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Display Devices > Projectors - Pg. 186

Digital Lifestyle Hardware: Digital Rules, Analog Drools 186 Apple isn't the only producer of flat panel displays; most monitor companies also produce them. Flat panel displays produced by other companies have more variable display quality, but some rival the Apple flat panel displays. The most important difference between Apple flat panels and those pro- duced by other companies is that the standard interface for non-Apple flat panel displays is the DVI connector. Most Macs do not support this interface without the addition of a graphics card that includes the DVI interface. However, Power Macs equipped with the GeForce4 Titanium graphics card include both an ADC and DVI interface so that you can connect either type or one of each type. Because of their superior image quality, you should consider adding a flat panel display to your Mac. NOTE Modern Power Macs feature two display interfaces. Some include an ADC and VGA port while the newest feature an ADC and DVI port. Most Power Macs with dual video ports can support multiple monitors with no additional hardware needed (see the sidebar later in the chapter for information about adding and using multiple monitors). CRT Monitors CRT monitors generate an image by an electron "gun" spraying the backside of a specially coated piece of glass. As the beam strikes the coating, phosphors generate light and the image is displayed. CRT monitors come in many sizes and quality levels. Generally, when it comes to a CRT monitor, you get what you pay for. CRT monitors use the VGA interface, which is the current standard on PC computers and most Macs. NOTE PowerBooks, iMacs, and iBooks offer a VGA port so that you can attach an external monitor to them. While they used to dominate the computer world, CRT monitors are being rapidly replaced by flat panel displays (in fact, the newest Power Macs no longer support CRTs without the addition of a DVI/VGA adapter). Still, CRT monitors are a viable option for most Mac users, especially when adding a second (or third) display to your system. NOTE One parameter that is significant for CRT displays is their dot pitch, which is basically a measure of the size of the dots that appear on the screen. Smaller dot pitches result in higher quality images and more expensive monitors. Projectors Once priced in the stratosphere, projectors were an option only for businesses for which the ability to make presentations was worth the cost of such devices. Now, projectors have decreased in price and increased in quality so that they are a feasible option for many Mac users. As their name implies, a projector projects an image onto a screen, wall, or other flat surface. The main benefit of a projector is that the image size is infinitely variable from very small to huge (most projectors are capable of projecting an image of 100 inches or more). A projector enables you to transform your Mac into a digital movie theater, and you can show your digital lifestyle projects "on the big screen." Of course, they are also way cool for watching DVD movies, playing games, and even surfing the Net. Projectors vary greatly in quality and price with the low end being around $2,000 (the sky is the limit on the high end). The good news is that many projectors support both computer inputs and many others, such as component video used for home theater applications. This means that you can share such projectors with your Mac and your home theater equipment (see Figure 7.6).