Custom Search
Click to find updates on our Facebook page

Digital LCD/TFT/LED and Analog CRT PC Monitors - Page 1

LG W2363D 3D widescreen LCD flat-panel monitor for a desktop PC

This section of this website consists of two pages that provide detailed information on the PC monitor. Flat-panel monitors have almost completely replaced the old-style box-shaped monitors that the first IBM and Apple personal computers had. With the availability of Windows 8, which provides touchscreen support and has a new tiled Start screen, shown below, designed for use on tablet PCs and touchscreen monitors as well as standard mouse-accessed computers, the major manufacturers have started making touchscreen monitors available.

The Windows 8 Start screen

The first page of this article deals with the LCD/LED flat-panel monitor. Note that an LED monitor is just a type of LCD monitor that uses LED back lighting, which will soon be the standard used by all monitors. The second page deals with the old-style CRT monitor, which are still being used all over the world, especially in the third world where many of the redundant monitors that were used in Europe and America have been shipped. Common monitor problems are dealt with here instead of having a separate section, because there is not nearly as large a range of them as there is with graphics cards, the problems with which are dealt with in the Video/Graphics card Problems section of this website.

Everyone should know that the monitor of a desktop PC or the screen of a laptop or tablet computer produces the graphical display, but there is plenty of information about monitors and screens that that most home user aren't aware of but should be before they purchase a desktop computer, laptop or tablet.

The image shown above is of a LG W2363D 3D widescreen LCD (liquid crystal display), flat-panel monitor for a desktop PC, also known as a TFT (Thin Film Transistor) monitor - especially when naming the kind of screen used in laptop/notebook computers.

LG W2363D LCD 3D monitor -

http://www.lg.com/uk/monitors/lg-W2363D-3d-lcd-monitor

LG launches 3D laptop, monitor, projector -

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/projectors/1279138/...

Note that if you want to use a touchscreen monitor with Windows 8, models are available from all of the major monitor manufacturers, ranging from 19-inch to 27-inch displays, which are quite a bit more expensive than standard models for a particular screen size and can be considerably more expensive. Here is a review of a 27-inch model from Dell [January 2014]:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/dell-p2714t-touchscreen-monitor,review-32862.html

A flat-panel monitor is flat at the front and at the back (it doesn't have the large, protruding back area that CRT monitor's have). The image below is of a standard CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor. CRT computer monitors are now almost impossible to buy new. However, as outgoing technology, they are easy to buy second-hand from second-hand dealers and from ordinary auctions and online auction websites. CRT monitors and TVs use considerably more power than LCD monitors and TVs, so, the sooner they are all replaced the better for the environment. CRT monitor's and TVs also produce low levels of radiation, which LCD screens do not.

Samsung SyncMaster 753DF 17" CRT Monitor

NEVER OPEN A CRT MONITOR OR CRT TELEVISION SET. ITS CAPACITORS CAN CARRY A LETHAL CHARGE LONG AFTER IT HAS BEEN SWITCHED OFF!

THE CONTENTS OF THE TWO PAGES OF THIS ARTICLE

LCD/LED flat-panel monitors are dealt with on this page.

Click here! to go directly to the information about CRT monitors on Page 2.

LCD/TFT computer monitors

Introduction

The information below provides the basic specifications and some other information on monitors, some of which should be taken into consideration before you purchase an LCD/LED computer monitor. They, and other specifications, will be explained in greater detail on this page. 22" widescreen LCD monitors are now the standard size provided with most desktop PCs, but 27" widescreen monitors are available if you want that much screen space. Now that Blu-ray and High Definition (HD) movies and TV are widely available, a Full HD screen resolution - 1,920x1,080 pixels - is the norm.


LCD Types

TN, IPS, MVA, PVA, PSV - each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. Note that the term LED applied to monitors is a type of backlighting used by LCD screens, not a new type of monitor. - Information sufficient for most users is provided here but for detailed information read about these terms here - Thin film transistor liquid crystal display - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TFT_LCD

Monitor/display device drivers

The device drivers that produce a display on one or more monitors are the graphics card drivers and the monitor drivers. Monitor drivers are not software but really just text files with an .inf extension that configure the monitor's settings. The drivers appear in the Device Manager under "Display adapters" and "Monitors". Windows can use its standard monitor driver or (preferably) the driver provided by the monitor manufacture can be installed. The manufacturer of a graphics card provides its device driver. For a laptop the laptop manufacturer is the source because every laptop is customised by its manufacturer. If you change monitor(s) and the drivers for the old monitor(s) are used, uninstall them in Device Manager by right-clicking on each one under "Monitors" and installing the latest driver(s). If you have Windows Live Mesh installed, it appears as a driver called Windows Live Display Driver under "Display adapters" as well as the driver of the graphics card(s). It should be removed and reinstalled because it can cause the monitor configuration to reset at every startup.

Diagonal measurement(visible screen size)

15", 17", 19", 20", 22", 24", 26", 27" - All desktop PCs now come with a widescreen LCD monitor. A 19" LCD widescreen monitor is currently regarded as the basic entry level.

Native screen resolution

1280x1024 pixels, 1680x1050 pixels, Full HD 1,920x1,080, etc. Full HD is the maximum resolution that Blu-ray (movie) discs support. You need it to view high-definition movies from your PC. A 19" monitor has a screen resolution of 1440X900 pixels. 20" and 22" monitors have screen resolutions of 1680X1050 and 1920X1080 pixels respectively.

Screen refresh rate

Almost all LCD monitors sold over the last decade (current date: June 2012) have a 60Hz screen refresh rate, which is the measure of how often the screen's image is refreshed. However, with the increasing popularity of 3D displays, a 120Hz refresh rate is required to send a 60Hz image to each eye when wearing 3D glasses. Note that there are currently many monitors that support a 120Hz refresh rate that are not 3D-capable. Gamers choose them because they reduce the tearing artifacts that appear when the PC's graphics card renders more frames per second (fps) than the monitor can display.

Screen back lighting

Florescent (CCFL) or LED backlight.

Contrast ratio/Dynamic contrast ratio

500:1, 800:1, 1000:1, etc. (the higher the better).

Brightness

200cd/m2, 250 cd/m2, 300 cd/m2, etc. (the higher the better). cd/m2 = candelas per square meter. Most laptops have a brightness of 200cd/m2 and the brightness of most PC monitors is 250 or 300cd/m2. Most manufacturers don't do so but Dell, Samsung and Lenovo all quote the screen brightness of their laptops and all have 300cd/m2 models. If you are going to use a laptop outside, the higher the brightness the better. 400cd/m2 brightness is available on some laptops. Laptop hoods that block sunlight from striking the screen can be purchased.

Aspect ratio

4:3 or 5:4 (standard square screens), 16:9 or 16:10 (widescreens).

Pixel response time/latency

25ms, 16ms, 12ms, 8ms, 4ms, 2ms (the lower the better). It is now safe to say that this specification can be ignored, because all LCD monitors now have a latency that is fast enough not to cause ghosting of action scenes in movies and games.

Colours

16 million, etc.

Horizontal/vertical viewing angles

160/160 [Means that the screen can be viewed horizontally and vertically from angles of 160 to the screen without significant distortion of the image].

DisplayPort graphics standard

The successor to the DVI graphics standard.

Connectivity/supported connections

VGA D-sub, DVI, DisplayPort, USB 2.0/USB 3.0, HDMI (high definition), audio-in, TV tuner, remote control. Note that while many monitors and TVs provide one or more HDMI ports, in order to use one to connect a monitor to a computer, its motherboard must provide an HDMI port, which many but not all do now.

Adjustable stand

Most PC monitors have fixed stands that can only be adjusted to tilt the screen, but screens are available with adjustable stands that allow the height of the screen to be adjusted and rotated from a landscape to a portrait position. Monitors with adjustable screens tend to be more expensive than non-adjustable screens. Online or magazine reviews should tell you what type of screen a particular monitor has.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) flat-panel desktop computer monitors and laptop/notebook computer screens are either non-TFT or TFT displays. Virtually all of the current LCD monitors are TFT LCD monitors.

The type of LCD panel used in a monitor does make a difference to the quality of the display. A monitor's technical specification should tell you which type it is. However, note that you might find it difficult to find what the panel type is of a monitor that comes with with a brand-name desktop PC if the make and model are not provided.

Most PC monitors currently have the cheapest type - a twisted nematic (TN) LCD panel. TN panels provide a reasonable contrast ratio, viewing angles and very quick pixel response times (a measure of how quickly the screen is refreshed), but are the worst of the three main types currently in use.

Multi-domain Vertical alignment (MVA or VA) panels are more expensive, provide a superior contrast ratio and viewing angles compared to TN panels - 3000:1 native contrast ratio compared to 1000:1 - which makes the blacks look blacker and the colours look richer, but their pixel response times measured in milliseconds (ms) are higher (the lower the response time the better), which might cause a small amount picture ghosting (blurring in fast motion scenes). The production costs of TN panels are lower and they have higher pixel response times, but VA panels are being improved their weak points all the tme and are reducing in price compared to TN panels and provide excellent image quality, so, it won't be long before VA panels are the standard type.

In-plane switching (IPS) panels provide the best quality picture (most accurate colours) and very wide viewing angles (the picture remains the same from varying viewing angles). To begin with the pixel response times were high enough to produce picture ghosting, but, with the latest models, this is no longer the case. As might be expected, they are the most expensive type of LCD panel.

AOC I2757Fh And ViewSonic VX2770Smh: Two 27" IPS Monitors [January 2013] -

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/aoc-i2757fh-viewsonic-vx2770smh-ah-ips,review-32610.html

For more information on the non-TFT (passive matrix) and TFT (active matrix) technology visit:

Liquid Crystal Display - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_crystal_display

TFT LCD - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TFT_LCD

Since virtually all LCD monitors (and notebook computer screens) are now TFT LCD displays (mostly widescreen now), I will just use the term LCD to describe them.

Ways of keeping a screen clean

Monitors collect dust or get splattered with liquids or muck in a wide variety of weird ways and touchscreens get covered in fingerprints and muck. Special cleaning fluids don't have to be used to do the cleaning. A small amount of spectacle cleaner or isopropyl alcohol on a microfiber, lint-free cloth that many new laptops and monitors come with, does the job nicely. A small amount of dishwashing liquid on a damp cloth is an alternative, but ammonia-based or ethanol-based cleaning fluids should never be used because the ammonia or ethanol damages the plastic that covers the pixels. In other words, don't use glass cleaner, such as Windolene. The ammonia or ethanol in most glass cleaners will eventually make the the screen, which has a plastic coating, turn yellow and make it brittle.

