by Tracy Hieb
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitors perform better than CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors in many respects. They are quickly replacing the old CRTs for both television and computer screens. If you're thinking about upgrading to an LCD monitor, these five reasons will help you make an informed choice. Comparing the older CRT technology and the newer LCD technology side by side will demonstrate why LCD monitors have become so popular.
Size matters. An LCD monitor is less bulky than a CRT, more adaptable to tight spaces and can be easily mounted on a wall. This can free up much-needed workspace on your desk. LCD monitors are slimmer and more portable, as they weigh significantly less than older monitors. CRTs are roughly eight times larger and weigh seven times more than an LCD monitor. A 22-inch LCD monitor weighs just less than 10 pounds, whereas a 22-inch CRT weighs close to 70 pounds. A 22-inch LCD monitor with a stand has an approximate footprint of 55 square inches and occupies a total area of 910 cubic inches, while a 22-inch CRT monitor has a much larger footprint of approximately 365 square inches and occupies 7180 cubic inches.
Screen properties. CRT monitors do have some strong points. They have a higher contrast ratio and better color depth. On the other hand, unless you are using your computer for graphic design, the difference in image quality is negligible. Screen size is another issue: When you purchase a 15-inch LCD screen, you are getting a full 15 inches of viewable screen. CRT screens have about a 1-inch frame, and you lose about an inch of screen size. So, with a CRT, your 15-inch screen is actually closer to 14 inches. LCD screens are also truly flat, with no image distortion. CRTs, even when advertised as "flat screen," are not truly flat. The front of the monitor is covered with a flat piece of glass, but the image projection is still rounded.
Actual cost. Like so many things, the lifespan of the product is as important as the price tag. A CRT has a lifespan of eight years if being used at a rate of 40 hours per week. An LCD monitor has a lifespan of 25 years when used similarly. Even though a CRT monitor may be somewhat cheaper in the store, over the course of time, you will need to replace your CRT more often. CRTs also use 60 percent more power than LCD monitors, so using an LCD creates savings on your electric bill.
Health concerns. CRTs create a constantly flashing image. Although you may not be able to see it, this flashing can make your eyes feel tired. While this doesn't have an impact on your permanent health, eye fatigue can make you feel tired and can be painful. LCD screens do not have to refresh the screen constantly to provide a stable image. Therefore, your eyes will be much more comfortable in front of a LCD screen.
Environmental friendliness. There are many factors involved when considering which of the two types of monitors would be the most environmentally friendly. This article has already noted that LCD monitors use less power than CRTs; LCD monitors are smaller and have a better lifespan, too. Neither monitor is particularly biodegradable or recyclable; however, LCD monitors produce much less waste. If you consider all the factors and compare 100 22-inch-LCD users and 100 22-inch-CRT users over the course of 25 years with the average use of 40 hours per week, LCD users would create 7584 cubic feet of landfill space and CRT users would be using 179,500 cubic feet -- a drastic difference. The tubes in CRT monitors are typically made with lead glass, which makes them quite heavy. Lead is toxic, and since monitors usually end up in landfills, the amount of lead being put into the ground is an environmental concern.