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What Is It

A monitor or a display is an electrical visual display for computers. The monitor comprises the display device, circuitry and an enclosure. The display device in modern monitors is typically a thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) thin panel, while older monitors used a cathode ray tube (CRT) about as deep as the screen size.

The History Of A Monitor

Early electronic computers were fitted with a panel of light bulbs where the state of each particular bulb would indicate the on/off state of a particular register bit inside the computer. This allowed the engineers operating the computer to monitor the internal state of the machine, so this panel of lights came to be known as the 'monitor'. As early monitors were only capable of displaying a very limited amount of information, and were very transient, they were rarely considered for programme output. Instead, a line printer was the primary output device, while the monitor was limited to keeping track of the programme's operation.


A desktop monitor is typically provided with a stand from the manufacturer which lifts the monitor up to a more ergonomic viewing height. The stand may be attached to the monitor using a proprietary method or may use, or be adaptable to, a video electronics standards association, VESA, standard mount. Using a VESA standard mount allows the monitor to be used with an after-market stand once the original stand is removed. Stands may be fixed or offer a variety of features such as height adjustment, horizontal swivel, and landscape or portrait screen orientation.


On two-dimensional display devices such as computer monitors the display size or viewable image size is the actual amount of screen space that is available to display a picture, video or working space, without obstruction from the case or other aspects of the unit's design. The main measurements for display devices are: width, height, total area and the diagonal.