How to clean an LCD TFT monitor

Care should be taken in cleaning an LCD monitor, because the screen isn't as rugged as the screen of a CRT monitor. Here are some instructions taken from a user manual probably written in China:

1. - Be gentle to clean the screen.

2. - Never ever using any kind of corrosiveness chemical dissolvent to clean the screen.

3. - We suggest that using a clean camel hair brush or a soft, clean, lint-free cloth to wipe the screen.

4. - Don't give any pressure directly to the LCD.

You can buy special anti-scratch cloths and special sprays with which to clean LCD screens. For example MSI provides a Micro Fibre anti-scratch cleaning cloth with its laptop PCs, which can also be purchased, and One Clean Screen Cleaner consists of a 30ml spray that provides and alcohol-free cleaning fluid and a microfibre anti-scratch sponge that is used to clean the sprayed screen.

How I clean my LCD screen

On a matt or gloss LCD screen, I use a damp tea towel or a piece of cotton wool dipped in distilled water and squeezed out so that isn't full of water. With the monitor switched off, I move the wad of cotton wool horizontally across the screen as if I am painting a wall with a roller horizontally. I don't apply much pressure. If some dirt isn't rubbed away after the first pass, I go over it until it disappears. Then I use a piece of dry cotton wool in the same way. After doing that, no water marks can be seen. If there are persistent marks, I use a damp tea towel to remove them.


Touchscreen PC monitors and laptop screens

Touchscreen monitors have been available for many years, but only since the Apple iPhone with its touchscreen has the technology been extended to desktop PC monitors and laptop screens. Most current touchscreens can only sense one point of contact at a time and only few have the capability to sense the hardness of the touch, but multi-touch technology is making it possible to touch the screen in more than one place at a time and advances in technology are making it possible for the screen to detect how hard it is being touched, making functionality possible that depends on the amount of pressure being placed on a point on the screen.

A standard LCD/LED monitor doesn't support the touch capability supported by Windows 8 (not by earlier versions of Windows). To be able to use that capability, just add a touchscreen monitor, which can also be added to a laptop PC as an external monitor. Relatively inexpensive touchscreen monitors with screen sizes between 17-inch to 27-inch are widely available now. Optimally, Win8 requires a touchscreen monitor that has a 20mm border between the edge of the screen and the edge of the bezel or for the bezel to be flush with the screen for touch gestures to work. Note that Win8 works best with a capacitive touchscreen rather than one that uses the resistive or optical technologies that the cheapest models tend to use. Moreover, a minimum of five touch points are required.

Touchscreen - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touchscreen

HP TouchSmart PCs - http://www.hp.com/united-states/campaigns/touchsmart/

Review: 3 Windows 7 touch-screen laptops -

Reviewed are laptops for the home user from Fujitsu, HP and Lenovo which take advantage the touchscreen feature made available by Windows 7. -

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9140385/...

Wireless PC monitors

It is now possible to buy a wireless monitor. Here is a review of the first one to be made available. For most home users it is prohibitively expensive, but, as with all new technology, will reduce in price fairly quickly as more manufacturers release wireless models.

Samsung SyncMaster C27A750 [wireless monitor] review -

"Verdict It's too expensive to totally recommend right now, but as a proof of concept the C27A750 works brilliantly Review Date - 7 Apr 2011 - Price when reviewed: L449.00." -

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/monitors/366613/samsung-syncmaster-c27a750

Which is the best choice, fluorescent lamps or LED backlight

Until recently, LCD monitors have had their screen backlight provided by cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL), but the latest monitors have LED backlights. LED stands for Light-emitting Diode. The lighting used in most electronic devices is produced by low-power LEDs. LED lighting uses less power than CCFL lighting.

Note that even though flat-panel monitors and TVs (using LCD and plasma technology) with LED backlights are being marketed as LED monitors or TVs, they use LCD technology. LED screens merely use a different lighting technology. LCD monitors and TVs that use CCFL backlights are still very good and are usually cheaper than models with LED backlights. However, it must be said that monitors and TVs using LED illumination tend to produce a more vibrant-looking picture.

LED backlights will soon be standard on LCD monitors, because they provide certain advantages over the traditional fluorescent lamps, such as warming up very quickly so that the user does not have to wait before engaging in colour-critical tasks, such as video or photo editing.

LED lighting uses less power than fluorescent lighting and mercury, a toxic metal, is not used, making recycling easier.

There are two main types of LED illumination - the cheaper edge-lit LED , which has the LEDs around the edge of the screen, and back-lit LED, which has the LEDs arranged around the whole screen.

Note that you should not assume that a monitor's or screen's image quality will be superior if it has an LED backlight, because this is not always the case. Read all of the available reviews for a particular monitor before you make a choice.

Lindy DVI-to-VGA converter

Got a DVI graphics card and a monitor with only a VGA connection? This small compact device is ready to convert a DVI signal from a computer, into VGA output for your display. Just screw onto the DVI port at the back of your PCI, and then attach the VGA monitor cable to the other end. -

http://www.cableuniverse.co.uk/...

PC monitor and laptop screen colour calibration: Colour calibrators

If you edit videos and photos it is essential to have colour accuracy. To achieve the most natural colours, the monitor has to be calibrated. An uncalibrated monitor will probably look fine, but, if the colours are wrong, any prints will not show natural colours. If the brightness is set too high, prints will look dark. A laptop computer's screen does not usually have the colour controls of a PC monitor, so using a colour calibrator is especially useful with a laptop.

Windows 7 provides a software calibration tool, as do some monitors, both of which rely on the colour judgement of the person performing the calibration. The lighting in a room can affect a person's perception of colour significantly, so, if colour accuracy is vitally important to you, it is best to use a hardware colorimeter to perform the calibration because it can take the lighting in a room into account. Here is a link to a review of an excellent colour-calibration device made by Datacolor:

Datacolor Spyder 4 Express review [Review Date: 13 Mar 2012] -

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/gadgets/1290469/datacolor-spyder-4-express

To perform a manual calibration, print a photo and hold it up to the screen that is displaying the same photo. Then use your monitor's and your PC monitor's colour controls to match the colours on the screen with those on the print. In Windows XP/Vista/7, the graphics card's controls are under Display in the Control Panel.

The confusing myriad of cables that computers use

The myriad of cables that are in use are often very confusing to the home computer user. The following link provides a slide show of the cables and information on what each cable is used for that should dispel most of the confusion.

A World of Cables, Unknotted [Slideshow of all the cables used with a computer] -

"You can spend weeks researching which TV or Blu-ray player to buy, and then you would still have to deal with the conundrum of the cables. Other format wars get resolved fairly quickly and definitively (Blu-ray over HD-DVD, VHS over Beta), but cable formats last, it would seem, forever." -

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/04/16/technology/personaltech/...

Here is another similar page that goes through every possible type of connector:

Pictorial guide to PC sockets and cables -

http://www.talktalk.co.uk/technology/workshops/articles/...

AVForums: Audio-visual forums

AVForums - Audio-visual electronics and gadget discussion forums - the busiest in Europe. All audio-visual equipment and their connections are discussed. -

http://www.avforums.com/

You can visit the forums to read what the members are discussing or register and start your own topic.

LCD/TFT monitor drivers

If you install a LCD/TFT monitor, Windows will install its standard Plug and Play Monitor driver, which works perfectly well, but the make and model of monitor won't be shown in the Device Manager until you install its manufacturer's .inf file.

The next item deals with monitor drivers in more detail.

Monitor drivers (.inf files)

During start-up, the operating system (usually a version of Windows) has to load an .inf driver file that identifies the make and model of the monitor so that it can set it up in the Device Manager with the correct specifications so that the video card can make the proper use of it. An updated Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or 3 or a version of Windows Vista and Windows 7 installed should be able to install most Plug and Play (PnP) monitor drivers automatically, but if a version of Windows is being used that pre-dates the make and model of the monitor, it won't be able to load the driver. For example, most LCD monitors were made long after Windows 98 came out, so it won't have the correct file and you will have to download and install it yourself, otherwise Windows will install its standard Plug and Play Monitor driver. If the correct .inf file is installed, the make and model of the monitor will show under Monitors in the Device Manager. It will also show under Display Properties, which you access by right-clicking an empty space on the Windows Desktop and then clicking Properties in the menu that comes up. The following page illustrates how to install a monitor driver.

Monitor driver or monitor .INF FAQ -

http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/sb/CS-029986.htm

PowerStrip - Shareware - $29.95

"PowerStrip provides advanced, multi-monitor, programmable hardware support to a wide range of graphics cards - from the venerable Matrox Millennium I to AMD Radeon graphics. It is the only program of its type to support multiple graphics cards from multiple chipset vendors, simultaneously, under every Windows operating system from Windows 95 to the x64-bit edition of Windows 7." -

http://www.entechtaiwan.com/util/ps.shtm

Using dual monitors or multiple monitors (as many as the PC has graphics ports

Most LCD monitors use a D-sub VGA (old analog technology) or a digital DVI connection (current technology). Many monitors provide both connections. You can use as many monitors as the PC's graphics card or cards provide. If your PC's graphics card provides an analog VGA port and a digital DVI port, as long as you have the appropriate analog or digital cable, you can use two monitors.

The Lindy USB2 Full HD 1080p HDMI Convertor [£66 in August 2012] from lindy.co.uk outputs video from a USB port to any monitor or HD TV that has an HDMI port, which is very useful if you need to use more than one monitor from a desktop PC or laptop that only provides one VGA or DVI graphics port. A more expensive (£89.99) Lindy USB3 to HDMI adapter is also available.

Using multiple monitors in Windows XP is a plug-and play operation. You can install two or three video cards in the computer's PCI Express slots and then plug in three monitors, and XP recognises them almost every time. However, doing that in the Windows Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate versions, which support the Aero Glass feature, is not so easy. Here is the information on Microsoft's site on how to do so:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Set-up-multiple-monitors

Trick Out Your PC With Multiple Monitors -

"A video card, the right utilities, and an extra display or two can dramatically enhance the way you work, use multimedia apps, play games, or simply surf the Internet. Here's how to tweak your rig." -

http://www.informationweek.com/news/personal_tech/reviews/...

Have a look at the following website to see how far using multiple monitors can be taken:

http://9xmedia.com/new/products/xtops.php

In Windows 7, you just have to connect the two monitors and it sets them up. If you move the mouse pointer to the edge of the screen, it moves on to the next screen, etc. You can run an application or web browser on each monitor.

