A Guide to LCD Monitors

By: Sandra Stammberger

Liquid Crystal Displays, or LCDs, are not a new innovation in themselves. In fact, portable computers, and handheld games have long used LCDs as their display. However, they are now becoming far more affordable for use with desktop computers.

The basic premise behind LCDs is that electricity is being applied to crystals to reveal the necessary colours. There is also a backlight to enable the display to be seen clearly under al lighting conditions that the LCD is being viewed in.

LCDs have a number of benefits over traditional CRT, or Cathode Ray Tube, displays. The first of these is their size and weight. The thickness of LCDs is only a couple of inches so that it can be used in places where space is at a premium. The CRT displays are often over 20 inches deep, and take up far more space on a desk or computer table. Of course, the smaller the size of a monitor, the lighter it is. LCDs are considerably lighter than their CRT counterparts. In fact, LCDs can even be mounted on a wall, whilst the bulky CRT cannot so easily.

LCDs do not have the same light intensity of CRTs, and do not use the same scanning process to produce images. These are both extremely important from a Health and Safety point of view as LCDs do not cause the same levels of eye strain for the user that CRTs can do.

One of the environmental considerations that any people are becoming interested in is energy efficiency. LCDs require a minimal amount of energy to light the crystals, and the amount used for the backlight is also considerable less than that used by the CRTs constant scanning process.

Of course, nothing is perfect, and LCDs do have one major drawback, their cost. It is true that the price of an LCD monitor is dropping all the time, but they are still significantly more expensive when compared to a CRT monitor of the same screen size. This means that it will take some time before the cost of LCDs is less than CRT displays, but if you can afford to buy one now you won't regret it as the benefits justify the extra cost.

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