...are measuring instruments for the visualization of one or more voltage signals over time in a two-dimensional x-y coordinate system (usually x-axis as time axis, y-axis for voltage). Current oscilloscopes are DSOs (digital storage oscilloscopes) with a wide range of functions and connection to the PC world via interfaces such as ethernet/LXI, USB and GPIB/IEEE488. They usually offer 2 or 4, more rarely also 8 analog inputs (BNC, for probes). Mixed signal oscilloscopes offer additional digital/logic channels. They are hybrid devices combining of a scope and logic analyzer, thus allowing analog signals and logic control signals to be analyzed in a mixed signal circuitry in time relation. Scope types: Bench-top oscilloscopes, embedded/modular/PC scopes and handheld devices as well as special devices such as sampling oscilloscopes, scopes with isolated or differential inputs.
Important characteristics of scopes, which should also be considered when making a purchase decision, are: Number of channels, bandwidth, sample rate, memory depth, signal update rate, interfaces, triggers, additional functions (such as mask test, serial decoding, integrated signal generator and more).