What Does the Computer Monitor Do?

The monitor is the visual interface that allows computer users to see open programs and use applications, such as Web browsers and software programs. It is a standard piece of computing equipment and while monitors were initially used to show basic data processing information in the early days of computing, many people now use their computers for visual entertainment, such as watching TV shows and movies, making the monitor an essential part of the computer user experience. Modern monitors tend to be thin and offer high definition displays in a full range of color, which is a contrast from more primitive computer monitors, which displayed low-res images in limited colors.

Monitors on modern computers tend to be rectangular and are oriented in a landscape position, with the widest side of the rectangle laying horizontal and the two shorter sides sitting in a vertical orientation. Although the monitor is an essential component of the visual experience of computing, it does not actually receive input directly from the user. The monitor may alternately be known as a computer screen or a display. In some cases, computer users utilize multiple monitors that allow them to run and view multiple tasks at once.