Display Monitor

What Does Display Monitor Mean?

A display monitor is an electronic device used to display video output from computers. Display monitors are used in many computer devices, ranging from personal computers (PC) and laptops to small handheld mobile devices, like cellphones and MP3 players.


A display monitor is also known as a computer screen or display screen.

Techopedia Explains Display Monitor

A display monitor is comprised of the following:

  • Display module: Often the type that uses thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) technology
  • Circuitry
  • Case or enclosure

Originally, display monitors were found only on computer devices. As screen technology has become smaller, cheaper and more powerful, display monitors have increasingly been added to a variety of devices.

Until the early 2000s, the prevailing technology was cathode-ray tube (CRT), which was less bulky with a smaller resolution and used more power. Liquid crystal display (LCD) is thinner and consumes less power but was more expensive. So, throughout the 1990s, LCDs were only used in laptops, where portability justified its pricing. Other technologies used are plasma and organic light-emitting diode (OLED).

Many companies brand their monitors as “LED,” which means that LED is used for screen backlighting, versus traditional fluorescent lighting.

Monitor performance is measured according to the following main factors:

  • Luminance: Brightness in candelas per square meter (cd/m2 or Nits)
  • Aspect ratio: Ratio of vertical and horizontal length as in 4:3, 16:9, 16:10
  • Display resolution: Number of pixels per square inch
  • Refresh rate: Number of times the display changes
  • Response time: The time it takes for a pixel to be active (on) to inactive (off) and vice versa. Measured in milliseconds.
  • Contrast ratio: Ratio of luminosity of the brightest (white) to darkest color (black) that can be produced by the monitor
  • Power consumption: Measured in Watts

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.