Monitor encyclopedia

When buying a new monitor, a lot of technical terms and abbreviations come up that you can’t always make sense of. These can also differ considerably from monitor to monitor and not every value is important for what mach wants to use the screen for. To get a better overview, we have listed all common terms and important terms alphabetically here, so that you are well prepared when buying a new monitor and can find the best device for your needs.

Refresh rate

The refresh rate is measured in hertz (Hz for short) and indicates how often an image is built up on the screen per second. In English, this is usually indicated with fps (frames per second). Refresh rates of 60 to 240 Hz are possible with modern displays, and the higher the hertz number, the clearer and smoother movements look during playback.


The luminance is measured in cd/m². The cd stands for candela, which is derived from Latin and means candle. Candela is the name for the physical quantity of luminous intensity and indicates how much light is emitted from a certain direction. In the case of a monitor, this designation indicates how bright a screen can become.


This is a VESA-standardized connection standard for transmitting digital image and sound signals. Compared to the HDMI connection, a DisplayPort supports G-Sync from Nvidia and is therefore interesting for gamers. Also, multiple displays can be connected in series via a DisplayPort. Users of Apple devices like MacBooks should also make sure that the monitor has a DisplayPort.


DVI refers to an electronic interface and was the first widespread standard for a connection from a monitor to the computer’s graphics card so that images could be transmitted digitally. Since a DVI interface can also transmit analog signals, it was long considered a universal interface. In the meantime, there are fewer and fewer monitors with such a connection, as the interface has been replaced by HDMI or DisplayPort.


HDMI stands for “High Definition Multimedia Interface” and is an interface that transmits both image and sound signals. In the meantime, there are various known versions that indicate what amount of data can be transmitted within one second. While HDMI 1.2 can only transmit 3.96 Gbit/s, HDMI 2.0 manages up to 14.4 Gbit/s and HDMI 2.1 a maximum of 42.6 Gbit/s. It is also important to know which resolution can be used with which version. From version 1.3, resolutions with 2560 x 1440 pixels can be transmitted. HDMI 2.1 should be used for an unrestricted UHD display. HDMI cables can also only have a maximum length of ten meters, otherwise errors will occur in the transmission. Therefore, the cable quality, the cable length and the reception properties of the HDMI receiver are crucial for error-free transmission.


HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and is a format with which a larger dynamic, (contrast) and color range can be stored. It is also often used as a generic term for the various newer formats (HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision). With the HDR format HDR10, colors can be stored with 10 bit color depth in the Rec 2020 color space.

Input Lag

Input lag stands for input delay and indicates how long it takes for a reaction to a command. For example, it indicates how quickly a click on the mouse button can also be recognized on the screen.


IPS stands for In Plane Switching, which means “changing in the plane”. IPS panels rely on liquid crystals that do not let light through when they are parallel to the screen plane. If they do let light through, they rotate along the horizontal and thus remain parallel to the plane. One disadvantage of this technology is that it doesn’t produce as deep a black as other panels because the crystals can’t block the light completely. The contrast also only reaches a value of about 1000:1.An advantage, however, is that the picture quality remains fairly constant under oblique viewing angles and thus the intensity and the authenticity of the colors are largely maintained. This makes IPS panels particularly suitable for image editing and if you like to play colorful and detailed games that do not require increased speed. The further development of Nano IPS enables an even higher color space.

Local Dimming

This is a form of backlighting for monitors with LC technology. The LEDs are distributed over the entire surface in local dimming, so the display is illuminated more evenly. If you want to achieve an even better contrast or a higher black value, the LEDs can also be dimmed or turned off completely.

Response time

The response time of a monitor is specified in milliseconds and thus describes the time that a pixel needs to change its color. The typical response time is 10ms, but you should pay attention to a response time of 1ms, especially for gaming monitors.


The abbreviation VESA is used for the standard defined by the eponymous Video Electronics Standards Association (Flat Display Mounting Interface (FDMI)) for mounting wall mounts. The two numbers (e.g.: 600 x 400) stand for the horizontal and vertical hole spacing of the threads. For monitors, the VESA standard is 100 x 100 in most cases.


VRR, or Variable Refresh Rate, is the ability to vary the frame rate between a TV and a game console or gaming PC. However, both components have to support VRR. This prevents tearing during fast movements without having to manually reduce the picture quality or resolution.


Vertical synchronization, VSync for short, prevents graphics cards from updating the image data while the monitor builds up the image. This limits the frame rate of the graphics card and adapts it to the frequency of the monitor. With a 60 Hz monitor, for example, only 60 frames are output by the graphics card. Among other things, this prevents tearing, which otherwise leads to graphic irregularities.