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Video Display Devices

The primary output device in a graphical system is the video monitor.

Overview (Display Devices)
Raster Scan Displays
Random Scan Displays
Color CRT Monirors
Direct View Storage Tube
Flat panel Displays
Three Dimensional Viewing Devices
Stereoscopic and Virtual Reality System
Cathode Ray Tube:
The electron gun emits a beam of electrons (cathode rays).
The electron beam passes through focusing and deflection systems that direct it towards
specified positions on the phosphor-coated screen.
When the beam hits the screen, the phosphor emits a small spot of light at each position
contacted by the electron beam.

Refresh CRT
Light emitted by the Phosphor fades very rapidly.
Refresh CRT: One way to keep the phosphor glowing is to redraw the picture repeatedly
by quickly directing the electron beam back over the same points.
Electron Gun
Primary components of an electron gun in a CRT:
Heated metal cathode
Control grid
The cathode is heated by an electric current passed through a coil of wire called the
filament. This causes electrons to be boiled off the hot cathode surface.
In the vacuum inside the CRT envelope, negatively charged electrons are then accelerated
toward the phosphor coating by a high positive voltage.
The accelerating voltage can be generated with a positively charged metal coating on the
inside of the CRT envelope near the phosphor screen, or an accelerating anode can be used.
Sometimes the electron gun is built to contain the accelerating anode and focusing system
within the same unit.
Focusing System
The focusing system is needed to force the electron beam to converge into a small spot as it
strikes the phosphor.
Electrostatic focusing is commonly used in computer graphics monitor.
With electrostatic focusing, the electron beam passes through a positively charged metal
cylinder that forms an electrostatic lens.

The distance that the electron beam must travel to different points on the screen varies
because the radius of curvature for most CRTs is greater than the distance from the
focusing system to the screen center.
As the beam moves to the outer edges of the screen, displayed images become blurred.
Deflection Systems
Deflection of the electron beam can be controlled either with electric fields or with
magnetic fields.
The magnetic deflection coils mounted on the outside of the CRT envelope.
Horizontal deflection is accomplished with one pair of coils, and vertical deflection by the
other pairs.
Two pairs of parallel plates are mounted inside the CRT envelope.
One pair of plates is mounted horizontally to control the vertical deflection, and the other
pair is mounted vertically to control horizontal deflection.
Persistence how long they continue to emit light after the CRT beam is removed.
A phosphor with low-persistence is useful in animation.
A high-persistence phosphor is useful for displaying highly complex, static pictures.
The maximum number of points (pixels) that can be displayed without overlap on a screen
is referred to as the resolution, and determines the detail that can be seen in an image.
Resolution of a CRT is dependent on:
The type of phosphor
The intensity to be displayed
The focusing and deflection systems.
Aspect Ratio:
The aspect ratio gives the ratio of vertical points to horizontal points necessary to produce
equal-length lines in both directions on the screen.
So 4:3 (most common) means that a vertical line plotted with 4 points has the same length
as a horizontal line plotted with 3 points.
Raster Scan Displays
In a raster scan system, the electron beam is swept across the screen, one row at a time
from top to bottom.
As the electron beam moves across each row, the beam intensity is turned on and off to
create a pattern of illuminated spots.
Horizontal retrace:
Return to the left of the screen, after refreshing each scan line.
Vertical retrace:
At the end of each frame (displayed in 1/80th to 1/60th of a second) the electron beam
returns to the top left corner of the screen to begin the next frame.
The quality of a raster image is determined by the total number pixels (resolution), and the
amount of information in each pixel (color depth)

Frame Buffer or Refresh Buffer:

Picture definition is stored in a memory area called the refresh buffer or frame buffer.
This memory area holds the set of intensity values for all the screen points.
Refresh Rate:
The number of times per second the image is redrawn.
The entire contents of the frame buffer are displayed on the CRT at a rate high enough to
avoid flicker. This rate is called the refresh rate.
Refresh rates are described in units of cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz), where a cycle
corresponds to one frame (i.e. a refresh rate of 60 frames per second = 60 Hz).
Intensity of the Frame Buffer:
It is defined as the number of bits that are used for each pixel, determines properties such
as how many colors can be represented on a given system.
1-bit-deep frame buffer allows 21 colors (black and white)
8-bit-deep frame buffer allows 28 (=256) colors
Full color systems (also called RGB-color systems), there are 24 (or more) bits per pixel.
The frame-buffer with 1-bit intensity is called a bitmap.
The frame-buffer with multiple-bits intensity is called a pixmap.
Interlaced Raster Scan Displays
Odd/even scan lines covered in successive refresh cycles.
Hence 30 frames/sec refresh rate appears like 60 frames/sec.

