Replacement Screen Considerations

Buying a TFT monitor a replacement for a CRT monitor

If you are simply looking to replace a failing CRT Monitor with a TFT Monitor, as economically as possible there are a few details you should consider.

Firstly, the connection or Interface to the screen.  Older PCs may only have a Analogue (D-Sub or HD15) VGA connector.  Some TFT Monitors do not have analogue inputs and would not be able to be connected to the PC.Try to source a replacement screen with analogue and DVI (Digital Video Interface) connections for best compatibility and for ease of connection to a new PC.

Screen Size.  The replacement screen dimensions are measured differently, CRT Monitors are measured and quoted actual screen size (behind the bezel - not actual display size.  A 15" CRT monitor typical has a display size a little under 14", while 17" CRT monitors usually gas a display size around 15.5".  It is, therefore possible to replace both 15" and 17" CRT monitors with a cheap and economic 15" TFT screen with 1024 x 768 resolution.

Even though the display will be slightly smaller that a 17" monitor, the far superior picture quality and sharpness more than compensates for this - and actually makes the picture appear larger, due to the clearer display.

If the screen was being used for more than the most simple applications then it is appropriate to consider a 19" (non-widescreen) replacement screen with 1280 x 1024 resolution.  The larger screen area does not a provide larger text size (see our pages on "Native Resolution" for more information) - but provides a larger "Working Area", i.e. the Area of the screen after the borders and toolbars  have loaded is greater.  With applications providing ever more options and toolbars, the actual usable area of the screen reduces, so a higher resolution screen is a benefit in this situation.

We recommend using either 17" or 19" TFT monitors as replacements for CRT screens as they have a much clearer display and are physically smaller and considerably lighter.

Both 17" and 19" displays in non-widescreen format usually have the same screen resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels, which is commonly supported, even by older systems.  Many systems do not correctly support widescreen monitors with resolutions such as 1440 x 900 and may require upgraded graphics cards to work properly.

A 19" screen will offer a slightly larger text / font size compared to the 17" models and are correspondingly more expensive and larger.

We also recommend avoiding "Widescreen" format monitors as replacements for CRT screens.  Firstly, they have limited vertical resolution, reducing the number of rows of a spreadsheet that are shown, for example.  Secondly, many PCs over 18 months to  2 years old cannot display the correct resolution for these monitors to operate correctly.  This may require a driver upgrade or replacement video card and complicate what should be a simple screen replacement.