A computer display is a marvelous thing. An unassuming dark gray surface can suddenly transform into an artist's canvas, an engineer's gauges, a writer's page or your very own window to both the real world and a huge range of artificial worlds!

Because we use them daily, many of us have a lot of questions about our displays and may not even realize it. What does "aspect ratio" mean? What is dot pitch? How much power does a display use? What is the difference between CRT and LCD? What does "refresh rate" mean?

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we will answer all of these questions and many more. By the end of the article, you will be able to understand your current display and also make better decisions when purchasing your next one.