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I got the LCD blues :(

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#1 RB_Kandy


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Posted 22 September 2011 - 11:36 PM

I should open by saying that this post is more of a rant than a question. It's about CRT vs LCD. If this post starts a lot of name calling and flaming, well, I will perfectly understand if a mod locks it or deletes it. I just really need to get something off my chest, and maybe you guys might get a kick out of reading it, especially if you're nostalgic about CRT's. But yeah, if it starts a flame war, I won't be upset to see the post moved. But hopefully we can all remain civil and allow each to have his own opinion without name calling.


Here is something that I am so upset about. I need to buy a new monitor, and yet, looking at CRT, LED, and LCD, there is absolutely no question that CRT is better. Here's the problem, they don't make CRT anymore, they only make new age plastic crap (LCD/LED).

Yes I'm aware that CRT's are very big and heavy, that is the only downside, and one I'm willing to deal with. So I am looking for an LCD that doesn't suck.

LCD's come with different panel technology, and each of the technologies come with reasons why they suck. Some lag so you can't play FPS twitch games. The other has great response time but suck in every other conceivable way. I forget all the technologies, I just remember IPS lags, and TN sucks for everything but lag. It's like "which type of disadvantage do you want in your monitor?" Great bloody sales pitch.
I suppose I can buy a TN panel to play Crisis, and deal with 16 bit color, motion blur, pixelated shadows, and the screen going all white or all black if I tilt my head. And then switching to a IPS to watch bright movies and enjoy the colors and prey there are no dark scenes or I'll get a pixelated black screen. And then use a VA to watch old dark Black and white horror movies and try not to move my head the least bit to alter my viewing angle.

What I often hear from the LCD defenders is "The image is so clear, I'll never go back to CRT".
The problem I have with that is the same problem I have with the guitarists who buy a $2000 signature model guitar and think that because they paid such a high price for it that it can perform some magic trick, or make a sound that a $400 model can't do. Or the people who swear upgrading from a $60 sound card to a $300 sound card makes their 128bit MP3's sound better. I mean they don't use it for recording instruments and dealing with sensitive mics, they just want to hear counter strike come in clearer, or hear their pirated MP3's of nickel back come in clearer. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when someone is listening to their MP3's on a $300 sound card and a $20 pair of head phones.
And when they say it comes in more clear, I wonder if these are the people that were fooled by the old TV commercials that stated "this is brand X TV, this is ours, notice how much clearer ours looks?" and yet both TV's are being displayed on your TV, thus you're TV is as good or better than theirs. And furthermore, those TV's were not really TV's, because you would have seen the picture refreshing due to the frame rate of the original TV, the camera, and you're own. Or what about those commercials that say "listen to this stereo system... now listen to ours!" and while their is a difference, it is still coming through your own speakers, therefore this is totally false.So how many people fell for that? I can't help but to disregard "it looks/sounds clearer" by anyone on any product. Human perception is an amazing thing, especially when someone just spent $500 on some new hype and can't admit that they wasted their money.

As I search the web for answers I get lots of flame wars on forums about CRT vs LCD, this topic sets people off worse than the Firefox vs Explorer debate years back.

But here's my two cents to the LCD fan boys:

LCD uses less electricity:
So what? when was your computer monitor the actual reason your electricity bill was so high? I believe I read that 75% of America's electric bill came from heating and cooling. When was your computer monitor breaking the bank? Unless you're a corporation with 50+ people using computers in an office building, this is not a reasonable sales pitch.

LCD puts out less heat:
True, less wattage equals less thermal wattage. But when has this ever been an issue? Who sits in front of their computer wiping the sweat off their forehead saying "god, the heat from this computer is killing me".

CRT's cause cancer:
Says the guy smoking a cigarette, cell phone to his head, microwaving a burrito, sitting under compact fluorescent lights, and a lap top sitting directly over his testicles... trust me, the computer screen is not going to be the cancer maker in this scenario.

LCD is better for the environment:
I don't know when this catch phrase kicked in, but it's rubbish. I imagine the corporations started this stuff to appeal to environmentalists, however, the only validity the claim of environment friendly is that it consumes less electricity, and has little to no mercury and lead. What they didn't tell you is the nitrogen trifluoride is far worse on the environment than if our old TV sucked up twice the electricity. Thus, it's worse for the environment.

