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Q: Tips on Buying a Flat Screen Monitor (UK) ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Tips on Buying a Flat Screen Monitor (UK)
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: probonopublico-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 01 Feb 2004 03:47 PST
Expires: 02 Mar 2004 03:47 PST
Question ID: 302399
The 21st Century is about to arrive in my household with the intended
purchase of the above.

Yes, I've now convinced myself that I must have one and, fortunately,
Daisy has enough in her moneybox to make my dream come true.

So, recognising that all 500 Researchers already own at least one,
what tips have you got?

Things to avoid, etc.

And have your own experiences been good or bad?

Also, as I am asking for tips, try to persuade me where to buy one in
the UK and, if I am convinced, then I will reciprocate by passing a
tip to you.

Clarification of Question by probonopublico-ga on 01 Feb 2004 08:34 PST
Hi, Feilong

I've been looking at ebay and I now realise I should have said 'flat panel'.

Yes, I am very familiar with the AOC brand - I used to have a computer
business and we sold A LOT of AOCs and never had any trouble.

I much appreciate your bringing the name to my attention.

Very many thanks.


Request for Question Clarification by haversian-ga on 01 Feb 2004 09:48 PST

Just to be absolutely certain, are you referring to a flat screen
monitor, or a flat panel monitor?  The terms aren't rigidly defined,
but flat screen typically refers to a CRT screen with a flat front
surface, while flat panel typically refers to the LCD panel it's made

Or, would you like information about both, and a pro/con list?

Clarification of Question by probonopublico-ga on 01 Feb 2004 10:01 PST
Hi, Haversian

I really want a FLAT PANEL monitor ...

Sorry about the confusion.

My confusion clearly demonstrates why I need some advice.

Many thanks for your interest.

Subject: Re: Tips on Buying a Flat Screen Monitor (UK)
Answered By: haversian-ga on 01 Feb 2004 11:23 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
'Afternoon probonopublico,

That's not a problem.  I've just learned to be very careful about the
assumptions I make regarding questions.  Many times, what I consider
to be the only reasonable interpretation of what someone's said turns
out to be completely at odds with what was intended.

With that out of the way, on to monitors!

As I'm sure you've noticed, CRTs are big and heavy and use a lot of
power but are also cheap and generally of good quality.  In contrast,
LCDs are svelte and efficient but expensive and vary quite a bit in

The way LCDs work is that a relatively few manufacturers (Samsung, LG
Philips, etc.) have huge plants in Asia cranking out LCD panels as
fast as they possibly can.  Some of those get used to make Samsung or
Philips monitors, but many get sold to third parties and incorporated
into other less-well-known manufacturers' displays.  There are several
different technologies for producing the panels, each with pros and
cons.  Generally speaking though, each new technology is better in all
respects than its predecessors so it is not essential to understand
the differences between the various techniques.

One side-effect of the same panel finding its way into many different
manufacturers' displays is that you can get expensive panels from a
well-known manufacturer that are no better than the cheaper displays
from a relative unknown.  On the other hand, the panel is only half
the equation.  There are some complicated electronics which control
the panel, and these of course have their effect on final image
quality as well.  Personally, I tend to stick with the better-known
manufacturers (Samsung, Philips, Kingston, Viewsonic, Dell) for
reasons I'll get to below.

My advice for choosing LCDs is, first and foremost, LOOK AT IT.  Go to
a store (it doesn't matter which one, really) and take a look at the
displays.  Try to find a CRT displaying the same thing to compare to. 
Usually you'll see either ads for the store you're already in, or a
movie, being displayed on a wall of monitors.  Compare an expensive
CRT to the various LCDs and see which one looks best.  Things you're
particularly looking for are dark colors, and light colors.  Do the
dark colors fade to grey and stay there?  Do lights blast off to
"white" before they should?  Ghosting (fuzzy afterimages on the
trailing edge of moving objects on the screen) is not a big problem
these days except for really fast-moving things like games, but check
for it anyway.  If you can, try to compare colors too.  Color is the
big area where LCDs fall behind CRTs.  Colors tend to be a bit
washed-out on LCDs, and not always very accurate.

