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Friday, 27 July, 2001, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
R.I.P. Cathode ray tube monitor
Graphic BBC
CATHODE RAY TUBE MONITOR, slipped away quietly after a lifetime dedicated to public service, Hitachi has announced.

Closing its 333.8m-a-year cathode ray tube (CRT) operation the electronics company said: "There are no prospects for growth of the monitor CRT market."

Confusion surrounds the birth of the tube monitor, with some putting its age at 106 (though a German birth certificate has been found dated 1855).

Apple's Steve Jobs AP
CRT: Always there with a friendly word
It appears unlikely the centenarian ever knew the true identity of its father - with X-ray pioneer William Roentgen, electron experimenter JJ Thompson and Nobel prize-winning physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun all in the frame.

In its youth, CRT devoted its considerable energies to the pursuit of empirical scientific knowledge, primarily acting as an oscilloscope to give electric signals a visible representation.

However, tiring of the fusty confines of academia in the roaring 1920s, CRT began what was to prove a lifelong affair with showbiz in the form of television.

Before that relationship could be consummated, CRT was called up to military service at the outbreak of hostilities in 1939.

Returning a hero after a glittering wartime career spearheading the radar fight against enemy aircraft, CRT's affections were split between TV and the sprightly computer industry.

Though able to keep up with fashions, notably switching from monochrome to colour, CRT has increasingly been displaced by younger, svelter players such as thin film transistor liquid crystal display (LCD).

Programmer at India's Planet Asia BBC
"I can lift it ... I CAN LIFT IT"
Long the Orson Welles of display technology, CRT endured many unkind gibes about its girth. While carrying a standard 15-inch CRT monitor was once mooted as an event for the World's Strongest Man competitions, the LCD equivalent can be effortlessly picked up with one hand.

The voracious appetites of the CRT also prompted debate. Only around 20% of the energy put into a CRT is used to emit a light signal on the screen. Much of the remaining electricity is devoted to maintaining an internal operating temperature of 954C.

Along with its notorious "flicker", the heat created by CRT was blamed for tiring the eyes of users. It dried the air in countless offices and studies, and sent air conditioners into overdrive.

Though seemingly able to shrug off previous premature obituaries, the halving of prices for LCDs and the slowing PC market proved too much for the elderly CRT.

Funeral plans for CRT have yet to be finalised. A burial has been the subject of considerable controversy, since the toxic innards of CRT could poison water supplies.

No flowers.


Your tributes

This is sad news. I depended on the radiation from my CRT screen for my artifical tan.
Chris White, UK

CRT's radiation and flickering screens give me headaches. It's so much nicer looking at a flat screen display. I spit on their grave(s)!
Ash Thomas, England

Working in IT support, carrying CRT monitors provided a great free source of exercise, but now I will have to shell out cash to join a gym !
David Madill, Britain

RIP CRT, TFT LCD ROK
Rob, UK

My dear old CRT has helped to keep my office-at-home warm through our cold winters. I mean, you can't snuggle up to a LCD can you?
Aaron Kfir, Canada

Very sad news, how can I toast bread on the back of an LCD display?
Eddie Saunders, USA

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11 Jul 01 | UK
R.I.P. Millbank Tower
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