The joy of monitors

One of my monitors died this week. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to, which is a good thing. Flat panel LCDs are more reliable than CRTs were. The dead monitor is an LCD, but it was a cheap and nasty Dell 15-inch made in 2001. I bought it used, and for much less than it was worth (even if it was made for the modern-day equivalent of Packard Bell), so I got my money’s worth out of it.

This weekend I went monitor shopping, with a budget of one hundred bucks.When buying new or semi-new, $100 is pretty much the lower limit. Nobody wants to sell a monitor for any less than that. Historically that’s usually been the case anyway. What’s amazing is what $100 will buy. 19 inches is pretty standard, although you’ll have to shop around a bit, and what you’ll buy will probably be a closeout.

Still, that’s remarkable. I remember paying more than $400 for a 19-inch CRT that dominated a desk. This would have been in 2001 or 2002.

And I remember talking with a champion Black Friday shopper several years ago bragging about how many LCDs he was able to scoop up for $200 apiece. These would have been 15-inch models, at best.

My timing turned out to be good though, as woot.com was selling a refurbished, debranded HP 20-inch LCD for $99 yesterday. I picked one up. I would have been satisfied with a 19-inch model, but the local stores had sold out of their 19-inch HP monitors. I’m not terribly picky about monitors, but I’ve really come to like the current generation of HP displays.

Will this monitor still work in 2017? I don’t know. But I have two other LCDs from 2001, both of which work fine. So it might.

Back in the CRT days, I wouldn’t buy anything but an NEC, because I’d never seen any other brand consistently last 8 years. It’s nice to be able to buy any old brand and expect that kind of lifespan today.

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