My big brother was bright, smooth and fat

I'm just as bright, but slim and matte

The how changed, why stayed the same

To paint a picture time and time again

What am I?

up vote 17 down vote accepted

I think you're a

flatscreen display

My big brother was bright, smooth and fat

old cathode ray tube based screens were bulky

I'm just as bright, but slim and matte

flatscreens provide as much light as older screens, but are slimmer

The how changed, why stayed the same

The method of picture generation is completely different, but the purpose is the same

To paint a picture time and time again

Screens create multiple successive frames to give the impression of a moving picture

  • Not surprised that didn't take long but well done none the less. +1 – Brent Hackers Nov 8 at 10:39
  • I think you missed the smooth, and fat reference. I believe that refers to CRTs having a smooth glass screen, and LCDs having matte screens. – Jason Hutchinson Nov 8 at 15:32
  • @JasonHutchinson I think you're right, with an addendum: CRT screens bulged outwards; i.e. they were fat. – Nic Hartley Nov 8 at 22:52
  • They also bulged inwards. – nielsbot Nov 9 at 5:40
  • (So, I guess other aspiring solvers should avoid the comments sections) – nielsbot Nov 9 at 5:40

I know the correct answer is already in but I had a slightly different version :

I think you're a

Camera flash

My big brother was bright, smooth and fat

The old bulbous single use glass bulbs

I'm just as bright, but slim and matte

Current LED white flash has a flat matte yellow phosphor

The how changed, why stayed the same

Original flash bulbs burned magnesium, LEDs are semiconductor based

To paint a picture time and time again

Many photographs require the additional light of a camera flash

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  • 1
    This answer required obscure enough knowledge that I'm not going to kick myself too hard for this puzzle having more than one possible answer. And - not being able to mark both correct - I'll just have to give you a big, well earned, well polished, shiny +1 (even though you made me learn about bulb history...) – Brent Hackers Nov 8 at 14:44
  • @Brent Hackers - you did say nostalgic - the popping of flash bulbs has got to be in there for a few... – GeeTee Nov 8 at 14:55
  • Oh, I'm much too young to know anything about that... Much, much too young... – Brent Hackers Nov 8 at 14:57

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