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PCs: The Missing Manual by David A. Karp, Andy Rathbone

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Chapter 3. Monitors and Video

Early computers didn’t use monitors; they simply printed everything on paper, limiting computer games to pretty slow rounds of tic-tac-toe. Monitors arrived a few years later, and once engineers got a taste of steering their first spaceships, video technology was quick to (and of course, continues to) improve.

Today’s PCs connect to a huge variety of video gear, and this chapter guides you through how to:

  • Connect any monitor, TV, or digital projector to the correct port on your PC.

  • Connect two or more monitors to your PC to double your workspace, letting you work with more programs (or view more documents) simultaneously.

  • Share one display between two or more PCs to save money.

  • Adjust the monitor to get the best display possible.

  • Improve your PC’s video quality by adding a new video card.

  • Install a new monitor.

  • Troubleshoot problems when the display doesn’t look right.

Laptops and PCs share monitor technology, so nearly everything in this chapter applies to laptops, as well. The “Laptop Life” boxes explain any significant differences.

Monitor Basics

Monitors, those screens you stare at all day, come in two basic types: the old-school, TV-shaped Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors from yesteryear, and the newer, flat, and thin Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitors filling the store shelves today.

When dealing with either breed of monitor, the same confusing terms pop up on sales floors and Windows menus. These terms top the list:

  • Screen size. Borrowing some trickery ...

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