Benefits of LCD Televisions
In the screen of an LCD monitor, each pixel is produced by a tiny cell which contains a thin layer of liquid crystals. These rod-shaped molecules bend light in response to an electric current. It's the same display technology that resides in your digital watch but more sophisticated.
LCD televisions tend to be clearer than CRTs which can suffer from convergence or focus difficulties. Their improved clarity means that even small LCD televisions can display higher resolutions than the corresponding sized CRT. They also make small text easier to read. Unlike CRTs, LCD televisions have only one optimal resolution. At lower resolutions, the screen is redrawn as a smaller area or all the pixels in the image are blown-up to fill the screen. The latter solution can make images look jagged and blocky so be sure the resolution of the LCD television is the resolution you want to use.
A factor for both CRTs and LCD televisions is resolution. The number of pixels horizontally and vertically defines a monitor's resolution in pixels or dots per inch (ppi or dpi). The greater the resolution, the more information or image you'll be able to view at once. The average user will find a resolution of 1024x768 more than sufficient for everyday work. You can achieve this resolution on CRT monitors 17 inches and larger or LCDs 15 inches and larger. Keep in mind that CRTs can display multiple resolutions, but LCD televisions and displays are optimized at only one resolution.
LCD Monitors can come with a variety of extras. Some have built-in speakers or jacks for microphones and headphones. Other monitors have dual inputs so you can connect two computers to the same monitor. With the advent of USB (Universal Serial Bus), some monitors have USB hubs at the back, allowing you to connect more peripherals. You can also get accessories like anti-glare filters and specialized mounting stands that help minimize glare and provide a comfortable working position.
To keep your utility bill down, you should look for a monitor that is Energy Star compliant. Energy Star is a program developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make energy-saving office equipment like computers and monitors. An Energy Star monitor automatically goes to sleep or powers down after a period of inactivity. This feature can save 60-80% of power during idle times. All you have to do to wake up the monitor is touch the keyboard or mouse.
The majority of monitors are certified as "low emission" since they meet standards like MPR II or TCO. These guidelines were developed in Sweden (the acronyms are Swedish too) by a number of organizations to set limits for electric and magnetic field emissions. The newer TCO standards are the strictest. So if you're concerned about emissions look for MPR II or TCO certification, not just the words "low emission."
LCD Television Features
One of the main disadvantages of LCD televisions when compared to CRTs is their limited viewing angle. When viewing a LCD straight on it looks fine. But the screen will appear washed-out if you move your head over to the side and look at it from an extreme angle. Low-end LCDs can have viewing angles of only 100 degrees which won't give everyone crowded round your desk a clear view. For a standard 15 inch LCD try to get a 140 degree viewing angle. Up that by 20-40 degrees when shopping for an 18 inch LCD.
The brightness of LCD television sets is another important factor. LCD monitors have several backlights that provide illumination. Brightness is measured in units called nits. The majority of LCDs produce 150-200 nits which is fine for most users. The backlights in a LCD television are good for 10 to 50 thousand hours of operation.
Since they're fairly fragile and more likely to break, backlights usually come with only a one year warranty. This warranty is separate from the one for the screen so you might want to extend the backlight warranty to match the duration of your LCD television warranty.
LCD televisions can provide a range of options for positioning a display. The common way to view a screen is landscape mode (longer than wide). Some LCDs let you pivot the screen 90 degrees so you can view it in portrait mode (taller than wide) which is great if you're growing tired of scrolling so often. You should also check out whether the screen can both tilt and swivel. Easy adjustment is important if you'll be doing presentations. You can even mount some LCDs on the wall like a picture.