Random Scan Display:

An electron beam is directed to only those parts of the screen where a picture is to be
drawn. The picture is drawn one line at a time, so also called vector displays or stroke
writing displays.
After drawing the picture the system cycles back to the first line and design all the lines
of the picture 30 to 60 time each second.
Refresh rate on a random-scan system depends on the number of lines to be displayed.

Refresh Display file:

Picture definition is now stored as a set of line-drawing commands in an area of
memory referred to as the refresh display file. Sometimes the refresh display file is
called the display list, display program, or simply the refresh buffer.
To display a specified picture, the system cycles through the set of commands in the
display file, drawing each component line in turn.
After all line-drawing commands have been processed, the system cycles back to the
first line command in the list.
Random-scan displays are designed to draw all the component lines of a picture 30 to
60 times each second.
A vector displays produce smooth line drawings because the CRT beam directly
follows the line path. A raster system, in contrast, produces jagged lines that are
plotted as discrete point sets.
Color CRT Monitors
A CRT monitor displays color pictures by using a combination of phosphors that emit
different-colored light.
By combining the emitted light from the different phosphors, a range of colors can be
Two techniques for producing color displays with a CRT:
Beam-penetration method
Shadow-mask method.
Beam-penetration Method:
The beam-penetration method for displaying color pictures has been used with random-
scan monitors.
Two layers of phosphor, usually red and green, are coated onto the inside of the CRT
screen, and the displayed color depends on how far the electron beam penetrates into
the phosphor layers.
A beam of slow electrons excites only the outer red layer.
A beam of very fast electrons penetrates through the red layer and excites the inner
green layer.
At intermediate beam speeds, combinations of red and green light are emitted to show
two additional colors, orange and yellow.
The speed of the electrons, and hence the screen color at any point, is controlled by the
beam-acceleration voltage.
Inexpensive way to produce color in random-scan monitors.
Only four colors are possible.
Quality of pictures is not as good as with other methods.
Shadow-mask method:
I t i s used in raster-scan systems (including color TV) because they produce a
much wider range of colors than the beam-penetration method.
A shadow-mask CRT has three phosphor color dots at each pixel position.
One phosphor dot emits a red light, another emits a green light, and the third emits a
blue light.
This type of CRT has three electron guns, one for each color dot, and a shadow-
mask grid just behind the phosphor-coated screen.
Delta-Delta Shadow Mask:
The three electron beams are deflected and focused as a group onto the shadow mask,
which contains a series of holes aligned with the phosphor-dot patterns.

