Computer Output Devices | Meaning, Examples, Features, Functions & Types

What are Output Devices? Output devices are components of a computer system that allow the computer to communicate information to the user or to other devices. They convert electronic data into human-readable or machine-understandable forms. Examples of Output Devices 1. Monitor/Display: This is the most common output device, which displays visual information such as text, […]

What are Output Devices?

Output devices are components of a computer system that allow the computer to communicate information to the user or to other devices. They convert electronic data into human-readable or machine-understandable forms.

Examples of Output Devices

1. Monitor/Display: This is the most common output device, which displays visual information such as text, images, and videos.

2. Printer: Printers produce hard copies of digital documents on paper or other media.

3. Speakers: These output audio information, allowing users to hear sounds, music, or other auditory feedback.

4. Projectors: Projectors display visual information on a larger screen or surface, often used in presentations or home theaters.

5. Headphones: Similar to speakers, headphones deliver audio output but are worn on the ears by the user.

6. Plotter: Plotter devices are used to produce high-quality drawings, particularly in engineering and design applications.

7. Haptic Devices: These provide tactile feedback to users, such as vibrating controllers in gaming consoles or force feedback in virtual reality systems.

8. LED/LCD Panels: These are used in various electronic devices like digital clocks, electronic meters, etc., to display information.

These devices are essential for interacting with computers and accessing the information processed by them.

 

The Monitor

A monitor, also known as a screen, Visual Display Unit (VDU), Cathode Ray Tube (CRT), or console, functions as an output device. Resembling a TV screen, it allows users to view the results of ongoing operations. While data seems to appear directly on the screen, it is, in fact, sent to the system unit, with the displayed content termed as softcopy. Monitors come in various sizes, such as 12”, 13”, 16”, and 21”.

 

External Features of the Monitor

  1. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT): The tube housing the console.
  2. Power Button: A toggle button for turning the monitor on and off.
  3. Adjustment Control: Features like brightness, contrast, color, etc.
  4. Power Cable: Supplies electric power to the monitor.
  5. Signal Cable: Transfers electronic signals from the computer through VGA into the monitor.

 

Uses of the Monitor

The computer monitor serves various purposes in modern computing environments. Its primary function is to display visual output generated by the computer’s graphics card.

1. Displaying Information: Monitors provide a visual interface for users to interact with their computers. They display everything from text and images to videos and graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

2. User Interface Interaction: Monitors allow users to interact with software applications through graphical elements such as buttons, menus, and icons. Users can navigate through operating systems, software programs, and websites using the monitor as their primary visual feedback device.

3. Multitasking: Monitors enable multitasking by allowing users to view multiple applications or documents simultaneously using techniques like windowing and virtual desktops.

4. Entertainment: Monitors are commonly used for entertainment purposes, including watching movies, playing video games, and viewing multimedia content.

5. Productivity: Monitors play a crucial role in enhancing productivity by providing a large, clear display for tasks such as word processing, data analysis, graphic design, and programming.

6. Communication: Monitors facilitate communication by displaying email clients, messaging apps, video conferencing software, and social media platforms, allowing users to stay connected with others.

7. Education and Training: Monitors are used in educational institutions and corporate training environments to deliver educational content, interactive simulations, and online courses.

8. Creative Work: Monitors are essential tools for professionals in creative fields such as graphic design, video editing, photography, and animation, providing accurate color representation and high-resolution displays for precise work.

9. Monitoring and Control: Monitors are used in various industries for monitoring and controlling systems and processes, such as in control rooms, manufacturing facilities, and scientific research environments.

10. Information Display: Monitors are employed in public spaces, retail stores, airports, and other locations for displaying informational content, advertisements, wayfinding maps, and digital signage.

Overall, the computer monitor is a versatile device that plays a fundamental role in facilitating visual communication, information processing, entertainment, and productivity in both personal and professional settings.

 

Types of Monitor

1. CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) Monitors: These were the traditional bulky monitors that were widely used before the advent of flat-screen displays. CRT monitors work by firing electrons onto a phosphorescent screen, creating images. They are heavy and consume more power compared to modern alternatives.

2. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) Monitors: LCD monitors are much thinner and lighter than CRT monitors. They use liquid crystal cells and polarized glass to display images. LCD monitors are energy-efficient and provide sharp images, making them popular for everyday computer use.

3. LED (Light Emitting Diode) Monitors: LED monitors are a type of LCD monitor that uses LED backlighting instead of the traditional fluorescent backlighting. LED monitors are energy-efficient, produce brighter displays, and offer better contrast ratios compared to traditional LCD monitors.

4. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) Monitors: OLED monitors use organic compounds that emit light when an electric current is applied. They offer superior color reproduction, faster response times, and wider viewing angles compared to LCD and LED monitors. OLED monitors are often found in high-end displays and are known for their vibrant and immersive visuals.

5. Curved Monitors: Curved monitors have a slight curvature to their screens, which is designed to mimic the natural curvature of the human eye. This curvature can enhance immersion and provide a more immersive viewing experience, especially for gaming and multimedia applications.

6. Touchscreen Monitors: Touchscreen monitors allow users to interact with the computer by directly touching the display. They are commonly used in applications where direct interaction is preferred, such as kiosks, point-of-sale systems, and interactive displays.

7. IPS (In-Plane Switching) Monitors: IPS monitors offer superior color accuracy and wider viewing angles compared to traditional LCD monitors. They are commonly used in professional applications where color accuracy is critical, such as graphic design, photography, and video editing.

8. TN (Twisted Nematic) Monitors: TN monitors are known for their fast response times and low cost, making them popular among gamers. However, they typically have poorer color accuracy and narrower viewing angles compared to IPS monitors.

These are just a few examples of the types of computer monitors available, each catering to different needs and preferences.

 

Types of Color Monitors:

1. Color Graphics Adapter (CGA):
(a) Introduced by IBM in 1981, CGA was one of the earliest color graphics standards for IBM PC-compatible computers.
(b) CGA offered a maximum resolution of 640×200 pixels in monochrome mode and 320×200 pixels in 4-color mode (16 colors were available, but only 4 could be displayed simultaneously).
(c) It used a 15-pin connector for video output and was commonly used for early PC gaming and business applications.

2. Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA):
(a) Developed by IBM in 1984, EGA was a significant improvement over CGA in terms of color and resolution capabilities.
(b) EGA supported resolutions up to 640×350 pixels and offered 16 simultaneous colors out of a palette of 64.
(c) It utilized a 9-pin connector for video output and became popular for its improved graphics capabilities in gaming and graphics design.

3. Video Graphics Array (VGA):
(a) Introduced by IBM in 1987, VGA quickly became the standard for color monitors on personal computers.
(b) VGA offered resolutions up to 640×480 pixels with 16 colors or 320×200 pixels with 256 colors.
(c) It featured a 15-pin connector and provided enhanced graphical capabilities, making it suitable for multimedia applications and gaming.

4. Super Video Graphics Adapter (SVGA):
(a) SVGA emerged as an extension of VGA in the late 1980s and early 1990s, offering superior resolution and color depth.
(b) SVGA supported resolutions beyond VGA’s capabilities, such as 800×600, 1024×768, or even higher, depending on the specific implementation.
(c) It allowed for a greater number of colors, typically up to 16 million colors in 24-bit color depth, providing enhanced graphical fidelity for professional applications and high-resolution graphics.

5. Enhanced Video Graphics Adapter (EVGA):
(a) EVGA is a term that is sometimes used to describe certain advanced graphics capabilities beyond standard VGA but not quite reaching the level of SVGA.
(b) While not as widely recognized or standardized as other formats, EVGA implementations could offer improved color depth or resolution over VGA.
(c) These systems were often found in niche applications or specialized hardware configurations where enhanced graphics capabilities were required but full SVGA support was not necessary.

Each of these types of color monitors played a crucial role in the evolution of computer graphics, from the early days of basic color displays to the high-resolution, full-color imagery we enjoy today.

 

Cathode Ray Tube and Flat Panel Monitors

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Monitors:

The Cathode Ray Tube monitor, often abbreviated as CRT, has been a stalwart in the display technology arena for decades. Its operation relies on a vacuum tube with an electron gun at one end, which emits a beam of electrons towards a phosphorescent screen at the other end. When the electron beam strikes the phosphor-coated screen, it emits light, creating the images and text we see on the monitor.