Unfortunately, Windows won't stretch the taskbar on a dual-monitor system to the second monitor. However, free software is available that creates a second taskbar on the secondary monitor. The free Dual Monitor Taskbar can be downloaded from http://sourceforge.net/projects/dualmonitortb/. It has only been tested on Windows 7 and Windows 2008 Server R2, but might work on Windows XP and Windows Vista.

You can use the search query using dual or multiple monitors followed by your version of Windows in a search engine if you require additional information.

****

Monitors that use the USB interface are now available. The following article (August 30, 2011) deals with DisplayLink's technology that provides adapters that enable monitors with VGA, DVI or USB input ports to be connected by a USB port on the computer.

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/usb-graphics-adapter,review-32262-3.html

It is also possible to buy a USB dock and an external USB graphics adapter to connect multiple monitors. Each USB graphics adapter is connected to the USB dock. Here are links to two short videos that illustrate the possibilities.

HP USB Graphics Adapter -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPPpf2tbws0&feature=related

Using Multiple Monitors with The HP USB Dock & USB Graphics Adapters -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzEMhRoCl_U

More information on these interfaces is provided further down in this article. However, it is now also possible to buy an external USB 2.0 video/graphics card that connects to a USB 2.0 port that most current desktop and laptop PCs provide at least four of, or a USB 2.0 monitor that has its own inbuilt graphics card, which means that you can connect as many of them as the PC has of USB ports and even more if you add a USB hub that provides additional USB ports. Here is an example:

http://www.eclipsetouch.com/uv250.htm#img/uv250/uv250_1.jpg

It is also now possible to buy to a USB monitor.

Samsung SyncMaster 940UX: First USB-Monitor Reviewed -

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/monitors/display/samsung-sm940ux.html

LCD monitors/displays come in several types - TN, IPS, MVA, PVA, PSV - each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses - Read about them here:

Thin film transistor liquid crystal display [TFT LCD] -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TFT_LCD

For example, TN LCDs are lower-end inexpensive monitors with fast response times (the screen refreshes it images rapidly) and typically narrow viewing angles, although some have better viewing angles than others. If the viewing angle is low, the quality of the graphics display deteriorates as the viewing angle from the centre of the screen increases. To test the viewing angle of a screen, move your head from the centre in front of the screen towards the sides of the screen. IPS LCDs are high-end monitors with the best viewing angle and reasonably fast response times and are the best for high-end graphics work. The trade off is that they are much more expensive than the other types.

Most new desktop computers - even budget models - now come equipped with LCD monitors , but CRT monitors can still be purchased new at bargain prices, or second-hand, as they head towards extinction.

All except the cheapest desktop PCs now come with widescreen LCD monitors, which are ideally suited for watching (widescreen) movies, moreover, it feels more comfortable when working with panoramic photos and expansive spreadsheets. Standard CRT and LCD screens have an aspect ratio of 4:3 (width 4, height 3) or 5:4, which makes them almost square, and widescreen CRT and LCD usually have an aspect ratio of 16:10 and 16:9, which makes them rectangular, as shown in the two images of LCD (rectangular) and CRT (square) screens at the top of the page.

Note that widescreen LCD TVs have an aspect ratio of 16:9, which accommodates widescreen movies, but many LCD PC monitors have a 16:10 aspect ratio. When you watch movies or video designed for a 16:9 aspect ratio on a 16:10 screen, there will be slight stretching to fill the whole screen. Therefore, if you watch video or TV on your PC monitor, buy one that has a 16:9 aspect ratio.

The aspect ratio and the screen size determines the screen/display resolution. For example, an LCD widescreen monitor with 19" screen size and an aspect ratio of 16:9 has a 'native' screen resolution of 1440X900 pixels. The 'native' resolution changes to 1680x1050 pixels for a 20" widescreen monitor with the same aspect ratio of 16:9. Full HD (1,920x1,080) is the maximum resolution that Blu-ray discs support. You need a monitor with that resolution to view high-definition movies from your PC.

The 'native' screen resolutions of LCD screens of different sizes

STANDARD LCD MONITORS (No longer being supplied with new PCs

 
17 inches (17")
19 inches (19")
20 and 21 inches (20" and 21")
Native resolution
1280x1024
1280x1024
1600x1200
Aspect ratio
5:4
5:4
5:4
Typical price
Still available in Feb. 2011 - E.g. - BenQ G702AD and other makes
Still available in Feb. 2011 - E.g. - BenQ BL902M and other makes
No longer available new - users want widescreen monitors of this size

WIDESCREEN LCD MONITORS (Supplied with all new complete-package PCs)

 
18.5 & 19 inches (18.5" & 19")
20 inches (20")
22 inches (22")
24 inches (24")
Native resolution
1440x900
1680x1050
1680x1050
1920x1200 and 1280x1080
Aspect ratio
16:9
16:9
16:9
16:9
Typical price
£90 - £160
£125 - £150
£150 - £250
£200 - £800

The operating system, usually a version of Windows, queries the monitor's EDID (Extended Display Identification Data), stored on a microchip, via the computer's graphics card, to find out what the monitor's specifications are. Windows can then determine what the range of available screen resolutions and refresh rates are.

The free EDID Viewer provides comprehensive information about the identity and capabilities of an LCD monitor/display.

If your PC is not recognising the correct native screen resolution for the monitor (as specified in its user manual), you should download and install the latest device drivers for the PC's graphics card from the PC manufacturer's or the graphic's card manufacturer's website. You can use the free Belarc Advisor from belarc.com to identify all of a PC's hardware and software, including the make/model of the graphics card/chip.

If you have a display problem, such as the display not fully filling (stretching across) a widescreen, open the Device Manager by entering devmgmt.msc in the Start => Run box in Windows XP (in the Start => Start Search box in Windows Vista and the Start => Search programs and files box in Windows 7).

If the manufacturer's driver .inf file is installed for the monitor or laptop display, under the Monitors heading, which must be opened to display the contents, instead of Plug and Play Monitor, which is the standard Windows driver, the monitor manufacturer will be named. If not, you should be able to obtain and install the .inf file from the manufacturer's website. E. g., here is the webpage that provides the driver in a Zip file for the Hanns G - HW191D monitor: http://cms.hannsg.net/onweb.jsp?webno=3333333752

The following thread on a computer forum that discusses a graphics card/monitor screen resolution problem tells you how to install the driver in Windows XP. The procedure is the same in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

http://www.talktalk.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=178410

How to install an LCD monitor and the monitor-manufacturer's monitor driver (.inf file)

Installing a flat-panel LCD monitor to a PC is a relatively straightforward procedure, but given that there are now four types of connection interface - standard analog VGA, digital DVI, high-definition HDMI and also USB - you can get caught out if you buy a monitor that doesn't provide the ports that your computer provides from its graphics card or motherboard.

To confuse matters, the DVI standard comes in two different types of cable and socket: one carrying only a digital picture (DVI-D) and one carrying both a DVI-D and a VGA picture (DVI-I). If your computer has a DVI output port on its motherboard or graphics card, it's almost certainly the DVI-I type, so any type of DVI monitor will connect to it without problems. Note that some graphics cards provide VGA, DVI-D and DVI-I ports, or just two of one type of DVI port or one of each type. You have to check a make/model of motherboard's or graphics card's specifications to find out which type of output ports it provides. More detailed information on the DVI standard (with images of the ports) is provided further down in this article.

Here is a good article on how to install an LCD monitor in a Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 computer:

How to install and configure a monitor -

http://www.talktalk.co.uk/technology/features/articles/...

If you don't know how to install a monitor driver, first you have to extract the file(s) from Zip file you downloaded from the manufacturer's website to a folder in Windows. The process is more or less the same in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Next, open the Control Panel and then open Display. Open the Settings tab and then click on the Advanced button. Next open the Monitor tab => click the Properties button => open the Driver tab => click the Update Driver button. Select No, not this time => Install from a specific location => Don't search I will choose the driver... => Have Disk button and then point it to the folder that contains the file(s) you extracted to it earlier and select the .inf file.

Visit the Desktop PCs section of this site for information on how to buy, build, repair, fix, and protect the various types of desktop PCs.

Visit the Laptop/Notebook PCs section of this site for information on buying and protecting them, and fixing problems with them.

During normal operation, most LCD monitors use about 35W of electricity. This is approximately 70% less than the power used by a comparable CRT monitor, which consumes about 105W.

Power can be saved by enabling the power-saving option in the Windows Control Panel, which is called Power Options in Windows XP/Vista/7. This option switches the monitor into standby mode after a set time period. Moving the mouse or pressing a key restarts it.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, the Power Options are under Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel.

Windows 7 has the Control Panel's Power Options under System and Security when it using the default View by: Categories. If you choose the View by: Large icons or Small icons, the Control Panel items are listed instead of appearing under categories. The Display option (under Appearance and Personalization when the Control Panel is viewed by Category) allows you to choose between many display options.

Some monitor's have more advanced power-saving features. For example, the 17" LCD Iiyama Prolite X436S has an infrared motion sensor on the top of the screen's bezel. It senses when the user is no longer in front of the monitor and makes the screen go blank and into standby mode. It switches back on as soon as the sensor detects motion in front of the monitor. It also has a light sensor that allows it to adjust the monitor's brightness according to the amount of light in the room. These features are not enabled by default on this model. The user has to access the Onscreen Display (OSD) controls and enable them manually. Reviewers have reported that that both of these features work very well.

HDMI/HDCP

Many LCD monitors now have extra video connections that allow them to be connected to a DVD player, games console or video camera (component, S-video, and composite video ports), and some LCD monitors now provide one or more HDMI high-definition ports and support High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), which is the content-protection technology that allows them to display the latest high-definition movies. Most HD TVs also have one or more HDMI/DVI ports that allows them to be connected to a PC's motherboard, graphics card, gaming console, etc., that also has an HDMI/DVI port.

Monitors that have HDCP-compliant DVI ports allow any device that has an HDMI output to be plugged into it by using a simple adapter. If the PC's graphics card supports HDCP, Blu-ray movies can be played on it. Blu-ray movies can also be played without HDCP, but only over an analog VGA connection. For the best compatibility, look for a monitor that has a dedicated HDMI port.

Wireless HDMI kits that can transmit Full HD video and Blu-ray movies without using compression are available, currently (Feb. 2012) costing around £150, that can be used (with excellent results using up to two devices if the kit comes with HDMI ports) instead of HDMI cables. This is new technology, so there are a limited number of products available. Amazon sells them and its purchaser reviews are usually well-worth reading. Search for "Wireless HDMI WHDI Transmitter System".

