Technology has certainly come a long way, gone are the days of cathode ray tubes (CRT) being your only choice of monitor, now we have the slender LCD monitor! Sleek, sexy and simply smarter the LCD monitor has now become standard computer equipment. No longer are we faced with the eye straining, headache causing, desktop space abusing and somewhat outdated CRT monitor.
In this article I hope to bring you up to date on the importance of choosing the right LCD monitor, tell you about the most important features of LCD monitors and address warranty concerns that many people do not know about. I urge you to read through this entire article if your in the market for an LCD monitor or looking to upgrade your existing LCD monitor.
Firstly let me say if you are considering the purchase of an LCD monitor you have made the right choice! Although the old CRT style monitors cost less money and in terms of screen size give you more viewable area for your dollar there are some real disadvantages with the older CRT style monitor. Some major pitfalls that come to mind are:
1) The amount of desk space a CRT monitor uses is far greater than the LCD monitor's small desktop footprint.
2) Reading text on a CRT monitor is not as clear or sharp as it is on an LCD monitor which can lead to eye strain.
3) The radiation projected is higher on CRT monitors than on LCD monitors and generally people experience less headaches, eyestrain, feelings of nauseousness, etc.
All of these and more reasons are why people (including myself) are turning away from CRT monitors to the newer more accepted liquid crystal display technology (LCD monitor). Personally I don't think I would ever go back to the out dated CRT monitor, there is simply no comparison between the two displays, LCD wins my vote every time.
When purchasing a new LCD monitor or upgrading from an existing LCD monitor it is imperative that you consider the following information. Many people who already own an LCD monitor are unaware of their particular displays capabilities, weaknesses and limitations. Many people do not understand where they stand with warranty when it comes to dead pixels which I will explain later. Firstly lets look at the many features of the LCD monitor.
Important Features of the LCD monitor
There are many features in the LCD lineup, these features I am about to point out are not the fancy colors, shapes, buttons or cosmetic add-ons but rather the general features or specifications that manufacturers give to their LCD monitor. Let me list just some of them for you:
Pixel Pitch, Brightness, Contrast Ratio, Viewing Angle, Interface Type, Response Time, Horizontal Frequency, Vertical Frequency, Bandwidth, Maximum Resolution and Input Video Signal.
All LCD monitors will have these specifications, however it is good to know how LCD monitors compare and indeed how to compare them! Now most people can work out the color, size and brand that catches their fancy but when it comes to Contrast Ratio and Response Time things get a little more complex. Of all the specifications an LCD monitor manufacturer offers there are only four that you really need to look at closely. They are Contrast Ratio, Response Time, Maximum Resolution and Input Video Signal.
The Contrast Ratio is a figure used to measure the luminance difference between the brightest white and the darkest black. In other words the higher the Contrast Ratio the darker your darks and the whiter your whites. So it is important to have a high Contrast Ratio, an example of which would be 800:1. A low Contrast Ration would be 300:1. I recommend a high contrast ratio, higher than 500:1.
Although not a real concern these days, in the past with the early development of LCD monitors the Response Time was a very important factor. The Response Time is the amount of time it takes for a liquid crystal cell to go from active (black) to inactive (white) and then back to an active (black) again. The time is measured in milliseconds. The lower number of milliseconds translates to faster transitions between active and inactive cells which in turn reduces the amount of image artifacts. Slow response times such as 20+ milliseconds can create a blurred or smeared pattern around moving images which makes for unacceptable viewing of video footage or playing fast moving computer games. Today however the technology is such that this is not really of great importance. Personally I would recommend you not purchase an LCD monitor with a Response Time higher than 12 milliseconds. Remember the lower the better!