One of the key advantages of CRT monitors is their affordability. Historically, they have been more cost-effective to produce compared to newer technologies, making them accessible to a wide range of users. Additionally, CRT monitors are known for their excellent color accuracy and contrast, making them popular choices for graphic design, photo editing, and other visually demanding tasks.

However, CRT monitors also have some drawbacks. They tend to be bulky and heavy due to the need for a large vacuum tube, which can take up significant desk space. Moreover, CRT monitors consume more power and produce more heat compared to flat panel displays, which can be a concern for energy efficiency and overall comfort in smaller spaces.

Flat Panel Monitors (Including LCDs):

Flat panel monitors represent a significant advancement in display technology, offering sleeker designs and improved energy efficiency compared to CRT monitors. The most common type of flat panel monitor is the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). LCD monitors utilize a layer of liquid crystal material sandwiched between two transparent electrodes. When an electric current is applied to these electrodes, the liquid crystals align to modulate the passage of light, creating images on the screen.

One of the most notable advantages of flat panel monitors, especially LCDs, is their slim and lightweight design. This makes them ideal for space-constrained environments such as offices, classrooms, and homes. Additionally, LCD monitors typically consume less power than CRT monitors, contributing to energy savings and environmental sustainability.

Flat panel monitors, including LCDs, are also known for their excellent image clarity and sharpness. With advancements in technology, manufacturers have been able to improve color accuracy, refresh rates, and viewing angles, making flat panel monitors suitable for a wide range of applications, including gaming, multimedia consumption, and professional work.

While flat panel monitors offer numerous benefits, they can be more expensive upfront compared to CRT monitors, although their prices have significantly decreased over the years as technology has advanced and production costs have decreased. Additionally, some users may experience issues such as dead pixels or backlight bleeding, although these are becoming less common with advancements in manufacturing processes. Overall, flat panel monitors, particularly LCDs, have become the standard choice for most consumers due to their combination of performance, aesthetics, and energy efficiency.

 

What is a Printer?

A printer is a device that produces text or graphics on paper or other physical media. It takes electronic data stored on a computer or other device and translates it into a format that can be printed onto paper. Printers come in various types, including inkjet printers, laser printers, dot matrix printers, and 3D printers, each with its own method of creating the printed output. They are commonly used in homes, offices, and businesses for producing documents, images, reports, and other materials in hard copy form.

Printer Types

1. Inkjet Printers: These printers are popular for home and office use. They work by propelling droplets of ink onto paper to create text and images. They are generally affordable, produce high-quality color prints, and are suitable for printing photos. However, ink can be expensive, and they may not be as fast as other types of printers.

2. Laser Printers: Laser printers use a laser beam to produce images on a drum, which is then transferred to paper using a toner cartridge. They are known for their fast printing speeds and high-quality text output, making them ideal for office environments with high printing demands. While they tend to be more expensive upfront, they are more cost-effective over time, especially for large volumes of text-based printing.

3. All-in-One Printers: These versatile devices combine the functionality of a printer, scanner, copier, and sometimes fax machine into a single unit. They are space-saving and convenient for home and small office environments where space is limited. All-in-one printers are available in both inkjet and laser variants, catering to different needs and budgets.

4. Photo Printers: Designed specifically for printing photographs, these printers utilize advanced inkjet technology to produce high-resolution prints with vibrant colors and fine detail. Some models support printing directly from digital cameras or memory cards, offering convenience for photographers and hobbyists.

5. Dot Matrix Printers: While less common today, dot matrix printers use a matrix of pins to impact an inked ribbon, creating characters and images by striking against the paper. They are known for their durability and ability to print multipart forms, making them suitable for tasks such as invoicing and inventory management in industrial settings.

6. Large Format Printers: Also known as wide-format printers, these machines are capable of printing on larger paper sizes, typically ranging from A2 to A0 and beyond. They are commonly used for printing banners, posters, architectural drawings, and other large-scale graphics. Large format printers come in both inkjet and laser variations, offering options for different applications and quality requirements.

