written by: heatherlorrmay•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 9/19/2008
Without a video display your computer would be nothing more than a box in your office. Learn about the new LCD displays and their advantages over CRT monitors.
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When purchasing a computer, the majority of your money will be spent on components and parts that work together to create the processing unit. Without the hard drive, CPU, or video card inside your computer’s case no computing can take place, but do not forget about the one component that will actually make your computer something to interact with--your video display. A visual display is a piece of electrical equipment that converts the output created by the video card and projects it in a manner that we are able to understand and process.
In layman's terms, we usually call the visual display the monitor. Behind the display screen of any monitor you will find some general circuitry used to generate and format the pictures and data sent by the video card of your computer. The type of circuitry housed inside the monitor's case does change depending on the style of monitor you are using, but each style of monitor has one purpose--to project the data and visuals created by the other components in your computer.
Today most of the monitors sold are Liquid Crystal Display- LCD, but you may remember or still have at home a bulky computer monitor known as a cathode ray tube, CRT, monitor. The Thin Film LCDs available today produce a sharper image with true color representation and a small footprint on your desk while the older CRT monitors were based on television tube technology and the monitors were known for fuzzy displays and noticeable flickering that gave many people headaches.
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Purchasing an LCD Display
If you are still working on a big bulky CRT monitor and wearing special 'computer glasses' to reduce headaches, it is time to upgrade your monitor. Monitors are sold by the screen measurement. This measurement usually runs from 17” to 24” or higher and is the measurement of visible viewing area between the diagonal screen corners. Today a 'widescreen' monitor is the most popular style. Widescreen means the monitor display is wider than it is tall and has an aspect ratio that is very similar to modern widescreen movie screens and televisions. Widescreen monitors provide a greater amount of visual working space while in many cases taking up less physical space then a similar sized square monitor.
When purchasing a new video display consider LCD monitors that are very light and compact, have low power consumption, and no flicker. You may want to spend a small amount of time doing some research online before purchasing an LCD monitor: there are many websites with the sole purpose of reporting user reviews of monitors. Doing your research may save you from purchasing a monitor that does not perform well. If you decide to purchase a wide-screen monitor you will also want to verify that your video card is able to support the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
LCD monitors are not perfect: most LCDs do have a limited viewing angle that looks best when viewed directly face on and in direct sunlight it can often be hard to see the display. Dead pixels can also be a problem. Dead pixels are sometimes hard to see but if you have black or white areas of your screen that do not go away if you clean the screen, you have dead pixels. Many manufacturers will have a quality standard that allows a certain number of dead pixels to be acceptable in the manufacturing process, but if you can see the pixel area chances are you exceed that standard. You will want to contact the manufacturer to review the warranty and your options if you do have a faulty monitor.