CRT's cause eyes strain:
OK, this one has a drop of credibility to it. CRT's had a refresh rate, this could cause a strobe effect. Of course even at a modest 75hz the flickering isn't noticeable and is "unlikely" to cause anyone eye strain. Better CRT's that could do 85hz and over, were truly smooth pictures.
So why is it I get the feeling that even though there is a touch of truth to this claim, the people making it are the people that left their old CRT's brightness at the default in the store (with all the settings near maxed out) and at a default 60hz (because they didn't know how to change their monitors properties) or they set it to 85hz, then turned up the resolution to it's highest setting (forcing the refresh rate back to 60). yeah I just get that feeling. However, there could be some truth to it. Though I never got eye strain at even 75hz.

CRT's are just way to bright:
Turn down the brightness! For crying out loud you can turn down the brightness and contrast to the point where the screen went black. Most monitors could do this even without finding the setting in windows; you could turn down the brightness by hand.

LCD's have perfect geometry when changing resolution:
Yeah but they get blurry the moment you change resolution, better buy an LCD with a native resolution you like, because any other resolution is either blurry, or impossible. With a CRT, just spend 1 or 2 minutes adjusting the geometry after changing resolution, and don't change resolution that often, and also, not every time you adjust resolution do you have to adjust the geometry, in fact, on my monitor, that only happened when I exceeded the recommended resolution (which would also result in forcing of lower refresh rate as well) thus more evidence people with eye strain probably had theirs set to 60hz.

CRT make squealing and buzzing noises:
Well, defective CRT's do that. Old and dying CRT's might do that. But reasonable quality CRT's that aren't defective or dying of old age don't do that. So this is really an example of "defective CRT" versus "functioning LCD" and that's not a fair comparison. However, I'll confess, it was a common enough occurrence in CRT's that it does make for a small argument.

LCD's have clearer font display:
OK, you got me, for some odd reason they really do. However, on this crappy LCD, I lean forward and the fonts get washed out because of viewing angle, so it doesn't matter so much in the end. But yeah, fonts seem more clear for some reason, gotta give the devil his due on that.

LCD's are lighter and smaller than those 80 lbs CRT's:
Yup, good point, I agree, and I too hate how heavy CRT's are. But after all the problems with LCD/LED, I'd rather not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Speaking of light weight, it's like the industry has stopped selling things made of hardy aluminum and steal, and replaced it with disposable plastic and Styrofoam. Even household items that used to be sturdy are now cheaper and break if you press on it too hard. Like our hardy tools have become little baby toys. And we the consumer see a lower price tag or "a thousand and one useless features you never knew you wanted" and we buy it hook line and sinker. TV's, cameras, tools, or kitchen utensils, gone are the days of steal, all hail the plastic generation. And of course we buy it, because it has the words "new and improved" on it. That's my theory on why every one likes LCD.

Also, there is pretty much no sense in browsing online stores to find an LCD because the numbers, outside of size, mean nothing. Viewing angle is subjective and different corporations use different standards, thus the most you can learn is viewing angle from one model to another within the same brand, and that really isn't much help if you haven't had a lot of experience looking at monitors by that brand.
The contrast ratio is probably the most deceiving one. Good lord I think they have 10 million to one ratios now. There are different forms of contrast ratio testing that will generate different numbers, no real standardization for it, and lots of fuzzy math. Thus the number is meaningless, and again, can only even begin to give you an idea if comparing the contrast ratio from model to model within the same company, and even then these numbers start looking phoney.

I think out of all the things with LCD that bother me is the pixalated black (caused by motion between black objects and dark grey objects). I am currently using my mothers lap top (cheap) and I can't watch youtube in HD 720p because it doesn't look any better than 320p. Yes I'm aware that this is a severely cheap lap top, thus the worst possible example of LCD in this day and age, but I've seen $900 lap tops that are no better with graphics. And I'm sure if I bought an LCD for $600, to hook my PC up to, it would be better than a $900 lap top. But how much better? Good enough to justify buying the two most powerful crossfire ready graphics cards to play the newest games with? I'd be afraid that a big LCD wouldn't be able to handle crisis or left 4 dead on it's highest settings, and thus high quality graphics cards would be overkill.