An example of a very expensive inferior product that uses video compression is the Eminent iTrio EM7100 wireless home HDMI kit.

Eminent iTrio EM7100 Wireless HDMI sender review -

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/gadgets/279100/...

Read the 720p and 1080p HDTV: The differences in these high-definition (HD) standards page on this site for more information on those two HD standards.

HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection, which is technology that allows the monitors that support it to authenticate themselves to high-definition video sources, such as a high-definition movie, thereby proving that they are an approved method of displaying the video rather than an illicit device that could be used to copy it. The movie studios have the option of restricting full high-definition playback to HDCP devices only. (A PC's video/graphics card can also be an HDCP device.) However, in 2007 the movie studios were not using that option, because most users don't have the HDCP-compliant hardware that supports it. However, to future-proof your purchase, you should buy an HDCP-compliant monitor. The digital copy protection is implemented digitally only, so if you buy a monitor that has a standard analog D-sub VGA graphics connector, you won't be able to watch HDCP-protected high-definition Blu-ray movies (Toshiba has lost the high-definition standards 'war' to Sony's Blu-ray standard and has stopped developing its alternative HD DVD standard).

HDCP was developed by Intel. It encrypts the signal between the HD video source (the high-definition Blu-ray or HD DVD player/drive) and the display/monitor. Digital output from a Sky HD box, Blu-ray, or HD DVD player will not be displayed if the DVI or HDMI input on the monitor isn't HDCP compatible. Windows Vista and Windows 7 also have HDCP support as part of its digital-rights-management (DRM) software.

When the movie studios start marketing HDCP-protected movies, if you want to watch them through a Windows Vista/Windows 7 computer, the PC's monitor and the video/graphics card will have to support HDCP.

HDTV For Gamers -

"Video games have always been on the cutting edge of visual technology, and the shift to high definition is no different. Gamers who opt to remain ahead of the pack want their HDTV, but tread carefully before plunking down the cash for a new set..." -

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/Gamers-Guide-HDTV,review-2384.html

The new DisplayPort graphics standard

The DisplayPort graphics standard is being promoted as the successor to the DVI graphics standard. The bandwidth of the dual-link DVI standard (that uses a special dual-link cable) can barely handle screen resolutions of 2560x1600 pixels for large widescreen displays; using higher resolutions requires a reduction of the refresh rate. The HDMI standard has similar limitations, but this is not a problem yet because HD TVs are unlikely to go beyond using a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels for several years to come. The current version is DisplayPort 1.2, which was was approved on December 22, 2009. DisplayPort graphics cards drive LCD screens directly, so don't have to make use of the current electronics, which should make the displays slimmer and cheaper. It remains to be seen if the standard succeeds in replacing the DVI and HDMI graphics standards.

The number of graphics cards that can be connected to a PC depends on the number of graphics cards installed in it. The highest-end graphics cards currently available can support three monitors each with an independent (different) display. Theoretically, an infinite number of monitors that are displaying the same thing can be connected using distribution amplifier boxes to send the signal from the computer to each monitor. Eyefinity technology by AMD/ATI supports up to six monitors showing independent displays. AMD recommends using DisplayPort monitors.

Maximum number of monitors Win 7 Supports? -

http://superuser.com/questions/92728/maximum-number-of-monitors-win-7-supports

DisplayPort - http://www.displayport.org/

DisplayPort - FAQ - http://www.displayport.org/faq/

DisplayPort - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DisplayPort

Component, S-video and composite video ports

In addition to an HDMI port for playback of high-definition movies, the more expensive LCD monitors provide connections such as component, S-video, and composite video ports that allow the connection to the PC of devices such as DVD players, video camera, and games consoles (Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, etc.).

Visit the PC Gaming section of this site for more information on that subject.

USB/FireWire/HDMI/DVI/Ethernet/VGA cables

scan.co.uk provides a wide variety of the following cables - audio-visual, BT phone, power supply, drives, fans, HDMI, monitor, network, SCSI/SAS, USB, FireWire, printer, etc.

Display Properties: Setting screen resolutions, etc.

In Windows XP, you access Display Properties by right-clicking with the mouse pointer on an empty space on the Windows Desktop and then selecting Properties in the menu that presents itself.

In Windows Vista there is an extra step and the menu items are named differently. To open the Display Properties in Windows Vista, right click the mouse with its pointer on the Windows Desktop and select Personalize, which opens the Personalize category of the Control Panel. From here, go to the bottom of the window and select Display Settings.

In Windows 7 you take the same steps as in Vista to bring up its new Display options, or just enter the word display in the Start => Search programs and files box to be provided with a link.

For Windows Vista, read Getting the best display on your monitor. The article covers CRT and LCD monitors.

For Windows XP, read Display Properties overview. It covers both the Home and Professional versions of Windows XP.

The following Q&A on this site deals with setting the screen resolution of an LCD monitor having upgraded from a standard CRT monitor: I have upgraded from a CRT monitor to an LCD monitor. How do I set the correct screen resolution for my LCD monitor?


PC MONITORS/DISPLAYS RATED AND REVIEWED BY EXPERT REVIEWS

Visit http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/displays to read the reviews of PC monitors and other displays, such as the Amazon Kindle 2 ebook reader.

Home entertainment - Reviews of HD TVs - Home cinema - PVRs (Personal Video Recorders) - Media steamers - Blu-ray players -

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/home-entertainment

Here are the recent review pages for monitors given a five-star rating:

BenQ G2222HDL 22in widescreen monitor review -

"The BenQ G2222HDL 22in widescreen monitor is the successor to the G2220HD, which won an Expert Reviews Best Buy award when we reviewed it last year. Because of that, we were keen to find out if BenQ's new model could wrestle the crown from its now-obsolete sibling. Has BenQ pulled it off?" -

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/monitors/276850/...

Philips 230C1 [23" widescreen] review -

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/monitors/268678/philips-230c1

Samsung 2494HM [24" widescreen] review -

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/monitors/268789/samsung-2494hm

HD TVs

An HD TV can be connected to a PC that has an HDMI port on its motherboard or graphics card, because all HD TVs have at least one HDMI input port.

Visit http://www.expertreview.co.uk/tvs to read the reviews of HD TVs.

Here are the some review pages for HD TVs given a four-star or five-star rating:

Toshiba Regza 32RV753 review -

Review Date: 8 Oct 2010 - Price when reviewed: L350

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/tvs/1280005/toshiba-regza-32rv753

Philips 40PFL7605H review -

Review Date: 30 Sept 2010 - Price when reviewed: L949

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/tvs/1279948/philips-40pfl7605h

Alternatively, make use of a search engine to find reviews.

LCD monitors and reviews at overclockers.co.uk

If you want to see the latest LCD monitors and read the reviews written by the purchasers, visit http://www.overclockers.co.uk/productlist.php?groupid=703&catid=17.

Web searches

To find more information, reviews, and vendors, enter the make/model in a search engine, which most web browsers provide from their taskbar.

1:1 pixel mapping

1:1 pixel mapping is technology used in some display devices, such as LCD monitors that matches the resolution set on a video/graphics card to the screen resolution so that each pixel of the video signal is mapped to the corresponding pixel on the LCD screen, producing the sharpest possible picture. The technique prevents a video display being stretched and distorted by the monitor.

If, for example, a PC's video card is set to a screen resolution of 1,280x720 and the LCD monitor is set to its native screen resolution of 1,280x800, without using 1:1 pixel mapping the monitor will show the reduced resolution on the whole screen - will scale it by stretching the image. However, if the monitor provides and is set to use 1:1 pixel mapping, the monitor will display the 1,280x720 screen resolution and show black boarders where the native screen resolution's pixels are not being used.

At the time of writing this (January 2009), not all LCD monitors support 1:1 pixel mapping. It is worth having in order to obtain the sharpest picture, so you should make sure that any LCD monitor you buy supports it.


Widescreen LCD desktop PC monitors and widescreen LCD laptop displays

Most new desktop and laptop/notebook PCs now come with widescreen LCD monitors/displays instead of the standard almost square monitors/displays that used to be the rule.

A widescreen has an aspect ratio (the ratio of its vertical and horizontal aspects) that allows widescreen movies to be displayed as they are on a widescreen TV. Visit the Monitors and Laptops pages on this site for more information on PC monitors and laptop PCs.

All About Aspect Ratios (And Why Widescreen Really Is Better) -

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/featured/guides/...

All of the older PC games designed for a screen that has a standard aspect ratio seem to be ruined when played on a widescreen. The characters appear short and fat, dials appear elliptical instead of round, and when online quite a few lines of the screen disappear so that scrolling is necessary.

A screen with a standard aspect ratio and a resolution of 1024x768 is the equivalent of a widescreen with a resolution of 1200x768, where 1024 and 1200 represent the width of the screen in pixels.

A widescreen display is just what someone wants in order to display a spreadsheet, because it can display more columns. It is also what is necessary to display widescreen television and DVD movies.

Most new PC games now support widescreen resolutions, which means that they'll display without any distortions. However, if a widescreen causes distortions in a game, you should look at the options for the display driver under Display in the Control Panel in Windows 98/Me/XP/Vista and Windows 7. If there is an option to disable video stretching, it adds black borders to each side of a widescreen that effectively reduces it to a screen with a standard aspect ratio.

In Windows XP, you access Display Properties by right-clicking with the mouse pointer on an empty space on the Windows Desktop and then selecting Properties in the menu that presents itself.

In Windows Vista there is an extra step and the menu items are named differently. To open the Display Properties in Windows Vista, right click the mouse with its pointer on the Windows Desktop and select Personalize, which opens the Personalize category of the Control Panel. From here, go to the bottom of the window and select Display Settings.

In Windows 7 you take the same steps as in Vista to bring up its new Display options, or just enter the word display in the Start => Search programs and files box to be provided with a link.

The usual display icon in the Notification Area can be enabled to appear under Display Settings, but when you right-click on an empty area of the Desktop, you have to click Personalize in the menu the presents itself in order to bring up the window that contains the above-listed types of settings.

Visit the Laptop PCs section of this site for more information on them.


How to avoid monitor image persistence (screen burn, burn-in)

Note that a laptop computer's warranty does not allow its owner to claim for screen burn, because it is a natural property of the monitor.

Computer users who use programs that don't have set and fixed text menus and that use a white screen to display constantly changing text most of the time, probably won't have any problem with screen burn (burn-in) in a flat-panel LCD or an old-style CRT monitor.

However, both LCD and CRT monitors can suffer from burn-in (screen burn) when the computer to which they are attached run the same application that displays the same screen most of the time.

