Output devices provideoutput to the user, which is generated after processing the input data. Theprocessed data, presented to the user via the output devices could be text,graphics, audio or video. The output could be on a paper or on a film in atangible form, or, in an intangible form as audio, video and electronic form.

Outputdevices are classified as follows:

1.Hard Copy Devices

Printer Plotter

2.Soft Copy Devices

Monitor VisualDisplay Terminal VideoOutput Audio Response

Hard Copy Devices

Theoutput obtained in a tangible form on a paper or any surface is called hardcopy output. The hard copy can be stored permanently and is portable. The hardcopy output can be read or used without a computer. The devices that generatehard copy output are called hard copy devices. Printer, plotter are common hardcopy output devices.

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1. Printer:

Printers are used to producepaper (commonly known as hardcopy) output. Based on the technology used, they can beclassified as Impact or Non-impact printers.

Impact printers usethe typewriting printing mechanism wherein a hammer strikes the paper through aribbon in order to produce output. Dot-matrix and Character printers fall underthis category.

Non-impact printers donot touch the paper while printing. They use chemical, heat or electricalsignals to etch the symbols on paper. Inkjet, Deskjet, Laser, Thermal printersfall under this category of printers.

When we talk about printers werefer to two basic qualities associated with printers: resolution, and speed.Print resolution is measured in terms of number of dots per inch (dpi). Printspeed is measured in terms of number of characters printed in a unit of timeand is represented as characters-per-second (cps), lines-per-minute (lpm), orpages-per-minute (ppm).

2. Plotter:

Plotters are used to printgraphical output on paper. It interprets computer commands and makes linedrawings on paper using multicolored automated pens. It is capable of producinggraphs, drawings, charts, maps etc. Computer Aided Engineering (CAE)applications like CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer AidedManufacturing) are typical usage areas for plotters.

Plotters are of two kinds: drumplotter and flatbed plotter. In a drum plotter, pens mounted on thecarriage are stationary and move only horizontally; for vertical movement, thedrum on which the paper is fixed moves clockwise and anti-clockwise. In a flatbedplotter, the paper is fixed on a flat bed. The paper is stationary and thepens mounted on the carriage move horizontally and vertically to draw lines.

Soft Copy Devices

Theoutput obtained in an intangible form on a visual display, audio unit or videounit is called soft copy output. The soft copy allows corrections to be made,can be stored, and, can be sent via E– to other users. The soft copy outputrequires a computer to be read or used. The devices that generate soft copyoutput are called soft copy devices. Visual output devices like computermonitor, visual display terminal, video system and audio response system arecommon soft copy output devices.

1. Monitor:

Monitoris an output device that resembles the television screen and uses a Cathode RayTube (CRT) to display information. The monitor is associated with a keyboardfor manual input of characters and displays the information as it is keyed in.It also displays the program or application output. Like the television,monitors are also available in different sizes.

The twobasic types of monitors used are Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and LCD (Liquid CrystalDisplay).The CRT monitor look much like television and are used withnon-portable computer system. On the other hand LCD monitor are thinner andlighter are commonly used with portable computer systems like laptop andnotebook computers.

2. Video Output:

Screenimage projector or data projector is an output device that displays informationfrom the computer onto a large white screen. The projector is mainly used todisplay visual output to a large gathering of people required for the purposesof teaching, training, meetings, conference presentations, etc.

3. Audio Output:

TheAudio output is the ability of the computer to output sound. Two components areneeded: Sound card – Plays contents of digitized recordings, Speakers –Attached to sound card.

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Audiooutput device like speakers, headset or headphone is used for audio outputsound from computer. The signals are sent to the speakers via the sound cardthat translates the digital sound back into analog signals. The audio responsefrom the computer may be generated by synthesizing the input human speech togive audio output, or may be a result of a set of rules that are used to createartificial speech.