There are a number of questions asked about TFT/LCD screens:
- With CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors, when measuring the size of the
screen, this isn't necessarily the viewable size. For instance a 17" monitor
only has about 15.5" visible. With TFT monitors a 17" monitor has 17"
viewable. Therefor a 15" TFT monitor is equivalent to a 17" CRT (and a 17" TFT
= 19" CRT etc)
- TFT displays are usually designed to run at a specific resolution. Most
15" TFT displays are designed to run at 1024x768 @ 75Hz. Although you can use
smaller displays (eg 800x600), the fonts can look out of proportion and
blocky. Most 17" TFT displays are designed to run at 1280x1024 @ 75Hz. Before
purchasing it is worth checking that you are happy with this resolution.
Advantages of TFT displays over traditional CRT monitors:
- There is much less glare from a TFT monitor. During testing in the Arts IT
office we were able to have the blinds open and still read the screen,
something impossible with CRT displays.
- The monitor is less bulky. This has a couple of advantages, firstly it
gives you more desk space, but secondly because of this you can position the
monitor further away from you which we have found more comfortable for the
- TFT monitors produce less heat and radiation that CRT monitors.
- TFT monitors have a very crisp image only comparable to very expensive CRT
- The monitor (so long as it is VESA compliant) can be mounted on an arm or
on the wall to save even more desk space.
Disadvantages of TFT displays:
- If you are working with graphics, although the graphics are very clear,
due to the limited angle at which you can view the display colours may appear
slightly different on non-TFT screens. Web authors beware.
- Cost. A 15" TFT monitors costs approx £250+vat for an unbranded/cheap
model. A 17" CRT monitor costs approx £130+vat.
- TFT monitors have a limited angle of view. This is the angle at
which you can clearly view the screen. If you are looking directly at the
screen while working on your PC this is fine, but if others are trying to read
it then they may have difficulty (try looking at a laptop screen from a 45
- You may experience some blurring on lower end models when there is
movement on the screen. This is most prominent in full screen games where you
get a motion blur effect but is also noticeable when scrolling through
documents or websites.
Arts IT have currently tested and recommend Iiyama and Philips TFT monitors.