What is a Flat Monitor?

A flat monitor is a type of computer monitor that uses light crystal display (LCD) technology. A flat monitor has an average overall thickness of 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) and provides a better quality image than the traditional cathode ray tube monitors. Flat monitors have become increasingly popular as technology improvements result in a lower purchase price.

The flat monitor uses a completely different technology and design than a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor. The development of the electroluminescent display in the early 1990’s was instrumental in the mass production of flat monitors. This invention allowed monitor manufacturers to product lighter, more energy efficient monitors and televisions for less money than the CRT model.

When a flat monitor is being manufactured, a transparent screen is covered with layers of a special material that does not conduct electricity, but becomes polarized. When an electronic pulse is applied to this material, the electrons move and create an image, which is visible on the screen. The initial process required to attach the layers of material to the transparent screen were very slow and expensive.

A new process created by Dr. Xingwei Wu in 1998 addressed this issue. A solution of different dielectric particles, specially designed for high voltage applications could be pressed onto the transparent screen in one pass, greatly reducing the cost. The previous method required multiple passes, with drying time between each application of material. Due to widespread acceptance of the new process, the cost for creating a flat monitor dropped dramatically.

If you are considering the purchase of a flat monitor, there are five items you need to consider: resolution, dot pitch, viewable size, response time and refresh rate. Each of these item has an impact on the price and quality of your monitor. Ongoing improvements in the manufacturing process will result in better quality flat monitor at even lower prices in the future.

Resolution is the number of pixels along the horizontal and vertical axis of the screen. The higher the value, the better quality the image. LCD monitors have a built in core resolution designed to provide the best possible display.
Dot pitch is the distance between two pixels. The closer the pixels are to each other, the higher quality the image will be. The viewable size of a flat monitor is measured across the diagonal.
Response time is the amount of time required to change a pixel’s color and brightness. This time is sometimes listed as the rise and fall in the detailed product specifications. It is measured as black to black or gray to gray.
The refresh rate is the amount of time between the monitor receiving the data and the creation of the image on the screen. The higher the value, the better the image. Lower refresh rates are most noticeable in large monitors, as the impact of the refresh rate is hidden on a smaller surface area.