7. 3D Printers: Unlike traditional printers that produce flat images, 3D printers create three-dimensional objects by depositing successive layers of material, such as plastic or resin. They are used in various fields, including prototyping, manufacturing, healthcare, and education, to create prototypes, custom parts, medical implants, and even food items.

8. Thermal Printers: These printers use heat to transfer ink onto paper, eliminating the need for ink cartridges or ribbons. They are commonly used in applications such as point-of-sale systems, label printing, and fax machines. Thermal printers are known for their reliability, low maintenance requirements, and quiet operation.

Each type of printer has its own advantages and limitations, so choosing the right one depends on factors such as intended use, printing volume, quality requirements, and budget.

 

Printer Examples

1. Inkjet Printer: This type of printer uses droplets of ink to create text and images on paper. It’s popular for home and office use due to its affordability and versatility. Inkjet printers can produce high-quality color prints and are suitable for printing photos and documents.

2. Laser Printer: Laser printers use a laser beam to produce images on a drum, which is then transferred to paper through a process involving static electricity and heat. They are known for their fast printing speeds and high-quality text documents. Laser printers are commonly used in offices for their efficiency and cost-effectiveness, especially for printing large volumes of text documents.

3. Multifunction Printer (MFP): Also known as all-in-one printers, these devices combine printing, scanning, copying, and sometimes faxing capabilities into a single machine. MFPs are popular in both home and office settings because they provide convenience and space savings by consolidating multiple functions into one device.

4. 3D Printer: Unlike traditional printers that produce flat images on paper, 3D printers create three-dimensional objects by layering materials such as plastic, metal, or resin. They are used in various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, and aerospace, for prototyping, customizing products, and even producing final parts.

5. Large Format Printer: These printers are designed to handle printing tasks beyond standard paper sizes, typically used for printing banners, posters, blueprints, and other large-scale documents or graphics. Large format printers are commonly employed in industries like advertising, architecture, engineering, and design.

6. Dot Matrix Printer: Dot matrix printers use a matrix of tiny pins to strike against an ink-soaked ribbon, transferring ink onto paper to form characters or images. While they are less common today due to advancements in printing technology, dot matrix printers are still used in some specialized applications such as printing multipart forms or invoices in industrial settings.

7. Photo Printer: These printers are optimized for producing high-quality photo prints with vibrant colors and sharp details. They often use specialized ink and paper designed specifically for photo printing to achieve the best results. Photo printers are popular among photography enthusiasts and professional photographers who require precise color reproduction and archival-quality prints.

8. Dye-Sublimation Printer: Dye-sublimation printers use heat to transfer dye onto various materials such as paper, plastic, or fabric. They are commonly used for printing photographs, ID cards, labels, and other items requiring high-quality, durable prints. Dye-sublimation printers are favored for their ability to produce continuous-tone prints with smooth gradients and accurate colors.

These examples cover a range of printer types, each suited to different purposes and industries, showcasing the diversity and functionality of modern printing technology.

 

Printers Categorization

Printers can be classified based on whether the printer head strikes the paper. If it does, the printer is considered an impact printer; if not, it falls under the category of a non-impact printer. Non-impact printers, being faster, minimize physical movement during the printing process.

 

Non-Impact Printers

  1. LaserJet Printers:

LaserJet printers use advanced xerography and an electronically controlled laser beam to produce characters on the photoconductive surface of a rotating drum. These printers are known for their high-quality and precise output.

  1. Thermal Printers:

Thermal printers operate as non-impact printers, forming characters by selectively heating specially treated paper. While they may be slower in comparison, they are widely used for applications such as receipt printing due to their simplicity and reliability.

  1. Electrothermal Printers:

Electrothermal printers function by charging paper electrically and passing it through a toner solution. Ink particles adhere to the charged areas of the paper, resulting in the creation of characters. This technology is employed in certain specialized printing applications.

  1. Daisy Wheel Printers:

Daisy wheel printers utilize a rotating disk with spokes, each containing raised characters. When a character needs to be printed, the corresponding spoke rotates into position, striking an inked ribbon against the paper to form the character. While not as common today, they were once popular for producing high-quality text.

