LCD Shopping Best Practices
You’ll run across a lot of jargon when shopping for an LCD in today’s market. It may seem like gibberish, however the terms used offer pertinent information regarding the display’s performance and purpose. To aid in your pursuit of finding the perfect LCD, consider the following breakdown of terminology and key specifications.
Brightness or Luminance
This rating is stated as cd/m2 (candelas per square meter) and describes the level of light a display emits. In general, 300 cd/m2 is fine, but for video or production work, you’ll find a higher brightness rating is preferred. But, if you plan to sit in front of a display for long periods of time, you may want to turn down the brightness to 300 cd/m2 or below.
The difference in luminance between a monitor’s brightest and darkest possible output is its contrast ratio. Comparing contrast ratios between competing displays accurately is difficult at best as manufacturers use varying measures of calculating contrast ratio. The best way to compare two displays is to look at them side to side.
Response Time is the amount of time in milliseconds that it takes for a pixel to go from black to white and back to black again. The lower the number, the better. Pixel response time is key for fast action video games or watching movies. Unfortunately, comparing different manufacturers claims for response time is difficult due to varying measurement methods. Generally speaking, most displays built today are fast enough for all but the most hard-core gamers and production editors.
Widescreen displays with 16:10 aspect ratios are now the norm, replacing the standard aspect ratio of 4:3. For daily computer use, whether office or home, the widescreen format allows extra horizontal space for applications and windows. The widescreen format also allows for a more cinematic experience when watching movies or playing games.
High Definition Multimedia interface, or HDMI, is a connector that uses a single cable to carry digital video and audio signals from HD cable and satellite receivers. Most computers are not HDMI-capable, but HDMI is backward-compatible with DVI.
Computer screens are almost always wider than they are tall. This default landscape mode works best most of the time, enabling you to view multiple windows side by side. Occasionally, a taller, narrower screen may be preferable for reading manuscripts, information display or for point-of-sale purposes. For these situations, a display that can rotate (or pivot) from landscape to portrait orientation can come in very handy.
I recommend doing your research ahead of time, prior to being mauled by overzealous Best Buy employees etc. Use the information above as a way of setting a benchmark for alternatives you may be considering. Remember, it’s a buyer’s market and prices will only come down over time. Happy hunting.
Contact a Guidon representative today for further information and tips on shopping for your perfect LCD.