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Flat Screen Computer Monitor

Updated on December 28, 2009

Flat Screen Computer Monitors

What are you reading this article on? A computer monitor of course. And that means you already have a computer monitor and it's working. Maybe though, you'd like to get a new monitor. Maybe you're looking for something a little bigger, maybe you're in the market for a new computer altogether. Maybe you've got an old CRT monitor and you'd like one of the new flat screen computer monitors. You've probably noticed that everything is going that way. Televisions are now mostly flat screens, and many of them can double as a monitor. If you're reading this on a laptop computer then you're looking at an lcd flat screen computer monitor. If you are looking for a new flat panel monitor then you've got a couple of options, LCD vs Plasma. We'll talk about the benefits and weaknesses of each so you can make a good decision. Many of the newer CRT monitors have a flat screen but we won't consider them of the purposes of this article.


Flat Screen Monitor

Flat Screen Television
Flat Screen Television

Computer Monitors

In the old days CRT monitors were the only choice you had, all televisions, and basically any electronic viewing screen in general was a CRT. LCD's didn't overtake CRT's in sales until 2003. CRT is an acronym which stands for Cathode Ray Tube. The way it works is that you have a hollow glass tube, the front of which is your view screen. The inside of the tube is painted with red, green, and blue phosphor dots, which have the property of glowing when struck by electrons. In the back of the tube are three electron “guns” which shoot a beam of electrons at the front of the monitor. One gun excites the red phosphor, one the green and one the blue. By combining these various combinations, you get the different colors you see on the screen. CRT's have the benefit of being cheap to produce, fairly rugged and long lasting, and viewable from any angle. The disadvantages are, they're heavy, not environmentally friendly, and give off low levels of radiation. You're probably wondering with all the disadvantages why LCD took until '03 to surpass CRT's. The main reason is that LCD's used to be very expensive, could only be viewed from head on, and had motion blur when viewing fast moving video.

Plasma Flat Screen Monitors

Plasma monitors are one of the best in terms of picture quality. The motion is clear and crisp, the blacks and colors are bright and sharp, and they can be viewed at a 45 degree angle. They also tend to be brighter than LCD monitors. They're also more expensive sometimes almost double a comparable LCD.


Best Flat Screen Computer Monitors

LCD Flat Screen Computer Monitors

LCD's have overcome many of those drawbacks, putting them ahead of all other types of computer flat screen monitors. They still have some limitations when viewed from a side angle, at 45% the color and black levels are reduced by almost half, as compared with 10% with a plasma. The motion blur is a little worse than a plasma, but is getting better all the time. They also couldn't be made as large as a plasma TV, but that's changing too, there's now a 108 inch LCD flat screen TV – if you want to pay $124,000! The biggest advantage is that they can cost less than half as much as a same sized plasma in the 32 inch and under sizes.

So why would people want an LCD? Price mainly. LCD's are about half as much as the same size plasma so if you're looking for cheap flat screen computer monitors than this is it. Another thing to consider, is that the limitations of LCD are more significant in a TV than computer monitors. When you use your flat screen lcd monitor you'll be sitting right in front of it. Most people don't sit to the side of their computer monitor. Unless you watch a lot of movies on your computer the motion blur isn't an issue either. If you've used a laptop then you know that LCD monitors work just fine. So what if you've just got to have a plasma monitor? Then see if you can find one that works as a TV. Many these days have computer and TV inputs so you can use your monitor for both. If you have a cable or satellite system you don't need a TV tuner. You can use your monitor as a TV without paying as much: another cheap flat screen computer monitor option.

So when you're looking for that flat screen monitor, decide if you want it to do dual duty or not. Also take a look at each monitor individually. A high quality LCD can rival the look of a cheaper plasma, the cost will also be higher, but probably not as much as the plasma. Also if you're getting an LCD much above 40 inches the price can actually be higher than a flat screen plasma monitor. At this writing, a 65 inch LCD can cost you $6000 while a 65 inch plasma will cost about half as much. So, all LCD's and all plasmas generally have the same features and limitations, but if you compare flat screen computer monitors on a one to one basis you can find the one that suits you without breaking the bank.

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