When the three beams pass through a hole in the shadow mask, they activate a dot
triangle, which appears as a small color spot on the screen.
The phosphor dots in the triangles are arranged so that each electron beam can activate
only its corresponding color dot when it passes through the shadow mask.
In-line arrangement:
The three electron guns is an in-line arrangement in which the three electron guns, and
the corresponding red-green-blue color dots on the screen, are aligned along one scan line
instead of in a triangular pattern.
This in-line arrangement of electron guns is easier to keep in alignment and is commonly
used in high-resolution color CRTs.
A white (or gray) area-result of activating all three dots with equal intensity.
Yellow-produced with the green and red dots only
Magenta-produced with the blue and red dots
Cyan-shows up when blue and green are activated equally.
An RGB color system with 24 bits of storage per pixel is generally referred to as a
full-color system or a true-color system.
Direct-View Storage Tubes:
Maintaining a screen image is to store the picture information inside the CRT instead of
refreshing the screen.
A direct-view storage tube (DVST) stores the picture information as a charge
distribution just behind the phosphor-coated screen.
Two electron guns in a DVST:
Primary gun-store the picture pattern
Flood gun-maintains the picture display.
No refreshing is needed.
Very complex pictures can be displayed at very high resolutions without flicker.
Do not display color and that selected parts of a picture cannot be erased.
To eliminate a picture section, the entire screen must be erased and the modified picture
redrawn. The erasing and redrawing process can take several seconds for a complex
Flat-Panel Displays
Flat-panel display refers to a class of video devices that have reduced volume, weight,
and power requirements compared to a CRT.
Feature of flat-panel displays:
Thinner than CRTs, and hang them on walls or wear them on our wrists.
Current uses for flat-panel displays include small TV monitors, calculators, pocket video
games, laptop computers, armrest viewing of movies on airlines, as advertisement
boards in elevators, and as graphics displays in applications requiring rugged, portable
Categories of Flat-panel displays:
Emissive displays
Nonemissive displays.
Emissive displays (or emitters):
Devices that convert electrical energy into light.
Plasma panels, thin-film electroluminescent displays, and light-emitting diodes
Plasma panels:
Plasma panels, also called gas-discharge displays, are constructed by filling the region
between two glass plates with a mixture of gases that usually includes neon.
A series of vertical conducting ribbons is placed on one glass panel, and a set of horizontal
ribbons is built into the other glass panel.
Firing voltages applied to a pair of horizontal and vertical conductors cause the gas at the
intersection of the two conductors to break down into a glowing plasma of electrons and
Picture definition is stored in a refresh buffer, and the firing voltages are applied to
refresh the pixel positions (at the intersections of the conductors) 60 times per second.

Strictly monochromatic devices, but systems have been developed that are now capable of
displaying color and grayscale.
Thin-film electroluminescent displays:
The region between the glass plates is filled with a phosphor, such as zinc sulfide
doped with manganese, instead of a gas.
When a sufficiently high voltage is applied to a pair of crossing electrodes, the
phosphor becomes a conductor in the area of the intersection of the two electrodes.
Electrical energy is then absorbed by the manganese atoms,which then release the
energy as a spot of light similar to the glowing plasma effect in a plasma panel.
Light Emitting diode:
A matrix of diodes is arranged to form the pixel positions in the display, and picture
definition is stored in a refresh buffer.
As in scan-line refreshing of a CRT, information is read from the refresh buffer and
converted to voltage levels that are applied to the diodes to produce the light patterns in
the display.
Liquid-crystal displays (LCDS):
It is commonly used in small systems, such as calculators and portable, laptop
These nonemissive devices produce a picture by passing polarized light from the
surroundings or from an internal light source through a liquid-crystal material that can
be aligned to either block or transmit the light.
Liquid crystal-compounds have a crystalline arrangement of molecules, yet they
flow like a liquid.
A flat-panel display can then be constructed with a nematic liquid crystal.

Two glass plates, each containing a light polarizer at right angles to the other plate,
sandwich the liquid-crystal material.
Rows of horizontal transparent conductors are built into one glass plate, and columns
of vertical conductors are put into the other plate. The intersection of two conductors
defines a pixel position.
Polarized light passing through the material is twisted so that it will pass through the
opposite polarizer. The light is then reflected back to the viewer.
Passive-matrix LCD:
To turn off the pixel, we apply a voltage to the two intersecting conductors to align the
molecules so that the light is not twisted. This type of flat-panel device is referred to as
a passive-matrix LCD.

Active-matrix displays:

Place a transistor at each pixel location, using thin-film transistor technology. The
transistors are used to control the voltage at pixel locations and to prevent charge from
gradually leaking out of the liquid-crystal cells. These devices are called active-matrix
Three-Dimensional Viewing Devices
Graphics monitors for the display of three-dimensional scenes have been devised using a
technique that reflects a CRT image from a vibrating, flexible mirror.
As the varifocal mirror vibrates, it changes focal length.
These vibrations are synchronized with the display of an object on a CRT so that each
point on the object is reflected from the mirror into a spatial position corresponding to
the distance of that point from a specified viewing position. This allows us to walk
around an object or scene and view it from different sides.

