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Monitor Buying Guide

General Features
CRT Features
LCD Features
Plasma Features

A CRT (Cathode-Ray Tube) works by moving an electron beam back and forth across the back of the screen. Each time the beam makes a pass across the screen, it lights up phosphor dots on the inside of the glass tube, thereby illuminating the active portions of the screen. By drawing many such lines from top to bottom, it creates an entire screen full of images.

CRTs provide some of the best images on the market today at extremely reasonable prices. They are long lasting, reliable, and a great value. This value, though, comes at the expense of size. CRTs are typically much larger than LCDs and Plasma displays and consume much more energy.

- High Quality to Cost Ratio
- CRT Monitors offer incredible image quality at a fraction of the cost of LCD and Plasma displays.
- Variable Resolutions
- CRTs usually offer a huge number of displayable resolutions, all practically flicker free.
- Fast Pixel Response Time
- CRTs feature an incredibly fast pixel response time, which means that motion is displayed fluidly and ghosts free.
- Wide Viewing Angles
- Images projected on CRT monitors can usually be seen clearly from any angle, making them ideal for presentations.

Size to Screen Size Discrepancy
CRTs list their size based of the case's dimensions, not their actual viewable screen size. For example, a 17" monitor might have a viewable screen size of only 16". Make sure that the viewable image size meets your basic needs.
Higher Energy Consumption
While not huge power drainers, CRTs do use about twice the energy as LCD monitors.
Refresh Rate Flicker
CRTs can be susceptible to screen flickering at higher resolutions
Large Overall Size
CRTs are the bulkiest of all monitors, requiring much more desktop real estate than other types.

CRT Types:
There are basically two different types of CRTs, Shadow Mask and Aperture Grille, each with many distinct advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you weigh the differences and find just the right monitor for you.

Shadow Mask
A fine metal mesh that forces the cathode-ray tube to hit only the appropriate phosphors. Think of a shadow mask as a type of stencil. The only downside is that the screen must follow a slight curve in order to insure precision aiming. Aperture Grille Similar to a Shadow Mask, an Aperture grill features hundreds of columns of metal strips that run from top to bottom of the screen. These strips force precise phosphor strikes without limiting the amount of light hitting the screen, thereby causing brighter screen images. Also, the picture tubes tend to be much flatter and much more resistant to glare.
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