Flat-Screen monitors: How do they outperform the CRT-type monitors?

Like you perhaps, I’ve seen and salivated over the whiz-bang flat-screen monitors at the big-box retailers, but I my Emersonian streak has me wondering what advantages they confer over the old-type CRT monitors.

FTR, I have a 17" Dell CRT monitor, two years old. It isn’t going to wow the techies of the world, but it’s serviceable and pretty large. I’m guessing my monitor produces high-speed flickering which I, frankly, cannot detect.

>>> Do the flat-screen monitors produce sharper images? Less flickering? Less radiation?

Frankly, I have no desire to store items behind a skinny monitor, so I’m not sure what advantages its slimness offers.

FYI, I work with MS Word, Excel, Outlook and that’s about it. No games.

LCD flat panels are far more energy efficient and will produce a more geometrically “perfect” picture. Flat panel static 2D images are generally sharper, “crisper” and easier on the eyes than comparable CRT displays, especially for small details on the screen and especially if you use a digital video interface connection. If you use a digtial connection the low level “crawliness” or shimmer you see with analog input( if you look very closely at the screen), virtually dissapears and the picture is so stable and sharp it’s almost like print.

CRTs are considerably less expensive for a given viewable screen area, and (and this is the main issue) don’t have the ghosting problem that LCDs can have when there are images moving rapidly across the screen. This is why gamers still prefer CRTs overall. LCDs are getting better in this regard re pixel response time, and some are nearly on a par with CRTs, but (at this point) these are mostly seen in the quite expensive new widescreen LCD television monitors which are considerably more expensive than the LCD flat panel computer monitors even for the same size screen.

Pros: Less heat and energy use. Zero flicker. Completely flat. To me, they seem crisper and easier on the eyes. Less space and weight (which means that you’re likely to actually clean behind your monitor once in a while).

Cons: Expensive. Color rendition is still not quite as good as CRTs, although this is mostly a concern for graphic artists and the really picky. Resolution is not continuously variable, so displaying text and graphics at anything but the native resolution can lead to lack of sharpness.

I’ve been using my first flat screen for about 7 months. I find it much easier on the eyes. Also keep in mind that a 15" flat screen has almost the same size visible area as a 17" CRT.

      • Really, the biggest advantage–the only advantage for most people–is that flat-LCD monitors save desk space.
  • Typically, the lowest-priced LCD’s cost around $300, compared to $100 for a typical small CRT. The low-end LCD monitors have poorer color and slower image-response times than the CRT will. A CRT can change its entire image cleanly nearly “instantly”, but with an LCD you can actually see the change “sweep” across the picture, even for things as minor as the blinking cursor. As far as I have seen shopping myself, you have to spend up around $500 on an LCD before you really get something that looks as nice as the CRT.

A consequence of the directly-addressable pixles of the flat panel is that you can enable ClearType in Windows XP and triple your horizontal resolution for text, making an amazing difference when viewing fancy fonts or italics.
Sub-Pixel Font Rendering technology (used for ClearType) doesn’t work on CRTs.

While we are on this subject -

I have an NEC LCD flat screen monitor, and I took it to a conference a few weeks ago. I transported it in my car with the original foam packing, so I don’t think it got jostled in transit.

I now have a shadow about 3 inches long right in the middle of the screen, in a squiggly, tadpole shape. Is there anything that can be done about this? It is really annoying.

P.S. I took it to a mountain resort, about 9000 feet in elevation. Possible cause?

By “flat screen” we are talking about LCD, right? Flat CRT monitors are also common these days.

As astro said, LCD screens are very “crisp” which I find very pleasent. LCDs are also easier to carry and store, which might be a concern for some people. In addition, I find that CRTs often degrade over several years, resulting in fuzzier and less stable image. I haven’t seen that in a LCD, at least not yet.