Stereoscopic and Virtual-Reality Systems:

It is a technique for representing three-dimensional objects is displaying stereoscopic
views. This method does not produce true three-dimensional images, but it does
provide a three-dimensional effect by presenting a different view to each eye of an
observer so that scenes do appear to have depth.
To obtain a stereoscopic projection, we first need to obtain two views of a scene
generated from a viewing direction corresponding to each eye (left and right).
We can construct the two views as computer-generated scenes with different viewing
positions, or we can use a stereo camera pair to photograph some object or scene.
When we simultaneous look at the left view with the left eye and the right view with the
right eye, the two views merge into a single image and we perceive a scene with depth.
Way to produce a stereoscopic effect:
To display each of the two views with a raster system on alternate refresh cycles.
The screen is viewed through glasses, with each lens designed to act as a rapidly
alternating shutter that is synchronized to block out one of the views.
Virtual Reality Systems:

Stereoscopic viewing is also a component in virtual-reality systems, where users can step
into a scene and interact with the environment.
A headset containing an optical system to generate the stereoscopic views is
commonly used in conjunction with interactive input devices to locate and
manipulate objects in the scene. A sensing system in the headset keeps track of the
viewer's position, so that the front and back of objects can be seen as the viewer
"walks through" and interacts with the display.
An interactive virtual-reality environment can also be viewed with stereoscopic glasses
and a video monitor, instead of a headset. This provides a means for obtaining a lower-
cost virtual-reality system.
The tracking device is placed on top of the video display and is used to monitor head
movements so that the viewing position for a scene can be changed as head
position changes.
Raster Scan System:
In addition to the central processing unit, or CPU, a special-purpose processor, called the
video controller or display controller, is used to control the operation of the display
Frame buffer can be anywhere in the system memory, and the video controller accesses
the frame buffer to refresh the screen.

Video Controller:
A fixed area of the system memory is reserved for the frame buffer, and the video
controller is given direct access to the frame-buffer memory.
Frame-buffer locations, and the corresponding screen positions, are referenced in
Cartesian coordinates.

Graphics monitors:
Coordinate origin is defined at the lower left system
The screen surface is then represented as the first quadrant of a two-dimensional system
Positive x values increasing to the right
Positive y values increasing from bottom to top.

Personal computers:
coordinate origin is referenced at the upper left corner of the screen, so the y values are
Scan lines are then labeled from ymax, at the top of the screen to 0 at the bottom.
Along each scan line, screen pixel positions are labeled from 0 to xmax.

Basic video controller refresh operations:

Two registers are used to store the coordinates of the screen pixels.
1) Initially, the x register is set to 0 and the y register is set to ymax.
The value stored in the frame buffer for this pixel position is then retrieved and
used to set the intensity of the CRT beam.
2) x register is incremented by 1, and the process repeated for the next pixel on the top scan
line. This procedure is repeated for each pixel along the scan line.
3) After the last pixel on the top scan line has been processed, the x register is reset to 0 and
the y register is decremented by 1. Pixels along this scan line are then processed in turn,
and the procedure is repeated for each successive scan line.
4) After cycling through all pixels along the bottom scan line (y = 0), the video controller
resets the registers to the first pixel position on the top scan line and the refresh process
starts over.

Raster Scan Display Processor:

Also referred to as a graphics controller or a display coprocessor.

Purpose of display processor:

Free the CPU from the graphics chores.
Major Task:
Scan Conversion:
o Digitizing a picture definition given in an application program into a set of pixel-
intensity values for storage in the frame buffer. This digitization process is called
scan conversion.
Designed to perform a number of additional operations.
o Generating various line styles (dashed, dotted, or solid)
o Displaying color areas
Applying transformations and manipulations on displayed objects.
Designed to interface with interactive input devices, such as a mouse.
Characters can be defined with rectangular grids or they can be defined with curved
outlines.The array size for character grids can vary from about 5 by 7 to 9 by 12 or
more for higher-quality displays.