The other thing that bothers me is the viewing angle, I can't view this thing from the right angle no matter how hard I try. Part of the screen will get too dark, change the angle the slightest bit and part of it gets too light. I know a $600 LCD would have better viewing angle, but how much better? I like to sit forward, then backward, and lean side to side often when I am at my computer all day long. I'd like to be able to get up and do something and still watch the screen while I am walking around. I don't know if even a higher end LCD can handle that.

While I currently have no issue with adjusting resolution, I'd hate to think that some old game wouldn't like the aspect ratio or the native resolution and I'd have to change it, and the quality would greatly go down. This also leads me to wonder whether buying a large LCD is a good thing or a bad thing. my old CRT was 17" I can buy a much bigger LCD, but wouldn't that force my graphics card to work even harder to play a game at the native resolution of a big LCD?

Speaking of aspect ratio, I have a video chat on skype with a lovely lady and go to full screen. Skype scales the image perfectly left to right, but chops off some of the top and bottom because it is stuck to 4:3 ratio. So I have to move the mouse up and down to toggle whether I want to see her from the boobs to her nose, or from her neck to the top of her head... I choose from the boobs to the neck of course, but that's not the point! I should be able to see all of it on screen at the same time. Even if the boobs is all I'd be looking at... it's the principle of it!!!

And I am also wondering what other crap factor I may have to deal with. For example, I have heard some people claiming that the display is too bright! Um, they can be turned down right? I mean you can adjust the color, brightness, and contrast on an LCD, right?

I guess I might have to buy an old CRT from craigs list, and hope that thing has enough years left in it until OLED or LCD technology catches up to CRT technology 20 years ago.

I don't know, maybe I'm being too hard on LCD because all I ever seen was low quality. I remember the first time I seen LCD screens, my aunt and uncle owned a computer store and so I got to see lap tops in the 1980's. LCD's sucked so bad even by the early 90's.
Then my only experience with LCD would be starting a few years ago I would see my aunt's lap top, then my other aunt's lap top, then my mother's lap top (the computer I am using now), and her boyfriend's lap top. All of these lap tops have 2 things in common: they are weak, and their screens suck. I hate both lap tops and LCD's.

I hear that LCD's have gotten much better, and are continuing to get better. here's the problem with that; It doesn't matter how much better they're getting, it's how good they are at the moment you buy one. I don't care if they get really good 20 years from now,I need a monitor today. And as for "they've gotten better since the early 2000's" Well, I heard in the 90's they had gotten much better than they were in the 80's. I heard they're much better in 2005 than in the 90's, now I hear they're better than they were in 2005. OK, LCD has been around in wrist watches since the 60's, so just let me know when they get good enough to not suck, because I don't want to hear come 2020 "they're so much better than they were in 2015".

Who knows, maybe at the ripe old age of 34 I have become that cranky old man who shouts "You whipper snappers, get off my lawn! back in my day we didn't go traipsing through peoples yards and gallivanting around town like you hoodlums today. Back in my day we didn't have colored TV..." Maybe I've really become that guy.

Maybe the $300 to $600 models of LCD can do as good of a job as my $120 17" CRT that I purchased in 2001. 2 months ago was my monitors 10th birthday :(
Maybe all this talk about lag is over-hyped. I mean, can you really notice 8m seconds? I know a 8m second delay in audio produces an annoying echo. I can't help but feel in twitch games that 8m seconds is life or death, even 2m seconds makes me cringe a little. But maybe that delay really doesn't make a difference.

Maybe the contrast between greys isn't so bad on the $300 to $600 isn't as bad as it is on $200 to $500 lap tops. Maybe the $900 lap top was pricey for every reason but the LCD.

And who knows, maybe the expensive ones can let you tilt your head without the colors and brightness changing.

