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A vector display is a type of display in which an electron gun is used to draw patterns on the monitor. Unlike standard cathode ray tube (CRT) technology used in televisions, in which horizontal lines are drawn in sequence, a vector display only creates images on the screen where necessary, and skips over blank areas.
A vector display is also known as a vector monitor.
In vector displays, the lines are directly drawn without any predefined grid or pattern. The electron gun producing the beam of light is controlled by a command which signals it when to turn on or off. Lines are smooth and follow the patterns of pure mathematical models. Shapes like polygons and bitmaps are not possible to be drawn by vector graphics. Displaying artifacts like aliasing and pixelation are absent in vector graphics, but colors are usually limited in CRT vector monitors.
Vector displays were commonly used in early video games such as Asteroids and Tempest, as well as the Vectrex home system.