To reduce memory requirements in raster systems, methods have been devised for
organizing the frame buffer as a linked list and encoding the intensity information.
Run Length Encoding:
One way to do this is to store each scan line as a set of integer pairs.
One number of each pair indicates an intensity value, and the second number specifies the
number of adjacent pixels on the scan line that are to have that intensity. This technique,
called run-length encoding.
Cell Encoding:
Encode the raster as a set of rectangular areas (cell encoding).
Encoding runs are that intensity changes are difficult to make and storage requirements
actually increase as the length of the runs decreases.
It is difficult for the display controller to process the raster when many short runs are
Random Scan System:
An application program is input and stored in the system memory along with a graphics
Graphics commands in the application program are translated by the graphics package
into a display file stored in the system memory.
Architecture of a simple random system

This display file is then accessed by the display processor to refresh the screen.
The display processor cycles through each command in the display file program once
during every refresh cycle. Sometimes the display processor in a random-scan system is
referred to as a display processing unit or a graphics controller.
Graphics patterns are drawn on a random-scan system by directing the electron beam
along the component lines of the picture.
Lines are defined by the values for their coordinate endpoints, and these input coordinate
values are converted to x and y deflection voltages.
A scene is then drawn one line at a time by positioning the beam to fill in the line
between specified endpoints.
Graphics Software:
It is an intermediate between graphics hardware and application program.
Classification for graphics software:
Extensive set of graphics functions can be used in a high-level programming language,
such as C or FORTRAN.
Basic functions in a general package:
Generating picture components (straight line, circle, polygon etc)
Setting color and intensity values
Selecting views
Applying transformations
Designed for nonprogrammers, so that users can generate displays without worrying
about how graphics operations work.
allows users to communicate with the program in their own terms.
Examples of special purpose applications packages:
artists painting programs
various business, medical, and CAD systems.
Coordinate Representation
General Graphics packages are designed to be used with Cartesian coordinates.
Several different Cartesian reference frames are used to construct & display a scene.
Modeling coordinates
Shape of individual objects in a scene within separate coordinate reference frames
called modeling (local) coordinates.
World coordinates
Once individual object shapes have been specified,we can place the objects into
appropriate positions within the scene using reference frame called world coordinate.
Normalized Coordinates
A graphic system first converts world coordinate positions to normalized device
coordinates, in the range 0 to 1.This makes the system independent of the output
Device Coordinates
Finally, the world coordinates description of the scene is transferred to one or
more output-device reference frames for display, called device (screen)
An initial modeling coordinate position is transferred to a device coordinate position with
the sequence:
(xmc, ymc) (xwc, ywc) (xnc, ync) (xdc, ydc)
The modeling and world coordinate positions in this transformation can be any floating
values; normalized coordinates satisfy the inequalities:
0 x nc 1 0 ync 1

The device coordinates are integers within the range (0,0) to (x , y )

max max for a
particular output device.

Graphics Functions
1. Output Primitives
Basic building blocks for pictures.They include
o character strings and geometric entities, such as points, straight lines, curved
lines, filled areas (polygons, circles, etc.)
o Shapes defined with arrays of color points..
2. Attributes
Properties of the output primitives
An attribute describes how a particular primitive is to be displayed. They include
o intensity and color specifications
o line styles,text styles, and area-filling patterns.
3. Geometric transformations
change the size, position, or orientation of an object within a scene.
4. Viewing transformation
Specify the view that is to be presented and the portion of the output display area
that is to be used.
5. Structure or segments or objects
Pictures can be subdivided into component parts, called structures or segments or
objects, depending on the software package in use.
Each structure defines one logical unit of the picture.
6. Input Functions
Interactive graphics applications use various kinds of input devices, such as a
mouse, a tablet, or a joystick.
Input functions are used to control and process the data flow from these interactive
Graphics package contains a number of housekeeping tasks, such as clearing a display
screen and initializing parameters.

Standard graphics package:
GKS(Graphical Kernal System)
PHIGS(Programmers Hierarchical Interactive Graphics System)

GKS originally designed as a 2-D graphics packages, a 3-D GKS extension was
subsequently developed.
PHIGS -extension of GKS having increased capabilities for object modeling, color
specification, surface rendering
Extension of PHIGS called PHIGS+ provide 3-D surface shading capabilities.

