Compared with the boxy and limited monitors of yesterday, today’s flat computer monitor screen models are like the difference between night and day. A computer monitor is simply the device that is used to display the processes of a computer to the user. These monitors are connected to the central processing unit, or CPU, of a computer and react in real-time to commands that are processed by the CPU. There are three main parts to a computer monitor: the circuitry, the display device, and the enclosure that houses the internal components. In an LCD computer monitor, the display device is a liquid crystal display. This has changed from the earliest models of computers that used a cathode ray tube as a display device. Modern models often have better imaging than television screens and this is leading to computers becoming as much an entertainment device as the television once was. The change in monitors is reflected in how computers impact the many aspects of everyday life, from how a person receives news to how their purchases are totaled at the grocery store.
The first accessible computer models to feature a monitor were Apple and Commodore types that used the cathode ray tubes for display. The first computer LCD monitor was a type known as a TTL monitor. Used with an assortment of graphics adapters, these monitors were monochrome, meaning they only featured one color, usually white or green, on a black background. The next development in LCD computer monitor technology came with RGB monitors. These were able to display sixteen colors and were the beginning of a new era of computer technology as true graphics became available to users. With the development of VGA, computer LCD monitor technology moved into the modern age. Resolution was greatly increased while the amount of energy needed to power the devices was drastically reduced. One of the reasons that it gained widespread popularity was the fact that IBM, its creator, convinced a large number of computer manufacturers to make sure their devices were compatible with this new technology. Users of the popular Microsoft Windows operating system can still see VGA graphics in the splash screen that appears on each start of Windows.
Computers impact how people live on a day-to-day basis and nowhere is this more evident than the future of the computer monitor. Current and future models are coming closer and closer to presenting graphics with almost lifelike clarity. One of the most dramatic monitor technologies to emerge has been plasma screens. These models have contrast ratios that are much higher (10000:1 or more) than alternative technologies and have nearly no distortion due to color, saturation, or geometry. One technology that is considered to be at the forefront is OLED, or organic light-emitting diode. A flat computer monitor screen with this technology is thinner and requires no backlight.