Also I can’t imagine a situation where size isn’t a factor at all. The 20" CRT monitor at my office protrudes about 6" off the back of the desk, which means I need to keep the desk that far from the wall. Switching to LCD would reclaim almost 3 squre feet of floor space, and also give me enough room in front of the monitor+keyboard to open a 3-ring binder. The space issue becomes even more severe with larger and/or multiple monitors.

By the way I don’t know if sub-pixel rendering is actually an advantage. Typically LCDs have larger pixels, so it’s more of an attempt to make up for this disadvantage.

Not from your end. Screen defects generally speak to hardware issues. It’s a repair/replace issue.

I have two 18" LCD’s (same viewable as a 19" CRT) and a 21" CRT on my desk at home. The CRT is in the corner due to its depth with the LCD’s flanking it. This setup would not be possible with 3 CRT’s as they have way too much depth.

The LCD’s are much crisper when viewing text. They have a little ghosting when gaming, but I find them perfectly acceptable. In fact, I think they give 3D games added depth. I can’t explain why though.

The biggest negative that I can see is that LCD’s cost more. The other thing that I’ve noticed is that mine shift the blues a little. This isn’t noticeable when gaming, but if you do graphic design and look at both the LCD and the CRT, you can see the difference.

Overall, I love mine. Eventually I will be replacing my 21" CRT with a LCD.

Liquid crystal displays are inferior.

I want, nay demand, electron guns and phosphors!

Give me a cathode ray tube, or give me death!


Check the name of the poster to whom you are responding. Had he been DocLiquidCrystal, I think his response would have been different.


Contrary to some other posters, I find LCD displays to be inferior to CRTs when viewing text, which is most of what I do. And I’m very sensitive to ghosting, so I don’t like that either. So I’d spend some time in front of one and see if you can deal.

The size and weight advantage of LCDs really attracts me to them, so I keep watching to see if they get better. IMO, they are (significantly), but they aren’t there yet.

My personal beef with LCDs concerns resolution and cost. I run my CRT (a 19" SGI monitor) at 1600x1200. I will not use anything else. Because LCD monitors are designed to work at specific resolutions, I won’t be able to use 1600x1200 (without the picture being fuzzy) until I get to the 20" or 21" LCD range - which costs around $900! Considering that I bought the SGI monitor for $150 brand-new a couple of months ago, I’m with CRTs until the prices for LCDs come down… wayyyyyy down.

I’ll wager that you’re not using the LCD at its native resolution. I’ve got a 17" LCD whose native resolution is 1280 x 1024, and at that resolution, the text is very crisp. If I kick it down to 1024 x 768, or anything less, the text gets a bit fuzzy.

I’m a graphic artist who runs a laptop/LCD screen hooked up to a CRT so that I have 2 screens at once. The colors are far more true on the CRT screen, especially in the blue range. The difference would be incredibly obvious even if they weren’t side by side. I only use the LCD screen for tools and menus, all work is done on the CRT. I’ve yet to see an LCD screen with the picture quality I need. Such a screen would be great, the CRT is freaking huge.

No one’s touched on this one yet, but CRTs do emit a small amount of radiation. Currently, they are regulated so that the emissions are well below what is thought to be harmful to humans, and the fact that people aren’t dropping over like flies despite the fact that nearly everyone has a CRT on their desk these days would tend to support that. However, there are some folks who believe that any ionizing radiation, no matter how small of a level, may be harmful.

Flat panels (LCD type) don’t emit this type of radiation at all.

It’s hard to say this is really a benefit of flat panels since current CRT emissions are thought to be 100 percent safe.

Googling “CRT radiation” gives you an unbelievable amount of quackery on the subject. I was hoping to find the current emission standards but gave up after wading through a couple of pages of hits that were nothing but bunk.

Which is another reason I prefer them over LCDs.

No LCD I know of matches the warm glowing warming glow of a CRT.

I dunno. I just got LCD monitors and had the same problem kelly5078 did. The text was really hard to read. And I do a lot of CAD work so it’s important that everything be very clear. My IT guy finally got some digital cables toe work (it was a chore because of my dual monitor system) and I find the panels acceptable but not as clear as my old monitors.