On the other hand, LCDs don't flicker, and their pixels are sharp and
crisp rather than slightly blurry as on CRTs.  In my experience this
makes reading text an absolute joy on LCDs, whereas movies look a
little blocky.  Newer LCDs are better in this regard though.

I have direct experience with LCDs from Sony (an older one), Silicon
Graphics (an older one, but extremely expensive at the time, and quite
nice), Viewsonic, and Samsung, as well as the LCD on my IBM laptop. 
In general, my experiences have been quite good.  The LCDs can't stand
up to my nice Viewsonic CRT for color but otherwise they're very
comfortable to look at.  The newer LCDs I have looked at are coming
along quite nicely.

If you're looking for slightly more objective information than walking
into a store and looking yourself, I have found that Cnet (of all
people) do some pretty comprehensive reviews of LCD monitors, and they
track fairly well with my own experience.  And last but not least, add
an inch.  A 15" LCD is the same size as a 16" CRT; an 18" LCD is the
same size as a 19" CRT.

Best of luck!



Clarification of Answer by haversian-ga on 01 Feb 2004 13:32 PST

Many thanks for your generous rating and tip.

Your comments reminded me of something I intended to write about and didn't.

What if it does go pop?  Or, more specifically, what if a few pixels
stop working, or if you get an LCD with a few nonfunctioning pixels?

Manufacturers warrant their LCDs to have at maximum a certain level of
dead pixels.  Should the panel exceed whatever that level is, they'll
replace it if it's still under warranty.  Resellers also warrant their
stuff; sometimes the warranty is better than the manufacturer's,
sometimes worse.  For example, Newegg, a great company for buying a
great many things from, has a pretty awful LCD policy and I wouldn't
recommend buying LCDs from them.

LCDs are pretty darn good these days, and a great many are absolutely
perfect.  However, if you're really worried about it, you can pay
retail price for the panel, and buy from someplace with an
unconditional return policy.  Here in the states Best Buy has a very
generous return policy, so you can buy a panel, check for defects, and
return it if it's less than perfect, no matter what the manufacturer's
warranty says.

Hope you enjoy whatever monitor you choose

probonopublico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Hi, Haversian

Looks good to me ...

Of course, you are in serious trouble if I buy on your recommendation
and the thing goes pop!

I hope you are insured?

(Only joking)

Many thanks


Subject: Re: Tips on Buying a Flat Screen Monitor (UK)
From: feilong-ga on 01 Feb 2004 07:51 PST
Hi Bryan,

I don't intend to personally advertise this brand but if you ask me, I
stick with only one brand:

AOC Monitors


It's a cheap but reliable high resolution monitor brand. I got my
first 17" AOC in 1998 and it lasted until 2003 -- 5 years of heavy
use. I replaced it with this one and I know I won't be disappointed:

AOC 7F Pure Flatface Monitor

You can get one from:

AOC Sales United Kingdom & Ireland

If your budget permits it, consider buying an LCD model instead. It's
more expensive than a flat monitor but it will save you money in

Subject: Re: Tips on Buying a Flat Screen Monitor (UK)
From: eiffel-ga on 01 Feb 2004 12:50 PST

My home computer has an elegant, ergonomic flat panel LCD monitor
(Belinea brand, bought online in the UK from, and I'm
pleased with it).

My old work computer has an oversized, heavy, six-year-old 21-inch CRT
monitor. And I find myself postponing tasks until I can get to the
work computer with its larger screen.

Size isn't everything, but with computer monitors it sure counts for a
lot. And with the widespread adoption of flat panel LCD monitors,
large high-spec CRT monitors have become much cheaper than they were.

If the budget permits, a large LCD monitor would be great. But given a
choice between a large CRT monitor and a smaller LCD monitor, I'd go
for the large CRT every time!


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