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Flat Panel Displays
Making the Transition

 5:15 am on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

How many of you have made the transition from a CRT monitor to a flat panel LCD display?

Right now I'm just getting over the color shock! I've had my Sony Trinitron for almost 5 years. Thought it was calibrated, until I looked at everything with this new flat panel display.

Did I possibly make a mistake in buying a flat panel for developing and working with graphics and websites? I had to make quite a few adjustments to tone everything down to my liking. I guess I'm just not used to the sharpness and brightness in color.

Anyone else experience somewhat of a shock when making the transition to a flat panel display?



 10:03 am on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have kids, young ones. Two days after I bought my flat panel I read that touching the screen was bad. That scared the hell out of me. Butas far as to your question. I liked it better right away. The Mrs has a hard time with it (she says; shes always using it though).


 10:08 am on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

They're great - and the colour/sharpness often better. But what matters is what most users are seeing, so I always web design on the current standard kit of most people - at present a cheap 17" monitor. For the same reason I always keep a non-broadband connected computer to look at how pages are loading.


 10:31 am on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you have 10 flatscreens on a ground floor office, for the moment, you are inviting thieves (scooter hit and run boys), at least that is what my insurance person told me.


 11:19 am on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

(scooter hit and run boys)

Sounds like the notorious AV gang.


 12:12 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have a 21" Iiyama monitor whose lease is almost up. I need to decide whether to go flat panel like everyone else in my office, or get another space hog. What's top of the line for a flat panel these days? What do they go for?


 2:09 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>working with graphics and websites?

pageoneresults, my GF is art director for both print and web. The computers they use the latest and best expensive bombshells, but they will not use any flat screen on the market yet. If your going to do any professionnal print material, dont use them. The local techie tells you can never get an accurate color callibration from them.

I dont do any print. I run 4 flat screens from the same box and I love them.


 2:45 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, after spending 8 hours behind the flat panel, I've decided to take it back. I just cannot deal with the inconsistency in color between a CRT based monitor and LCD.

I just did some searching on the monitor that I purchased which is the Sony SDM-S71. Sure enough, one of the biggest complaints is the same one I have. Its too bright and colors on the web are too vibrant. Since this is not what the rest of the world is seeing, I think I'm going back to CRT.

So, I'm currently shutting down, packaging the display and heading back to Fry's for an exchange. Bummer, I thought I was going to be making an improvement. In this case, when it comes to color calibration and viewing images as everyone else sees them, I think CRT is the only way for me to go at the moment.


 3:48 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is it possible to "tone down" the colors using the adjustment screen of the video adapater? I've also been thinking about making the transition, but would like to avoid this color problem. I have a GeForce2 MX-based video adapter on this machine, and in addition to monitor-dependent Color Management Profiles, it has several color adjustments in the Color Correction dialog which seem to affect the color depth, brilliance, etc.

Has anyone had any luck with this approach?



 5:07 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)


I looked into getting an LCD recently. I'll share a few factors I discovered:

First, as some have mentioned, it appears LCDs still don't match CRTs for accurate color work.

Second, there are two types of LCDs. Analog and digital. Digital is referred to as DVI. The key is what does your video card put out? Does it only have analog (i.e. regular CRT) connectors, or does it have a DVI-out connector. I think the DVI out connectors differ in appearance from regular analog CRT connectors by being rectangular and having square holes for the monitor pins, rather than having round holes for the monitor pins as an analog one has.

Folks say the DVI, i.e. video card with DVI connector and a digital (i.e. DVI) LCD monitor setup is superior to analog video card to analog LCD setup. I personally don't know, but thats what others say.

Third, LCDs are manufactured with a given resolution in mind. So, be sure you like using the resolution the LCD is manufactured to be used at. If you use another resolution, the picture (esp. text) will most likely not be as sharp to your eyes.

There is one exception to this. That's where the manufacturer's suggested resolution is an exact geometrical multiple of another resolution you might want to use. For instance, if you get an LCD that's made for 1600x1200 resolution, it will be just as sharp at 800x600, because 1600x1200 shows *exactly* four times as many pixels on the screen as a monitor set at 800x600.

This is what made me decide against LCDs for now. I like being able to change the resolution on my monitor with each resolution being just as sharp as any other. CRTs have no problem doing so. LCDs are manufactured such that this just isn't possible. One resolution works best, others are not so sharp.

Fourth, there is the issue of dead pixels. Various manufacturer's and stores have different policies on how many dead pixels you must have on the LCD before they will replace it under warranty. Note that even if you don't have a dead pixel, you can still have dead red, blue or green components to individual pixels.

