Differences Between CRT & TFT Monitors

Written by tom shingler
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Differences Between CRT & TFT Monitors
A TFT monitor (Don Farrall/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors used to be the only available screen for desktop computers. However, the introduction of TFT (Thin Film Transistor) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitors allowed people to have thin, lightweight displays that could be used to build smaller laptops. TFT monitors are generally regarded as the better than CRT monitors, but there are pros and cons for both technologies.

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Size and Shape

TFT monitors are thin and lightweight, whereas CRT monitors are bulky and heavy. This results in the TFT monitor being much easier on the eye as well as taking up a lot less space. A CRT monitor needs extra room inside the casing, as it needs to project a beam onto the screen to display pixels. The TFT monitor does not need to do this, as the technology manipulates liquid crystals to create an image. This is why all laptops have TFT displays, as they need to be thin and easy to carry.

Response Time

The response time on a CRT monitor is much better than a TFT. Response time is important because it measures how long it takes for pixels displayed on the screen to change. A slower response time will have an impact on gaming, as the frequent changes on the display may be too much for some TFT monitors to handle.

Power Consumption

TFT monitors consume much less power. A 15-inch CRT monitor consumes approximately 100 watts, but a TFT monitor of the same size only consumes 30 watts. This means that the CRT monitor could end up costing more in the long run through electricity bills. A CRT monitor needs more power, as it needs to shoot a concentrated ray onto the glass screen to display images. The TFT monitor needs to electrically alter a vast number of tiny liquid crystals to display an image, which requires less power.

Colour Display

CRT monitors display sharper and clearer colours due to their superior response time. The lack of a decent colour response may make TFT monitors undesirable to graphic artists or designers, who will need the brighter colour display of a CRT. The CRT monitor will also display colour better in videos and games.


CRT monitors are cheaper than TFTs when you are shopping for a standard sized screen, but if you are looking for a monitor over 30 inches you may struggle to find a CRT display, as they require a large amount of electricity. The bigger the CRT screen, the more power it needs. Once the monitor gets very big, the screen needs an excessive amount of power and will have an impact on your utility bill.

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