of Gibson Research has a very interesting web site discussing the concepts behind ClearType: start here (http://www.grc.com/cleartype.htm) and follow the links--the Q&A discusses the very issue you've raised. In short, ClearType produces an anti-aliasing effect when used with a CRT monitor; on an LCD it does far more and looks far better.

As for the "superduper screen" issue, anyone with a laptop has an LCD display that can benefit from ClearType. If the LCD is big and coarse (as many desktop screens are), the side effects of ClearType may be bothersome, but with a small high-res screen the effect is wonderful. On my IBM ThinkPad with 15" 1600x1200 display, black-on-white text looks almost like print on paper.

Apparently Microsoft is improving ClearType in the forthcoming Longhorn operating system. See Ian Griffiths' blog (http://www.interact-sw.co.uk/iangblo...ghorncleartype) for the results of some experiments he's done with the developer release of Longhorn.
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:53 AM   #3
Michael Rowley
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Stephen:

ClearType produces an anti-aliasing effect when used with a CRT monitor

The improvement is probably not a figment of my imagination then; but as I had everything switched on for font smoothing in Windows, I take it that the ClearType system works better.

Actually the Microsoft exposition of clearer type is better than Gibson's, and, of course, it's more up to date (the Gibson page is dated 2003).

A small digression: why call the phenomenon of jagged outlines 'aliasing'? It's not English, or even an approximation to English. (Formosan? Korean?)

   
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
Stephen:

ClearType produces an anti-aliasing effect when used with a CRT monitor

The improvement is probably not a figment of my imagination then; but as I had everything switched on for font smoothing in Windows, I take it that the ClearType system works better.

Actually the Microsoft exposition of clearer type is better than Gibson's, and, of course, it's more up to date (the Gibson page is dated 2003).

A small digression: why call the phenomenon of jagged outlines 'aliasing'? It's not English, or even an approximation to English. (Formosan? Korean?)
I first encountered the terms "aliasing" and "anti-aliasing" in the realm of digital audio. In digital recording (as in CD), an audio signal is sampled at discrete intervals, converted to digital values, stored, then replayed as a series of stepped voltages corresponding to the original samples. Any incoming signal whose frequency is above half the sampling rate (called the Nyquist frequency) produces a series of samples that are indistinguishable from those from a frequency reflected around the Nyquist frequency; with a CD sampling rate of 44.1kHz, an incoming tone at 40kHz will produce the same samples as one of 4.1kHz. And when those samples are played back, you will hear an "alias" of the original frequency, in this example a tone at 4.1kHz. In order to prevent such aliases, the incoming audio must be low-pass filtered to eliminate information above the Nyquist frequency, using an "anti-aliasing filter." A similar filter is used on the output of the playback device, to keep all the analog output below the Nyquist frequency, since aliases "reflect upward" as well as down.

The same general principle, of spurious information resulting from discrete sampling of continuous material, applies to digitized images, and I presume that's why the same term is used. Smoothing the edges of a letterform or other shape by inserting grey pixels is a form of low-pass filtering, and has a similar effect--it reduces or eliminates the spurious high-frequency information (the "jaggies") in the image.
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:29 AM   #5
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Stephen:

The same general principle . . . applies to digitized images

I had read that the term 'aliasing' comes from sound recording, and although the term is derived unacceptably it is connected legitimately to 'alias'. But the jaggies aren't at all spurious: they come from trying to reproduce an image with little squares or dots. I imagine that the digital information about the images, although at discrete intervals, would apppear sufficiently accurate, so it's only the relatively coarse screens that we use today that give trouble.

Thanks.

   
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Old 04-16-2005, 01:48 PM   #6
Gerry Kowarsky
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I noticed a distinct improvement in type quality on my CRT when my company moved from Win200 to WinXP.
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Old 04-16-2005, 03:33 PM   #7
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Gerry:

a distinct improvement in type quality on my CRT

It seems as though we do get a definite improvement, though I wasn't expecting any.

   
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Old 04-16-2005, 09:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Kowarsky
I noticed a distinct improvement in type quality on my CRT when my company moved from Win200 to WinXP.
ClearType isn't turned on in Windows XP by default, for some reason. You have to seek it out in the Display control panel; use Microsoft's ClearType tuner web site (http://www.microsoft.com/typography/...ner/Step1.aspx), which also allows you to set Cleartype for the best results on your own display (the order of colored sub-pixels affects how Cleartype should operate); or download the ClearType Tuner PowerToy (http://www.microsoft.com/typography/...ePowerToy.mspx), which also includes the ability to tune ClearType settings.
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Old 04-17-2005, 06:47 AM   #9
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Stephen:

ClearType isn't turned on in Windows XP by default

Possibly there's some drawback as well as an advantage: have you heard of one?

   
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Old 04-17-2005, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
Stephen:

ClearType isn't turned on in Windows XP by default

Possibly there's some drawback as well as an advantage: have you heard of one?
I presume that using ClearType imposes some additional burden on the resources of the computer, either the CPU or the graphics card or both. And "most" computers shipped with CRTs rather than LCD displays when WinXP was first introduced, making the "off" mode a logical choice.

There's also the "blurriness" question. Some people profess to find ClearType, or any anti-aliased type for that matter, blurry, and claim that they find it fatiguing to look at. In my opinion, ClearType works best on high-resolution (pixels-per-inch) displays, and while I don't like looking at low-res screens in general I can understand why people who use them might find ClearType more of a drawback than an advantage overall.
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