CRTs, TVs, Monitors, Cubes & Flatscreens – What’s the difference? A glossary.
A lot of people get confused by the difference between the various types of video display equipment we use and their terminology, so here’s an explainer of each technology type.
CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube. It is a big heavy glass tube which fires photons at a surface at the front in order to create a moving image. It is where YouTube” got the ‘tube’ part of its name. The glass front bulges out and is curved at the corners- a shape which is also responsible for influencing the red YouTube play icon.
With their low resolution and distinct, slightly pixelated aesthetic, soft and rounded image, the CRT produces a video image which is unlike any other and is the reason so many people come to us to use them to display art films, video installations and content for music videos both on their own and built into larger video walls.
A TV can be a flatscreen a CRT, or indeed any other video display technology. The key feature of a TV is that it is built to receive live TV signals. Therefore it will usually have the capacity to receive an RF video signal (now defunct) or a digital TV signal. Although we sometimes refer to our CRT walls as TV walls, strictly speaking, this is not correct. Instead, we refer to our video walls made with our CRT cubes as CRT video walls. This is to differentiate between a wall made of actual TVs, such as the one below we made many years ago.
We no longer stock CRT TVs like these, as they are almost impossible to maintain and unsafe to stack.
A catch-all word for various digital video display technology, such as LCD, backlit LED, or plasma. As the name suggests, the front of the screen is flat, compared to the convex curve on a CRT, and the corners are sharp right angles.
Cubes refers to the form factor of both our CRTs and Microtiles. Since they are designed to be stacked into video walls, they have been specially designed inside a cuboid case. Hence we refer to any of our Hantarex, Barco or Seleco CRT screens as “CRT cubes”
The screen is the front of the video display device on which you can see the video. It can also refer to the combined effect when multiple screens are put together in a spanned video wall, to make one big display made with lots of smaller screens.
A monitor is the name we give to any video display device which shows a picture but does not receive a TV signal. Instead, it is sent a digital or analogue video signal only.
Think of it like this: Monitor + ability to receive live television signal = TV