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LCD Basics


The electronics industry has used liquid crystal display (LCD) technology for years, in many products ranging from calculators to laptop screens. Now, LCD monitors or flat-panel displays, are quickly replacing traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) computer monitors. LCDs use less space than traditional monitors, but did you know they also use less energy?

What is LCD?

LCD creates images on a flat surface by shining light through a combination of liquid crystals and polarized glass. The technology differs from CRT because a CRT uses a beam of electrons projected through a large glass tube to create images.


  • Smaller size
  • Less eyestrain
  • Lower power consumption
  • Less heat generation
  • Lighter weight
  • Better image contrast

Energy Savings

LCD monitors can offer the consumer considerable savings over the product’s total lifetime. In some cases, the energy-consumption of an average LCD display can be half to two-thirds of that for an average CRT. ENERGY STAR labeled LCD monitors can save even more. Some ENERGY STAR partner companies have helpful web-based calculators that can compute the possible savings of buying an LCD monitor in a matter of moments. One such calculator is listed below. Visit the URL provided for a sample calculation.

Other Benefits

In addition to the obvious energy and monetary savings that can be obtained through the purchase of an LCD monitor, there are additional benefits that are not so apparent at first glance. These include:

  • Less monitor heat generation-meaning lower air-conditioning bills in the summer months.
  • Less monitor bulk-meaning more desk space is left clear. For an office or business, this means more room for additional staff or storage.


While LCD does have its benefits, there is a downside as well. Some disadvantages may include higher up-front purchase price, fewer choices in screen resolution, lower color quality, and a smaller viewing angle. A consumer should weigh what they find most important in a display with the offerings of an LCD monitor before making a purchase.

For instance, if a person’s main use for a display were gaming, then CRT would, in most cases, be better than an LCD due to the flexibility of resolution, and the smoother transition of action and color. If a person is more interested in reading documents on a word processor or a web page in a small space, then LCD would be the better option, because of the high contrast, crisper text projection, and smaller footprint.