Fifth, there is also the issue of how fast the pixels/image is refreshed on the screen. LCDs are slower than CRTs at present. I don't play games, but for those that do, this is a major issue. Might come into play with watching some video playback, too.

Sixth, there is the issue of what other features come with each LCD monitor. Everything from USB ports to how much and in what direction it swivels.

I'm no expert on this kind of stuff, but these are factors I uncovered. Hope it helps.

Take care,



 7:18 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

jdmorgan, I spend about half of that 8 hours twiddling with every adjustment available. I even went in and tried tweaking through my display adapter, that didn't work too well. I was able to tone down everything but only after severly altering the default settings from the manufacturer. The brightness and clarity were just too much. My eyes were hurting after about 5 hours.

I just got back from Frys and purchased a ViewSonic G71f+ Graphics Series monitor. Its a 16.0 viewable as opposed to my previous 17.0 viewable, but I don't have any issues there.

First thing I did was visit the websites I was viewing yesterday to see the color differences. Its dramatic. Since I am working with web graphics on a daily basis, I need to see what everyone else is seeing, not what a high end flat panel lcd display is going to give me.

Don't get me wrong, the Sony got a 10 for appearance and space utilization. But, when it comes to colors on the web and clarity of fonts, it failed miserably. You would figure that if you paid $650.00 for a flat panel display rated tops in its class, that it would give you some level of quality and consistency. Not!

Here's some advice for all the web developers out there, stick to your tried and proven CRT for now. If you are ever involved in a design project and your client is viewing with a flat panel lcd, you may need to have them view on a regular crt monitor so they can see what everyone else sees.

How different were the colors? Night and day. I knew there was something wrong as soon as I visited a few sites that I manage. My dark blues were now vibrant medium blues. Yes, I did try adjusting the RGB values of the color. That didn't work either. The brightness of the background is just too much. That display probably would have been great in an outdoor environment.

stlouislouis, thanks for your detailed input and feedback. I should have come here first for some advice before taking the plunge. That's okay, I'm back with a regular crt and satisfied for now.


 8:18 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)


Thanks for the response - I had been hoping to get this 50-pound monster off my desk, but I guess I'll keep it.

One of the remaining problems with LCD displays is much lower contrast than CRT-based displays. I wonder if that is what brightened-up your deep colors.

stlouislouis's post certainly covers all the rest of the issues. I guess this technology just isn't refined yet. And maybe that's good - these LCD displays sure get expensive in the larger sizes, and I need at least an 18-inch viewable area.

Thanks all,


 8:28 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

> One of the remaining problems with LCD displays is much lower contrast than CRT-based displays.

That was one of the issues along with a host of others. LCD displays have a setting called backlighting. The default was set at 100. I had to pull it down to 20 just to get balance between all the other tweaks. That backlighting does just what it sounds like, adds light to the back of everything as if it were backlit. You end up with very vibrant colors. That is not the type of environment to work in when designing websites or graphics in general.

Based on my shopping experience at Fry's, I'd say CRT monitors are on the way out. There were 4 isles of LCD and only 1 of CRT. After reading some reviews on the Sony model that I bought, the brightness issue may be specific to that model. I viewed others while I was picking out the CRT and they all seemed on the bright side to me. Too much clarity! Can you have too much of that?


 7:12 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

We could use a status report RC. (foo'ites know what I'm talking about - rc is our flat panel field tester. Waiting a year to see if he throws it back)


 6:22 am on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

You just would not believe what I've been through since my last post about this.

I had to take the ViewSonic back as there was a defect in the vertical pincushion which was wreaking havoc on my display. Everything at the left of the screen had a slight bend in it. I was able to take the bend out by adjusting pincushion but then other parts of the screen became distorted, arrrggghh!

Spoke with VS on the phone and they provided some pointers on what to check first before returning the monitor. One of the suggestions was to upgrade my graphics card. This system was purchased in 1998 so my hardware may be somewhat antiquated. I went and purchased a new Radeon 7500 with 64MB of DDR memory. Drive there, drive back, install, test, same problems. Downloaded new drivers, even updated my BIOS in the process. Still didn't fix the problem.

Back to the store with the VS monitor. Exchange and get the Sony HMD-A440 which I was going to get in the first place, I should have known better. I usually do better on impulse buying than thinking it through! ;)

Anyway, here I sit with my 19.0 Sony Trinitron that has a 18.0 viewable area and a max resolution that I'll never use! Back to normal with colors, brightness, contrast, etc. I'm a happy camper again.

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