  1. Dot Matrix Printers:

Dot matrix printers create characters by striking an inked ribbon against the paper through a matrix of tiny pins. Each pin produces a dot, and combinations of dots form characters. Despite being relatively slow, dot matrix printers are robust and can handle multipart forms, making them suitable for certain specific applications.

 

Impact Printers

Impact printers are a class of printers that use physical contact to transfer ink or toner onto paper, typically through striking a ribbon against the paper. These printers have been widely used in various applications, although their popularity has declined with the advent of non-impact technologies like inkjet and laser printers. Here are some key points to expand on regarding impact printers:

1. Mechanism: Impact printers work by striking an inked ribbon against the paper, creating an impression. This is in contrast to non-impact printers like inkjet and laser printers, which use methods such as spraying ink or toner onto the paper.

2. Types: There are several types of impact printers, including dot matrix printers and daisy wheel printers. Dot matrix printers use a matrix of pins to create characters by striking the ribbon against the paper, while daisy wheel printers utilize a wheel or disk with characters or symbols on its periphery.

3. Characteristics: Impact printers are known for their reliability and ability to produce carbon copies. They are often favored in environments where multipart forms or carbonless copies are necessary, such as in businesses that require duplicate receipts or invoices.

4. Noise: One notable characteristic of impact printers is their noise level. The mechanical action of striking the paper can produce significant noise, which may be disruptive in quiet environments.

5. Applications: Impact printers have historically been used in various applications, including printing invoices, receipts, shipping documents, and forms in industries such as banking, retail, and logistics.

6. Advantages and Disadvantages: While impact printers offer advantages such as reliability, they also have drawbacks. They tend to be slower than non-impact printers, have lower print quality, and may require frequent ribbon replacement.

7. Evolution: Over time, advancements in printing technology have led to the development of more sophisticated printers, reducing the reliance on impact printers. However, they continue to be used in specific niche applications where their unique capabilities are valued.

8. Legacy Systems: Despite the decline in popularity, some businesses and industries still rely on impact printers due to their compatibility with legacy systems and the ability to handle multipart forms efficiently.

9. Environmental Impact: Impact printers typically consume more energy and resources compared to non-impact printers, which can have implications for sustainability and environmental impact.

10. Future Outlook: While the prevalence of impact printers has diminished, they are unlikely to disappear entirely, especially in industries where specific requirements dictate their use. However, their role in the broader printing landscape is expected to continue shrinking as non-impact technologies become more advanced and cost-effective.

Examples of Impact Printers

1. Dot Matrix Printer: One of the most common types of impact printers, dot matrix printers use a matrix of pins to strike an inked ribbon against the paper, forming characters and images. They are often used in environments where multipart forms or carbon copies are required, such as in accounting and invoicing applications.

2. Daisy Wheel Printer: Daisy wheel printers use a rotating wheel or disk with characters or symbols on its periphery. When a character is selected for printing, the wheel rotates to position the desired character, which then strikes the ribbon against the paper. These printers were popular for producing high-quality text documents, such as letters and reports, before the widespread adoption of laser printers.

3. Line Printer: Line printers are high-speed impact printers that print an entire line of text at once. They use a drum or chain with character shapes on its surface, which strikes against an inked ribbon to transfer the characters onto the paper. Line printers were commonly used in data centers and large-scale printing environments due to their speed and efficiency in printing continuous forms and reports.

4. Chain Printer: Chain printers are a type of line printer that use a rotating chain with character shapes attached to it. As the chain rotates, the desired characters strike against the ribbon to produce printed output. Chain printers were particularly popular in mainframe computing environments for printing large volumes of data and reports.

5. Drum Printer: Drum printers utilize a cylindrical drum with characters or symbols engraved on its surface. As the drum rotates, the desired characters come into contact with an inked ribbon and transfer onto the paper. Drum printers were commonly used in early computer systems and offered relatively high-speed printing compared to other impact printers of their time.

These are just a few examples of impact printers that have been used in various industries and applications over the years. While their popularity has declined with the rise of non-impact printing technologies, they continue to be used in niche applications where their unique capabilities are still valued.

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