In the old days, when CRTs ruled, I remember that monitors were manufactured specifically for the location in the world in which they were to be sold. Amongst other things, the Earths magnetic field influenced the display (or something like that). This meant for example, that buying a CRT monitor in the USA, and bringing it back to New Zealand wasn't a good idea, and not just because of the excess baggage charge..

Does this apply to LCD monitors?

Are there any gotchas I should be aware of if I intend to bring a nice LCD back home on my next trip?

  • 3
    +1 I never would have thought CRT monitors are calibrated for a specific hemisphere! Mar 1, 2011 at 15:39

2 Answers 2


Sometimes a quick google is the smarter option.. From everything-science.com

Monitors are indeed calibrated differently for different hemispheres. LCD monitors are not affected. Some high-end CRT monitors have an OSD (on screen display) that allows you to select which hemisphere you're in.

emphasis added for effect.

  • +1 "Sometimes a quick google is the smarter option."
    – Icode4food
    Mar 1, 2011 at 14:37
  • 6
    If a Google search doesn't lead you to a StackExchange site, then by all means, ask here. The goal is to have authoritative answers here that search engines can find.
    – JYelton
    Mar 1, 2011 at 15:53
  • 1
    +1 JYelton. I was about to downvote till I noticed this was the OP heh. Mar 1, 2011 at 20:55

The only thing I can think of that might affect moving an electrical device from one country to another is the voltage of the power circuit.

As long as your monitor can accept (or be switched between) ~240V and ~110V then you should be OK.

I've never heard of CRTs being affected by the Earth's magnetic field in such a way that you couldn't move them between hemispheres, but as I've never done it I would never have encountered this problem.

  • Yes, besides, even if the CRTs were, I distinctly remember some kind of Degauss feature that would sort of recalibrate the electron beams, I think.
    – Zsub
    Mar 1, 2011 at 10:48
  • Horrified that my memory might be failing me, I did a quick search: google.co.nz/… and found this as the first link: support.apple.com/kb/TA45151?viewlocale=en_US Interesting, I found the answer to my primary question there too. (LCDs are unaffected by this phenomena) Mar 1, 2011 at 11:01
  • @Scott - I stand corrected.
    – ChrisF
    Mar 1, 2011 at 11:02
  • 1
    In the 1980s, there was a shortage of CRTs (IBM or HP I think) in the UK and so one enterprising UK distributor imported a pallet from Australia (same voltage) and made a killing by being able to supply when others couldn't. The profits were short-lived, however, as they had to send out an engineer to manually re-align all the monitors for the Northern hemisphere
    – Linker3000
    Mar 1, 2011 at 11:28
  • 1
    @laurent-rpnet: There are 2 reasons for that: First, the peak magnetic flux is lower in Brazil (and South America in general) than other parts of the world. Secondly, the problem is more to do with the incidence of the magnetic flux. In Canada, it's above positive 68 degrees, in Australia, it's between negative 40 and negative 70 degrees, Brazil is +/- 15 or so degrees. The electron beam is affected more by it's orientation than anything else in Brazil.
    – MBraedley
    Mar 2, 2011 at 0:39

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