It is possible with an old-style CRT monitor to be able to see a text menu remaining on the screen even when the monitor itself is switched off. That can't happen with an LCD screen, but a previous image can become stuck and be viewed when the monitor is switched on.

With CRT monitors, if an image or menu is displayed in the same place on the screen for a long time, the same kind of bombardment by the cathode rays in that area can burn the screen phosphor so that it remains showing that display forever.

With LCD flat-panel screens , the same problem can be as bad or worse. This is because, with a liquid-crystal display, the crystals change their state when a voltage is applied to them, and, if left in the same state for too long, they can become stuck in that state. LCD-monitor manufacturers call that property "image persistence". Fortunately, unlike screen burn in CRT monitors, image persistence in LCD screens can almost always be reversed by displaying a white screen or by reversing the colours in the image that caused the problem (by displaying a colour negative of the image, etc.).

The following article on the subject suggests preventative methods, such as using a screensaver or using appropriate power-saving settings under the Windows Power Options in the Control Panel (in Windows XP and Windows Vista using its Classic View option).

LCD Image Persistence -

http://compreviews.about.com/od/monitors/a/LCDBurnIn.htm

In Windows Vista and Windows XP, you set a screensaver to work by right-clicking and empty space on the Windows Desktop. Next, click on Properties on the menu that comes up, and then open the Screen Saver tab in the Display Properties window. In Windows 7, just enter the word screensaver in the Start => Search programs and files box to be provided with a link.

If you have set a logon password in Windows XP Home Edition, you can use a key combination to bring up the logon screen so that it works in the same way as a screensaver. No one can use the computer until the password is entered, and when it is entered, you resume immediately from where you left off. To bring up the logon screen, just press one of the two Windows keys (they have a Windows flag on them) and the L key. This also works in Windows XP Professional Edition, but there is no need to set a password, because it requires the user to set a password during its installation.

You can also do that in all of the different versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7.

How to troubleshoot/diagnose video/graphics card and monitor problems

Troubleshoot monitor and video card problems -

"Display problems are among the most common difficulties people have when upgrading either Windows or their computers. Here are solutions to some common display problems." - http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/...

720p vrs 1080p LCD and plasma HDTVs and 120Hz LCD TVs

For more information on these topics, visit this article on this site:

720p and 1080p HDTV: The differences in these high-definition (HD) standards and 120Hz LCD TVs

If you want to increase the size of the font being used to display text on the screen, in Windows XP, right-click with the mouse on an empty space on the Windows Desktop, and click on Properties in the menu that presents itself. Click on the Settings tab of the Display Properties window that comes up. The native resolution is usually the highest resolution, so, if the slide bar under Screen resolutions is not set to the maximum, use your mouse to move it as far as it will go towards More.

Next, click on the Advanced button. You can change the DPI setting on the General tab, which is set to 96dpi by default. On the drop-down menu, there is a setting for 120dpi, or you can create a custom setting. DPI stands for dots per inch. Increasing the DPI makes the font being used appear larger onscreen.

In all versions of Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7), open Display in the Control Panel to access the display controls. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 just enter the word display in the Start => Search box to be presented with a clickable link to the settings.

Note that some programs, such as Microsoft's Outlook, which is used for e-mail, etc., ignore the Windows setting for font size, so you have to set the font size that such programs use from within them.

Your rights under the Sale of Goods Act in the UK

It is well worth noting that the Sale of Goods Act in the UK protects the purchase of goods over their expected useful life.

This is valuable protection for goods that have an expected useful life that is longer than the standard 12-month warranty. It means that if the product, such as a desktop or laptop computer, has an expected useful life of four years, its owner can get it repaired or replaced if it dies within that period, regardless of any warranties, standard 12-month or extended. All computers should have a useful life of at least four years, so it is a waste of money to buy an extended warranty for a desktop or laptop computer. However, the vendor or manufacturer will probably try every trick in the book to avoid having to repair or replace a computer that is out of its warranty period and which has no extended warranty. That said, if you have the product examined by a reputable third party and then insist on your rights under the Sale of Goods Act, if the product fails within its expected useful life, you will always be entitled to having it repaired or replaced.

Search for sale of goods act for plenty of information about it on the web.

Fergus Muirhead answers your consumer questions -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-20339386

Don't be fobbed off: Sale of Goods Act - letter download -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theoneshow/consumer/...

Lower resolutions, and in some cases higher resolutions than the 'native' resolution, can be set on an LCD display, but the image will probably appear blurry. Some LCD monitors are better than others at handling non-native resolutions. The 'native' resolution and how to set it should be disclosed in the monitor's or the computer's user manual. If you need to change your monitor's resolution frequently, you're probably better off with a CRT monitor.

With LCD monitors, the pixels don't have the pulsing or 'decaying' nature of the phosphors of the pixels of a CRT monitor that are responsible for its flickering. Thus LCD monitors can operate at lower comparative refresh rates than CRT monitors without showing any flickering.

When considering LCD monitors in order to make a purchase, pay close attention to what happens when you view the screen from various angles. The best monitors allow you to sit further to the sides instead of just directly in front of the screen without the brightness dimming or the colours shifting in any way.

Television pictures and DVD movies often don't appear at their best on an LCD monitor, because the images are displayed with such sharpness that any natural or unnatural defects in the footage or the interlacing used by television broadcasts will become noticeable immediately.

Interlacing, which skips refreshing alternate lines of the screen, can create jagged edges that are more noticeable on LCD screens. Moreover, LCD screens often have to be viewed from directly in front of the screen to avoid a deterioration in the picture quality, but this is not the case with CRT monitors. Therefore, if a user's PC has an LCD monitor, he or she will benefit from watching television and DVD movies via a large- screen TV set. To connect the PC to a television set requires the use of an S-video or composite connection and cable.

Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition uses Microsoft's Media Center to integrate television into Windows. It's also able to control a Sky Digibox via a PC.

The Media Center Edition does not exist as a separate operating system with Windows Vista. The Media Center Edition is now included in Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate Editions, which also provide advanced integrated search and the ability to burn and author DVDs.

In Windows 7, you can add Windows Media Center by right-clicking with the mouse pointer on an empty spot on the desktop, and click on Gadgets in the menu that comes up. The Windows Media Center is one of the options. This is available in all of the home versions of Windows 7.

Note that Windows Media Center is a separate purchase and download for Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

Visit the following page on this website for information on Media Center PCs:

http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/Media-Center-PCs.htm


Colour/Color Management: How to calibrate an LCD or CRT monitor

Windows Vista and Windows 7 have built-in colour calibration, but Windows XP needs to be updated by downloading the Color Control Applet. Search for "Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP" at microsoft.com.

This page provides links to articles on colour management in Windows Vista, such as Windows Image Color Management:

http://search.microsoft.com/en-us/results.aspx?q=Windows+Image+Color+Management

In Windows 7, just enter the word calibrate to bring up a clickable link called Calibrate display color that opens a window called Display Color Calibration.

If you are serious about calibrating your monitor, you can use software such as Spyder3Express. It does not depend on any subjective calibration choices made by the user.

"Spyder3Express adjusts the color on your monitor so your photos appear more accurately. Easy-to-use right out of the box, this award winning proven technology helps you calibrate your display - just like professionals. There's a reason your on-screen colors aren't always true. Chances are, your monitor color is the problem, not your camera or your printer. Spyder3Express is a revolutionary simple monitor color correction tool that automatically adjusts the color of your monitor so what you're seeing is more true." -

http://spyder.datacolor.com/product-mc-s3express.php


3D PC gaming monitors

The Best 3D Monitor for Gaming -

http://www.monitor3d.net/3d-monitor-information/the-best-3d-monitor-for-gaming

Hands on with Zalman's 3D gaming screen -

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/new-product/pc-peripheral/...


Glossy screens

A glossy screen is one that has a special coating that makes it look glossy.

The pros and cons of having a glossy screen are as follows. Glossy screens improve the contrast, which makes them ideal for viewing videos, photos, and playing PC games. However, the glossy coating is very reflective, which makes it difficult to view under bright fluorescent lighting and in sunlight.

If you use a notebook in an office or outdoors, a standard screen or one with an anti-glare coating is the best choice. The screens don't produce the high quality picture that a glossy screen does, but they don't reflect much light.

How to use two monitors with the same video card or two video cards

Read the Q&A on this site called Can I use the DVI and the VGA ports on my video card to run two monitors? to find out if doing that is possible with a particular video card. Use your browser's Back button to backtrack.

How to use multiple monitors in Windows XP and Windows Vista and Windows 7

Using multiple monitors in Windows XP is a plug-and play operation. You can install two or three video cards in the computer's PCI Express slots and then plug in three monitors, and XP recognises them almost every time.

Trick Out Your PC With Multiple Monitors -

"A video card, the right utilities, and an extra display or two can dramatically enhance the way you work, use multimedia apps, play games, or simply surf the Internet. Here's how to tweak your rig." -

http://www.informationweek.co.uk/personal-tech/science-tech/...

How To Configure and Use Multiple Monitors in Windows XP -

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307873

Understanding multiple monitors [Windows Vista] -

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/...

However, doing that in the Windows Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate versions, which support the Aero Glass feature, is not so easy.

MultiMonitor Support and Windows Vista -

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/gg487363.aspx

The following article provides information on using multiple monitors in Windows 7.

How to Setup Dual Monitors in Windows 7 -

http://www.online-tech-tips.com/windows-7/how-to-setup-dual-monitors-in-windows-7/

Troubleshoot multiple monitor problems -

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/...

Click here! to go more information on this topic on this site.


LCD monitor screen protectors

LCD screens are far easier to damage than CRT screens that are protected by covering of a glass. Even when you clean an LCD screen you should not apply pressure to its surface. The pixels that make up the screen can easily be crushed by poking or the surface of the screen can be cut by sharp objects, such as pens, or scratched by using paper towels to remove dirt.

If you want to protect an LCD screen, including the LCD screen of a laptop computer, you can purchase a screen protector. The prices vary from £25/$50 to £50/$100.

To find examples and vendors, you can enter a search query, such as lcd screen protector, in a search engine, which most web browsers provide from their taskbar.

Here is a page I found:

LCD Screen Protector - http://www.ergoindemand.com/lcd-screen-protection-filters.htm

Several sizes of the screen protectors offered on that page can be used with laptop computers.

You can also make your own screen protector. 1/8" thick clear Lucite Acrylic Plastic, which is easy to attach to the monitor with a few little pieces of duct tape, provides all the protection you need. You should be able to buy some from a DIY or hardware store. If you want a neater solution than duct tape provides, you can use something like Velcoin Brand Fasteners. You can find local vendors by entering a search query, such as velcoin brand fasteners, in a search engine, which most web browsers provide from their taskbar.


