What is an analog monitor?

An analog monitor is a cathode ray tube (CRT) that resembles a conventional television. Analog monitors ruled the computer screen market for decades until the digital revolution delivered flat panel displays for liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in the 1990s. By 2003 sales of digital monitors reached CRTs. While there were some benefits, initially, holding on to an analog monitor, improvements in LCD technology and falling prices soon caused analog displays to go the way of the dinosaurs.

An analog monitor has a deep footprint to accommodate the cathode ray design that shoots electrons through a tube at the back of a phosphor screen enclosed in a chamber filled with aspirated gas. The camera is lead coated to prevent radiation leakage, making the analog monitors very heavy. Even a small monitor can weigh 35 pounds (~ 16 kg).

Despite the lead-lined interior, significant radiation escapes from the monitor’s view screen, relative to LCD screens that produce almost no radiation. Anti-radiation add-on and adaptive anti-glare displays helped reduce frontal radiation and reduce eyestrain for those who spent several hours a day on the spot in front of these once-ubiquitous monitors.

Computers speak a digital language of singles and zeros. An analog monitor requires a waveform (analog) signal. The analog graphics card, installed in the computer, can translate the digital instructions from a computer into an analog signal that is sent to the monitor. LCD monitors use digital technology, which eliminates analog translation.

Some of the earliest analog monitors available on the market were monochrome displays that featured green text on a black background. Beginning in 1981 the ability to display color traveled through many iterations and lots of acronyms pointed to more and larger color palettes and higher resolutions. By the time LCDs usurped the market, the average analog monitor was capable of resolutions of at least 1024 x 768 with an infinite number of colors on the palette.

Analog monitor’s positive attributes include the ability to display various native resolutions delivering accurate and vivid action, true color can see from any angle. In contrast, LCDs can emulate multiple resolutions, but only one resolution is native and recommended. The first LCD screens were also “ghost” or blurred action due to the slow pixel response rate, and the viewing angle was limited as colors washed out when viewed off-center. These drawbacks were quickly resolved to the satisfaction of the vast majority of the market, although some staunch graphics professionals and traditionalists might still go on to find the preferable analog monitor for their purposes.

  • Analog monitors offered a cathode ray tube, which projects the image onto the screen.
  • An analog monitor.

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