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Fuzzy LCD

This hardly seems on-topic but I see a lot of LCD questions here so I thought I'd give it a try.

I bought a 19" LCD and although JPEGs look perfect, on 'textish' software such as Outlook, Word, etc. it is very 'jiggly'. Its as if it is a CRT and you can see the electron beam scanning down the face of the monitor once a second. (Yes, I know LCDs dont use electron beams and Yes, I know it would be more than once per second. That's just what it looks like).

My question is: is this most likely the monitor? Or do I need a better video card? Or could it possibly be something inside Windows? (I tried screwing around with refresh rate, etc. to no avail).
Thinking About The Returns Lineup Send private email
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
This is normal for an LCD. "Fuzzy" is the wrong term, though -- as you noted the picture is *sharp* enough to show individual pixels. The CRT screen is the one that's naturally fuzzy, hence text looks smoother than on LCDs.

If you're running XP try enabling LCD-specific anti-aliasing in the display options (ClearType it's called I think).
Chris Nahr Send private email
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Steve Gibson called it Sub-Pixel Font Rendering Send private email
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
I've ALWAYS noticed that on desktop LCD screens, but not on laptops.

I have been told that this is because most desktop systems are using ANALOG video cards.  I'm planning to get an LCD screen and hope that a digital video card will produce as crisp an image as on my crt.
Mr. Analogy {ISV owner} Send private email
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Make sure you're using a resolution that's "native" for the screen.  On my laptop, I can set resolution to lots of sizes other than the native resolution of the LCD, but the screen loses sharpness when in those modes.

For a 19" LCD, the resolution is probably 1280x1024 for a low- to mid-end screen.
D. Lambert Send private email
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
I used analog video out when I first bought my current LCD (Dell 1800FP) with complete satisfaction.  The older LCDs had pretty crappy analog-to-digital converters that resulting in weird "shimmers" such as those described earlier in the thread.

If you are driving the display at its native resolution (and this isn't just bad configuration), upgrading to DVI out or upgrading the display should eradicate this.

I'm actually surprised to hear of a recent-vintage LCD still having this problem.
Art Send private email
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
To second the last post, use DVI. If you can't, you'll find some adjustments to the timing etc for the analog connection on the panel's OSD. Fiddle with these until things look better - the 'Auto' function doesn't always get it right.
.NET Guy
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
DVI is the only way to go. It makes all the difference in the world. Upgrade to a new graphics card if you don't already have DVI!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Thanks for the feedback. I was referring to my home PC; my work one has an LCD on it, and it always looks perfect. I think I will try my home LCD on my work computer and see what happens and buy a new card if the LCD looks OK.

Happy New Year !!
Thinking About The Returns Lineup Send private email
Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Assuming you are using analogue input:

Check the monitor's control panel. Look for options relating to 'clock', 'focus', 'timing' and so on. If it doesn't have them, take it back.

Now set your desktop background to alternating black/white pixels in a chequered pattern. (Nvidia cards have a test pattern somewhere in their special section of the display properties -- that will do just as well.) If your monitor is ill-configured, this will be a complete interferency mess.

Now return to the options I mentioned, and fiddle until the display looks good. On my monitor, 'clock' had little effect (this moves screen left/right a bit), but 'focus' made a big difference. Make sure you can see every pixel individually, and minimize any shimmering or swimming. There may be several reasonably good focus positions, so try all of them.

Once you've done that, tweak position until it's centred. Move mouse cursor to right edge, and ensure you can still see the edge of the cursor. Move cursor to left edge, and ensure likewise.

It's unlikely you'll get it 100% perfect, but this should be tons better, assuming I've diagnosed the problem correctly.

Assuming you are using DVI:

The monitor is broken. Take it back.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Oh yes, and two more notes:

1. The timing settings are (that I've found) card-, resolution- and frequency-specific. Have fun :-|

2. Setting display adapter to 60Hz may give a slightly better display on some cards. I think this has something to do with, erm... stuff. (I don't know the reason, actually, but it is very noticeable on some graphics cards: 85Hz is blurry but steady, and 60Hz is sharp but flickery. Hopefully less of an issue with newer ones.)
Wednesday, December 29, 2004

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