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Chapter 2. Hardware Basics > Monitors/Displays

Monitors/Displays

It is somewhat surprising that the technology behind monitors and televisions is over a hundred years old. The precise origin of the cathode-ray tube (CRT) is subject to controversy and can be debated. It's generally agreed that German scientist Karl Ferdinand Braun developed the first controllable CRT in 1897. He added alternating voltages to the device to enable it to send controlled streams of electrons from one end of the tube to the other. However, it wasn't until the late 1940s that CRTs were used in the first television sets. CRTs found in modern day monitors have undergone modifications to improve picture quality. But they still follow the same basic principles.

Dot Pitch

The dot pitch specification for a display monitor tells you how sharp the displayed image can be. The dot pitch is measured in millimeters (mm), and a smaller number means a sharper image. In desktop monitors, common dot pitches are .31 mm, .28 mm, .27 mm, .26 mm, and .25 mm. Personal computer users will usually want .28 mm or finer. Some large monitors for presentation use may have a larger dot pitch (.48 mm, for example). Think of the dot specified by the dot pitch as the smallest physical visual component on the display. A pixel is the smallest programmable visual element and maps to the dot if the display is set to its highest resolution. When set to lower resolutions, a pixel encompasses multiple dots.


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