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LCD Flat Panel Display Monitors - Model Comparisons of Dot Pitch, TFT, and Contrast Ratings

June 7th 2006

LCD Flat Panel Display Monitors - Model Comparisons of Dot Pitch, TFT, and Contrast Ratings

Viewsonic Flat Panel LCD Monitor

LCD computer monitors have come down in price over the past few years.  Most places will offer 19” LCD monitors for around $250, but they do go up in price from there.  There are a few features you want to consider including ms response time, resolution, view angle and tilt.  The better models have built in transformers, so you don’t have a box at the end of your power cable.

You can save money with LCD monitors.  Based on a 10 cent kilowatt hour, changing from a CRT (a standard cathode ray tube monitor) to a LCD (liquid crystal display monitor) will save you $21 a year in electricity.  This should be considered if you are waiting for the price to drop further on LCD monitors.  Will the price drop more than $21 this year?


Also, what if electricity prices go up?  Prices are likely to go up, rather than down, so you may actually save more than $21 per year.  This was a average computed by the power company.  If you are sitting in front of an older CRT monitor it may be less efficient than the newer models too, so you may save more. 

There is also the concern for your health.  CRTs produce more radiation than LCDs.  Electrons are shot from the cathode onto the display surface to create the image.  Do some of them pass through the monitor?  You bet. 

ViewSonic and Acer manufacture a variety of monitors.  Many of the 19” monitors will come with a 1440x900 dpi resolution (width by height).  You may find others at 1280 x 1024 dpi.  These are maximum resolutions, and most graphics cards should support this. 


When you say 19”, most manufacturers are talking about diagonal measurement.  Most monitors have a backlit display making it easier to read.  In fact, I would be amazed if anyone would produce a monitor without some sort of backlighting. 

As far the ms response time, the lower the number the better.  Wikipeida says the contrast ratio is a metric of a video display, defined as the ratio of the light intensity of the brightest possible color to the darkest possible color a display is capable of displaying simultaneously. The higher the contrast ratio, the better the display is.  Typically 19” monitors will have 500:1 to 800:1 contrast ratios.

TFT LCD monitors are better than standard LCD monitors.  TFT LCDs are a variant of the liquid crystal display which uses thin-film transistor technology to improve their image quality. TFT is a type of active matrix LCD.


Dot pitch is another consideration.  This is a measure of the distance between the colors or dots on your monitor.  The smaller the dot pitch the better.  On CRTs, the dot pitch is typically from .28 to .51mm, while large presentation monitors may go up to 1mm. On LCD monitors, dot pitch is typically from .16 to .29mm.

There are other features to look for of course, but these are the basics.   

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Dan Wilson
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