The analog D-sub VGA and digital DVI connections between monitor and video/graphics card

As with old-technology CRT monitors, both analog and digital LCD monitors are available.

The two graphics standards are VGA (outgoing, analog) and DVI (current, digital).

VGA (Video Graphics Array) -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VGA_connector

DVI (Digital Visual Interface) -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Visual_Interface

The English English spelling of analog is analogue, but I always use the US spellings of technological terms. I prefer adapter to adaptor.

Analog is outgoing monitor technology, and digital is the incoming monitor technology. Until an outgoing technology is replaced by the incoming technology completely, the two technologies overlap. Therefore, you can purchase LCD monitors that have only an analog connection port or both analog and digital connection ports.

There is more information on this subject further down this page.

Because all devices within a computer are digital, including the video card, using a standard analog VGA monitor with a computer requires a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) built into the video card that converts its digital signal into an analog signal that the analog monitor supports.

Some LCD and CRT digital monitors have both standard D-sub VGA ports and digital DVI ports, but others have one or the other only.

ATI Radeon 9700 Pro video card Close up of the DVI and D-sub ports on a video/graphics card

The top image above shows an ATI Radeon graphics card that has a standard analog D-sub VGA port (left, small, blue), which is older technology, and a purely digital DVI-D port, which is the current digital technology. The image below it shows a close-up view of the ports panel of another graphics card. It has a standard analog D-sub VGA port and a DVI-I port, currently the most common type, which can produce both analog VGA and digital DVI signals. It has four pin holes to the left of the main body pin holes (three rows of eight) that carry the VGA signal. If you have a PC monitor that only has an analog VGA connector, you can connect the graphics card and the monitor by using a cheap DVI-to-VGA cable that is often provided with a graphics card.

The cable simply connects the four pins carrying the VGA signal to a DVI-I connector on the monitor.

If you are still unsure whether or not a particular DVI or VGA connection is possible, you can use use a search engine, which most web browsers provide from their taskbar, to conduct a search, such as this one: dvi-i on video card dvi-d on monitor, which produced the following link.

The following link to a computer forum discusses how to connect a monitor with a DVI-D port and a graphics card that has a DVI-I port.

DVI-D Monitor....DVI-I Computer: Will it work ? -

http://www.techimo.com/forum/graphics-cards-displays/...

Click here! to see a VGA-to-DVI-I cable. This cable connects a VGA port on a computer to a monitor with a DVI-I connector.

A DVI-D port on a graphics card (or integrated motherboard) is purely digital. If you want to connect one to a VGA monitor, you would have to use a digital-to-analog converter/adapter, which is an actual device that costs around £200 or more. You would have to choose between buying a new digital monitor or an expensive adapter.

Below are the magnified images of a standard analog D-sub VGA connector of a VGA port (left) and a DVI-D port (right). As you can see, the four pin holes required to carry a VGA signal are not present.

Close-up view of a VGA D-sub port on a video card or built into a motherboard with an integrated video chip
Close-up of a DVI -D port on a video card or on a motherboard which has an integrated video chip

Most current high-end graphics cards have two DVI ports (no D-sub VGA port), which could be two DVI-D ports, or one DVI-D port and one DVI-I port. You can connect the card to two monitors that can then display different applications.

The image below shows an example of a graphics card with two DVI ports, which could be a DVI-D port and a DVI-I port, two DVI-D ports, or two DVI-I ports.

An nVidia GeForce 7900 GT graphics card

The dual-link DVI interface and cable

Some LCD PC monitors, such as the 30" Hazro HZ30WS, has a native screen resolution of 2,560x1,600 that exceeds the capabilities of single-link DVI, which can manage screen resolutions up to 1,920x1,200. Most video/graphics cards can manage higher resolutions, such as 2,560x1,600, but a dual-link DVI cable has to be used instead of the single-link version.

A dual-link cable has a full complement of 24 pins in a 3x8 configuration. A single-link cable has two 9-pin blocks that omits the six pins in the centre of the connector.

The following illustrated article shows the pin-outs of both connectors.

Digital Visual Interface - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Visual_Interface

The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connection

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) (dealt with earlier in this article) is a new type of connector for a high-definition display that can carry sound as well as a digital picture. It is backwards-compatible with the DVI interface if a converter cable is used. It works in conjunction with the HDCP content-protection system.

High-Definition Multimedia Interface - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI


LCD monitors: Viewing angles

LCD monitors create an image by having electric current running through the pixels that make up the surface of the screen. Different currents turn on particular shades of colour. The colours that make up an image are best viewed from straight in front of the monitor. The colours become distorted or washed out the further away the viewer is from being directly in front to the screen. Therefore, the specifications of LCD monitors include the horizontal and vertical viewing angles. A horizontal and vertical viewing angle of 180 degrees (180) would mean that the image is fully visible to a viewer who is looking horizontally from side-on to the screen and looking down vertically from the top of the screen. 160/160 means that the screen can be viewed horizontally and vertically from angles of 160 to the screen without distortion of the image.

This specification is important if the screen is required to be seen by users who are not sitting directly in front of the screen. If only one person needs to see the screen, it is of no importance.

A common recommendation is a viewing angle of at least 140 horizontal and 120 vertical (140/120). The viewing angles become more important as the screen size increases, because the larger the screen the more technically difficult it is to have high viewing angles. You should take a monitor manufacturer's specifications in this regard with a pinch of salt. Therefore, if the viewing angles of an LCD monitor are of importance to you, you should find a vendor that allows you to see them them for yourself before you buy it.

The screen of a CRT monitor can be viewed almost from side-on without much distortion, but an LCD monitor has a smaller viewing angle in which to view a similar quality of image. However, more technically advanced LCD monitors that are becoming available have wider viewing angles, so the difference in viewing angles between the two types of monitor (CRT and LCD) is not as marked as was the case.


LCD monitors: Screen elevation

The screen elevation is the distance from the desk's surface to the bottom of the monitor's panel. An LCD monitor that is incorrectly positioned can be the cause of neck and shoulder pain.

Ideally, the top of the screen's panel should be on the same level as the top of your head, making the eye level about two to three inches lower than the top of the panel.

If the screen is fixed to its stand, to raise it to its correct height could require the use of an additional monitor stand.

If the monitor is 19" or less, it should be an arm's length away when you are seated directly in front of it. The distance should be increased a little if the monitor is 20" or larger.


LCD monitors: Brightness

The level of brightness is not much of a problem with CRT monitors. However, LCD monitors are backlit (lit from the back of the screen from a single source of light) and therefore the screen shows different levels of brightness, because the strength of the back light is not exactly the same over the whole area of the screen. For example, if the source of the back light is located at the bottom of the monitor, the top of the screen might appear less bright than the bottom of the screen. With most LCD monitors, any difference is hardly noticeable.

The measure used for the brightness rating of an LCD monitor is often called 'nits', and is commonly in the range of 70 to 300 nits. The higher the number, the higher the maximum brightness level of the screen.

Brightness or luminance, can also be expressed as candelas per square metre (250 cd/m2, 300 cd/m2, etc.). As a specification, the brightness of the screen of an LCD monitor can be as important as its contrast ratio. However, note well that the manufacturers' specifications for brightness have proved to be as unreliable as the contrast ratios that they specify, because the figures depend on how the monitor has been tested, and there is no standard set of tests that is applicable to all of the LCD monitor manufacturers.

Some monitors have a high maximum level of brightness that cannot be reduced enough to be comfortable for some users, or a low maximum level of brightness that is too low for some users. For that reason, it is always best to test a PC's monitor or an individual monitor before it is purchased.


LCD monitors: The contrast ratio

One of the control features of most LCD monitors is called the contrast ratio. Depending on the range supported, you will see it listed as 350:1, 400:1, 500:1, and 600:1, etc.

The contrast ratio represents the relative difference in contrast between the purest white and the darkest black that the monitor is capable of displaying for that particular contrast ratio setting.

Most brand-name LCD monitors have contrast ratios in the 350:1 - 700:1 range. You can buy LCD monitors with a contrast ratio of 1000:1. An example is the 21" Samsung 215TW monitor. Other screen technologies such as plasma monitors also offer contrast ratios of up to 1000:1.

The LG Flatron L226WTQ widescreen LCD monitor is advertised as having a 5000:1 contrast ratio, which LG says is a UK first. However, this is a digital fine contrast (DFC) ratio. It is produced by software that analyses the image and then optimises the backlight and colour luminance to achieve this high contrast ratio. DFC is only swiched on when the monitor is in the preset movie mode.

It is said by the manufacturers of LCDs that the higher the contrast ratio is the better, because whites and blacks should be as well contrasted as possible. But this claim is being disputed by several reviewers.

LCD Specs: Useless? Tested contrast ratios rarely conform to vendors' specs - a very informative four-page article well worth reading:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/110483/article.html

Dynamic contrast ratios

Dynamic contrast ratios monitor the grey levels and adjust the screen's backlight to reflect light and dark shades more accurately than a standard blanket contrast ratio. The backlight power is lowered for dark scenes, thereby creating darker shades, and the backlight power is increased for lighter scenes, thereby creating lighter shades.

Old-style LCD monitors use a cold cathode fluorescent (CCFL) lamp backlight that affects the entire screen when the backlight is dimmed or lit up. New-style LCD monitors use light-emitting diode (LED) backlights, which make it possible for individual parts of the screen to be adjusted for contrast independently, thereby improving contrast control by making it dynamic instead of static.


Colour (US: color) temperatures

Some LCD monitors provide settings for colour temperatures. Common options are 9300K, 7500K, 6500K, and 5000K. The color temperature of a screen is usually set to 9300K at the factory for most computer monitors and televisions. This corresponds reasonably well to the colour of "Bright White" paper under office lighting. Many monitors have user settings for other values, such as 5000K and 6500K, which are useful for graphic arts and photography respectively.

A relatively low colour temperature, such as 6500K, makes the colours warmer and more yellow. A high colour temperature, such as 9300K, makes the colours cooler and more blue. A setting of 6500K to 7500K makes the colours look like an overcast sky. A 9300K setting corresponds to a clear blue sky and is usually used when high colour contrast is required. You should set the monitor to make use of the option that suits your taste best.


Some more detailed information on LCD monitors

The screen resolution and aspect ratio

TFT stands for Thin Film Transistor (it was formerly called active matrix) and it is the current name for the standard that determines how an image is displayed on virtually all current flat panel and laptop monitors.

