Supply of old-fashioned CRT arcade monitors dries up


Originally published at:


But I bet using curved OLED panels embedded in thick CRT-style glass would fool my eye in darkness.

or rear projection onto curved frosted glass? - seems like that would be easier


One can only hope that this means it will become slightly more possible to obtain affordable 4:3 lcd screens in sizes larger than 20 inches. I would dearly love to be able to buy a 25" 4:3 LCD display. It doesn’t have to be some crazy high resolutiion, 1024x768 will be fine and 1600x1200 more than fine. But nobody makes anything larger than about 21".

All I want is to be able to watch pre-widescreen TV shows on a screen that is easy to see from across the room, without having to buy a screen that dominates the room.


In other news, hernia surgeries expected to decline in coming years.


So can regular right sized TVs work? Because there are millions of small ones from kids rooms, kitchens, craft rooms, etc that no one else wants.

Put out craiglist ads for certain sizes and I bet they can get all they want for $5 each.

I still have a massive CRT that I kinda want to keep for retro gaming - though I don’t do much retro gaming…


They mention this in a previous Tested video where they were assembling a custom arcade cabinet. Any CRT will not do because, similar to today, not all displays were created equally. There’s an array of different technologies and the ones that are best suited for arcade machines account for a very small percentage of CRTs


A sad but expected development, stock up now! My dream of a perfect Mr. Do! machine is getting further every day.

Otherwise I don’t get this; “CRT emulation is amazing, but still obviously such to me.” Is this some hip new usage or an edit error?


For “such” read “emulation.”

Has anybody ever done a proper study of buggy-whip markets? In the long term, maybe 50 years, nobody will remember these machines. But for now, there’s clearly a lot of nostalgic boomers who would pay handsomely to refurbish one of these. Curve goes up; curve comes down. You can’t explain that.


Yeah, there are mountains of them in warehouses all over the world.

Sounds like a good opportunity for a middle man to play matchmaker.


I guess all you have to do is check each one to see if it matches these specs:


Specs schmecs, all you need is a jigsaw and a soldering iron.


This article is wrong.

I’m a well-known and respected member of the classic arcade collecting community, and I repair these games, their circuit boards, and monitors full time. There is no shortage, and BoingBoing is perpetuating false information by posting this piece, which has appeared elsewhere.

I don’t know where this author gets his info, but he’s clearly misinformed. While new arcade monitors are no longer made, there are still plenty of spares around, in old warehouses, other games, used parts retailers, and people’s personal collections. Also, there is no shortage of substitute tubes, from old TV’s, many of which are compatible with arcade monitors, and there are literally millions of them still in existence.

Sorry Rob, but this article is misinformation.


I live close to a carriage museum. It took me forever to get over there and explore, but it’s actually fascinating to walk into a world where you can see all this technology that once everyone had that overnight became completely obsolete. Some of them are really beautiful, and there were children’s carriages, racing carriages, fancy ones, fire fighting carriages. It was a surprisingly fun day. They even have an intact, fully functioning pulley drawn workroom that was from a carriage wheel repair shop.


It is not necessarily “wrong”, that depends upon how one defines “supply”. To many, supply does indeed mean manufacture. Such parts still being technically obtainium does not mean that there are not changes in the community. Post-manufacture, they exist in a completely different market of collectors and hoarding, where in a few years you can buy a used CRT from somebody for several times the price of a nice new one now. DESPITE the fact that millions of them may still exist. Hoarders will obfuscate the supply/demand equation as they usually do. Today’s liquidated surplus $0.50 part becomes tomorrow’s ZOMG >>WOW<< VINTAJ “rare” $100 part on ebay and the like.


I have no doubt that there aren’t any factories making CRT tubes any longer, which is the main thrust of the article. As is shown above in other comments, there is no shortage of used CRTs in the world, just of brand-new ones.

Fortunately, part of the ideal ‘vintage arcade’ experience is playing the game on a trashed, fuzzy, burned-in CRT screen.


In reading the post, and linked article, I don’t see that claim made. I see that the manufacturer stopped and that it will affect the supply chain (won’t it in some way?). Your points would seem to agree with Rob and the post. Did you bring something in with you, and then refute that?


Ohh, to be a teenager again !

When Asteroids and Donkey Kong ate up my quarters while waiting for a pizza AT a Pizza Hut… (and that was a delicacy Vs. a last resort ~ these days)


The tone of the post (as well as the VB article it references) implies that there is or will be a shortage of arcade CRTs, which is the point of it being a story. The headline itself says ‘supply dries up’, and the tone of both pieces is implying that finding and using true CRTs for classic arcade games is somehow going to be problematic, which is simply not the case. It’s clickbait.

Wells-Gardner, the last primary manufacturer of arcade CRT’s stopped production years ago. So there is no new information there. And it hasn’t affected the classic arcade community, as we have been using and rebuilding original monitors for years, because they are cheap and prevalent. The supplier referenced in the VB article (Dream Arcades) is simply a cheap repro game builder and retailer, not a CRT manufacturer, so the number of new CRTs they have on their shelves is irrelevant. There are many other sources for new old stock (NOS) monitors, many, many sources for used ones, and many, many, many sources for used parts with which to build and/or repair and refurbish old monitors.

The VB article that BB linked to, and the piece following it, are simply a marketing piece that is trying to push modern display tech, and was likely sponsored by Qualcomm. The first piece starts out by trying to create a problem (dwindling CRT supply), then the second proposes a solution (VR tech). But the premise of the first piece is flawed because the author was lazy, and is factually untrue. (“We’re looking at a situation where playing Donkey Kong in the way that its creator intended is reserved only for the most dedicated collector. It will be prohibitively expensive to recreate that experience.”, he says). That’s very poorly disguised FUD.

It isn’t prohibitively expensive. A rebuilt arcade monitor can be had for $150-200, which is significantly less than what they used to cost new, and it will be a very long time before the millions of existing CRTs are used up by a community of a few thousand collectors (unless each of those collectors somehow suddenly needs thousands of monitors each).


I still find it curious that some seem to value the old-fashioned arcade experience more than the games themselves, to the point that they need an emulation to duplicate the physical experience exactly, and not just the game play aspects.


I collect video arcade games and I’m an electronics engineer by trade, and for me the challenge of repairing and keeping obsolete electronics working like new is a lot of the fun. I don’t collect the machines just for the games, but also out of appreciation for what their designers were able to do with the limited technology of the time, and for the cabinet artwork and design too. Different architectures and models have their own idiosyncrasies that are lost when they’re emulated, so it’s always a little sad to see old cabinets that have been gutted and stuffed with a PC running MAME, though I realize that for most people the important thing is just being able to play without any care about how it works under the hood.