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computer monitors Computer monitors display digitally generated data from your computer on either a cathode ray tube – CRT – or a liquid crystal display – LCD.  CRT monitors are fairly large and bulky, but they have traditionally cost less than flat panel LCD monitors for the same size display.  However, as flat panel monitor prices have become more competitive, most monitor manufacturers have ceased offering CRT displays.  LCD monitor size is specified as the diagonal measurement of the viewable image.  CRT monitor size is specified as the diagonal measurement of the picture tube; the viewable image size is about an inch less than the specified size.

The most popular type of video display – a color monitor – typically displays data in 24-bit or 32-bit color, thereby providing the viewer with over 16 million or over 4 billion colors, respectively.  A monitor's dot pitch, measured in millimeters, is the distance between each display pixel.  Dot pitches generally range between 0.24 and 0.28 millimeters.  Higher dot pitches are more suited for text work while lower dot pitches are more suited for graphics work.  Refresh rate is the frequency at which an image is redrawn on the screen.  CRT monitors require a high refresh rate to avoid annoying image flicker, but LCD monitors do not share this concern.

15 inch CRT monitors are fairly compact and readably display up to 800 pixels horizontally by 600 pixels vertically.  17 inch monitors can typically display up to 1024 pixels by 768 pixels; 19 inch monitors readably display up to 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels; and 21 inch monitors used for computer graphics and design applications, can display nearly 2 million pixels!

crt monitor and lcd monitor During the last few years, the LCD monitor has become more cost effective, and it has largely supplanted the older CRT monitor as a computer display device.  A 15 inch LCD monitor has a native resolution of 1024 pixels by 768 pixels (XGA mode), and most 17 inch LCD monitors can display up to 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels (SXGA mode).  However, standard size text in Microsoft Windows is small and hard to read at this resolution.  Therefore, 19 inch LCD monitors, whose native resolution is usually 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels as well, are more favored by computer users.

More recently, wide-screen LCD monitors, which can display wide-screen digital videos efficiently, have become quite popular.  A 19 inch, wide-screen LCD monitor, the most popular size, usually has a native resolution of 1440 pixels horizontally by 900 pixels vertically.  The native resolution of a 22 inch, wide-screen monitor is usually 1680 pixels by 1050 pixels.

On laptop computers, the early passive matrix LCD monitors have given way to brighter, more colorful active matrix monitors.  Many of these laptop computers feature ergonomic wide-screen displays as well.  The popular 15.4 inch displays used on laptop and notebook computers generally have a native resolution of 1280 pixels by 800 pixels while the 17 inch screens can usually display 1440 pixels by 900 pixels.  In our judgment, a laptop computer with a 15.4 inch display strikes a good balance between size, weight, and display screen readability.

At, you can learn how CRT and LCD monitors work.  You can also browse selected computer monitor manufacturer and supplier web sites, where you can compare monitor specifications and order monitors online.  Some of the computer monitor manufacturers listed below are phasing out their CRT monitor offerings and are emphasizing the more popular flat panel display monitors.

Computer Monitor Manufacturers

  • Acer Monitors
    Acer offers flat panel LCD monitors for business and personal use.
  • Asus Display Monitors
    Asus offers a series of LCD monitors as well as IPS monitors with QuickFit scaling.
  • HP Monitors
    HP offers a selection of flat panel computer monitors with wide-screen formats.
  • Iiyama USA
    Find a wide range of LED monitors, protected LCD monitors, and touchscreen monitors.
  • LG Display
    This consumer electronics manufacturer offers a series of flat panel LCD displays.
  • NEC Display Solutions of America
    NEC features LCD monitors and projectors for corporate and professional users.
  • Samsung Monitors
    Samsung makes flat screen monitors plus analog and digital LCD monitors.
  • ViewSonic Computer Monitors
    ViewSonic features ergonomic, space-saving LCD and LED displays for desktop computers.

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