Is a Monitor an Input or Output Device?

Is a monitor an input or output device? Have you ever wondered whether a computer monitor is just a device that displays images and videos to us or whether it may also respond to some of our commands? It may sound a little confusing, but understanding what a computer monitor performs is essential to understanding how our devices work. 

Is a monitor an input or output device? If a monitor has a touchscreen, it can also function as an input device in addition to being an output device. 

In-depth analysis of whether a monitor is utilized primarily for output, input, or potentially a combination of both is done in this article. Let’s look into the details.

is a monitor an input or output device?

Difference between an input and output device

What is an input device?

It enables communication and data input between ourselves and the computer. Keyboards, mouse, touchscreens, and microphones are a few examples.

Here is a complete list of all the input devices.

  • Keyboard
  • MIDI keyboard
  • Touch screen
  • Microphone (voice recognition, biometric verification)
  • Video capture device
  • Glow gun
  • Scanner
  • Magnetic reading strip
  • Business Card Reader
  • Mouse, touchpad, or another pointing device
  • Audio converter
  • Magnetic Ink
  • Joystick, gamepad, steering wheel, pedals, and Microsoft Kinect
  • Barcode reader
  • Pen card
  • Pen or pen
  • Digital cameras and camcorders
  • MICR
  • Medical imaging devices (e.g., X-ray, CT, and ultrasound imaging)
  • Graphics tablet
  • Webcam
  • Biometrics (e.g., fingerprint scanner)
  • Remote devices
  • Optical Mark Reading (OMR)
  • VR helmet and gloves

What is an output device?

Displays or presents information from the computer to us. Examples are monitors, printers, speakers, and projectors.

We have listed all the output device example. 

  • Monitor
  • GPS
  • Headphones
  • Built-in speaker
  • Speakers
  • Graphing plotter
  • Projector
  • Printer
  • 3D printer
  • Video card (GPU)
  • Sound card
  • Speech generating device (SGD)
  • Game joystick, steering wheel
  • TV


A monitor, also called a VDU (video display unit) and VDT (video display terminal), functions as an output device by displaying information from the computer to the user. When you interact with the computer, it processes data and generates images, text, videos, and graphics. The monitor’s role is to present this processed information in a visually comprehensible format on its screen.


Image on a monitor is made up of dots called pixels. These dots are arranged in lines on screen and collectively make up an entire image. Total pixels which make an image are called the monitor’s spatial resolution. To find this, you can multiply an image’s number of lines by the number of pixels in each line. 

Spatial resolution

Spatial resolution can be different such as it can be 1280 by 1024 or 800 by 600 etc. whereas, here 1280 is lines and pixels are 1024. We get a sharper image if there are more dots in the image. 

Colors of pixels

Pixels are so close to each other that they seem together as one. It has green, red and blue dots. The color with the highest brightness is precisely what the pixel uses. The RGB color model is created from these three hues. In this there are 256 intensity levels. So, if we change the brightness of the base color, the colors of the picture changes. 

Previously, colored monitors were limited to using black, green, cyan, blue, magenta, red, white and yellow colors. Each of these colors were encoded by three bit binary code i.e. by ones and three zeros. 

Wide range of colors

Nowadays, monitors use a wide range of colors and their quantity depends on binary bits which are taken for coding of color of a single pixel. For pixel color coding which is called color depth, length of binary code is used. 


Here’s how a monitor works as an output device:

Receiving Signals

The computer’s central processing unit (CPU) and the graphics card process data and then convert it into electrical signals. After this, these signals are sent to the monitor via cable, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, or VGA.

Displaying Visuals 

Upon receiving the signals, the monitor’s display panel interprets them and converts them into the images and graphics you see on the screen. The monitor’s screen is made up of pixels, and each pixel can change its color and brightness to form the complete image.

Refreshing the Screen

Monitors have a refresh rate, which refers to how many times per second the screen is refreshed. A higher refresh rate results in smoother and more fluid motion, especially during activities like gaming or watching videos.


The resolution of a monitor determines the number of pixels it can display. A higher resolution means more pixels and better image clarity. 

Color Accuracy

Monitors vary in their ability to reproduce colors accurately. Higher-end monitors often have better color accuracy, which is crucial for tasks like photo editing and graphic design.

