Articles: Monitors

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A pithecanthropus took a stick in his hand and that’s how modern man was born…Or something like that. Man was developing over time and gave birth to the personal computer somewhere in the second half of the 20th century. Some even say that it was the birth of the next link in the evolution chain to come after man. But we are not going to talk about such futuristic forecasts, but rather about the evolution of PCs themselves.

Unlike humans or dinosaurs, PCs are losing physical weight and size on their way to perfection. However strong, this tendency is not overwhelming, though. Take the computer display, which doesn’t want to fit into the picture. The idea to shorten the cathode-ray tube was far from success and received small demand. Meanwhile, all the other PC components were losing weight and size, and something had to be done about displays, too.

By middle 90-s the argument grew hotter: which technology was going to be the basis for the flat display of the future? For example, there was a proposition to make a monitor consisting of a number of miniature electron guns. In fact, it would be a kinescope for every pixel of the screen…

And all the time the answer lay at hand. Household appliances makers, including watchmakers, didn’t wait for TV-set and display manufacturers to come to an agreement, but all went over to a new material for their small displays with a diagonal of several inches long. That was liquid crystals.

Yeah, this solution was handy: small-sized, absolutely flat, inexpensive, and available right now. Liquid crystals came into watches, remote controls, various appliances, and even toys. Over time, they learned to make color LCD screens to the utmost joy of all domestic appliances manufacturers. Display makers, on the contrary, were still fumbling with their electronic guns.

Well, the progress was underway and by the time the display makers learned to manufacture color active matrixes, the production expenses allowed making first LCD display models of the desktop format (14-15”) at an affordable price. Such dimensions more than made up for numerous disadvantages. The market just hadn’t seen anything like that yet. Regrettably, the progress took an ordinary evolutionary way. Improved production technologies made matrixes cheaper, while they were getting larger. Considerable improvements were made with main screen characteristics, like response time and viewing angle.

Meanwhile, best available LCD representatives cannot compete by many criteria with even out-dated CRT display models. And it’s not the notorious viewing angle: we would like to see a man who wants to work looking at the display at an angle of 10 degrees. This is not critical. What is important though, it is the whole bunch of other disadvantages: color distortion when the viewing angle changes, even remaining in the specified range, susceptibility to low temperatures, the necessity of backlighting, telling hard on power consumption as well as the screen size. So, while PC makers were sorting out their unexpectedly inherited treasure of liquid crystals, household appliances companies started looking for a new alternative.


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