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Degaussing is a technique for removing magnetization on a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor. Televisions and cathode ray tube monitors are susceptible to buildup of magnetic fields. Degaussing helps the CRT monitor to repair and correct any visual distortions displayed, thereby improving the overall quality of the picture.
Modern cathode ray tube monitors have built-in degaussing circuits, while certain models, especially older ones, have a manual switch to trigger the degaussing circuit. Some models provide both options of degaussing.
The degaussing circuit makes use of a coil of wire that is capable of neutralizing magnetic fields within the cathode ray tube. Tubes which do not have an internal coil can also be degaussed with the help of an external handheld coil. External degaussing coils are stronger than internal degaussing coils, as more robust degaussing coils are larger in size. During the degaussing action, the magnetic field begins to oscillate rapidly inside the tube causing a decrease in amplitude. This results in a small but randomized field, causing discoloration. One of the easiest ways to identify the degaussing circuit is in action is by listening for a buzzing sound or by seeing the screen image vibrate for few seconds. This happens while switching on the CRT monitor which has a built-in degaussing circuit or when the manual button for degaussing is pressed.
In the case of electronic displays, degaussing helps in improving picture resolution. Display manufacturers often included the internal coil for degaussing the display. Degaussing is only required for monitors and televisions based on CRT technology. As the technology in non-CRT ones is different, degaussing is not required.