An electronic visual display, informally a screen, is a
display device A display device is an output device for presentation of information in visual or tactile form (the latter used for example in tactile electronic displays for blind people). When the input information that is supplied has an electrical signal t ...
for presentation of
image An image is a visual representation of something. It can be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or somehow otherwise feed into the visual system to convey information. An image can be an artifact, such as a photograph or other two-dimension ...
s, text, or
video Video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media. Video was first developed for mechanical television systems, which were quickly replaced by cathode-ray tube (CRT) syst ...
transmitted electronically, without producing a permanent record. Electronic visual displays include
television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, telly, tele, or tube, is a device that combines a tuner, display, and loudspeakers, for the purpose of viewing and hearing television broadcasts, or using ...
computer monitor A computer monitor is an output device that displays information in pictorial or textual form. A discrete monitor comprises a visual display, support electronics, power supply, housing, electrical connectors, and external user controls. The ...
s, and
digital signage Digital signage is a segment of electronic signage. Digital displays use technologies such as LCD, LED, projection and e-paper to display digital images, video, web pages, weather data, restaurant menus, or text. They can be found in publ ...
. By the above definition, an overhead projector (along with screen onto which the text, images, or video is projected) could reasonably be considered an electronic visual display since it is a display device for the presentation of an images, plain text, or video transmitted electronically without producing a permanent record. They are also ubiquitous in
mobile computing Mobile computing is human–computer interaction in which a computer is expected to be transported during normal usage, which allows for the transmission of data, voice, and video. Mobile computing involves mobile communication, mobile hardware ...
applications like
tablet computer A tablet computer, commonly shortened to tablet, is a mobile device, typically with a mobile operating system and touchscreen display processing circuitry, and a rechargeable battery in a single, thin and flat package. Tablets, being comput ...
smartphones A smartphone is a portable computer device that combines mobile telephone and computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems, which ...
, and information appliances.


These are the technologies used to create the various displays in use today. * Electroluminescent (EL) display * Liquid crystal (LC) display with Light-emitting diode (LED)-backlit Liquid crystal (LC) display * Light-emitting diode (LED) display ** OLED display ** AMOLED display * Plasma (P) display * Quantum dot (QD) display Additionally,
Cathode-ray tube A cathode-ray tube (CRT) is a vacuum tube containing one or more electron guns, which emit electron beams that are manipulated to display images on a phosphorescent screen. The images may represent electrical waveforms (oscilloscope), pictu ...
s were widely used in the past and microLED displays are under development.


Electronic visual displays present visual information according to the electrical input signal (analog or digital) either by emitting light (then they are called ''active displays'') or, alternatively, by modulating available light during the process of reflection or transmission (light modulators are called ''passive displays'').

Display mode of observation

Electronic visual displays can be observed directly (''direct view display'') or the displayed information can be projected to a screen (transmissive or reflective screen). This usually happens with smaller displays at a certain magnification. A different kind of projection display is the class of " laser projection displays", where the image is built up sequentially either via line by line scanning or by writing one complete column at a time. For that purpose one beam is formed from three lasers operating at the primary colors, and this beam is scanned electro-mechanically (galvanometer scanner, micro-mirror array)) or electro-acousto-optically.

Layout of picture elements

Depending on the shape and on the arrangement of the picture elements of a display, either fixed information can be displayed (symbols, signs), simple numerals (7-segment layout) or arbitrary shapes can be formed (dot-matrix displays).

Emission and control of colors

Colors can be generated by selective emission, by selective absorption, transmission or by selective reflection.

Addressing modes

Each sub-pixel of a display device must be selected (addressed) in order to be energized in a controlled way.

Display driving modes

See also

Display device A display device is an output device for presentation of information in visual or tactile form (the latter used for example in tactile electronic displays for blind people). When the input information that is supplied has an electrical signal t ...
* ISO 13406-2


SID - Society for Information Display
International Conference Proceedings 1970–2008

Display Reparatur
(in German)
Passive Displays

Choosing an IT device

Further reading

* Pochi Yeh, Claire Gu: "Optics of Liquid Crystal Displays", John Wiley & Sons 1999, 4.5. Conoscopy, pp. 139 {{Authority control Display devices fi:Tietokonenäyttö