User Interaction

The monitor acts as the primary visual interface between the user and the computer. You can interact with the computer’s operating system, applications, and content through the monitor by using input devices like a keyboard, mouse, or touch-enabled features.

5 uses of monitor

  • The input and output of application software are displayed on computer monitors.
  • They are also utilized when surfing and perusing the web.
  • In gaming, the monitors are employed.
  • In accounting, they are employed.
  • Utilized in computer programming and data entering.

Types of monitor

The types of monitors are as follows. 

  • LCD [Liquid Crystal Display]
  • CRT [Cathode Ray Tube]
  • Plasma Display Panel
  • OLED [Organic Light-Emitting Diode]
  • DLP [Digital Light Processing]
  • LED [Light Emitting Diode]
  • Touch Screen Monitor
  • TFT [Thin Film Television]

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) Monitors

Computer and other electrical device screens employ LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology. They function by displaying text and images on the screen using liquid crystals. 

These monitors are popular for a variety of uses, including gaming, office work, and viewing films since they are light, thin, and energy-efficient. 

Users can observe and complete their activities more easily because of the sharp, clear images provided by LCD monitors. 

Due to their advantages in terms of reducing space and consuming less power, they have essentially replaced outdated CRT displays.

Advantages of LCD

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitor benefits include:

Slim and Lightweight

LCD monitors are thin and light, which makes them simple to move, mount on walls, and take up less desk space.

Energy Efficient

Since they use less energy than CRT monitors, they have a smaller financial and environmental effect.

Reduced Glare

LCD displays frequently contain an anti-glare coating that minimizes reflections and eye strain, particularly in areas with bright lighting.

Higher Resolutions 

When compared to CRT panels, LCD monitors can provide images that are clearer and more detailed.


Due to high brightness, LCD monitors are good for use in black environment. 

Wide viewing angles: Contemporary LCD monitors offer greater viewing angles, ensuring constant image quality from different positions.

No Flicker

LCD monitors, unlike earlier CRT monitors, do not flicker, making viewing more comfortable and reducing eye fatigue.

Less Radiation

Compared to CRT monitors, LCD monitors produce far less electromagnetic radiation, which could be good for your long-term health.

Digital Connectivity

LCD displays use digital interfaces like DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort to provide greater image quality and compatibility with current gadgets.

Flat Screen

Unlike CRT monitors, which feature curved screens that can distort images, LCD displays have flat screens.

Less Heat Emission

LCD monitors emit less heat than CRT monitors, making the work environment cooler and more comfortable.

Longer Lifespan

Compared to CRT monitors, LCD monitors typically have a longer lifespan.

CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) Monitor

Old-fashioned screens called CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors are seen in older computers and televisions. They produce images on the screen by employing an enormous tube filled with electrons (an electron gun) which strikes a screen that is coated with a composition called phosphor which makes it glow. 

In comparison to contemporary LCD monitors, these monitors are large, heavy, and use more electricity. They have a curved screen and produce images by projecting an electron beam onto a piece of glass that has been coated with phosphorescent material. 

However, LCD and other contemporary display technologies offer greater image quality, space-saving designs, and energy efficiency, making CRT displays less popular nowadays.

Advantages of CRT monitor 

A few benefits of CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors are as follows:

Picture Quality

CRT monitors are suitable for visually demanding tasks like graphic design and video editing because they can produce images of great quality with bright colours and deep blacks.

There are LCD displays with wider viewing angles than some of the older models, guaranteeing stable image quality from any angle.

Response Time

Since CRT monitors have quicker response times than some early LCD monitors, they are preferred for fast-paced gaming and video playback.

No Motion Blur

Contrary to some early LCD monitors, CRTs don’t exhibit motion blur, making them suitable for displaying moving images and fast-action content.

No Input Lag 

CRT displays are a wonderful option for real-time and gaming applications since they have a very low input lag.

They can more properly and precisely display colors, which is important for expert graphic work.

No Native Resolution

CRT displays are capable of displaying a variety of resolutions without compromising image quality, in contrast to LCD monitors, which perform best at their original resolution.


More individuals could use CRT displays in the past since they were typically less expensive than LCD monitors.


The following are some of a monitor’s primary features that affect its performance and usability:

Display Technology

It means the kind of display technology which is being utilized, like LED (Light-Emitting Diode), CRT (Cathode Ray Tube),  LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode).


The amount of horizontal and vertical pixels that a monitor can display, which affects the clarity and level of detail in the visuals.

