OT - LCD &TFT monitors for graphics?


Steve Hoffmann

I'm not up to date on these new monitor technologies. Google isn't helping
much. Can someone please explain the difference between LCD and TFT
technology? Do both of these types of monitors use the DVI output jack on
video cards? Are either of these flat panel alternatives equal to a good CRT
for graphics editing? THANKS....

Barry Watzman

LCD simply means ANY monitor with an LCD (liquid crystal display) screen.

TFT (literally thin film transistor) means that the LCD screen is active
matrix, so all TFT's are LCDs, but the reverse is not true. However, as
a practical matter it is true, because I'm not sure that non-TFT screens
are still being manufactured (this would be a "dual scan" screen), and
as far as I know, while some older notebooks did use dual scan screen,
they were never used in "desktop" LCD monitors.

There are basically 5 screen parameters that are relevant to you:

- Size (inches, diagonally)
- Resolution (number of pixesl, horiz "by" vertical)
- Brightness ("nits" or cd/m**2, more is better)
- Contrast ratio (nnn:1, bigger nnn is better)
- Response time (milliseconds (ms), less is better)

Brightness ranges from about 150 to about 400 for typical displays.
avoid anything under about 225 to 250, more is better.

Contrast ratio will probably range from about 250:1 to 400:1. More is
better, but even 250 is acceptable.

Repsonse time ranges from about 15 ms to about 75 ms. Less is better.
higher numbers will cause "ghosting" in fast action movement, but for
most normal desktop use (excluding games and perhaps watching
movies/TV), it doesn't matter much. If you are dealing with fast
action, you want something in the 15-25 range, but for data displays,
the higher numbers are ok.

A totally separate issue is the interface. The best solution is a dual
interface display with both DVI and analog VGA, but lower cost displays
will have analog VGA only. The quality of these varies widely, and you
need a special test pattern to evaluate them properly, also the
evaluation has to be conducted on the actual computer that they will be
used with.

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