An output device is any piece of computer hardware equipment which converts information into human-readable form. It can be text, graphics, tactile, audio, and video. Some of the output devices are Visual Display Units (VDU) i.e. a Monitor, Printer, Graphic Output devices, Plotters, Speakers etc.
An output device is also any peripheral that receives data from a computer, usually for display, projection, or physical reproduction.
TYPES OF OUTPUT DEVICES
Function: As with the sound card, the video card is an expansion card that slots into the motherboard. The video card processes images and video, enabling visuals to be seen on a display. Most computers have basic video and graphics capabilities built into the computer’s motherboard, but for faster, more detailed graphics, a video card is required.
Popular Brands: NVIDIA, ASUS, MSI, EVGA
Origin Story: Video cards are also known as GPUs or graphics processing units. Before modern-day GPUs, IBM introduced the MDA Monochrome display adapter. The MDA supported visuals such as text and lines for uses such as drafting but didn’t offer any graphical experiences.
In order to increase the functionality of the burgeoning computing technology, Hercules Computer Technology invented the Hercules Graphics Card, which integrated with the MDA to offer a bitmapped (or “rasterized,” or pixelated), graphics experience. From the 1990s on, graphics technology was increasingly like modern-day graphics cards and has increased in graphic quality and speed significantly since then.
Fun Fact: Video cards can work in both 2D images and 3D images. Images like browsers, computer desktops, and PDFs are considered 2D images, whereas computer games are considered 3D.
Function: The sound card controls the output of sound signals, enabling devices like speakers and headphones to work. The sound card is known as an expansion card, which means it can be added to the motherboard. Although a sound card is not essential to a computer’s basic functionality, you need one if you wish to play games, watch movies, listen to music, and use audio and video conferencing.
Popular Brands: Audigy, ASUS, Creative, EVGA
When computer data is sent through a sound card, it is sent to the card digitally. The sound card then translates the digital information (in the form of binary, or 0s and 1s) into analog information: vibrations, output in the form of sound.
Fun Fact: The popularization of sound cards originated in the gaming realm. Sierra Entertainment, a gaming platform, began supporting add-ons like sound cards and this enabled the sound card industry to grow without being an underground solution to a growing issue: shallow sound while gaming.
Function: As its name suggests, this output device “projects” computer images or video onto a wall or screen.
Popular Brands: BenQ, Sony, Optoma, Epson
Origin Story: Originally, projectors weren’t an output device. Projectors were first created and used in late 19th-century France. Throughout history, biunial lanterns were used to project ink on glass by photographers, lecturers, and magicians. A biunial lantern is a lantern with projection capabilities. “Biunial” means combining two things into one, so a biunial lantern is a directional lantern and a glass slide with a print on it for projecting.
In the early 1920s, filmstrips were used to show “films” in classrooms. Turning the knob allowed teachers to stop on specific slides. Clear film copies for projectors weren’t invented until the 1960s, and 3M became the leading producer in clear film and projectors.
The data projector was invented in 1980 This is the first year it was considered an “output device.” The data projector was the first rendition of the projector that was closest to modern-day. Using a single cathode ray tube (CRT), the first data projector projected only monochromatically.
Nowadays, projectors are typically used for presentations, watching movies, or as a teaching aid, as they enable an entire roomful of people to see images generated by a single computer. Modern projectors usually connect to the computer via an HDMI (high-definition multimedia) cable or VGA (video graphics array) cable.
Fun Fact: 3D projectors are designed to project two images of the same thing from different angles at the same time. Wearing 3D glasses, the viewer can see a 3D projection composed of multiple superimposed images.
Function: Computer speakers are hardware devices that transform the signal from the computer’s sound card into audio. Speakers create sound using internal amplifiers that vibrate at different frequencies according to data from the computer. This produces sound.
Popular Brands: Audioengine, Logitech, Razer, Harman
Origin Story: Speakers are essential if you want a louder sound, surround sound, fuller bass, or just higher quality audio. The first internal computer speaker (a speaker inside the chassis of a laptop) was created in 1981 by IBM. External computer speakers began to appear in stores in the early 1990s when computer gaming, digital music, and other forms of media became popular. Some computer speakers are wireless nowadays, connecting to the computer via Bluetooth.
Fun Fact: You can turn your speakers (or headphones!) into a microphone. The difference between computer speakers and a microphone is that the frequency of the vibration originates from external sounds rather than data from a computer.
Function: Headphones output audio from a computer through two individual headphones for a single listener. Also known as earphones, headphones allow you to listen to audio without disrupting other people in the vicinity.
Popular Brands: Sennheiser, JBL, Bose, Sony, Skullcandy
Origin Story: There’s no single figure who invented headphones, but the use of headphones stems from the military. Nathaniel Baldwin of Utah submitted a headphone prototype to the U.S. Navy in 1910, which was adopted some years after by Naval radio operators. Koss Corporation then created the first commercial stereo headphones in 1958. Nowadays, headphones come in all shapes and sizes, from basic earbuds to the traditional style with padding around the earpieces and a connecting band that fits over the user’s head.
Fun Fact: Headphones were popularized for mainstream use in 1979 by Sony Walkman.
Function: The function of a printer is to create a copy of whatever is sent from the computer to the printer. Printers take electronic data sent from a computer and generate a hard copy.
Popular Brands: Brother, Canon, Epson
The first inkjet printer was developed in 1951. There are many different types of printers, with inkjet and laser printers being two of the most common. Modern printers usually connect to a computer with a USB cable or via Wi-Fi.
Fun Fact: A plotter, which is also a type of print output device, is a similar type of hardware device to a printer. Unlike a printer, however, plotters use writing tools, such as pen, pencil, marker, to draw lines. Designed to use vector graphics, plotters were once commonly employed for computer-aided design, but have now been largely replaced by wide-format printers.
WHY DO COMPUTERS NEED OUTPUT DEVICES
A computer can still work without an output devices. However, you’d have no way of determining what the computer is doing. By using an output device, you can view and get the results of input from a computer.
IMPORTANCE OF COMPUTER OUTPUT DEVICES
Output devices relay the response from the computer in the form of a visual response (monitor), sound (speakers) or media devices (CD or DVD drives). The purpose of these devices is to translate the machine’s response to a usable form for the computer user.
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