How to Choose a Monitor: 6 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Your computer monitor is the visual gateway to the Internet and your various computing projects. Since you're never limited to just the monitor options included in a computer package, the choice should be made based on screen size and layout, refresh speed, resolution and whether it's an adequate performer when it comes time to watch TV or pop in a movie. Virtually any flat panel, whether considered a television or monitor, may be used as a monitor in most computing applications. Green considerations are met by choosing the right monitor technology, in addition to making the right settings when the unit is in place.


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    Technologies: Depending on your computing needs, you have two primary technologies at your disposal. Liquid crystal displays, or LCD, monitors are the most common, offering high brightness and immunity from image retention, or burn-in. The latter point is of primary significance, given the presence of static high-contrast icons and taskbars present on-screen at any given time. When shopping for a computer monitor without an internal television tuner, you find LCDs comprising the vast majority of selections. Plasma may be chosen for deeper blacks and more accurate color, which is important when viewing game and movie content. Plasma also has a higher refresh rate than LCD, so fast-moving content appears smoother and streak-free. However, despite improvements in preventing image retention, plasmas are still susceptible to the phenomenon.
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    Connectivity: Connecting a monitor to a computer in a traditional manner involves a single VGA cable from the PC to the back of the display. Should you need advanced PC video performance for gaming, movies or to carry audio and video over one cable, HDMI is a requirement. Additionally, HDMI is found on other non-computing hardware such as satellite and cable boxes and stand-alone gaming consoles. If you're using two computers feeding into one monitor, having multiple video inputs is useful to prevent the need for a separate switch to flip between computers. If you're planning on using a television as a monitor, you'll have multiple inputs plus the benefit of an integrated digital television tuner.
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    Energy Considerations: Although most monitors and flat panels are Energy Star certified, LCD and plasma technologies have inherently differing levels of efficiency. LCD displays traditionally run cooler, using less power both during operation and in standby mode. Plasma displays have vastly improved in this regard; however, most are still in excess of LCD power consumption. The LED variant of LCD technology uses light emitting diodes instead of fluorescent backlighting, increasing the technology's energy efficiency even further.
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    Screen Dimensions: The advent of wide-screen technology, in addition to maintaining the proper image shape for movies and games also helps with workflow. Placing two documents or Web pages side by side on the same monitor precludes the need to add a second monitor, a practice commonly used prior to widespread adoption of the wide-screen aspect ratio. The size of your monitor affects the visibility of text and the entertainment value of movies and music, in addition to increasing available desktop space. Although conventional computer monitors are generally limited to 32 or 37 inches measured diagonally, flat-panel televisions pressed into monitor duty solve this dilemma, reaching into the 60-inch to 70-inch range.
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    Resolution: Most traditional computer monitors are at least 1,280 by 720 pixels, commonly referred to as 720p. High-definition, flat-panel televisions are at least this resolution below 42 inches, commonly reaching into 1,920 by 1,080, or 1080p, resolution. This increased number of pixels is important in reducing individual pixel visibility with larger screens or if you're sitting within a few feet of the display. Additionally, using higher-resolution displays maximizes the potential of better video cards, allowing more detail and realism with games and movies. You may also find computer monitors with PC-only resolutions such as 1,600 by 1,200 or 1,366 by 768, depending on monitor size and manufacturer.
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    Color and Grayscale: Color accuracy and the ability to reproduce deep blacks are equally if not more important when it comes to image quality. This is especially true with photographers who need accurate portrayal of their work as they manipulate and correct images. Grayscale refers to the light and dark areas occupying the space between black and white. Since all colors have this shading that influences their hue, accurate grayscale is paramount in eliciting accurate colors. Deep blacks should appear black instead of gray or purple and offer good low-level detail. Black lapels should appear clearly against the dark suit, and you should be able to see a black cat walking in a dark alleyway. These details can be evaluated by viewing HD content in a showroom or consulting various reliable reviews online.

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Categories: Computers and Electronics

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