The monitor is a Dell 20.1" (2007FP). I bought in 2007 and unfortunately it is just a few months out of warranty
The issue is a dull picture. I snapped two shots with an SLR to try and capture the issue as accurately as possible. White balance and metering aren't perfect, but i think it portrays the issue well enough. see images below -- monitor reset to factory & brightness 100%. no contrast setting on this model.
You can see colors don't *pop* like they use to. It's as if the brightness was permanently turned down. Outside of the dull color, everything works great. Text/icons/etc. are sharp and crsip.
The monitor on the right is 1 month old HP LP2475w. Both monitors are IPS panels. I used the dell heavily for 3 years straight and I would like to think the dull picture is a result of that and can be repaired fairly easily (i.e. replace backlights).
I would hate to throw away the monitor considering it cost $400. I know nothing about the inner working of flat panels, but thought I would start with tom's for advice and possible troubleshooting techniques. I should also mention that I've tried the monitor on mutiple pc's, vid cards and with different DVI cables. The problem seems to be within the monitor itself.