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FAQs about Computer Monitors

by April Sanders

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Computer monitor

Aside from size and price, you may not have thought much about what to look for in a computer monitor. Since monitors and displays are your window to your computer programs, videos, photos and the Internet, you may want to know a bit more about computer monitors and which one works best for you. Brush up on your knowledge of computer monitors with these frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What types of computer monitors are available?
    There are two types of computer monitors. Cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors use picture tubes to create images on the screen. Beams of electrons are passed through a shadow mask (a metal screen with tiny holes) and projected onto the picture tube screen. These monitors are quickly being replaced by liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, which are much flatter and lighter than traditional CRT monitors. LCD monitors use microscopic liquid crystals sandwiched between two polarized sheets of glass to create images. LCD monitors are also brighter and use less energy than CRT monitors, but CRT computer monitors are still less expensive.

  2. What does "dot pitch" mean?
    Computer monitors are classified according to their dot pitch, the measurement in millimeters between two dots of the same color. In LCD monitors, a dot is one liquid crystal display cell. Dots are often called "sub-pixels." In CRT monitors, the dot pitch is the distance between two holes in the shadow mask. Higher quality computer monitors have smaller dot pitches. Budget computer monitors usually have a dot pitch of 0.28 millimeters or higher.

  3. What is "screen resolution"?
    Computer monitors are also categorized by their resolution, which is the number of pixels on the screen. A pixel is composed of two or three colored "dots." The resolution number is defined as the number of total pixels on the screen. Computer monitors with high resolution will display a sharper image with more detail. You'll see computer monitors with resolutions listed in pixel dimensions, like "1024 x 768," which describes the number of pixels in one horizontal row and the number of pixels in one vertical column.

  4. What is "refresh rate"?
    The refresh rate refers to how often images are refreshed on the screen. The higher the refresh rate, measured in hertz, the less obvious the refreshing will appear to the user. Higher refresh rates can reduce motion blur from fast-moving images on the computer monitor. To ensure that your monitor will not flicker (which can cause eye fatigue), choose a monitor with a minimum refresh rate of 75 hertz. Refresh rates of 120 hertz are very good and provide a very clear picture.

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