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 Glass Teletype

Sometime in the early 1960s, computer engineers realized that they could use CRTs as virtual paper in a virtual teletype (hence the term "glass teletype," an early name for such terminals). Video displays proved far faster and more flexible than paper; such terminals became the dominant method for interfacing with computers in the early to mid-1970s. The devices hooked up to computers through a cable that commonly transmitted code only for text characters -- no graphics. Until the 1980s, few supported color.

Photos: UNIVAC, Grant Stockly, DEC

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