How Television Works

Color TV Screen

A color TV screen differs from a black-and-white screen in three ways:

  • There are three electron beams that move simultaneously across the screen. They are named the red, green and blue beams.
  • The screen is not coated with a single sheet of phosphor as in a black-and-white TV. Instead, the screen is coated with red, green and blue phosphors arranged in dots or stripes. If you turn on your TV or computer monitor and look closely at the screen with a magnifying glass, you will be able to see the dots or stripes.
  • On the inside of the tube, very close to the phosphor coating, there is a thin metal screen called a shadow mask. This mask is perforated with very small holes that are aligned with the phosphor dots (or stripes) on the screen.

When a color TV needs to create a red dot, it fires the red beam at the red phosphor. Similarly for green and blue dots. To create a white dot, red, green and blue beams are fired simultaneously -- the three colors mix together to create white. To create a black dot, all three beams are turned off as they scan past the dot. All other colors on a TV screen are combinations of red, green and blue.

In the next section, you'll learn about the color TV signal.