The screen resolution and the aspect ratio are the other main technical specifications involved in LCD monitors. The resolution is the number of pixels activated or displayed on the screen, and the aspect ratio is the relationship between the height and width of the screen.

The current resolution standards include XGA, SXGA, SXGA+, UXGA, and QXGA. When a W appears in front of any of these standards, such as WXGA, it refers to a wider version of the original standard.

The standard on entry-level laptops is XGA, which stands for eXtended Graphics Array, and it has a rated resolution of 1,024 horizontal pixels by 768 vertical pixels (1024X768).

SXGA or SuperXGA is a display that supports a resolution of 1280 horizontal pixels by 1024 vertical pixels (1280X1024).

SXGA+ supports a resolution of 1400 horizontal pixels by 1050 vertical pixels (1400X1050).

UXGA supports a resolution of 1600 horizontal pixels by 1200 vertical pixels (1600X1200).

QXGA supports a resolution of 2048 horizontal pixels by 1536 vertical pixels (2048X1536).

WXGA - Widescreen Extended Graphics Array - 1280720 (922k) 1280800 (1024k)- aspect ratio 16:9 - 1440900 (1296k) - aspect ratio 16:10.

The following pages provide more information on these standards (and many others) and screen resolutions:

Computer display standard -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_display_standard

Display resolution - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Display_resolution

Remember that every LCD monitor has a native resolution, which is its optimal resolution setting. It is set under Conrol Panel => Display => Settings, under Screen area. If you don't have a user manual that came with the computer or monitor that provides it, you can find out what the native resolution is by setting resolutions until you obtain the best quality of picture.

The higher the native resolution that an LCD monitor has the better, generally speaking, but there is one major issue with very high resolution displays: the larger the resolution, the smaller the information (text and images) appears on the screen, because the same information is packed into a smaller space. The lower the resolution, the more space the information on the screen needs to occupy, and the larger it appears. If you use a resolution that is lower than that which allows all of the information to be displayed on the screen at once, a scroll bar appears at the bottom of the screen and you have to scroll to reveal the hidden information.

The people who have a problem reading small text on the computer screen may actually have a more difficulty reading it if they purchase a very high resolution display. And there's no point in having or buying an expensive, very high resolution display only to run it at a much lower more comfortable resolution.

Remember that the higher the native resolution that an LCD monitor supports, the more expensive it is.

The standard aspect ratios (the relationship between the height and width of the screen) are 4:3 and 5:4 (traditional almost square displays) and 16:9 (newer widescreen displays). A resolution standard for an LCD monitor that starts with W is going to be a wider screen than a traditional screen, displaying up to 30% more information.

Aspect ratio (image) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspect_ratio_(image)

Note that widescreen LCD TVs have an aspect ratio of 16:9, which accommodates widescreen movies, but many LCD PC monitors have a 16:10 aspect ratio. When you watch movies or video designed for a 16:9 aspect ratio on a 16:10 screen, there will be slight stretching to fill the whole screen. Therefore, if you watch video or TV on your PC monitor, buy one that has a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Wider screens benefit the people who work on large spreadsheets, because more cells are displayed, and therefore less scrolling is involved. Particularly large graphics can be displayed in their entirety. For standard word-processing, the benefit of having an extra-wide screen is that it can show two or more legible pages on the screen, side by side.

Read the Q&A on aspect ratios on the Video and Graphics Problems section of this website called: Why do some PC games look stretched on my widescreen LCD monitor?

LCD TVs with a cinema 21:9 aspect ratio

Note that if you have plenty of money to spend on a LCD TV screen that shows movies in the same aspect ratio as they are shown in cinemas, ultra-widescreen TVs are available that have a 21:9 aspect ratio. Watching movies on such a screen shows no black bands at the top and bottom of the screen, but the experience of watching TV programs can vary depending on the original aspect ratio in which the programmes were recorded - 16:9 or 4:3. The 16:9 programmes can be stretched by software built into the TV to cover most of the screen, but there are black bands on each side of programmes recorded for a squarish 4:3 aspect ratio.

Philips 21:9 aspect ratio TV on video -

http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/01/29/philips-219-aspect-ratio-tv-on-video/

The benefits of a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio compared to a 16:10 ratio

Between 2003 and 2006, LCD monitors with 16:10 aspect ratios became commonly available - first in the screens of laptop PCs and later as standalone monitors. More current LCD monitors now have a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9 than the 16:10 ratio that used to be the most common. This is largely because widescreen TVs have a 16:9 ratio and the wider 16:9 screen can fit two documents side-by-side more comfortably.

22-inch widescreen monitors are the most popular and most 22" screens with a 16:9 aspect ratio have a screen resolution of 1,920x1,080 (2,073,600 pixels) compared to the screen resolution of 1,680x1,050 (1,764,000 pixels) that most 22" LCD monitors with and aspect ratio of 16:10 have. The higher pixel count of monitors with a 16:9 aspect ratio produces a superior picture.

Most movies will have to be watched with thin black bars at the top of the screen, because the aspect ratios of most films have less height than 16:9., but widescreen digital TV broadcasts - in standard and HD resolutions - fill the screen completely.


Dead pixels

Also note that you are far more likely to have dead pixels in an LCD monitor than you are with a CRT monitor. Very few manufacturers guarantee that desktop or notebook LCD panels will be perfect. Some pixels on a brand-new LCD screen could be dead, and show as black spots, or can be stuck on one colour (red, blue, or green), or even be stuck on one level of brightness, and so appear brighter or dimmer than the surrounding pixels.

Most LCD monitor manufacturers have a policy on the percentage of dead pixels that are allowed to get through their quality control procedures. More dead pixels are usually considered acceptable around the edges of the screen than in its centre.

You are advised to find out what the manufacturer of an LCD monitor's policy is concerning dead pixels before you make a purchase. The manufacturer will refuse to repair or replace an LCD monitor if the number of dead pixels doesn't comply with its policy concerning them. The problem is that the dead-pixel policy is usually not published, so you might have to go to some trouble to find out what it is.

Most of the major LCD monitor manufacturers adhere to the Class II section of the ISO 13406-2 standard that sets a policy on dead pixels. Under this standard, before an LCD monitor can be classified as being faulty, it has to suffer from one of the following faults:

1. - Two unlit pixels

2. - Two always lit (white) pixels

3. - Five red/green/blue pixels

4. - Two red/green/blue pixels in close proximity.

However, note that different manufacturers can interpret the ISO standard in different ways. For instance, one manufacturer might replace an LCD monitor if the two unlit pixels are at the edge of the screen, but another manufacturer's policy on dead pixels might not regard that as a fault that warrants a replacement.

Visit http://www.iso.org/iso/home.html for more information on that ISO standard.

If a pixel is stuck on one colour, there are ways in which it might be unstuck.

How to Fix a Stuck Pixel on an LCD Monitor -

http://www.wikihow.com/Fix-a-Stuck-Pixel-on-an-LCD-Monitor


Monitor drivers (.inf files)

If you're looking for a driver for a particular monitor because your version of Windows uses its standard Plug and Play Monitor driver (because it doesn't have the correct one in its driver library to make it show up correctly in the Device Manager), try looking for it on this site:

http://www.monitor-drivers.com/

See the next item for information on how to install the correct monitor in the Device Manager.


Changing the monitor in the Device Manager

Windows might install its standard monitor .inf file (a file that has an .inf extension such as monitor.inf), which configures the monitor for the Device Manager, or it might install the wrong one, or an updated file might become available that isn't on the Windows CD. If any of these circumstances is the case, just follow these instructions to put matters right:

1. - If it can't be installed from the Windows CD, download and uncompress your monitor's .inf file from its manufacturer's home page, or from a drivers' site such as the one provided in the previous item.

2. - In Windows XP click Start => Control Panel. Double-click System. Click the Hardware tab => Device Manager. Double-click Monitors. Right-click the monitor that is listed there. Click Properties => the Driver tab => Update Driver => Next => Install From A List Of Specific Location. Click Next. Click Don't Search I Will Choose The Driver To Install. Click Next. Click Have Disk. Click Browse and use the feature find and select the monitor's .inf file. Click Open to install it.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, the Device Manager can be accessed in several ways, such as by typing devmgmt.msc in the Start => Start Search box, or under Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel.

In Windows 7 you can just enter the word device in the Start => Search programs and files box t be provided with a link to it.

The procedure is almost the same in Windows 95/98/Me systems. To open the Device Manager, right-click on My Computer, click Properties, and click the Device Manager's tab to open it.

Use Windows Explorer to open the Windows\INF folder to have a look at the .inf files that are available to Windows.

How to use an LCD monitor in portrait mode

If an LCD monitor can be rotated through 90 degrees, it can be used in portrait mode instead of the usual landscape mode, but the software that makes this possible must be installed as third-party software, or as part of the device driver for the graphics card, or the screen in landscape will just appear turned sideways through 90 degrees.

Asus and Samsung include a pivot utility with their LCD monitors, but not all of the LCD monitor manufacturers do so. Computers that have a video/graphics card with a chip made by ATI/AMD or nVidia, have a rotation setting that is built into the video card's device driver. To enable it, right-click with the mouse pointer on an empty area of the Windows desktop. Next, click Properties on the menu that presents itself, click the Settings tab on the Display Properties window that comes up, and then click on the Advanced button. If the video card runs a graphics chip made by ATI/AMD, a tab called Rotation should be present. Open it. If the video card has an nVidia chip, click on the tab for the graphics processor. A box should appear beside the Properties dialog box. Click on NVRotate.

If you have a monitor that can swivel into portrait mode, but which doesn't come with the software or driver support that is required to view the screen in that mode, third-party pivot software is available to buy. You can locate information and vendors by using a search query such as pivot software lcd monitor in a search engine, which most web browsers provide from their taskbar.


Using an LCD computer monitor as a TV, and using an LCD TV as a PC monitor

Using a computer monitor as a television

You can use an LCD computer monitor as a TV by attaching it to an internal PCI TV tuner card that is installed in a free PCI slot on the computer's motherboard.

Some AGP video cards, such as the Sapphire All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro, and some PCI Express video cards have integrated TV tuners that can accelerate DVD playback and allow video/image editing.

Sapphire All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro - review:

http://www.3dvelocity.com/reviews/sapphire9800aiw/thebeast.htm

You can search for other examples by using a search query, such as: "pci express" + "graphics card" + "tv tuner" (as is), in a search engine, which most web browsers provide from their taskbar.

Of course, if you use a PCI or PCI Express card to watch television, the computer has to be switched on. You have to use an external adapter of the kind explained below in order to watch television with the computer switched off.

