Types of computer monitors | What is a monitor and its functions explainer

What is monitor and types of computer monitor explained?

In this article, we will give you an insight into what is a monitor, the types of computer monitors, and the function of the monitor.

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What is a Computer Monitor?

A computer monitor is an output device that displays the data and information in pictorial form on the screen.

It is also known as a Visual Display Unit (VDU).

The monitor is just like a TV but the resolution of a monitor is much higher than a Television.

The monitors are available in the market in various sizes.

Whatever, the input is being given to the computer by us is displayed in the form of text, image, video or graphic on the computer screen.

The output displayed on computer screen is known as soft copy.

Function of monitor

The main function of the monitor is to allow users to interact with the computer in the form of text, graphics, display images, and video.

The user uses input devices like a mouse; keyboard etc to give input to the computer and take the desired output post-processing raw data and information.

To make you understand the things better and clear we will now discuss below the different types of monitors and their functions. 

8 Different types of computer monitors and their functions

There are different types of monitors available in the market; they may vary in shapes, sizes, function and colours.

Here is a list of 8 types of computer monitors for you:-

  • Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Monitors
  • Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Monitors
  • Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Monitors
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LED) Monitors
  • Digital Light Processing (DLP) Monitors
  • Touchscreens Monitors
  • Plasma Screen Monitors
  • Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) Monitors

So let’s explore each of the above mentioned monitors one by one and understand the difference between them.

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Monitors

These monitors functions on CRT technology and was used in early computer monitors.

It is basically a vacuum tube having one or more electron guns.

The gun fires electron beams towards the phosphor-coated screen and generates light when electrons hit the screen.

These monitors were heavy and bulky and occupy a lot of space on the desk. It also consumes a lot of electricity.   

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Monitors

The LCD monitors are also known as flat panel display. However, flat panel display is further divided into two categories i.e. volatile and static.

A volatile display shows image only when it has power supply.

They require refreshing electronically their pixels periodically so that they can retain their state.

On the other hand, the static display retains image or text on their screen even the power supply is switched off.

LCD monitors consume very little electricity as compared to CRT monitors. Also, it occupies less space and is lighter in weight.

These monitors are relatively expensive than CRTs.

It display clearer image and the amount of radiation is comparatively less than the CRT monitors.

LCD monitor uses a thin layer of liquid crystal to create an image.

Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Monitors

A TFT monitor uses a thin film transistor technology that improves image quality and contrast. It is an “active matrix” display.

In active matrix method each pixel is connected to a transistor that actively maintains the pixel state at the same time as other pixels are being addressed.  

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) Monitors

LED monitors uses “light emitting diodes” that are extremely small lights while LCDs uses “cold cathode fluorescent lamps” that are formerly known as CCFLs for backlighting.  

There are two types of LED backlighting:-

  • Full array backlighting
  • Edge lighting

Full-array backlighting

In this setup, the diodes are placed evenly across the entire screen. It uses the concept of the local dimming feature.

In local dimming feature image can have both higher contrast pixels and very dark pixels contrast simultaneously.

Consequently, we have images of higher picture quality.

Edge Backlighting

In this setup, the diodes are placed at the edge of the screen. For example, diodes may be placed along all four sides, or on the bottom of the screen.

The LEDs supported by edge backlighting are not able to produce pictures of high quality since they don’t have local dimming features like full-array LEDs.

LEDs are considered much environment friendly than CRTs and LCDs.

Also, they consume comparatively less electricity than both of them. The only demerit of owning a LED is that it is slightly costly.

Features of LEDs

  • Local dimming feature
  • Environment friendly since it produces less heat
  • It consumes less electricity
  • Produces high quality and resolution images

Digital Light Processing (DLP) Monitors

DLP monitors use digital micromirror devices or DMD. In this method, millions of micromirrors are used to produce a video display like digital projectors. 

This technology was developed by Larry Hornbeck of Texas Instruments in 1987.

Touchscreens Monitors

Touchscreens or touch screen monitors consists of both a “touch panel” for input and a “display” for output.

A touch panel is normally placed over the display.  

It enables a user to give input to the computer by using his finger or stylus on the computer screen.

Touchscreens are widely used in game consoles, POS (point of sale), Airports, EVMs (electronic voting machines), ATMs (Automated Teller Machine), and personal computers.

Plasma Screen Monitors

Plasma screen monitors use small cells that contain plasma or ionized gas that responds to the electric fields and illuminates each pixel on the screen.

A plasma screen is a flat and thin display panel.  You can easily mount it on the wall.

There are certain advantages of plasma screens like they provide a better contrast ratio and deeper blacks.

They have better color and a wide side-to-side viewer angle. A plasma screen performs better in dim-lit rooms or dark.

The main disadvantage of a plasma screen is that it produces more heat and uses more energy as compared to LCDs.

Also, they don’t perform that much well in higher altitude areas.

Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) Monitors

Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED) Monitors is a light-emitting diode that consists of a layer of organic compound situated between two electrodes cathode and electrode which emits light in response to the electric current.

Out of these two electrodes at least one is transparent. It works without backlight as it emits visible light.  

OLED is widely used in computer monitors, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant), smartphones, and smartwatches.