But I need a good monitor. I want to do very careful photoshop projects, play all the newest games with every setting maxed out. I want to watch the newest fast paced CGI based action movies and marvel at the special effects. I want to be able to one day buy LOTR on blu ray, just to see the beautiful visuals that DVD couldn't show. And I want to be able to watch very dark black and white horror films, that are already grainy, and faded, and not have bursts of black and grey pixelation when Bela Lugosi in his black Dracula cape steps out of the shadows. I want to play resident evil 3 and not run into some weird problem like aspect ratio or the game being forced to be in 800x600 and yet a fancy new LCD not be able to scale to that without some weird problem (and yes, RE3 on many WinXP systems will require the resolution to be 800x600). And I want to be able to max out all the settings on Witcher2 and know that my monitor can actually display the crystal clarity at it's native resolution. I fear having to scale down resolution when the newest games break my graphics cards, and I have to choose lowering graphics settings to get a bland image, or scaling down the resolution and getting blurry image, or game skipping because I turn down neither. And I want to be able to play FPS MMOs and Crisis and not squeeze the trigger and yell "but I shot him, how am I dead, his gun wasn't even pointed at me...darn this LCD lag!".

So Again, maybe I'm just paranoid. Maybe I have seen only the worst LCD has to offer, and all the flaws with each and every panel technology is over hyped.

However, if I am going to buy an LCD, I can't shop for one online because the numbers are very misleading. I have to go into stores and look at them actually functioning in front of my eyes. And I've tried that, but the problem is that their monitors just show an image. A bright and beautiful image meant to draw you in. Even the picture of the clouds over the ocean looks bright and crisp on this LCD. But that's because the image itself appeals to us psychologically and is tuned to how our eye interprets light, shape, and space. It's called marketing LOL. And the LCD TV's they have play movies, but these movies look horrible, they come in like an old rabbit ear antina. How can I judge the quality of the LCD when the signal resembles VHS tapes? Or more accurately VHS tapes that you rented from the 1990's LOL.
I really wish there was a way to go to the store, and have them display a few custom images. Like a grey circle that starts out black and fade to white one shade of grey at a time, and look for the rings in that circle that shows the monitor's inability to display the entire gradient scale. Another image that shows the color wheel at maximum saturation. And maybe a custom video of a fan rotating slowly and speeding up to an amazing 7200 RPMs and notice when the fan blades either skip, appear to rotate backward, or get motion blur. And then run this test on all of their monitors. Goodness no. They wouldn't set up things like that or monitor tests like the ones they use on $35,000 medical monitors (CRT's by the way). That might actually inform the customer to make a good decision, and business isn't run like that any more. An uninformed sucker that's brain washed by catch phrases and thinks quality of hi tech devices can be calculated by a single number, that's the best customer in the world to corporations these days.

So I'm either going to buy a used CRT and pray it has a few years of life left in it, or I am just going to point at the screen and play a game of ini mini miny moe with the $299.99 monitors on newegg and get what I get.

I wonder if anyone still repairs CRT TV's/monitors? if they do, I'll try to find me a 21" to 23" trinitron monitor, and just keep taking that thing in for repair. I heard they were the best commercially sold CRT's in their day before CRT went the way of the dinosaur and quality product.

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#2 Orange Blossom

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 01:46 AM

You may be able to get a reconditioned/refurbished CRT monitor, which is better than simply getting a used one. I think also there are CRT monitors being made for serious and detailed graphics work. Check into IBM CRT monitors for example.

I have read elsewhere, that for graphics, CRT monitors ARE still the best. That said, I really like my new reconditioned flat panel monitor. Reasons:

Less heat - I used to get a LOT of heat trapped between the monitor and the shelf above it. Even had to turn on some extra fans because of that in the summer.

Lower electric bills, yes, I did have a noticeable drop in my electric bill.

More room on my computer desk and much easier for me to plug things in and do computer maintenance. I have very tight quarters for my computer.

Yes, there are a few frustrations with it too, one of which is indeed the paling and even disappearance of the image on the screen depending on the angle of view.

Long and short of it is, each type of monitor has pros and cons, and you need to get the sort that is best for what you want to do with it.

You might be interested in reading this post: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic216081.html/page__view__findpost__p__1204640 which compares mostly plasma and LCD monitors but also mentions CRT to a certain extent.

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#3 RB_Kandy

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 11:21 AM

ah, now there's something to look into. Thanks Orange Blossom.
Now if you'll excuse me, there are some pesky kids on my lawn.

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