Five things you need to know to buy LCD monitor/TV

By | August 31st, 2009

220XW8 LCD Monitor 300x227 Five things you need to know to buy LCD monitor/TV

I still regret the day when I went to market without any research and purchased Philips 190S LCD monitor. I’ve could have done better if I had a little homework. This LCD monitor is 19″, has 1280 x 1024 typical resolution at maximum 75 Hz, and response time of 8ms. The LCD is square, not widescreen, which is suitable for me though. Unlike CRT monitor, LCD has some critical parameter that you should know before purchasing.

Size or Resolution

General rule pf thumb: Buy more resolution in less size. Some people would argue, what has resolution to do with size, you just got out and purchase LCD monitor having the resolution you want. But this does matter as you’ll see there is common trend in market that LCD of two-three sizes have same resolution. One such example is 17″ vs 19″: many companies offer same resolution on their 17″ and 19″ LCD monitor. In this case I would recommend 17″. Think of resolution as the number of small dots each having its own color and thousands and thousands of these dots make a picture for you. LCD having 1280×1024 resolution has 1280×1024=1,310,720 small dots (pixel).

What happens when two LCD monitor of different sizes have same resolution? The¬† large one has large dots/pixels. Larger the dots, more blurry is the image (although you won’t notice as they are still in millions). The aim is to have smaller and smaller pixel size and that is only possible when you have large typical resolution in comparatively smaller screen size. Keep in mind that unlike CRT monitor, LCD monitor usually have one typical resolution, this is their natural recommended resolution, if you change it, the picture quality will drop. Once you purchase an LCD monitor, you need to live with that resolution. The companies, however offer a high resolution on 20″ LCD monitor, so if you want bigger size go for bigger resolution too.

Square or Widescreen

Simple mathematics infers that square monitor has more area than a Widescreen monitor. Square LCD is suitable for those users who need a good area to open multiple task simultaneously. Designers and animators would love to have a big square LCD while the movie lovers and game lovers would like to have Widescreen. The square screen is not a perfect square for example a 19″ square LCD monitor is usually 1280×1024 (almost square) and 19″ widescreen is usually 1440×900 (a lot of difference between width and height). It all depends on your need, both square and widescreen have their audience. However, one drawback of square LCD monitor is that the size of pixel slightly increases to cater the increase in area.

Philips 19″ SXGA 190S9FB/27 Philips 19″ wide WXGA+ 190SW9FB/27
square lcd monitor 19 inch 300x299 Five things you need to know to buy LCD monitor/TV widescreen lcd monitor 19 inch 300x249 Five things you need to know to buy LCD monitor/TV
Pixel size: 0.294 x 0.294 mm Pixel size: 0.2835 x 0.2835 mm
1280 x 1024 @ 60 Hz 1440 x 900 @ 60 Hz

Viewing angle

lcd viewing angle 150x150 Five things you need to know to buy LCD monitor/TV

This is a very important parameter that most people neglect! Viewing angle is the maximum angle at which the viewer can see the display without any loss of colors or picture. For personal use less viewing angle is fine, but for home user especially when you have an audience watching you play games or movies you need 170+ degree viewing angle. Normally all LCD monitors have 170 or more horizontal and vertical viewing angles, but still you need to check before buying. Greater the viewing angle, better the audience can watch the movies on LCD monitor.

Response time

Technically, Response time of an LCD is the time it takes for a pixel to go from one state (color) to another state (color). The lesser the response time, faster the pixel will change their state and user will experience  better gaming graphics. I recommend a response time of 5ms or less.

Display frequency

Never go for 60Hz monitor as some models give flicker show waves at 60Hz that are very irritating to eyes. A frequency of 75Hz is better and more desirable. However if you plan to use Nvidia 3D vision with your games and movies, you need a monitor having at least 120Hz frequency. For normal use, I recommend 75Hz

Images from Philips

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