Computer Monitors

Written by Sarah Provost
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Your computer monitor is the most used of any computer peripheral. Your comfort and ease in using your computer are largely dependent on your monitor, so you should opt for the best one you can afford. There are many decisions you'll need to make when considering monitors, but probably the most important one is the display technology used.

CRT and LCD Displays for Desktop Monitors

If you've been using computers for several decades, you might remember when they were basically limited to green on black. Today's monitors can produce literally millions of color variations, and are capable of displaying high-resolution graphics and video. Desktop monitors generally use either CRT (cathode-ray tube) or LCD (liquid crystal display) technology.

A CRT monitor requires much more space than an LCD or flat-screen monitor. In CRT technology, electrons are emitted from a filament and must pass through a vacuum tube before striking the screen. The screen is coated with phosphors, which emit light when struck by the electrons. It is the vacuum tube that makes it necessary for CRT monitors to be, on an average, 18 to 30 inches deep.

LCD technology uses two pieces of polarized glass, one of which is coated with a polymer containing twisted liquid crystals. An electric current controls the degree to which the crystals twist or untwist, which in turn controls the amount of light that can pass through. LCD monitors are very slim, and use far less power than CRT monitors. Though they were quite expensive when first introduced, demand has brought the price down to a point where they cost little more than the bulkier CRT displays.

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