Picture Perfect

New Bag Of Tricks

Although flashy LCD monitors have gotten a lot of press recently, CRT monitors are also making big strides. By far the cheaper option, today's CRTs offer a lot of monitor for your money. An ample 17-inch monitor, like the FlexScan FX-C7 from EIZO (http://www.eizo.com), has a street price of $619, roughly half the cost of similar-sized LCD monitors.

Other recent CRT developments include new space-saving designs with shorter backs; models that come with Universal Serial Bus ports; and flat-screen CRT monitors that, like LCDs, have no visible curvature or distortion thanks to current flat-tube technology.

Screen size remains the main advantage to buying a CRT monitor. If you or your employees need to view detailed documents, such as spreadsheets, and desk space isn't an issue, moving up to a roomy 17-inch or larger CRT monitor will take away a lot of your eyestrain for a reasonable price.

The biggest monitors on the market aren't always ideal in office environments, however. "CRT monitors that are 14, 15 and 17 inches are still the most popular for businesses today," says Rob Enderle, vice president of Giga Information Group, an information technology advisory and market research firm based in Norwell, Massachusetts. "Anything larger has a hard time ramping up mainstream [support] because it takes up too much space. [19 and 21-inch] monitors are used primarily in engineering firms and homes."

Another big consideration when buying a CRT monitor is resolution. Typically, resolution is displayed as the number of dots (or pixels) across by the number of lines down, for instance, a 1,024 x 768 resolution. The higher the maximum resolution, the sharper (though smaller) the image displayed on-screen. In addition, you should consider dot pitch (or pixel pitch), which is the distance between each pixel (typically anywhere from .28 to .51 mm). A smaller dot pitch means a crisper image.

You'll also want to evaluate a CRT monitor's refresh rates (experts recommend 75 Hz or higher), brightness levels, contrast ratios, antiglare options and special control features.

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This article was originally published in the May 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Picture Perfect.

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