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A PCWorld article I ran across may be of interest to anyone considering an LCD screen purchase. The short answer: look for reviews that base the image quality on subjective evaluations. LCD contrast ratio specifications, in particular, are essentially useless when shopping. Don't rely on them.

PCWorld LCD
 

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Another few thoughts on flat-panel LCD screens here:

I have tons of TV and video gear and I always have it repaired at the very same place...a company that has been there for 42 years. They are rock-solid and will NOT rip you off. They even show you the dead parts after the repair. These days they do an awful lot of computer monitors as well.

Recently I was chatting about monitors with Ray the technician. I asked him about flat screen LCD's and he said the following...

"Great picture and quite easy on the eyes, but quality varies wildly when you look inside the case. Some are pretty good, but many are built of crappy short-lived components and their service life will probably not exceed two to five years. At the most."

This surprised me a bit. My Applevision 20 inch CRT is more than six years old and has only required one 75 dollar repair to keep in in fine nick. It cost me 325$ used. So I am looking at more than two grand for a comparable flat screen...and am being told that it may not last more than five years. Perhaps a LOT less.

He then pointed to quite a few flat sceen LCD monitors that were sitting in the pickup area waiting for their owners to return. About a third of them had "unrepairable" tags on them. He went on to explain how heartbreaking it was for some of these people who came to gather up their expensive displays...only to find that they need to go out and buy a new one. Or spend the equivalent in repairs, and trust that nothing else will go wrong.

It certainly made me stop and think before I plunk down two large for one of the new flat screens.

In fact...I think I'll wait a bit. ;)
 
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