In a raster scan system, the electron beam is swept across the screen, one row at a time from top to bottom. As the electron beam moves across each row, the beam intensity is turned on and off to create a pattern of illuminated spots.
Picture definition is stored in memory area called the Refresh Buffer or Frame Buffer. This memory area holds the set of intensity values for all the screen points. Stored intensity values are then retrieved from the refresh buffer and “painted” on the screen one row (scan line) at a time as shown in the following illustration.
Each screen point is referred to as a pixel (picture element) or pel. At the end of each scan line, the electron beam returns to the left side of the screen to begin displaying the next scan line.