Your LCD Monitor and You


I don't overclock
Over the last couple weeks, I saw quite a few "which monitor should I purchase?" and "what specs should I look for?" threads.


I won't go into too much depth here, just the surface.

Here are a few things you should look for when buying an LCD monitor

Viewable size:
The size of an LCD panel measured on the diagonal

The horizontal and vertical size expressed in pixels (e.g., 1024x768). Unlike CRT monitors, LCD monitors have a native-supported resolution for best display effect.
Typical Wide screen resolutions
30" - 2560x1600
24" - 1920x1200
20" - 1680x1050
19" - 1440 x 900

Dot pitch:
The distance between the centers of two adjacent pixels. The smaller the dot pitch size, the less granularity is present, resulting in a sharper image.

Response time:
This is the time it takes to turn a pixel on or off, or to change its color. If you plan to use your LCD monitor to watch movies or play games, faster times are definitely better.
Response time is also divided into rise and fall time. For LCD Monitors, this is measured in btb (black to black) or gtg (gray to gray). These different types of measurements make comparison difficult.

Viewing angle:
The viewing angle indicates the maximum angle the user can stay from the video monitor and still see the screen contents.
Usually two numbers are given for this spec, one horizontal angle and one vertical angle.
If you aren't always looking at your monitor head-on, or if you want several people to see the display simultaneously, you'll want to check out the viewing angle.

Color support:
How many types of colors are supported.
16 Million
16.2 Million
16.7 Million

The amount of light emitted from the display (A.K.A luminance).
This spec indicates how well you will be able to see images on your screen in a bright environment.

Contrast ratio:
The ratio of the intensity of the brightest bright to the darkest dark.
The higher this ratio is, the better, as you will be able to distinguish between more colors

There is also a similar spec called “DC” or “Dynamic Contrast Ratio” that presents higher figures. Some manufacturers announce the monitor DC instead of the static contrast ratio. You can't compare dynamic contrast ratio to static contrast ratio. For example, a monitor with a 1000:1 contrast ratio will have a better image quality than one with 2000:1 dynamic contrast ratio with only 400:1 contrast ratio.

HOWEVER! There is no industry standard, one company's 3000:1 might be another company's 1000:1
Some manufacturers turn up all of the settings to their maximums and then take their measurements.

Aspect ratio:
The ratio of the width to the height (for example, 4:3, or 16:10).

Connection ports:
e.g., DVI, VGA, or even S-Video and HDMI

Typcial - VGA and DVI.
The first one is an analog connection, while the second one is a digital one and thus providing a better image quality.


HDCP: If you plan to watch high-definition, copyright-protected content via an HD DVD or Blu-ray player or through an HDTV signal on your LCD, you'll want to make sure it's an HDCP-compatible display. HDCP is an encryption system that protects HD content sent across HDMI or DVI connections. If your display doesn't support HDCP, then you'll be staring at a blank screen.

Panel types:
Most panels these days are TN.
Personally, I don't think it matters unless you do professional work on the monitor (e.g. graphic design, photo editing).

TN Film (Twisted Nematic + Film)

Fast response time.
Black depth is not quite as good as VA panel types, but has improved significantly in recent times, aided further by the introduction of high dynamic contrast ratios.
Color accuracy is very good with proper calibration, however, still behind other 2 panel types.
Incredibly limited vertical view angles.

Final thoughts: TN Film based displays are very cost effective

*VA (Vertical Alignment)
(PVA and MVA)
*VA panels offer typically very good black depth, a notch above TN Film. The viewing angles are also greatly improved from TN, and slightly inferior to IPS panels
Color accuracy is very good.
Response times are decent with modern overdrive methods, but not quite as fast as TN Film panels.

Final thoughts: *VA screens are considered very good all round.

IPS (In Plane Switching)
Most accurate color representation.
The widest viewing angles.
Do not suffer from the off-center color / contrast shift of VA panels and are commonly used as color critical professional displays.
Response times are variable.
IPS based screens are typically the most expensive.

Final thoughts: Only buy it when you use it for professional work.

Quick table

Manufacturer - Panel Trends

* Acer - almost always AUO, I believe this company is related to BenQ
* Apple - mostly LG Philips LCD IPS panels
* BenQ - tends to use AUO almost exclusively, and has resorted to CMO in some cases
* ChiMei - CMO brand
* Dell - many LG Philips and Samsung panels (especially bigger ones), but can use AUO and CMO as well
* Gateway - don't really know, but they have definitely used some Samsungs
* Hanns.G - all Hannstar panels
* HP - LG Philips, AUO, Samsung, CMO, almost anything
* LG - many LG Philips and CMO panels, also uses some CPT panels
* NEC - almost exclusively Samsung and LG Philips panels. Some medical displays made by NEC themselves.
* Planar/DoubleSight - mostly Samsung, LG Philips
* Samsung - almost always Samsung panels, but some models (226BW) have had panels from CMO, CPT, and AUO also!
* ViewSonic - lots of CMOs, occasionally a Samsung or AUO

From panel types bring us to:
How to determine your monitor's panel type + calibration:
Panel research:


The best way to adjust a monitor is to use a colorimeter.

However,if you do not have a colorimeter, you may be able to obtain a premade ICC profile from the internet.
AnandTech Monitor Profiles/Settings Thread

HardForum Calibration Thread
DigitalVersus calibration profile guide and database

If that's not available too: then last but not least
You can also try online calibration guides:
Adjusting Brightness and Contrast on LCD
LCD monitor test images

The easiest way of cleaning any LCD is to use distilled (soft) water with a microfiber/soft cloth. Remember to turn off the LCD before you attempt cleaning.

Credits / Sources:


Everything to Nothing
Very nice read that, there's more to monitors then you first thing :p

Good job


Daemon Poster
Long Island, NY, USA
Wow, you are quick!

OMG! I got a Sticky! Yummmmm.......

Uhhhhh..... :rolleyes:

nice work though. My 19 inch monitor is only 1280x1024 :(

Is there a difference in quality between resolutions? And by this, I mean if 2 monitors are exactly the same except they have different native resolutions, but all the other specs are the same, will the higher resolution have a nicer picture? I'm asking because I want to know if I'm justified in upgrading my monitor.


I don't overclock
Is there a difference in quality between resolutions? And by this, I mean if 2 monitors are exactly the same except they have different native resolutions, but all the other specs are the same, will the higher resolution have a nicer picture?


in short, yes, what do you think all the HD hype is about?

1080P > 720P > SD right?
highers res > lower res

If both monitors have the same viewable area, the one with lower native resolution will have larger Dot Pitch, resulting in a more blurry picture.
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