Triple Vision

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Even the slickest monitors offer only piecemeal views of The Big Picture. Now, Panoram Technologies (, with its line of triple-screened desktop displays, offers a picture worth three thousand words. The wrap-around configuration of flat, segmented TFT/LCD screens offers a near-total immersion experience, taking on high-screen real estate jobs in all their high-resolution glory. View a single project (sans the scrolling to and fro) or several at once, whatever the peripherals or software they entail.

"In our thinking, the standard architecture of `monitor as peripheral to the desktop PC' is quite anachronistic for today's information worker," says Theo Mayer, Panoram's president and CEO. "With workstation, laptop, network server, cable, DVD and more coming to the desk in many work applications, the new computing architecture places the display system at the center of the computing environment with all the other bits as the peripheral sources. These are often replaced or upgraded, while the center or core of the system - the display - is constant for many years."

The Sun Valley, Calif., company's higher-end displays play up defense industry applications over multimedia ones, which is to say the PV290 DSK is a veritable tank among display systems, with its 500 square inches of screen space (43.5"x11.5"). The 80-pound megamonitor allows resolution up to 3.9 megapixels - all at the Pentagon-friendly price of $22,750. Civilians may be more likely to consider the residual-iMac-chic plastic translucidity of the PV230 DSK, the `prosumer' interface geared toward creatives. Weighing in at 55 pounds, this 36"x9" screen is friendly to tasks like electronic publishing, graphic arts production, website layout and nonlinear video/audio editing. The resolution (2.4 megapixels) is lower, but so is the collateral damage ($9,995).

"Although these displays seem expensive from the commodity end of the industry, they are showing up to 30 percent greater productivity for many applications," says Thayer. With 12 ways to get inside (three ports each for RGB and digital direct DVI computer sources, composite and S-video inputs), there's plenty of room for peripherals. The PV290 tackles potential tangles with a single "umbilical cable" and external control box. The PV230 stuffs all the unruly serpents into its flexible arm. "With all those ports, you could connect pretty much any device you wanted," says Jordi Abusada, filmmaker and director of the European production company Taller de Im genes. "The main advantage I see is space and mobility. If you're editing video, you'll have three monitors in one - without the hassle of three separate display units. If you need to pick up and move, you can."

Don't scrap your current CPU. Panoram says the displays will work with most big-name computer platforms: Mac OS, Sun, HP, SGI and Windows/NT.

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