The global monitor market is booming. From accountants to gamers, demand for computer monitors is at an all-time high. It is projected to rise 7.7% to $197.49 billion in the last year!
Many of us use monitors every day and never give them much thought until they break down and need replacing. But when you get to that point, you might find you’ve got a few more choices on your hands than you did a few years ago.
Let’s dig into the monitor market and find out the types of computer monitors available to those searching for a new monitor.
From CRT to LCD
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about boxy old VDUs. But now even flat screens are relatively old-fashioned. When they burst into the mainstream in the early 2000s.
They were a huge development as they took up so much less space than old cathode ray tube (CRT) models. CRT models had also been susceptible to screen burn-in. This happens when the last image gets permanently projected on the screen and can be almost impossible to remove.
Back then, LCD or Liquid Crystal Display was cutting edge. The image is projected onto a liquid housed between two sheets of glass.
Burn-in was much less of an issue but they rely on older technology, namely cold cathode fluorescent lamps. Their resolution is much better than CRT models, but they are only able to achieve a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 or full HD.
The huge advantage of LCDs is that they are very cheap to produce, allowing consumers of all levels to pick them up for a reasonable price. They come in three main variants – IPS, TN, and VA.
If you’re looking for the sharpest picture, IPS is the best option. But take care with VA. This type can experience burn-in and ruin your viewing experience.
Plasma monitors are on their way out, but you can still find them around.
The word plasma refers to a small amount of charged gas that responds to an electrical charge. They allowed for greater brightness levels than LCD screens. However, this technology has now been mostly superseded by OLED screens.
Technically, LED monitors are a type of LCD. They also use liquid between two panes of glass. But they project the image using LEDs instead of cold cathode fluorescent lamps.
LEDs are a step up in class, with sharper resolution graphics and lower power consumption. The image they produce is flicker-free and this can reduce eye strain. However, they’re also more expensive than traditional LCDs.
But that extra dough at the checkout might translate into a longer working life. They typically last for up to 50,000 hours as opposed to an LCD, which lasts for around 30,000. 20,000 extra hours of higher resolution? We know which we’d choose.
Going back to the lower power consumption, that also means that they are better for the environment. LCD monitors contain a lot of heavy metals, so you need to take care when you dispose of them. Ideally, recycling them and mining them to extract these valuable components is the way to go.
LCD and LED monitors have allowed us to transition to multiple monitor setups.
Fewer clicks mean a seamless experience for workers. They can reduce frustration and boost productivity. But setting them up initially can be challenging. Pair them with a docking station, and laptop users get all the benefits of a desktop setup.
A monitor troubleshooting guide can help you figure out issues for Mac and PC multiscreen setups.
The latest technology making the jump from TVs to a desk near you is OLED.
Standing for organic light-emitting diode, OLED screens will be light and don’t need to be backlit. They are capable of producing sharper images at faster refresh rates. Plus, they consume less power and allow for a wider viewing angle.
They’re starting to appear online, with LG, Samsung, and Dell all bringing OLED monitors to the table. But be warned, they come with a hefty price tag.
Curved monitors might sound like a marketing gimmick, but there are good reasons for giving them a try. The idea is that they present an image that is easier to take in than on a flat-screen. Their curved shape allows the eye to take in the whole screen at once without having to move.
This creates a more immersive experience. The peripheral vision is involved. In business, this can mean that users are more focused and less distracted by what is going on around them.
But where it has really found its home is in the gaming community. They put the user at the heart of the action and provide an experience that’s tough to beat. The curved shape also helps to keep reflections at bay.
However, this doesn’t suit all applications. If you’re a programmer, a flat-screen is the way to go. As you need to sit right in the center of the screen to get the full experience, they are a nightmare for collaborative working.
They are also much less suitable for multi-screen setups that are so popular among most office workers today.
The Best Computer Monitor for You
Depending on what you use your Mac or PC for, you will have wildly different needs from a monitor.
For gamers, you’re looking for a high resolution, fast refresh rate, and possibly a curved screen for an immersive experience.
If you’re looking to replace monitors for your office workers, practical considerations include:
- Reducing eye strain
- Tilt and swivel
- Refresh rates
A refresh rate of over 80Hz is best to reduce eye strain. A resolution of 1024×768 or higher is best to keep workers comfortable throughout the day.
Another consideration is energy efficiency. With rising energy costs and the demands of the environment, this is becoming an ever-greater concern for all businesses.
Types of Computer Monitors to Consider
While there are many types of computer monitors out there, your choice usually comes down to LCD or LED/OLED. LCDs are cheap and cheerful. Get some high-quality ones and they can be a great choice for the office.
Looking to take your work or gaming experience to the next level? Invest in the amazing resolution and fast refresh rates of an OLED monitor.
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