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Buying Guide - Computer Monitors


computer monitorCRT (cathode-ray tube) monitors are still being manufactured, but in far fewer numbers than the preferred LCD monitor - and for good reason: a CRT computer monitor is heavy, bulky, and has a lower resolution compared to more modern versions such as the LCD monitor.  They also display in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is not ideal for watching movies shot in widescreen (16:9) format, unlike the preferred LCD monitor.

A computer monitor's aspect ratio is the ratio of an image's width to its height, so an LCD monitor with a 4:3 aspect ratio is almost square, while one with a ratio of 16:9 is wider than its height.  A CRT computer monitor is sometimes the preferred choice among graphic artists, movie editors and other industry professionals who want the full range of the colour palette, the wider viewing angle and the true, deep blacks that a cathode-ray tube can offer (which an LCD monitor cannot).

LCD monitor types are similar to plasma televisions, both of which have a flat-screen.  No longer will your computer monitor need to take up the entire depth of your desk; a sleek, slim LCD monitor can sit at the back of your workspace and still provide plenty of room for papers, calculators, and other desktop items.  16:9 aspect ratio displays offer an easy way of using one computer monitor big enough to display two documents or images side by side, without the expense of a dual LCD monitor setup.  The LCD monitor has become the preferred standard monitor in households and offices.

Screen size

A 15-inch LCD monitor, once the standard, is now almost impossible to buy brand new.  A 17-inch LCD monitor is usually the smallest available nowadays, and is usually inexpensive to purchase.  If you do not have a lot of money to spend and find yourself in need of a computer monitor, a decent, basic 17-inch model can be purchased at an affordable price.  However, compare prices of LCD monitor models for the next size up, as you will probably find that for a small additional expense you can have a larger computer monitor size.

A 19 to 20-inch LCD monitor is about the median size right now and can be obtained at a very reasonable price.  You can comfortably view photos and videos, enlarge text for easy reading, and work on spreadsheets to your heart's delight on this type of LCD monitor.

The largest monitors, typically 22 to 24-inch LCD monitor models, are the preferred choice among those with serious photo or video editing to perform, or for those who enjoy playing games, especially online games.  Multiple windows can be employed at the same time and fully displayed on one of these models.  A larger monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio is perfect for watching today's high-definition, widescreen movies.

A larger choice of LCD monitor is available, but you will pay a premium for going beyond the norm.  Also, bear in mind that while flat LCD monitor screens are by their very nature lighter than CRT monitors, larger models get increasingly heavy.

Features and connections

monitorContrast ratio: this tells you the difference in intensity between the whitest white and the blackest black.  For example, an LCD monitor with a higher contrast ratio typically offers better quality, but this can also be a function of the resolution and aspect ratio.

Connections: with digital television ruling the day, and analogue clearly on its way out, any LCD monitor you consider should have all the necessary connections and ports to hand.  Analogue signals, also known as VGA (video graphics array) must be converted to digital signals before a digital monitor, like an LCD monitor, can display them.  This can be achieved via a 15-pin connexion, a DVI interface, and a graphics card, or a strictly digital input such as DisplayPort.

Resolution: when considering an LCD monitor or CRT monitor, a very important aspect is resolution.  Your LCD monitor (or any other computer monitor) will display image