CompTIA A+ 220-1102 Topic: Book Chapter 17 – Display Technologies
December 14, 2022

1. Resolutions and Aspect Ratios

I believe that the best way for a computer technician to brag to another computer technician is to discuss the resolution of their monitors. It always seems that we’re constantly looking for higher and higher resolution monitors that are made out of more and more pixels, because more and more pixels make for more clearly defined images. So in this episode, I kind of want to walk through a little bit of the history of the different types of resolutions. You’re going to see these on the exam, so let’s talk about them for a moment. Now, the first generations of graphics monitors used what was called a four-by-three aspect ratio. A four-by-three aspect ratio basically mimics television. And back in the old days, TVs were all shaped like this. And if we had a monitor, by golly, we were going to use that resolution. So let’s talk about the first-generation monitors and their 4:3 aspect ratio resolutions.

The granddaddy of them all is VGA, which was 640 x 480. This ancient and venerable resolution was, for many of us, our first exposure to graphics monitors. and it was a beautiful thing. The next step is SVGA at 800 x 600. This is an important resolution for you to remember because most versions of Windows, if they’re having problems with their video card, will downgrade themselves to this resolution so that they can run afterwards. That is SXGA at 1280 by 1024, which technically is a five-by-four aspect, but we tend to lump it in this group. And the last one is UXGA at 160 by 1200. The highest resolution, four-by-three aspect ratio monitor ever made. Now, I should be careful and never say that was the highest resolution there ever was, because one of you guys is going to send me an email going, Well, Mike, you know, there actually was another. Okay, okay. I don’t get them all. Anyway, the next aspect ratio I want to talk about is 16 by 10. The 16:10 aspect ratio was very popular for quite a while because it tied into what’s known as the “golden ratio.” The golden ratio is a very interesting mathematical formula, but it has an aesthetic that a lot of people like.

You’ll see a lot of paintings that use the 16:9 aspect ratio, and we saw a couple of monitors that also used it. Let’s take a look at those. The first one is WSXGA. This was one of four by 900. I saw a lot of laptops that used this resolution. Following this is Wu XGA at 1920 by twelve zero. It was very popular until something happened. What happened was high-definition television. Now, I want to show you a picture real quick. This is a picture of an old-time television set, okay? You’ll notice, if you look kind of ballparky, that it’s a four by three aspect ratio. Now, have you ever watched a movie, and when you’re watching the movie on TV, you’ll see these black bars on the side? Those black bars are designed to adjust your monitor to a 4:3 aspect ratio. And that’s exactly what you’re looking at when you see those black bars: old TV shows. Now, HDTV has come out with a lot of different resolutions. Seventy-two P was the first one to be released. 72 P is still for progressive scanning.

Back in the old days, when you wanted to make a picture, you scanned line 13579 and then line 2468, which was known as interlace scanning. This was the standard way we did TV for a long time. However, HDTV eliminated this and replaced it. You’ll notice seven hundred and twenty P whenever you see this. Now, what I want to do is first talk about and then show you a couple resolutions. The first common resolution that we saw at 720p wasn’t really 720. It was 1366 x 768. And it only provided a few more pixels than HDTV. What makes this interesting is the next resolution up, which is 2560 by 1440. This is called QHD or WQHD. What’s interesting here is, as you’ll see, that’s doubled. That’s kind of important. Right now, WQHD is probably one of the most popular resolutions among avid gamers. Not too many people mess with 720p, but the next step up is actually quite popular. Okay, 720p was not the only real resolution. 1,083 was the big one that everyone fell in love with.

One thousand and eighty-P has been around for a while, and everybody loves it. And that’s what we talk about when we talk about HDTV. Now, in the computing world, that only defines the height, so we have to define the width as well. So let’s take a look at some of these resolutions. First up is classic HDTV, which is going to be 1920 by 1080. probably one of the most common monitor resolutions out there today. As popular as HDTV was and is, we now live in a world where 4K is starting to become pretty dominant. There are only two resolutions on the exam. Let’s cover both of those. The first one, or what most people call a “classic four K,” is going to be 3840 by 2160. That’s literally four HDTVs’ worth of resolution on one screen. And if that’s not enough, especially if you’re a black person, we have five K at 51  20   28  80. So we’ve really just touched on a few resolutions. There are probably 50 to 100 more resolutions out there, but luckily, none of those are on the exam. Stick to these. Make sure you’re comfortable with them. Make sure you understand why they exist, and you’ll do just fine. when it comes to getting an A+.

2. Multiple Monitors

Why have just one monitor when you can have multiple monitors? So in this episode, I want to talk about Microsoft Windows’ use of multiple monitors. It’s absolutely fantastic. All my desktop systems have multiple monitors just because, well, I need all the real estate. So what I want to do is kind of go through the idea of multiple monitors. First of all, you don’t need a special video card. You don’t even have to have them plugged into the same video card. If you have one monitor plugged into your built-in graphics and another one plugged into a graphics card, it doesn’t matter. They don’t have to have the same resolution. They don’t have to be the same size. However, I will tell you, it’s often a lot more convenient to use multiple monitors when you do have two monitors that are matching in resolution. And even size is nice, too.

So I’ve got a couple of monitors in front of me. They have the same resolution but different sizes. Who cares? And let’s go through some of the ideas about multiple monitors. The first thing we need to do is make sure that the system sees both monitors. I’m going to go over and click on my display settings. And the first thing I’m going to notice is right here. Do you see the one and the two? It’s telling me that it sees two monitors. Now, by default, this one is only displaying on the first monitor. But if I wanted to, I could go through the process of identifying them. And now I see both of my monitors. That number is really important. Make sure you know which one is number one and which one is number two, because that can get you in trouble. and I’ll show you why in just a second. So the first thing I want to do is go ahead and duplicate these displays. So the moment I click on this, you’ll see that whatever is on one monitor is showing up exactly on the other monitor. So whatever I click here appears on the other monitor. not very exciting.

Most people prefer to extend their display. So I’m going to come down here, and this time I’m going to extend the display. Now, you’ll notice you don’t have a lot of time to make a choice here. In about nine, eight, or seven, it’s going to revert back to whatever it was I wanted to keep changing. And now what I’ve done is actually extend the display. So as I start over here to the left, as I move over to the right, you’ll see my mouse appear. so I can open up a window. And you’ll notice that I could just drag that window right over to the other system. So let’s close this. So if you take a look, the other thing that’s really handy is that you can orient your monitors. You can put them at the top and bottom if you want. I’ve never personally done that, but you’re welcome to go for that. The only downside to this process is that if I open up a window and go to the right, it disappears. But if I move it over to the left, yeah. Okay. So that can cause a little bit of confusion. You need to be careful about that. So I’m going to go ahead and put those back the way they should be. Let me apply that. And now when I open up a window, it should be back to normal. Yay, cool. Now the last thing I want to show you is what we call your main display.

So, as you’ll see, right now I’m on number one, and that’s my main display. So I’m going to click on two now. And now I’m going to make this the main display. Now watch really closely to see what happens. It’s subtle but important. You’ll see that what’s happened is that the search bar and my taskbar have now appeared on the other monitor. So that’s the whole goal of a main display. You can do a lot with multiple monitors. I’ve plugged in three, four, or five different monitors into a single system. As long as you’ve got places to plug it in, there is some maximum; I don’t know what it is. It’s not on the exam. Also, you can do things like, for example, turn all your monitors into landscape mode. I know a lot of people who are doing a lot of print work, and they really, really like to have that. There’s a lot you can do with multiple monitors. Give it a whirl. I mean, it just makes Windows that much better. Music you.

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