The days of the good old CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors, in their beige and bulky glory, are but a distant memory for most of us now. With new monitor innovations launched on almost a monthly basis, it is easy to remember their progression over time since the first displays were developed over a century ago. The monitor market continues to improve displays and introduce technologies to give consumers a greater experience. But with 4K resolutions and curved displays taking all the headlines, it is important to remember what transitions they have gone through.
> Where it all began
Dominating the market for many years, CRT monitors were ground-breaking for their time. Up until the early 2000s, the most commonly used displays across offices and private homes were CRT displays. Well known for their weighty and unspectacular appearance, the first CRT display actually dates back to 1897. Developed by German physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun, CRT monitors could take over entire desk spaces. For example, in the nineties, the AOC CT720G measured in at 41.9cm in order to accommodate the colour cathode ray tubes on its inside that used to generate the monitor image on a phosphorescent screen.
> A new era
Although LCD monitors only became widely popular in the early millennium, the first display saw the light of the day in 1972. For a long time, LCD models were very expensive to produce and purchase, giving CRT displays an extended lifetime. Built from layers of filters, glass and liquid crystal, LCD displays did not require the same bulky cathode ray tubes anymore to function, enabling manufacturers to slim down monitors to suit the growing market needs. Suddenly, it became possible to build displays with sharper images and lower energy rates. The birth of the LCD freed up designers to create designs that looked better and were more ergonomically friendly. Display position adjustments became more easily available, allowing users to tilt the monitor. And with the disappearance of CRTs, health fears around radiation were disappeared with them.
> Award winner
In the mid-2000s, monitor designs had changed so drastically that the times of bulky CRTs seemed long forgotten. In 2008, AOC for example launched the Red Dot Design Award winner Angelo, a 16:9 LCD display with touch keys and a three-way adjustable stand.
> Race for innovation
Other designs came and went, such as the iF Product Design Award winning AOC Razor with foldable stand for easy wall-mount, or the also iF Award winning AOC 57 series with its super narrow frame and detachable stand. Models like this did not only mark the beginning of today’s race for design and innovation, but also for increasing customisation.
> Let the games begin
The rise of esports and gaming, has forced monitors to evolve with the times. Users nowadays expect displays that not only provide shorter response times and higher refresh rates, but also come with designs for an immersive gaming experience. Throughout the market, curved screens – which surprisingly debuted in the TV sector in 1952 – have become popular in gaming communities. With its 21:9 format, 2000 mm curvature, 4 ms response time, 200 Hz refresh rate and Adaptive-Sync support, the AOC AGON AG352QCX exemplifies this development. Ergonomic adjustment options have gone a long way as well. The AG352QCX for example lets gamers maintain a healthy posture while playing, thanks to its stand’s height, tilt, and swivel adjustment options.
> Wider, thinner, faster
The monitors of today are wider, thinner and faster than ever before. As customer needs and wishes become more specific, monitor specs will adapt accordingly. Be it a style-conscious office user, competitive gamer, professional graphic designer or casual home user, niche markets have emerged and thus designs have evolved. Contemporary monitors have to appeal visually and functionally to different customer groups, who often have completely different needs and wishes. While graphic designers look for superior image quality and ergonomic functions, modern professionals appreciate functional monitors that work effectively while looking the part. As a result, innovative monitor designs such as the AOC PDS241 and the PDS271, conceptualised by the famous Studio F. A. Porsche, have been created. Their unique modular build separating the I/O connections from the display allows for an extremely slim 5.2 mm profile, which is thinner than most recent smartphones. By running the power and display cable through the twisted asymmetrical stand, it offers a particularly clean and sleek look. Even in office settings, business monitors shouldn’t look bulky and boring anymore. That is why AOC for example is updating their Pro Line with “3-sided frameless” designs as well: The 90 series monitors let users focus entirely on the screen content and make multi-monitor setups with several displays next to each other much more seamless.