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Younger individuals might not remember a time before flat-screen televisions or even LCD and LED monitors. But once upon a time, popular computer monitors took up most of your desk and were big and heavy. Once a brand standard, they’ve now fallen out of favor as slim monitors that free up space and aren’t a pain to move is now the gold standard, which you can even hook up to your wall if you know how to mount a monitor. But cathode-ray tube or CRT monitors were a major stepping stone in technology for their time.
CRT monitors are analog display devices that rely on electron beams and phosphor dots to create an image on your screen. Specifically, three electron beams are directed at alternating stripes of red, blue, and green phosphor dots. These dots are activated by an electron beam and depending on the combinations can create a wide array of colors. Typically, the beam makes repetitive scans that “paint” the tube to produce and refresh an image roughly 100 times per second.
Tip: CRT monitors are analog display devices that rely on electron beams and phosphor dots to create an image on your screen
You won’t see any mention of pixels when it comes to CRT monitors. But, if you’d like to learn about pixel technology and what is a computer monitor’s pixel density, check out our resource article for more info.
CRT Monitors are best known for their oversized design with large physical casings that are heavy. This is because the cathode ray tube inside the monitor is large. It’s a glass envelope with a larger front end — a screen that’s usually made from a thick glass.
Warning: CRT Monitors are best known for their oversized design with large physical casings that are heavy
Of all the monitors, CRT understandably has the oldest origins. The earliest version of this technology was invented in 1897 by German physicist Ferdinand Braun. However, other inventors would create modifications over the next few decades. However, the first commercial version of a CRT was released in 1922. It wouldn’t be until 1926 when Kenjiro Takayanagi created a CRT television that could support images in a 40-line resolution.
Tip: The earliest version of this technology was invented in 1897 by German physicist Ferdinand Braun
Over time resolutions and even color outputs were improved. Some of the earliest computer CRT monitors were released in the 1970s and were limited to green text against a black screen. However, by the end of that decade, color CRT computer monitors were widely available.
As time progressed, tech and electronics firms ranging from IBM to RCA and even Zenith all worked to upgrade CRTs by releasing innovations that made them more effective as computer companions. These included high definition resolutions and flat screens to reduce reflections as well as improve image contrast and brightness. Check out this additional guide if you’re wondering what does contrast do on a monitor.
From its inception until the early 2000s, CRT technology was the dominant choice for television sets and computer monitors. It outpaced LCD sales because the older technology was significantly cheaper. However, as flat panel display prices began dropping, consumer adoption increased and the CRT monitor began to fall out of favor. Along the same lines, the thinner and lighter size of LCDs helped to drive the transition both for consumer and commercial uses.
Warning: as flat panel display prices began dropping, consumer adoption increased and the CRT monitor began to fall out of favor
Warning: the thinner and lighter size of LCDs helped to drive the transition both for consumer and commercial uses
Following computer monitor recycling, it’s possible to purchase those recycled CRT monitors, it’s no longer possible to buy new CRT monitors or televisions for consumer purposes. The last known consumer-focused manufacturer for CRT monitors and televisions ceased production in 2015.
However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t still have a loyal following. Some gaming purists who prefer to play older games prefer using CRT monitors because some older games were specifically designed for analog displays. Likewise, in some industries, it’s not uncommon to see CRT monitors in use. For example, the airline industry still uses CRT monitors in the cockpit with both the Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A320 relying on the technology for aviation instruments.
Tip: Some gaming purists who prefer to play older games prefer using CRT monitors because some older games were specifically designed for analog displays
Tip: the airline industry still uses CRT monitors in the cockpit with both the Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A320 relying on the technology for aviation instruments
In the mid-1990s, some 160 million CRTs were made per year. (Wikipedia)
In 1934, the first CRT televisions were made available commercially in Germany by Telefunken. (Computer Hope)
Why Would You Want a CRT Monitor In 2019?
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