We live in a world filled with everyday, modern technology, such as mobile phone screens, LED screens, ATM screens, large screen displays showing advertisements on the road side, Plasma screens displayed during a sports match and those found on laptops.
They are displayed everywhere and it seems almost impossible to imagine our life without the inclusion of these screen displays, We are so used to seeing them that we take the original PC monitors for granted. However, not long before the middle of the twentieth century, they were not even an idea in the making.
In the early days, computing was carried out via paper inputs and paper outputs. The information was punched onto a piece of paper or card on one computer and could then be received on the other end via card or paper.
Displaying information in a graphical format would shortly follow on with the output device called a "computer monitor" consisting of a display device and its circuits encased in a casing box attached to a power supply. The modern-day LCD or TFT-LCD (Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display) are the newest versions currently used as computer monitors. They now employ the use of cold cathode fluorescent light backlighting and have replaced the light emitting diode backlighting monitors of the past.
The journey of the modern day computer monitor took a long time to get to where it is today. It all started with the invention of cathode ray tubes, CRTs invention in 1922. But they weren’t used in computer monitors until the middle of the 20th century. The first product was a monitor which contained a selection of light bulbs to visually display when something is connected or working, such as the indicator for Wi-Fi on the modems we use today.
The computer monitor was first publicly displayed in the 1950s and was affectionately called "Bertie the Brain" having been developed by Dr Joseph Kates. It featured a display of small light bulbs and a height of approximately four meters making it much larger than the monitors we know today. It also featured the very first computer game, tic tac toe which could be played on it. Unfortunately, it was not preserved and we have lost the greatest part of history related to monitors. The cathode ray tube monitors provided colourless vector graphics and it was impossible to view text or images on them.
As time progressed they were engineered to display text and graphics and quickly became commonplace in homes, schools and offices. With the passing years, development and evolution of technology resulted in built-in terminal monitors. These were capable of sending video output to basic CCTV monitors.
In 1976, Apple unveiled the first computer to contain this type of output display. People were able to plug an external video monitor into the system to review the output information. Within years, the RF modulators were created that enabled people to connect a device such as Apple I or Apple II to an output display or television.
CRTs are still available but the most convenient option people tend to prefer is the modern Liquid Crystal Display that has been manufactured since the 1980s and hit the industry in early 2000s. It quickly gained momentum in the electronics market and in 2007, surpassed sales of cathode ray tubes.
LCD allowed the creation of laptops and helped provide a better quality of image, text and video on lightweight and thin screens. The computer monitor has evolved from a 4-meter tall giant to the 5 inch, HD screens we have on our phones.