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A display is a piece of hardware which can display content to the user; the content is now usually an image, but there were displays which only showed text. They were usually monochrome originally, but now they are inevitably colour.

The first displays used CRTs, but since they were vacuum tubes, they took up considerable volume. Still, they were the mainstay of visual displays up through the early days of bit-mapped displays.

When it became possible to fabricate liquid crystal displays with many small pixels in large arrays, for physical reasons they were the only viable display technology for use in lap-top personal computers, and that drove their development. LCD displays rapidly became the display of choice for all display applications, once they became economically competitive.

LCDs need a backlight, which was generally provided by a fluorescent light driven by a high-voltage power supply, both of which had a moderate tendency to fail.

Thus, when the invention of the blue LED permitted the creation of colour displays consisting of arrays of tiny LEDs, those rapidly because the display technology of choice.