In mid-2006, it's still possible to find new CRT monitors, but flat panels are rapidly becoming the universal choice. Is there still a good reason to buy a CRT?
Maybe. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type:
They're inexpensive. You can find a decent CRT with a 19-inch screen for less than $100 or a very good one for about $200. If you look around, you can probably find a usable secondhand CRT monitor for $20 or less.
The color is more accurate on a CRT. This could be a very big deal if you're a graphic designer.
Color depth and response time are better, so games, DVD movies, and TV shows may look better on a CRT (but LCDs are catching up).
A CRT looks good from any viewing angle.
CRTs can accurately display multiple resolutions and refresh rates.
CRT monitors occupy a lot of desk space.
A CRT monitor can weigh five times as much as an LCD with the same-sized screen.
The phosphors inside a CRT eventually wear out; the image on a three-year-old monitor won't look as good as it did when the monitor was new.
CRTs consume three times as much electricity as LCDs, so they cost three times as much to operate.
Focus around the outer edges of the image is often less sharp than at the center.
The image on a CRT is not as sharp as the same image on an LCD at the LCD's native resolution.
Over time, a CRT monitor becomes less sharp that it was when new.
CRTs are not as bright as LCDs. This can be important in a room with very bright lights or outdoors in sunlight.
CRTs produce magnetic and electromagnetic radiation.
CRTs produce a lot of heat.
Prices of LCD monitors are dropping rapidly.
Flat-panel monitors weigh less and take up much less space than CRTs. You can hang one on the wall or put it on your desk and still have room for other things.
Images on an LCD are sharp across the entire screen.
LCD screens don't flicker.
The image on an LCD screen is sharper and brighter than a CRT.
Extended viewing is less fatiguing.
LCD monitors are more energy efficient, so the cost of operation is lower.
Fast-moving images on an LCD can smear.
LCD screens look best at just one resolution; they don't look as good with non-native resolutions.
LCD screens are hard to read when you try to view them from an angle (but newer monitors have wider viewing angles).
The price of an LCD monitor is likely to be greater than a CRT with comparable quality.
So which is better? For must of us, the size and convenience of an LCD monitor makes it the obvious choice. The shortcomings in LCD image quality are rapidly disappearing, and the prices are dropping. But don't ignore CRTs, especially when price and color quality are important.