TN vs. TFT
What is really the difference between TN panels and TFT panels? I have heard that TNs have pretty bad color and horrible viewing angles, but what about TFT?
TFT is basically another way of saying "LCD panel". TFT does not refer to any specifiec panel technology.
TN panels generally are good enough for most people especially if they do not want to spend a lot of money. Their colors are not as accurate as PVA / MVA / IPS panels, but for most people it's a non factor unless what you do with your monitor absolutely requires accurate colors. Due to the nature of how TN panels work however, they are more prone to display video artifiact than other panel techs.
For example, in Batman: The Dark Knight DVD movie there is a scene where the Joker blows up a hospital and there's lots of thick black smoke. On my Asus VK246H TN panel monitor the smoke is pixelated (blocky) and the Joker's bare arms and leg also gets pixelated in that scene. I do not see those artifacts when viewing my the movie on my NEC LCD2690WUXi or Planar PX2611w monitors with H-IPS panels.
Viewing angles on TN panels are not as good as other panel techs either.
Go to a store and look at monitors there. 99% of then will be using TN panels. If you don't like how any of them look, then it's time consider the other more expensive types of LCD monitors.
I prefer IPS panels, but they can get expensive. I bought my 26" NEC LCD2690WUXi for around $1,300 and my 26" Planar PX2611w for just under $800.
The only place I know of that would carry IPS or *VA panel monitors is B&H Photo in NYC.
Yes, all monitors sold in Best Buy use TN panels with the exception of a few of Apple's monitors (I think). At least the iPad uses an IPS panel, but the iPad is not a monitor.