The lowdown on LCDs

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Get the picture?

Where are the bargains? Finding bargains on 20-inch LCD monitors is possible, but the real savings can come at 23 inches and higher. The larger sizes are useful in conference-room and classroom installations, as well as for the executive who 'must' have something to impress visitors.

How do contrast ratios help? The higher the contrast ratio, the darker the dark colors. You can now find good deals on monitors with 600:1 and 700:1 contrast ratios, and even on 1,000:1 models.

What about response time? Under 20 milliseconds is good, but under 10 milliseconds is fantastic for video work and playback. The faster the response time, the less blurry your high-action training video (or the NBA game) will seem.

Take a load off your desk? Video Electronics Standards Association mounting capability is essential for wall-mounting. It's also important to get monitors with as small a bezel, or edge, as possible if you plan to install several panels in a multiple display.

Input essentials? Digital visual interface as well as analog connections are increasingly important as more computers move to DVI-friendly video.

What about multimedia? It's nice to have a built-in TV tuner and speakers, but not really essential.

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