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CRT Or LCD?

November 27, 2010 By: lilybird Category: Hardware

Nothing introduces you to the time-honored computer theme of using threeletter acronyms (TLAs) better than computer graphics. For the hardware, fortunately, only two TLAs are worth knowing: CRT and LCD. These terms describe the two basic types of monitors now available.

CRT stands for cathode ray tube, which is the glass part of any traditional TV set or computer monitor. The advantage of CRT monitors is that they’re inexpensive. The disadvantages are that they’re bulkier, they take up a great deal of desk space, they weigh more, and they’re not as energy efficient as LCD monitors. Still, that “cheap” aspect weighs in favor with most computer buyers, so they go with the traditional CRT monitor.

LCD (liquid crystal display) is the new flat-screen monitor that’s all the rage. These monitors are essentially the same types that appear on laptop computers, though they’re designed for use with a desktop model. LCD monitors are thin, lightweight, and energy saving. Plus, they look very, very cool on your desk. The drawback? They’re expensive! Prices are coming down, and it’s cheaper if you buy an LCD monitor bundled with your computer. But, these monitors still cost more than their CRT counterparts.

Both CRT and LCD monitors connect to the same type of graphics adapter plug on the back of your PC.

Some high-end LCD monitors sport their own, unique digital graphics adapter. For example, the Apple LCD monitors connect to the digital port on the G5 Macintosh line of computers.

Some LCD monitors rotate 90 degrees, which allows you to view them in portrait or landscape modes.

The best way to judge an LCD monitor is to view only text on the screen. Don’t be fooled at the store by fancy graphics displays, which always look stunning. The true test is viewing text, not graphics.

Be sure to check the LCD in a variety of lighting situations. Some monitors cannot be seen in very bright lights. Some monitors cannot be seen from far right or left angles.

Unlike LCD monitors, most CRTs let you display graphics in a variety of resolutions and color settings. LCDs, on the other hand, typically use only a few modes to display everything.

CRT monitors emit more radiation than their LCD counterparts, although it’s not enough to create a 1950s-era horror movie creature.

Be sure to compare LCD versus CRT at the larger aspect ratios. Some larger LCDs tend to lose their color saturation, whereas larger CRTs don’t. Only the Apple Cinema displays seem to hold their color punch at higher resolutions.

Don’t confuse LCD with flat-screen monitors. All LCDs are flat-screen. But a few CRTs have flat picture tubes and are advertised as being flat screen. It’s not the same as having an LCD monitor, though the flatscreen CRTs display a nicer image than traditional curved-screen models.

Don’t get an LCD if you plan on playing fast-action computer games! Generally speaking, LCDs are too slow to update for real-time game action. Some time ago true gamers used only CRT monitors. But since some time things changed. Cheap professional LCD monitors rule the world.

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2 Comments to “CRT Or LCD?”


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