I don't think there is a best company out there, for LCD monitors. But there are alot of good, top companies out there. Samsung, Acer, Viewsonic, LG, Sceptre to name a few. I like Samsung and Acer. I think they are the top ones, for LCDs.
I think contrast ratio is the ratio of displaying bright and dark colors. So the higher the better. 700:1 is ok.
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