Meet Your Monitor

Most people are familiar with using a monitor, be it for the personal computer, a gaming module, or whatever else is relevant. However, very few understand exactly how monitors are made, how they work, and how their manufacturers talk about them. This article will be a little intro to the world of monitors.

A monitor is the display of a computer. It’s the most-used output device for computers and provides feedback by showing you the text and image graphics that relate to your work or play.

resolutionYou’ve probably heard of an LCD screen. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. There are also CRT screens, and CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube. Most laptops use LCD technology because LCD screens are so much smaller and use so much less energy. LCD is also what’s referred to when you hear of “plat panel” or “flat screens.”

You’ve also probably heard people talk about a screen’s resolution. The resolution is the amount of pixels contained on a display. The resolution usually looks like a multiplication equation (i.e. 800X600) where the numbers in the equation represent┬áthe amount of pixels on the horizontal axis and the number of pixels on the vertical axis.

As years go by, technology advances and allows for larger screens to be created. Also, the same sized screens can now hold more pixels, meaning they have a higher resolution.

To discuss these aspects of a screen, people utilize something called the aspect ratio and the screen size. The aspect ratio refers to the shape of the screen. If the ratio is 4:3, the ratio of the screen’s width to the screen’s height is 4 to 3. That means widescreen monitors have aspect ratios like 16:9 or 16:10.

measuring_sizeWhen measuring a screen’s size, one number is generally used that represents the length from one corner of the screen to the corner diagonally across from it. This method was apparently adopted by TV manufacturers in an attempt to make the TV seem a little larger than it actually was (because people assume the measurement is the horizontal). With the aspect ratio and the value of the diagonal, the width and height can be mathematically deduced, but generally the numbers are provided.

It’s important to keep in mind that the measuring system for CRT monitors differs from that used for LCD monitors. CRT monitors have screen size measured from the outside edges of the display casing, while LCD monitors have their screen sizes measured diagonally from the actual beveled edges of the projection surface (screen). This is a much more accurate way of measuring screen size.

Keeping in mind resolution and screen size, it now makes sense to assert that an image on a 19-inch monitor with an 800X600 pixel resolution will look less sharp than the same image on a 13-inch screen with an 800X600 pixel resolution. Put simply, the pixels themselves are smaller on a smaller screen with the same resolution as a larger screen.


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