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I would guess that the Live CD is selecting a video mode (resolution and refresh frequency) which is not compatible with your monitor. I had a similar, though not quite so extreme, issue with my old Dell Dimension 4600. It has an on-board Intel video card. It works fine with just about any version of Linux IF I use my 19" LCD monitor. The old reliable machine is relegated to testing and has a cheap 15" LCD monitor attached. The monitor will support 1024 x 768 resolution but only if the refresh frequency is to its liking. Live CDs do not work. If I install Ubuntu I can push the resolution to max. With CentOS 5.6 I cannot get more than 800 x 600 because the CentOS driver does not set the correct refresh rate. The only way I could use it with the cheap monitor was to install a new video card.
That said, what sort of hardware are you using? You might want to try Knoppix (the original run from CD Linux) or Fedora and see if you have better luck. Don't give up. There is always a way.