I've been looking into getting an actual monitor for my computer for some time now, as opposed to the TV that I'm now using that looks fairly wretched, and saw on Deals July 9 this (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) monitor. I can get it for $226ish (tax included), which for a 27" monitor is, I realize, a helluva deal. Question is; is the contrast ratio (1200:1) decent for whatever I do with the monitor (gaming, watching movies, etc)? I've seen monitors with better ratios (one was 100,000,000:1), but I don't know at what point it becomes unnecessary for the ratio to go higher. Any responses would be appreciated!
This is a case of static vs. dynamic contrast ratio. Static contrast ratio is calculated based on the measured brightness of black and white when both colors are shown simultaneously on the screen. Dynamic contrast is a trick used by many monitors which involves reducing the backlight intensity when mostly dark colors are shown, and increasing it when mostly light colors are shown. Manufacturers usually take the extreme case, using the brightness of a solid white screen and that of a solid black screen, when calculating the dynamic contrast ratio, but those two extremes are so rare in actual usage that the dynamic contrast ratio becomes meaningless. LCD monitors with AMVA panels can get up to 3000:1 static contrast, while other panel types generally only have about 1000:1 static contrast. Sites like TFT Central often measure the static contrast with more precision than manufacturers bother with. Numbers higher than 5000:1 are dynamic contrast ratios (though some manufacturers provide both the static contrast and the dynamic contrast). Currently only emissive displays, such as CRT, Plasma, and OLED can provide over 5000:1 static contrast.
P.S. A TV can actually make a good monitor, as long it's truly 1080p native. You might need to tweak some settings, though.
Hmm, thanks, that cleared up quite a bit for me. Unfortunately the TV I've been using is not 1080p, it's 720p, and quite the number of years old. Red text looks awful on it, and If I actually set the resolution to 1280x720 the screen shimmers very slightly.
So, would a 1200:1 contrast ratio, which I would assume is the static contrast ratio, be a decent investment?
If you can confirm that number with an independent review that actually measured the static contrast ratio, it would be a good choice. Otherwise, it might not be significantly better than monitors that claim 1000:1 contrast ratio.
As far as the TV, "720p" TVs, for whatever reason, often have native resolutions of 1366x768 instead of 1280x720, which might be part of the problem. However, even 1366x768 is painfully low for use as a desktop monitor. Heck, even laptops often have 1440x900 or higher resoluton.