LCD Monitors.

Published Date
01 - Dec - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Dec - 2006
LCD Monitors.
One of the biggest turnarounds we've witnessed this year has been the sharp rise in LCD monitor sales. 16:10 widescreen LCD monitors have become especially popular. What's even more remarkable is the fact that larger monitors seem to be the in thing. We're pleased with this trend-after all, your monitor is the real showcase of that monster PC!

Myths And Realities
CRTs offer much better viewing: This may have been true up to a year ago. But over the last six months, we've seen some superb LCD panels making their way into our markets.

LCDs have low contrast ratios: Contrast ratio represents the maximum possible variation between the brightest and darkest colours a screen can display at a fixed point in time. While the contrast ratio of an LCD will be less than what a CRT boasts of, this doesn't detract too much from the viewing experience. We've seen LCD panels sporting contrast ratios of 700:1 and even 1000:1.

LCDs don't last long: LCD panels admittedly have lower life expectancies than CRTs. However, the life cycle of current LCD panels is another figure that has constantly been only the rise constantly. Most current LCD panels have life spans of 40,000 to 60,000 hours-this means with an average use of six hours a day, your LCD is still going to last you 20 years!

LCD's get dead pixels easily: It's true that LCD monitors do get dead pixels (pixels that, simply speaking, don't light up) after a number of years of use (once they've crossed their panel life period). But they do not get random dead pixels soon after use! They can, however, have some dead pixels from day one. Still, manufacturers offer warranties against dead pixels. In the rare event that you notice a few dead pixels on your screen while it's in the warranty period, the vendor is bound to replace the monitor.

The Test For Dead Pixels
All LCDs have a certain number of dead pixels that are "allowed" by manufacturers to pass quality assurance. If the number of dead pixels crosses the stipulated figure, then the monitor is scrapped. However you could have the misfortune of selecting an LCD that has a few dead pixels, so watch out!

Ask the dealer to hook up the LCD to a PC. Run MS Paint. Use the "Fill with colour" tool to fill the screen with red. After this, from the View menu, select the View Bitmap option. You'll see a completely red screen. Repeat the same exercise with black, green, and blue. In case of any dead pixels, you'll see a patch with slightly different colouring. In case of a single dead pixel around the corners, you'll have to take a really close look for the change in colour-though in most cases the pixel will appear whitish.

Future Trends
One of the big things doing rounds these days are HD-ready TVs. Many widescreen monitors available in our markets come touted as HDCP-ready (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection). This means they are HD-ready, and more importantly, capable of actually receiving HD content (which is protected, and non-HDCP displays won't be able to reproduce it). Although true HD compliance means support for a whopping 1920 x 1080, you can enjoy 720p, that is, 1280 x 720 progressively scanned, on most other HD-ready monitors.

An unfortunate reality is the lack of HD content in India! However, with one of these monitors, you'll be ready for the HD revolution when it arrives. Of course, this needs massive bandwidth, which is still at a premium on our shores.

What To Look For
17 or 19-inch monitors: Remember that 17-inch and 19-inch monitors offer the best bang for the buck. We recommend a minimum of 17 inches irrespective of intended use.

Widescreen or not: Widescreen LCDs mean great-looking DVD content without the ugly black bars at the top and bottom of your monitor. This is because all DVD and HD (High Definition) video content is natively widescreen. With most games supporting widescreen resolutions, it makes sense to go for a widescreen if gaming or movie-watching is your thing. For image editing applications and regular office use, a non-widescreen is recommended.

DVI connectivity: Important for LCD monitors (not so for CRTs). LCDs being digital will naturally work better with digital connectivity. In case of the older D-Sub connectivity, your graphics solution's DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) comes into play. DVI connectivity eliminates the need for a DAC. It can also give up to 10 per cent better visual quality. This will be noticeable with movies and games in particular.   

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