The monitors seen mounted on the bulkheads and consoles on Enterprise, as well as those used by CaptainArcher and his crew in their quarters, were simple plasma screen monitors, owned today by many PC users. These monitors cost the producers around $4,000 (US) each (according to Star Trek: Communicator magazine) and were simply decorated to look futuristic. The power indicator lights (either blue or green) are clearly visible on most of the screens aboard Enterprise as are small strips of black tape used to cover the brand name label. The buttons lining the monitors are also commercially available – they are 3M Tapered Square Bumpons, adhesive-backed polyurethane buttons that can be used as feet for items that might scratch the surfaces they are placed upon. The small silver and blue jewel at the top center of the monitor is believed to be a camera, though this has never been explicitly stated.
Also used at Starfleet Headquarters, San Francisco as early as 2154 was a distinct, three-sided monitor.
Found in conference rooms, this multifaceted monitor featured three display screens, arranged in a triangular shape and allowing multiple users to view data simultaneously. It also featured a touch-sensitive screen and a small row of buttons just beneath the display. (ENT: "Home")
A throwback to The Original Series, this three-sided monitor appeared four times on Enterprise, clearly intended to be the predecessor of the monitor seen on TOS.
In its first appearance, during Captain Archer's debriefing at Headquarters following his return home from the conflict with the Xindi, the monitor sat on a tall base and featured several buttons, elements not present during its appearances in the main laboratory of C-12. It was later used (again sans base and sans buttons) in "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", as a 23rd century monitor aboard the Defiant.
A flatter and more compact variant of this monitor was in use aboard Federation starships as early as 2268. Consisting of the same basic design as the standard model, this monitor did not include the heavy base, nor the interface options below the display screen. One such monitor was located in the Captain's quarters aboard the USS Defiant, lost to an interphasic rift. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")
Also in service aboard Constitution-class starships, a three-sided monitor, similar in design to those used a century earlier by Earth Starfleet, was often found in a Federation starship's briefing room.
Yet another variant of this TOS monitor appeared in "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", aboard the Defiant. In that episode, the three-sided monitor was built from the existing 22nd century model, utilizing working display screens. Though it only slightly resembled the original series prop, it was likely intended by the producers to be the same device.
Common aboard Galaxy-class starships such as the USS Enterprise-D – as well as other ships commissioned during the 2360s – desktop monitors were available for use in many personal spaces aboard ship.
Used in such areas as crew quarters and in the captain's ready room, these small desktop monitors were often black or grey with white accents, or taupe-colored with dark accents. These monitors featured a touch-sensitive monitor and a large control button.
Metallic silver in color, this style of monitor featured an irregular, square shape with display and input areas of roughly the same size. Some models featured additional button pads as well as ports capable of reading isolinear rods.
There is no established, in-universe reason why Deep Space 9 personnel seemed to only use this style of monitor, even when they weren't on Deep Space 9. Slight variations of the monitor were used throughout the run of DS9, with varying labels and plant-on details.
In service during their launch during the early 2370s, Intrepid-class starships such as the USS Voyager were equipped with yet another style of desktop monitor.
Ranging in color from gray to green, these monitors were also used in personal areas, as well as in sickbay and consisted of a rounded design, consistent with the aesthetics of the Intrepid-class. (VOY: "Caretaker", et al.)
The Voyager personal computers varied in color, often from season to season. From season one to the end of season three, Captain Janeway's monitor was gray in color, changing to green for the final four seasons. A blue-gray version of the monitor sat in sickbay, with a dark-gray version populating crew quarters.
A green model of the monitor was sold during the 2006 40 Years of Star Trek auction, described in the catalog as "a simulated desktop computer monitor, grey-green case with bottom marked Ready Room and Janeway's quarters, ready room, lighting circuit would illuminate a backlit graphic transparency to create simulated computer image on the screen [untested], included acrylic plastic insert for graphic, includes spare rechargeable battery and charger - 12 ½ × 11 ½ × 11 ½ in. - used as set dressing on Captain Janeway's ready room desk in Star Trek: Voyager. This prop was featured in the captain's ready room and her quarters, and thus is the most significant of these computers."
For officers serving aboard Sovereign-class vessels in the 2370s, at least two styles of monitor was available for use by Starfleet officers.
One such style featured a monitor that laid flush against its base, rising up when activated by the user, or when receiving an incoming communique. Such a monitor was used by Enterprise-E captain Jean-Luc Picard as early as 2373 until it was replaced some time around 2375 by a stationary model. (Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek: Insurrection)
By the year 2379, both such desktop monitors had been replaced in the captain's ready room by a single, flat-panel viewer that existed as part of the desktop and rose up when activated from a small control panel embedded in the desk.
In use aboard Sovereign-class quarters during that time was yet another style of flat-panel monitor, this one free-standing and silver in color. (Star Trek Nemesis)
With the advent of plasma screen monitors about the size of the non-functional desktop monitor props of TNG, DS9 and Voyager, the producers of Star Trek Nemesis incorporated them into the sets of the Enterprise-E. Slightly larger in size than the monitors seen in the preceding two films, these plasma screens were functional, allowing more action to take place on screen.
Also sharing similarities with the Federation design used aboard Galaxy-class vessels at the time, Cardassian military officers like those serving at the secret base on Celtris III used a distinctive desktop monitor.
