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FLAT PANELS

Battle of the Displays: CRT vs. LCD
By: Katharine Miller
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    2004-03-24

    Table of Contents:
  • Battle of the Displays: CRT vs. LCD
  • Better, Stronger, Faster
  • The Bitter End

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    Battle of the Displays: CRT vs. LCD


    (Page 1 of 3 )

    Last year, I made the conversion to flat panel LCD after spending seven years with my first (and only) CRT monitor. It was beginning to show the signs of age. The delightful stickers I put on it six years ago were peeling and fading, the screen would turn pink for brief flashes, and the display started to pulsate. For someone who spends upwards of 16-hours a day in front of the computer, these conditions were unsatisfactory. However, it was not without a little sadness that I made the inevitable switch. Sure, I could’ve invested in a larger CRT display for less money, but my desk (and my arms, which would be hauling it up a flight of stairs) was hoping for something a bit lighter. But I’m just a silly, sentimental girl.

    The hardest part of watching technology evolve is letting go of the pieces that have withstood most changes and shaped the way we thought of and used technology. The most recent piece of hardware to undergo the extinction process is the CRT display monitor.

    For over 100 years, cathode ray tubes have been put to use in various devices. The most popular being television sets and computer monitors. But as devices become digital and miniaturized, CRT displays are seeing their glory days gradually fizzling out. As fresher display technology is developed and released, the CRT will seem antiquated and become obsolete to future computers. But like Bob Hope is to entertainment, it will always be considered one of the greats in the technology history.

    In recent years, we’ve seen a boom of new display technologies: LCD, LEP, OLED, TFT, and STN. Out of all of the potential competitors, LCD is the closest to replacing CRT. Some manufacturers like Sony, Sharp, and Hitachi have already begun discarding CRT models in favor of expanding the LCD lines. The benefits of the LCD display are numerous and it’s clear why it remains a front-runner in the great display war.

    Despite being the dominant--and for many years, primary--monitor choice, CRTs are monsters hogging up electricity and space. According to a study on Ergonomics Considerations of LCD versus CRT Displays by Professor Alan Hedge at Cornell University, a 17-inch CRT “uses 80 watts when operational and 5 watts in standby mode.” It may not seem like much until you compare it to an LCD display that uses “around 25 watts when operational and 3 watts when in standby mode.” That’s about a 60% difference, which may sway green users aiming to conserve electricity.

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