Screen Size

The screen’s diagonal measurement, which is often expressed in inches and has an impact on the viewing experience as a whole.

Aspect Ratio

The proportion of a screen’s width to height. Widescreen aspect ratios (16:9) and conventional aspect ratios (4:3) are both common.

Refresh Rate

The rate in Hertz (Hz) at which the monitor updates the image each second. Smoother motion is produced by higher refresh rates, which is advantageous for video and gaming.


The candelas per square meter (cd/m2) measurement of the maximum luminance the monitor is capable of producing. In well-lit areas, higher brightness is advantageous.

Contrast ratio

Contrast ratio is the difference between lightest and darkest areas of screen. Better shade distinction results from a higher contrast ratio.

Viewing Angles

The widest viewing angles at which the screen may be viewed without suffering from severe color diffraction or brightness loss.


The monitor’s features allow users to select a comfortable viewing position, including tilt, swivel, and height adjustment.

Power Consumption 

The quantity of electrical power needed by the monitor, which has an impact on operational expenses and energy efficiency.

Special features

Some monitors may come with extra features like built-in speakers, USB hubs, or blue light filters to lessen eye strain.


You will require a double-sided cable with plugs that fit the connectors on the two devices in order to connect the display to the system unit. The ports that are most frequently found on modern computers are:

  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • DVI 


There are some devices which are not monitor but somehow similar to it. These are:

  • Projector
  • Printer (inkjet printer, laser printer and dot matrix printer)
  • Graph plotter
  • Video card


As a result of technological advancements, several contemporary monitors now feature touchscreens or touch-sensitive characteristics that enable them to serve as both an output and input device. Users of these touch-enabled monitors can interact with the presented content directly by touching the screen, just like they would with a tablet or smartphone.

The distinction between conventional input and output devices is effectively blurred in this circumstance since the monitor doubles as both the display and the input device.


Specialized Monitors with Input Capabilities

In the field of technology, there are certain specialty monitors that have uses other than as ordinary output devices. One such example is the graphics tablet. Displays created specifically for the requirements of creative workers like designers and artists are known as graphics tablets, often known as drawing tablets or pen displays.

Unlike regular monitors, graphics tablets have a special input device: a stylus or digital pen. These pens are pressure-sensitive and incredibly accurate, simulating the feel of traditional sketching tools like pens, pencils, or brushes. It is the ideal tool for artists who desire a more accurate and natural sketching experience because the pen strokes and motions made on the tablet’s surface are identified and transferred into digital form.

Understanding How These Monitors Function as Both Input and Output Devices

Graphics tablets can be categorized as hybrid devices because they combine the features of input and output devices. They serve as output devices, displaying the digital canvas as well as any active artwork or designs. As they sketch or edit, the user may watch the results of their labor in real time on the screen.

When the user interacts with the graphics tablet via the stylus, it simultaneously functions as an input device. The tablet records the tilt, pressure, and movement of the pen and converts it into digital data. Following the computer’s processing of this data, artists are then able to produce breathtaking digital illustrations, animations, and graphic designs straight on the monitor’s surface.


Is a monitor an input or output device? The monitor is mainly an output device. Its primary job is to show us information from the computer, like pictures and videos. While some monitors can do a bit of input with touch capabilities, their main function remains as an output device. Understanding this distinction helps us better appreciate how computers work and how we interact with them through the monitor’s display.

FAQs – Is monitor an input or output device?

There are some FAQs related to is monitor an input or output device and their answers are given below. So, let’s see each one by one. 

Is a monitor an input?

A classic monitor has no input source and is only used to display (output) data from a computer. A computer monitor is regarded as an output device as a result.

Is a screen an output device?

Devices with outputs are used to deliver information and outcomes, or to display anything. Displays like a screen, monitor, printer, and speakers are examples of output devices.

Which type of monitor is both an input and output device?

Various contents are displayed on the touch screen. It serves as an output device as a result. Additionally, it serves as an input device in this situation because it enables users to click options. It serves as an input and output device, making it the best choice.

What are the 5 output devices?

The following are some examples: displays, printers, audio equipment, headphones, speakers, projectors, GPS units, optical mark readers, and braille readers.

Which devices are input output?

Keyboard, mouse, and other input devices are examples, while printer, monitor, speaker, and other output devices are instances.

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