These can be provided by the manufacturer of the monitor, or by a third-party manufacturer. For example, IIyama provode TV adapters for its ProLite LCD PC monitors. A supplier of IIyama monitors and their TV tuners in the UK is http://www.microdirect.com/.

Examples of external TV tuners made by third-party manufacturers are the TV Jockey from Startech, the Combi TV-PC Pop View from Trust, and the AVerTVBox9 from Avermedia. The input connectors they offer are the standard RF port that all TV sets and VHS video recorders have, composite, component video, D-sub (the standard analog VGA connector on a video card), 2x line in (3.5mm jack and RCA pair), and the output connectors they offer are D-sub, line out (3.5mm jack), and headphones.

When choosing an PC LCD monitor for use as a TV, unless you want to use a special sound system, it's advisable to choose one that has internal speakers. Moreover, note that most LCD computer monitors have an Aspect Ratio of 4:3, which is fine for ordinary TV viewing, but if used for widescreen movies that require an Aspect Ratio of 16:9, you will see banding - empty bands showing at the top and the bottom of the screen.

Click here! to read additional information on this site on TV tuner cards.

Using an LCD TV as a computer monitor

If you want to use an LCD TV as a computer monitor, this is possible because many of them have a D-sub video port that can be attached to a computer's video card, and some also have a digital DVI port, but note that the native resolutions should be 1024X768 for a 15" screen, and 1280X1024 for a 17" and a 19" screen.

If a 15" (or higher) LCD TV only supports a 640X480 or a 800X600 native resolution, only 800X600 is barely suitable for a computer display on a 15" screen. A native resolution of 640X480 on a 14" or 15" LCD screen would make Windows or Linux use a horizontal scroll bar to access the information that can't be shown, because the lower the resolution the less the amount of information that can be displayed on the screen.

If the LCD TV doesn't have any of the ports for an analog or digital PC connection, it can't be used as PC monitor. See the Video/Graphics pages on this site for more information on computer video and graphics.

PROBLEM

How can I use HDMI with my PC?

I want to buy an LCD TV. I have found one that is HD-ready (ready to receive High Definition TV signals), but it only has an HDMI input, not the DVI input that my PC has. What is HDMI and is there a way I can connect my PC to such an LCD TV?

Answer

HDMI is the latest digital video connector. The cable is similar in appearance to a USB cable, and it is easier to connect than a DVI cable. It will eventually be the only way in which to connect set-top boxes and DVD players to a TV.

Along with digital video, HDMI carries surround sound over the same cable, which means that only a single connection is required for sound and vision. However, a DVI connection can only carry video. HDMI connections support HDCP, the new Digital Rights Management (DRM) copy-protection system for High-Definition content. HDMI is compatible with DVI, but you won't have sound. A DVI-to-HDMI converter can be purchased for around £20 from good electronics goods stores.

Rotating HDMI cables

Just as you can buy SATA drive cables that have the connector at a right angle to the cable for easier connections in restricted spaces, you can buy a rotating HDMI cable that can rotate to almost any angle. You can buy them from lindy.co.uk in 1m, 2m, 3m and 5m lengths - part codes: 41515, 41516, 41517 and 41518 respectively.

LCD MONITOR UTILITIES

ClearType for LCD monitors in Windows XP/Vista/7

Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a feature called ClearType that effectively increases the horizontal resolution of text displayed on an LCD screen. The screen will display much clearer text if it is enabled, but it is not enabled by default in Windows XP as it is in Windows Vista and Windows 7. If you are using an LCD monitor with Windows XP, you can enable it under the Display Properties applet.

See this page - Turn on Windows XP ClearType:

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/cleartypeactivate.htm

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, ClearType is enabled by default. If you find it blurry, you can disable it.

How to Disable Vista's ClearType if You Find it Blurry -

http://itsvista.com/2007/01/...how-to-disable-vistas-cleartype-if-you-find-it-blurry/

If you want to adjust ClearType in Windows 7, just enter the word cleartype in the Start => Search programs and files box to be provided with a link called Adjust ClearType text.

ClearType information -

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypeInfo.mspx

ClearType Text in IE7 [Internet Explorer 7] -

"You may have noticed that after installing IE7, your fonts in IE and Outlook Express look different. That is because IE7 has changed our text rendering to use ClearType".

The article shows you how ClearType can be disabled in IE7.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2006/02/03/524367.aspx

ClearType greatly improves the display of fonts in virtually every application running under Windows XP. Until the autumn of 2004, Internet Explorer was required to install it. Then Microsoft released a PowerToy version of ClearType that is a 2.5MB download. During the installation process of the download, you tune it by making choices of the kind of text you prefer from several examples. When installed, a ClearType Tuning feature appears in the Control Panel that allows you to tune it.

ClearType PowerToy Page

Graphics and Monitor Utilities

"EnTech's award-winning graphics and monitor utilities are available for license to major institutions and are already in use by millions of end-users the world over. Each is a stand-alone application targeted towards solving a common display setup, configuration or management issue." -

http://www.entechtaiwan.com/util/index.shtm


Connecting an Xbox to an LCD monitor

In order to connect an Xbox to an LCD monitor you need a VGA converter unit that is compatible with the monitor. For example, if the VGA converter has a maximum vertical refresh output of 50Hz, you won't be able to use it with an Iiyama ProLite 481S LCD monitor, because it only accepts vertical refresh rates of between 56Hz and 80Hz. AVT's 3300 XGAwesome converter is compatible with that monitor. Knowing that, you should be able to find converters that are compatible with your monitor.

You should also be able to use an external TV tuner, such as AVermedia's AverTV Box 9, to connect an Xbox to an LCD monitor. Visit this site for more information on it and other external units: averm.co.uk.

The majority of external TV tuners have an auxilliary video input connection, usually via composite video connection, or via an S-video connection on the more expensive units. You connect the Xbox to one of those inputs and the signal should pass through to the LCD monitor.

Note that the cheaper units might cause a slight delay, which wouldn't spoil the quality of video output, but it might reduce gaming performance. However, AVermedia claims that its AverTV Box 9 is ideal for use with an Xbox.


Monitor warranties

Most monitors, CRT or LCD, come with a three-year on-site, or return-to-base warranty, or a mixture of the two types of warranty. For instance, the warranty might be on-site for its first year, and then become a return-to-base warranty for the remaining two years.

Note well that in many cases the warranty for the monitor included with a brand-name computer, such as Dell, HP, and Compaq, has a three-year warranty provided by its manufacturer, even though the computer itself is only covered by a standard one-year warranty.

For more information on this subject see the Warranty page of this site.


Monitor-testing software and hardware

Some fairly recent monitors have a built-in array of test patterns that can fully test all of the modes, resolutions, colour depths, etc., of its hardware. They can also allow on-screen adjustments, such as rotation, pincushion, keystone, convergence, etc. Refer to the user's manual, or experiment with monitor's hardware control functions to find out if your monitor provides these tests. If the monitor has them, you won't need to use a software-based set of tests.

There are many free software diagnostic programs available for monitors. DirectX, the gaming software installed by default in Windows, installs one. To run it, enter dxdiag in the Start => Run box in Windows 9x and Windows XP. In Windows Vista, enter dxdiag in the Start => Start Search box. In Windows 7, enter it in the Start => Search programs and files box.

Video cards can also install a diagnostic program when the card's drivers are installed. To find out if is this is the case with the video card installed in your computer, right-click My Computer, click Properties, and then click Hardware => Device Manager in Windows XP, but just click the Device Manager tab of System Properties window in Windows 9x systems. Open the Display adapters (in Windows 9x and Windows XP), and double-click the entry for the video card. There'll be a Diagnostics tab in the applet that comes up.

In Windows Vista, thgere are several ways of opening the Device Manager. The quickest access is probably provided by looking under Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel, or by entering devmgmt.msc in the Start => Start Search box. In Windows 7, just enter the word device in the Start => Search programs and files box to be provided with a link to it.

The Nokia Monitor Testing Tool is one of many free diagnostic testing tools. Its Help file shows the Nokia Corp. from Sweden as the site to obtain it, but I have yet to find the file on any Nokia site. The tool comes as a download-and-install program, but you can take the three small files and use them from a floppy disk so that you can test the monitor without loading an operating system. It has a good set of the standard test patterns.

It's available from many locations, such a majorgeeks.com.

You can find other diagnostic programs by using a search query, such as free monitor testing tool in a search engine, which most web browsers provide on their taskbar.


KVM switches

How to use two or more computers with one keyboard, monitor, and mouse

If you want to access more than one computer but don't need to network them, there is a little-known device called a KVM switch that allows the operation of two or more computers from one set of keyboard - monitor - and mouse. The letters KVM stand for keyboard video and mouse, I suppose because KVM sounds better than KMM. Some of these switches can allow thousands of computers to be accessed in this way, and some of them even allow the use of one sound card and one set of speakers. The computers and the one set of keyboard, monitor and mouse are linked to the KVM switch, and key toggles are used to switch from one computer to another. All of the computers are tricked into thinking that they have sole use of the keyboard, monitor, and mouse. This is an invaluable aid if you need to use more than one computer but you don't need to have them networked.

You can purchase KVM switches from all of the larger online electronics and computer businesses. A four-computer model is typically priced from £36/$60 to £75/$125, and a two-computer unit is about half that price. Note that the more expensive units usually have superior cables and shielding from electronic interference than the less expensive units.

KVM Switches that do DVI from Aten -

"Using a KVM switch to work on two or more computers with a single keyboard, mouse and monitor can certainly make life easier. However, we had to wait a long time for KVM switchboxes to catch up with modern technology, such as the all-digital visual interface (DVI) connectors for flat panel displays. Until recently, users had no choice but to use only D-15 analog VGA connectors with KVMs - a relic of the bygone CRT era. But such devices now not only enable switching among multiple sound and USB sources, they can even switch between systems with two monitors attached." -

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/...review-1370.html

Clutter Rescue: 2 Port KVM Switches -

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/clutter-rescue,review-935.html

Belkin - http://www.belkin.com/uk/ - make a good line of KVM Switches that make use of the PS/2 or USB computer ports.

GRAPHICS & PC PROBLEM PAGES ON THIS SITE

Click the following link to go to the pages that deal with monitor problems:

Video/graphics card problems: How fix common computer video and graphics problems

Click here! to go to the full list of hardware and software problems dealt with on this website


Click here! to go directly to the information about CRT monitors on Page 2, which also contains reviews, etc., relevant to LCD monitors

To the top of the page
Next page