Common LCD monitor terms

For a long time, LCDs were the norm in the portable computer segment. They were light, thin and used less power than their CRT alternatives. But they were expensive. In recent years, however, LCDs have become technically advanced and economical. It has therefore become important to understand the common LCD monitor terms. Here are some of the common terms that you need to know:

1. Aspect ratio: LCDs are sold on the basis of their actual screen dimension, which is the diagonal length of the screen. However you will also face a few confusing terms like aspect ratio. This is simply the horizontal to vertical length ratio. Always ask for the individual horizontal and vertical length as well.

2. Native Resolution: LCDs have just a single resolution called its native resolution. That means a fixed set of pixels appearing in rows and columns make up its display matrix. Now when you change the resolution to a value that is either higher or lower than its native resolution, you either get a lower visible area or a fuzzy image.

3. Contrast Ratio: All LCD screens are lit from behind the actual LCD film. This tends to provide only a close approximation of most colors on the screen. The contrast ratio of a LCD flat panel is the measure of how clearly each color can be distinguished from another on the screen. High contrast ratio means better color.

4. Viewing Angles: LCDs produce an image when the current runs through pixels and make them turn a particular shade. This shade appears accurate when viewed straight on. Angles and distance make the colors appear faded. Look for a viewing angle of 180 degrees -whether you are to the left or right or perpendicular to the screen, you will have a clear view. A higher viewing angle is always preferable to a lower one.

5. Response Time: LCD screens have pixels. At every pixel point is a crystal. When a current passes through these crystals they turn active and give the pixel its color. Response time is merely the time it takes the crystal to go from its off to on state or vice versa. The lower this time, the sharper is the image.

6. Connectors: Newer LCD panels use the DVI connector instead of the traditional analog VGA one. DVI is a digital interface that gives cleaner, brighter pictures compared to standard VGA connectors. It is important to see the type of connector your video card supports before buying a monitor.

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