AEEM Guide Buying an LCD Computer Monitor
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LCD monitors are rapidly replacing Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens as the standard computer display device. Unlike the old monitors, which differ little from screens used for decades for television sets, an LCD monitor is a large array of silicon based components that emit light when activated. LCD displays are lighter, use much less energy, and are far thinner than corresponding CRT displays, especially as the screen size increases.

Compare these features when looking for an LCD monitor:
  • Screen size for LCD monitors is measured diagonally across the face of the screen from an upper corner to the lower corner on the opposite side. Unlike CRT's, LCD monitor sizes measure only the viewing area and every inch of it is fully usable, so an 18-inch LCD has roughly the same surface area as a 19-inch CRT.
  • Resolution is the number of pixels (active points) on the screen that can display a dot of color, and increases with the screen size. The higher the resolution, the more information or more detail you can view on the screen. However, unlike CRT's, LCD monitors suffer serious degradation in image quality when they are run at a lower resolution than the specified maximum because the size of the points of light that make up the image are fixed. Consequently, when all else is equal, a lower resolution screen will actually be sharper when run at it's maximum resolution than a higher resolution screen run at the same resolution.
  • Contrast ratio indicates the difference between the darkest and lightest points the screen can display. The higher the contrast ratio, the greater the crispness of the display. Look for ratios of at least 350:1; a ratio of 500:1 or better produces a stunning image.
  • Brightness is a simple measure of how much light the screen can project, which may be very important if you use the screen in areas where ambient light might wash out the image display. Gamers also prefer greater brightness to add snap to game images, though other users, such as professional artists, may prefer less brightness to gain a more natural rendering of visual works. Look for value of around 250 candles per square meter (cd/m2).
  • Viewing angle tells you how far to the side of the screen you can comfortably view it. The technology of LCD displays tend to project the light more directly forward than a CRT does so that image fading is noticeable as you move from directly in front of the screen to the side. If you expect to use the display to group viewing, or in combination with many other displays, a wider viewing angle is important.
  • Response time is a measure of how quickly the individual points of light that make up the screen can change. Slow response times mean you may see a blurry trace, known as ghosting, as the cursor moves quickly across the screen. Fast response times are essential for gaming where high frame rates are a virtue and may also be important if you use your monitor for video. Response times of less than 25 ms mark the top end of the current range.
All screens should allow changing of the screen color temperature to adjust the appearance

of colors under various lighting conditions, have a Digital Video Input (DVI) connection for high end video adapters in addition to the older standard, and an energy saving mode that shuts down the screen when it has been inactive for a time.

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