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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Why and How To Buy LCD Monitor - Advantages over CRT Monitor and Specifications

Some of us refuse to keep in pace with technology. Reason, if we could do with or without something, we can continue to do so. There are many who still refuse to use computers to their advantage, leave alone using the Internet. An LCD monitor is one of these upgrades in technology which doesn't, in the eyes of these people, offer any advantages besides looking good on the table. They couldn't be far from wrong.

An LCD monitor offers many advantages over the good old CRT monitor. Let's see why one should buy or upgrade to LCD monitor.

First the obvious ones and then the larger issues.

(a) LCD monitors look good on the table.

(b) It occupies much lesser space and also increases the distance between the eyes and the screen.

(c) It is much lighter and easy to shift and transport.

(d) It consumes much less power than the CRT monitor of the same size. The power consuption of LCD monitors is as less as one-third of the same size CRT monitor.

(e) CRT monitors generate much more heat than LCD monitors.

(f) CRT monitors are susceptible to magnetic interference. LCD monitors are not.

(g) CRT monitors are known to emit VLF radiation, which may be damaging to health. The debate on this was prolonged and the jury is still out. Probably because there was no option earlier. Now that LCD monitors are replacing the CRT, maybe we will get to know the truth once the world is ready to phase out the CRT.

(h) LCD monitors don't have the flicker effect, a constant problem with CRT monitors due to lower refresh rates causing headaches and strain on the eyes.

(i) LCD monitors typically have a life of 30 - 50 thousand hours compared to 10 - 20 thousand hours for a CRT monitor.

(j) LCD monitors are brighter and reflect lesser ambient light than the CRT monitor.

(k) Sharper image quality, higher contrasts and higher resolutions are offered by LCD monitors

(l) LCD monitors are greener and produce less hazardous waste compared to CRT monitors which generate lead, cadmium, phosphor, barium and mercury.

I suppose the above advantages are sufficient for one to throw the CRT monitor out of the window. Don't actually throw it out, you can sell it back to the vendors and get some money back to part finance your LCD monitor.

Now that you have decide to buy an LCD monitor, let's see what are the things to look out for, be way of specifications, to get more bang for your buck?

Size: The bigger is not always better, you have to consider your own requirements for deciding this like if you are going to be watching movies on computer, a bigger size is better, but for normal working a standard 17-19 inches is better. However what you do need to notice and ask for is the viewable size, there are some 19 inch monitors which have a viewable size of 18.5 inches. That is surely not what you want to take home.

Aspect Ratio: This is the ratio of the horizontal and vertical measurement of the screen. Traditionally 4:3 was the AR of choice but now 16:9 AR monitors are in the market which are suitable for gaming and movies. These monitors are generally identified by the word "wide".

LCD monitors have, what is called a native resolution. This means that the LCD monitor will function at its best at the native resolution. Yes, you will be able to adjust the resolution just like in a CRT monitor but be ready to sacrifice the picture and performance, you also may not then use the full screen of the monitor. It is best to decide beforehand and go for the desired native resolution.

Viewing angle: Most LCD monitors are now coming with a viewing angle of 160 degrees, which is far more than what is required for working on the computer. Unless you are palnning to screen a movie for the entire neighbourhood in a small room, but do make sure that you are not getting something like a 110 degree angle.

Contrast: The ratio of the brightness of white to black pixel is the contrast. The higher the number the better it is if you want blacker blacks and whiter whites.

Dynamic Contrast ratio: This is certainly different from the contrast ration and is the lowering of the backlight brightness to achieve better contrasts. This number is usually much higher than the contrast ratio, so don't get taken in by the DCR, though it does improve the picture and the higher it is the better.

Response Time: The minimum ime required to change the color of a pixel is called the response time. Obviously the lower it is the better. Anything less than 12 ms is sufficient for even gaming. Most displays now come with 5ms response time. A high response time might mean ghosting and motion blur during gaming.

Brightness: Measured in nits, candelas per meter square, it signifies who much light is being produced by the panel. The higher it is the better.

Connectors: Earlier all the monitors used to come with the analog connectivity using the DSub, 15 pin connector. Now the digital interfaces are available, like the DVI and even HDMI. However make sure that your video card supports these interfaces before you pay more for this type of connectivity.

Color depth: The number means the number of colors the monitor can display. The higher it is the better the picture is.

Pixel pitch: The distance between two pixels is the pixel pitch. The lesser the distance the shraper is the picture.

Adjustable height stand: Though most stands have the swivel and tilt feature if the kids are going to use the computer along with the adults it is better to ask for a stand with an adjustable height feature.

If you take care of these aspects while taking a decision on which LCD monitor to buy, that would be sufficient and you ought to get the best deal.

It is not that LCD monitors do not have any disadvantages, they do but rest assured that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Happy shopping.

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