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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Two Important Monitor Innovations

In the early days of the IBM PC, users needed a different monitor for each display scheme, be it MDA, CGA, EGA, or something else. To address this, NEC invented the first multisync monitor (called "MultiSync"), which dynamically supported a range of resolutions, scan frequencies, and refresh rates all in one box. That capability soon became standard in the industry.

In 1987, IBM introduced the VGA video standard and the first VGA monitors, in league with IBM's PS/2 line of computers. Almost every analog video standard since then has built off of VGA (and its familiar 15-pin connector).

Photos: NEC, IBM

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