I'm really dumbstruck by this one. I see it everywhere now, though. The last time I bought a monitor, a Samsung 1941BW, it was just marketed as 19-inches widescreen. Before that, LCDs, TVs, and CRTs were advertising "viewable" or "diagonal" area, and would often come with a sticker or logo which described the diagonal line, and where I should measure if I wanted to check for myself.

But, how the heck do I know what a 22-inch class monitor is? I just bought a TV which is marked 19-inch "class". What is this? It's even on laptop ads.

2 Answers 2

  • Diagonal: the actual diagonal corner-to-corner size of the display, measured (more or less) exactly. e.g. 13.3"

  • Class: The diagonal measurement rounded to a whole number for easier discussion and marketing. e.g. 13"

  • Viewable: Not generally used anymore. If you do see it these days you're either looking at a CRT monitor or it's being used synonymously with the diagonal measurement.

  • To be clear: Is it correct that most advertised "diagonal" measurements these days equate to "viewable"? Or are they also including the screen bezel and other areas where content is not displayed?
    – Iszi
    Jul 23, 2014 at 18:58
  • I know it's late, but, @Iszi, yes, it means viewable. It's the dimension of the actual display area, not the bezel. I do wish bezel width were given, but nobody does that, sadly. Mar 25, 2017 at 3:20

"Class" is them rounding the decimal off of the actual number. 21.7 vs 22.3, both "22 inch class". You kind of get it in laptops these days where a 15" laptop can be anything from 14.9" to 15.6".

'Viewable' went by the way-side when CRTs went away.

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