An analog monitor is a cathode ray tube (CRT) display that resembles a conventional television. Analog monitors ruled the computer display market for decades until the digital revolution delivered flat panel Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) in the 1990s. By 2003 sales of digital monitors overtook CRTs. While there were some benefits, initially, in hanging on to an analog monitor, improvements in LCD technology and falling prices soon caused analog displays to go the way of the dinosaur.
An analog monitor has a deep footprint to accommodate the cathode ray design that shoots electrons down a tube on to the rear of a phosphorous screen encased in a gas-filled vacuumed chamber. The chamber is encased in lead to prevent escaping radiation, making analog monitors extremely heavy. Even a small monitor can weigh 35 pounds (~16 kg).
Despite the lead-lined interior, significant radiation escapes from the monitor's view screen, relative to LCD displays which produce almost no radiation. Adaptive add-on anti-radiation and anti-glare screens helped reduce frontal radiation and reduce eyestrain for those that spent several hours a day poised in front of these once-ubiquitous monitors.
Computers speak a digital language of simple ones and zeros. An analog monitor requires a waveform (analog) signal. The analog graphics card, installed inside the computer, can translate a computer's digital instructions into an analog signal that it sends to the monitor. LCD monitors use digital technology, eliminating the analog translation.
Some of the first commercially available analog monitors were monochrome displays that featured green text against a black background. From 1981 forward the ability to display color traveled through many iterations and a slew of acronyms that pointed to larger and larger color palettes and higher resolutions. By the time LCDs usurped the market, the average analog monitor was capable of resolutions of at least 1024 x 768 with an infinite number of colors in the palette.
Positive attributes of the analog monitor include the ability to display multiple native resolutions delivering crisp action and vivid, true color viewable from any angle. By contrast, LCDs can emulate various resolutions but only one resolution is native and recommended. Early LCDs also "ghosted" or blurred action due to slow pixel response rates, and the viewing angle was limited as colors would wash-out when viewed off-center. These drawbacks were quickly remedied to the satisfaction of the vast majority of the market, though some graphics professionals and diehard traditionalists might continue to find the analog monitor preferable for their purposes.