Polyline: used to draw lines.

n = length of an array

X & Y = array of x,y coordinate

PHIGS Workstations
Workstation refers to a computer system with a combination of input and output
devices that is designed for a single user.
In PHIGS and GKS, workstation is used to identify various combinations of graphics
hardware and software.
A PHIGS workstation can be a single output device, a single input device, a combination
of input and output devices, a file, or even a window displayed on a video monitor.
General structure of a PHIGS program:
openphigs (errorFile, memorysize)
openworkstation (ws, connection. type)
{create and display picture}
closeworkstation (ws)

errorFile is to contain any error messages that are generated

memorySize specifies the size of an internal storage area.
workstation identifier (an integer) is given in parameter ws
connection states the access mechanism for the workstation.
Parameter type specifies the particular category for the workstation, such as an input
device, an output device, a combination outin device, or an input or output metafile.
Pixel addressing and object geometry:
When an object is scan converted into the frame buffer, the input description is
transformed to pixel coordinates.
So, the displayed image may not correspond exactly with the relative dimensions of the
input object.
To preserve the specified geometry of world objects, we need to compensate for the
mapping of mathematical input points to finite pixel area, we use one of the two ways:
1) Adjust the dimensions of displayed objects to account for the amount of overlap
of pixel areas with the object boundaries.(i.e. a rectangle with 40 cm width, will
be displayed in 40 pixel)
2) Map world coordinates onto screen positions between pixels, so that we align
objects boundaries with pixel boundaries instead of pixel centers.
Screen Grid Coordinates:
An alternative to addressing display positions in terms of pixel centers is to reference
screen coordinates with respect to the grid of horizontal and vertical pixel boundary
lines spaced one unit a part.
Screen coordinate position is then the pair of integer values identifying a grid
intersection position between two pixels.
For example, the mathematical line path for a polyline with screen endpoints (0, 0), (5,
2), and (1,4) is shown beside.

With the coordinate origin at the lower left of the screen, each pixel area can be
referenced by the integer grid coordinates of its lower left corner.
The following figure illustrates this convention for an 8 by 8 section of a raster, with a
single illuminated pixel at screen coordinate position (4, 5).

In general, we identify the area occupied by a pixel with screen coordinates ( x, y) as the
unit square with diagonally opposite corners at (x, y) and ( x + 1, y + 1 ).
This pixel addressing scheme has several advantages:
It avoids half-integer pixel boundary
It facilitates precise object representations.
Simplifies the processing involved in many scan conversion algorithms and in
other raster procedures
Maintaining Geometric Properties of Displayed Objects:
Conversion of geometric descriptions of objects into pixel representations means
transforming mathematical points and lines into finite screen areas.
To maintain the original geometric measurements specified by the input coordinates for
an object, we need to account for the finite size of pixels when we transform the object
definition to screen display.
Interpreting the line endpoints (20, 10) and (30, 18) as precise grid crossing positions, we
see that the line should not extend past screen grid position (30,18).
If we were to plot the pixel with screen coordinates (30, 18), we plot 11 horizontal units
and 9 vertical units, where x= 10, and y = 8.
With screen coordinates as addressing pixel boundaries (Grid coordinates), we plot a line
using only those pixels that are interior to the line path, i.e. only those pixels that are
between line endpoints (20, 10) & (29, 17)

Conversion of rectangle (a)with vertices at screen coordinates (0,0),(4,0),(4,3)and(0,3)into

display (b)right and top boundaries into display(c)maintains geometric magnitudes

The right boundary of the input rectangle is at x = 4.

To maintain this boundary in the display, we set the rightmost pixel grid coordinate at
Similarly the mathematical top boundary of the rectangle is at y = 3, so we set the top
pixel row for the displayed rectangle at y = 2.
A circle of radius 5 and center position (10, 10), for instance, would be displayed by the
midpoint circle algorithm using screen grid coordinate positions.
But the plotted circle has a diameter of 11, To plot the circle with the defined diameter of
10, we can modify the circle algorithm to shorten each pixel scan line and each pixel

Modification of the circle algorithm:

Generate points clockwise along the circular arc in the third quadrant,starting at screen
For each generated point, the other seven circle symmetry points are generated by
decreasing x coordinate values by 1 along scan lines and decreasing y coordinate values
by 1 along pixel columns.