Screen Dreams

This week Lowrance announced the introduction of their HDS-16 Carbon graph, which, as the name suggests, will feature a 16-inch display. Even though I’ve always wanted to be an architect, I’ll have to take their word for it when they say that this unit “gives anglers the equivalent of four seven-inch screens on a single display.”
According to the press release, Triton’s newest models will allow it to be flush mounted. I’m sure that the other manufacturers won’t be far behind, and that makers of athletic supporters like T-H Marine will do a brisk business in products to keep these pricey options safe.
The HDS-16 will likely compete with Garmin’s various 16-inch offerings as well as Humminbird’s new 15-inch Solix. I haven’t used any of them, so I can’t opine on which is the best, but it’s obvious that the electronics arms race is not slowing down. My initial reaction to Lowrance’s announcement was that anglers running two 10- or 12-inch screens at the bow or console might replace them with a single 15- or 16-incher, but the reality is at some point someone is going to have four or more of these massive screens on their boat.
Look, if you’ve got 20 grand to spend on them and you think they’ll help, slap a couple of 42 inchers on the front deck. It’s your boat, your money, and your image you’ve gotta promote. But I also think that at some point there will be a tipping point and the screens will simply get in the way. At some time, in some way, the arms race has to change from simply the size of the screen or screens to a new way to view more information without cluttering up your “office.” That may take the form of a projected screen or a Roland Martin hologram (Virgil Ward signature series may cost extra) telling you what’s under the boat and to the side of it, but eventually it’ll be the medium that makes the difference, not just taking the same basic images and enhancing them.