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Dr Dale Miles - learndigital.net
Dr. Dale Miles


 
 

Digital Diagnostics Flat Panel Displays (LCDs) Vs.
CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)
Dale A. Miles DDS, MS, FRCD
Diplomate, ABOMR

Introduction

Ok, so you’ve checked out the sensor systems or you’re modernizing your office, and you want to introduce flashy yet ergonomic technology. It’s time to go flat! No, not flat broke (although these improvements cost money), but rather "flat panel". You’re bombarded with the TV ads. You see them at dental trade shows. You’re impressed by "slim"! Who wouldn’t be? If you are considering flat panel LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitors, there are some things you should know.

CRT Vs. LCD for Color Display

Hands-down, the flat panel LCD monitors can probably outperform even the best CRT computer monitors when it comes to color and brightness. Even if they’re not better, they’re certainly as good and much sexier. Flat panel displays of contrast ratios of 350:1 or better look amazing. Your clinical images and your patient education modules will look great. Add built-in speakers, place them on your chair’s light pole and you have a contemporary and professional look in your office, and you can start to do a lot more things chairside!

CRT Vs. LCD for Text

Here the CRTs have it! Look at text on an LCD display and you usually see "boxy" letters, especially if you magnify the screen image (the same thing will happen with radiographic images by the way). But for everyday viewing, our eye is forgiving of this problem.

CRT Vs. LCD for "X-rays"

Here again, the CRTs outperform the LCDs. This is because most radiographic images use are displayed in only 256 shades (8 bit images). So, the LCDs which are so good with color have a tougher time with gray-scale images. Remember that high contrast is good for caries detection, but a longer scale of contrast is preferred for most other tasks. LCDs simply do not handle gray images as well as color.

CRT Vs. LCD for "Diagnosis"

If you wanted to have an ideal situation, you might consider one CRT in the office for radiographic interpretation and use LCDs everywhere else. Even chairside, the patient will not notice the difference with an LCD, but you might. So maybe you could have a quiet area where you treatment plan and interpret your images with the higher resolution CRT.

I have put together a comparison table to help you with your decision. There are hundreds of different LCD models from dozens of manufacturers. I’ve chosen to compare 17" monitors from some very good manufacturers with similar features and specifications. Hope this helps you as you "Go Digital"

LCD Monitor Comparison

Feature

Size

Contrast Ratio

Resolution

Dot pitch

Speakers

Cost

Weight

Brand

             

Compaq FP7020

17"

400:1

1280x1024

0.264

no

$1539

33 lbs

Cornea CT1702

17"

400:1

1280x1024

0.264

Yes, TV tuner

$599

15 lbs

HP f70

17"

?

1280x1024

0.264

Yes

$599

41 lbs

NEC LCD1700NX

17"

400:1

1280x1024

0.264

No

$729

19 lbs

Samsung 170 MP

17"

400:1

1280x1024

0.264

Yes, built-in

$649

23 lbs

Sony SDM-X72

17’

400:1

1280x1024

0.264

Yes

$699

22 lbs

Sony SDM-X202/B

20.1"

350:1

1600x1200

0.255

Yes

$1999

27 lbs

 

 
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