As high-definition technology progresses, consumers are given more and more options for their home theatre and computing needs. CRT technology is giving way to LCDs, but what is the difference? Are LCDs more efficient?
What Do CRT and LCD Mean?
There are several primary types of technology used for monitors and televisions, including CRT and LCD in addition to plasma and projection displays.
CRT (cathode-ray tube) technology is the most traditional of modern displays and is becoming less common as time goes on. According to an article on CNet, it operates by blasting electrons on chemical phosphors, creating an image on the inside of the display.
LCD (liquid crystal display) televisions use a backlight or bulb to display an image by shining through colour filters or interacting with a chip that processes light through the use of many small mirrors and a colour wheel.
CRT vs. LCD: Power Consumption
According to an article by Alan Hedge at Cornell University, LCDs use less power and save more energy than comparable CRT displays. When comparing a 15" LCD monitor with a 17" CRT monitor (which has an equal amount of viewing area), the LCD monitor used 55 watts less when operational (25 vs. 80) and 2 watts less when in standby (3 vs. 5). LCD screens also consume less power when returning from standby mode than CRTs.
LCDs will use less power than CRT televisions, which means a little less money spent on power. That's also better for the environment, if you're into the green movement.
Performance Pros and Cons
LCDs have sharper, brighter and clearer images than CRTs. They take up less space and are lighter than CRTs. LCD screens have a larger practical viewing area on their screens, meaning an LCD screen may have the same viewable area as a larger CRT. CRTs also give off more heat than LCDs do.
CRTs have better colour depth and range than LCDs, though LCDs are improving. Some lower-end LCDs may have pixels that respond too slowly, which leads to a less accurate image. According to FlatPanelTV.org, CRTs have a longer lifespan than LCDs, lasting over 80,000 hours. LCDs should last between 30,000 and 60,000.
Initial Costs vs. Cost-Over-Time
While LCD televisions will consume less power over time, CRTs are cheaper at purchase.
It will take some time to make up the difference of an LCD's initial cost. How long depends on how often your television will be on. It's important to take into account your personal needs, how often the television will actually be in use and how much you pay per watt of electricity.
In terms of features, LCD televisions offer a better viewing experience while also being more space-efficient, which may justify the initial extra cost. The fact that they are more energy-efficient than CRTs is just a little something extra, as you probably won't save money due to the higher purchase price for a while.
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