A brief history of computer displays

From blinking lights and punch cards to LCDs and 3D flat panels, we trace the 70-year history of the tech that users rely on to see what a computer is doing.

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The Early LCD Era

Yet another alternative display technology -- the liquid crystal display -- arrived on the scene in the 1960s and made its commercial debut in pocket calculators and wristwatches in the 1970s. Early portable computers of the 1980s perfectly utilized LCDs, which were extremely energy-efficient, lightweight, and thin displays. Early LCDs were monochrome and low contrast, and they required a separate backlight or direct illumination for users to read them properly.

Photos: PC-Museum.com, Old-Computers.com, Steven Stengel

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A brief history of computer displays

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