Like the Romulan design, this monitor featured the same basic shape as the Federation design, enhanced stylistically with typical Cardassian brown and tan coloration and large structural changes. The display screen, for example, featured a large oval-shaped frame and was larger than its Starfleet issue counterpart. (TNG: "Chain of Command, Part I", "Chain of Command, Part II")
Resembling the larger, frame-like viewscreens in service around the 2360s and '70s, this desktop viewscreen consisted of a horizontal rectangular-shaped structure, mostly hollow, until active. The image of the communique would then appear within the oval-shaped frame, until deactivation.
This distinct monitor appeared only a few times on DS9, even appearing on Captain Sisko's desk before being replaced with the Starfleet issue terminal that remained through the run of the series. After the fall of DS9 to the Dominion, this monitor reappeared on Dukat's desk. Garak retained such a monitor in his shop on the Promenade, however, well into the series.
As this type was seen in the possession of Mila, a civilian, it is possible that it is military issue, as Mila's house once belonged to Obsidian Order head, Enabran Tain.
As early as 2367, desktop monitors used by civilians living on Earth in some instances consisted of brownish-gray consoles with square-shaped displays and an abundance of buttons and touch-pads.
These monitors were roughly the size of those used aboard Federation starships at the time and served the same basic function, if bearing a less stylized design. (TNG: "Family")
The computer console located at the Picard family home and vineyard in La Barre, France, could have represented an older design, as the house and its contents were generally old-fashioned. The layout and style of the graphics seen on screen in "Family" suggest that it was not Starfleet issue, however the prop itself reappeared (repainted Federation white) in sickbay aboard the Enterprise-D in "Identity Crisis" – this was its only appearance as such. It appeared yet again as a Klingon display screen (see below).
Like much of the equipment in use aboard ImperialKlingon starships, the desktop monitors in the living quarters aboard Birds-of-Prey (like the one commanded by Captain K'Vada in 2368) were brown in color.
Similar in design to Earth civilian desktop monitors, these Klingon devices were generalized in shape, bearing a display screen and keyboard area. Unlike Earth viewers, however, the Klingon monitor utilized knobs and buttons, rather than touch-sensitive surfaces. (TNG: "Unification II")
Yet another Klingon monitor design consisted of a free-standing monitor with an irregular and angular display screen. (TNG: "Redemption II", "Unification II")
Among the consoles used by Data and Spock in "Unification II" was the console seen at the Picard family home in "Family", repainted and bearing large, unwieldy knobs and the Klingon logo.
The free-standing monitor appeared both on the Klingon homeworld in "Redemption II" and aboard Captain K'Vada's Bird-of-Prey in the second installment of "Unification". It later reappeared on TNG, painted white as a Federation monitor, in "Descent" and "Sub Rosa". It also turned up on Star Trek: Voyager as alien monitors in "Time and Again", "Ex Post Facto", and "Workforce".
Sharing many of the same design features as the monitors used aboard the Galaxy-class starship of the 2360s, members of the Romulan Senate had at least one type of desktop monitor at their disposal as early as 2368.
As with many things Romulan, this desktop viewer was green in color and featured several square blocks added onto its structure and an irregularly-shaped display screen. (TNG: "Unification I", "Unification II")
The Romulan-type desktop monitor was clearly a modified version of the TNG-style monitor, repainted and disguised with several added components. It is possible the Romulans stole this design from the Federation, or that this is simply a popular design in the 2360s.
Observed in their recreation of Starfleet Headquarters, Earth in the distant Delta Quadrant, this personal computer terminal may have been tailored to their temporarily humanoid form. While it was larger and more elaborate in appearance than its Alpha and Beta Quadrant counterparts, this monitor seemed to be suited for use by Humans, with a small display screen and tactile controls below. When inactive, the display screen glowed blue. (VOY: "In the Flesh")
This unique desktop monitor incorporated the Krenim video game from "Year of Hell, Part II" into its base, with an all new display screen mounted on top. Clearly intended to be alien in origin (despite being in the simulated Starfleet environment), the monitor curiously reappeared in Doctor Zimmerman's office on Jupiter Station in "Life Line". It appeared one last time aboard the Nightingale in "Nightingale", albeit with a fresh coat of paint.
Available to civilian members of the Trill species, a square, flat-panel-style desktop monitor could be found in homes on such distant worlds as New Sydney during the 2370s.
Consisting of a mounted display screen and flat, wireless keypad, the Trill terminal presented information in green and yellow colored text. (DS9: "Prodigal Daughter")
One of the first examples of the use of functional, flat panel computer screens in Star Trek, the monitor found in the home of Yanas Tigan featured a departure in design from the previously established blues of Trill computers in "Equilibrium". The Tigan monitor was later repainted and reused in "Field of Fire", representing a Federation monitor belonging to the murdering Vulcan, Chu'lak.
Closely resembling today's laptop or notebook computers, modern portable computers seem to have actually surpassed 24th century technology, producing ultra small models weighing less than 1.7 kilograms. Modern computers, however, lacking subspace communications and access to the sheer amount of information stored within the fictional future computer processors of Star Trek.
Captain Picard's familiar black and white terminal was once mass-produced during the 1990s as a lights-and-sound piggy bank.