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What Do CRT and LCD Stand For?

by Rosemary Peters
Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Acronyms. They're great shorthand in conversation when you know what they stand for, but when you don't know what they mean, acronyms can cause a lot of confusion. In the case of CRT and LCD, these acronyms refer to two different types of display screens and refer to how the display operates.

Cathode-Ray Tube

CRT stands for Cathode-Ray Tube. It is an older type of display technology going back more than a decade. If you can picture an old school computer with a big case, you can picture a CRT display. In order to create a picture on a CRT monitor, scientists fashioned the system to take advantage of the attraction between negatively charged cathodes and a positively charged anodes when electricity is introduced. When doing so, beams of light are shot at a display screen which is coated in phosphor. This phosphor can display light in different colors, and the system harnesses this ability to create a picture.

Liquid Crystal Display

LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. A big screen TV that can be mounted and lie flat against the wall is one example of an LCD screen. In LCD screens, there is a grid of tiny, colorful cells made of liquid crystals. When a light is shone at this matrix, certain cells are enabled to turn colors to create the picture you see on a TV or computer screen.

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