Stands for "Visual Display Unit." A VDU displays images generated by a computer or other electronic device. The term VDU is often used synonymously with "monitor," but it can also refer to another type of display, such as a digital projector. Visual display units may be peripheral devices or may be integrated with the other components. For example, the Apple iMac uses an all-in-one design, in which the screen and computer are built into a single unit.
Early VDUs were primarily cathode ray tube (CRT) displays and typically had a diagonal size of 13 inches or less. During the 1990s, 15" and 17" displays became standard, and some manufacturers began producing displays over 20" in size. At the turn of the century, flat panel displays became more common, and by 2006, CRT displays were hard to find.
Today, it is common for computers to come with VDUs that are 20" to 30" in size. Thanks to the recent growth in LCD, plasma, and LED technology, manufacturing large screens is much more cost effective than before.
Updated: November 6, 2009