Introduction to Monitor & Flat Panel Display Technology

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In today's business environment, high quality monitors have gone from being a luxury to a necessity. With employees and self-employed professionals spending the majority of their days working with their computer and monitor, it is more important than ever to purchase a quality monitor that will provide crisp, bright images, while reducing the strain on your eyes. This section will explain some of the terms and technology you should know when purchasing a CRT monitor.

Hitachi Flat Panel Display Technology

Flat panel displays are revolutionizing the way people look at their computers. Thin, light, space-saving, brighter, better for the environment… virtually everyone agrees that these monitors are the wave of the future. The sections below explain the Basics of Flat Panel Technology, and its advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional monitors, so you can make the buying decision appropriate for your needs.

Shadow Mask vs. Aperture Grill: There are two main types of CRT (Cathode Ray Tube -- the traditional monitor) technologies available. The first is Invar Shadow Mask Technology and the second is Aperture Grill technology. In the simplest terms, the Invar Shadow Mask is a heat resistant metal sheet with holes punched into it to allow the light to pass through. The Aperture Grill models use vertical lines of light to compose their image. On the right, you will see a comparison of Shadow Mask technology and an aperture grill model. The Shadow Mask creates a more precise, crisp image than the aperture grill model because of the special design. In addition, the aperture grill model is held together by two thin wires called "damper wires" that can frequently be visible across your screen and image.

Screen Size: The screen size is measured diagonally from corner to corner. Please note that the CRT size is not the screen size. Most monitors will list "viewable image size" which does not include the bezel and is the actual viewing size for the monitor if it features edge-to-edge imaging.

How monitors work: The simple version of this explanation is that inside the monitor casing there is a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT). The CRT has an electron gun assembly that fires electron beams that the mask shields and directs into specific phosphors that glow and illuminate the image. Many Hitachi monitors use a new PrecisionFocusTM technology that provides an additional focus mechanism that ensures, crisper, brighter images that are 10% sharper than the previous state of the art. In addition, Hitachi uses Invar Shadow Mask technology that is composed of a special heat resistant alloy which resists the warping that some shadow mask monitors may experience.

The importance of resolution: Resolution is the number of horizontal dots multiplied by the number of vertical dots (pixels). Resolution (the density of the screen image) tells the consumer how much information can be displayed on the screen.

Dot Pitch: Dot pitch is the diagonal distance between two phosphors of the same color. The smaller the dot pitch, the better the image - images will look crisper and edges will appear smoother. Dot pitch is a KEY element to consider when purchasing a monitor. Most Hitachi monitors have a .21mm horizontal dot pitch and a vertical dot pitch ranging from .13mm - .16mm vertical - one of the lowest dot pitches available to ensure, crisp details - even at the edges.

Refresh Rates: Refresh rates indicate the speed at which a screen is refreshed or re-drawn. The higher the refresh rate, the less "flicker" a user will encounter. Anything above 75 Hz for the monitor’s prime resolution setting is considered VESA standard - a rating system that enables a monitor vendor to use the "flicker-free" logo. The refresh rates decline at higher resolutions because the number of pixels the monitor must refresh increases, slowing down the refresh speed. Consumers should check the refresh rate at various resolutions. This is also a KEY factor in selecting a monitor because "flicker" is one of the main causes of eyestrain. 85hz refresh rate is generally recognized as flicker free. Since LCD monitors do not suffer from flicker like CRT monitors, in most cases it is better to run a LCD monitor at low refresh rates.

ErgoFlat vs. Flat, Square: Ergo Flat is Hitachi's brand name for its flat-faced monitor and what many call "Perfectly flat". Flat, Square is an industry standard term used since 1997 indicating minimal curvature (but still a curvature) of the monitor tube. Flat, Square is not flat-faced like an ErgoFlat. There are benefits to both technologies at this time. Flat-faced monitors from all manufactureers have some advantages & drawbacks. On the plus side, they have much less glare than the Flat, Square (FS) & images have a flater, more realistic appearance. Some common problems with competitive flat-faced monitors range from low brightness and poor performance at the edges and corners to convergence and beam landing issues. Hitachi overcomes these issues by using special glass with a 44% transmission rate(most aperture grille models have 38 - 41% transmission rate) for improved brightness and contrast. In addition, because of the Invar shadow mask tube, our flat-face model does not require the multiple circuitry controls used by aperture grille models to prevent heat warping, as our new shadow mask has a 25G minimum strength rating. Still many critics feel flat, square monitors may have an edge in sharpness and geometry, as well as a price that is more accessible for most consumers. Below is a picture of the side of both an Ergo Flat and Flat, Square monitor so you can visually see the difference and decide which meets your needs.

Ergo Flat Flat, Square

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