Why CRT monitors were better

I stumbled onto a 21" Magnavox tube with component inputs a few years back. Needed some capacitors replaced but my father-in-law used to be a TV tech so he helped with that part of it.

I use it to play old games. I have a few consoles hooked up to it, and a MiSTer.

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Another CRT advantage: Kitties can park themselves on top for the warmth they crave and not disturb you as you type away.

Holy crap: Late again!!

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My 19 inch CRY monitor was almost big enough for the dog to lie on it.

But likely not safe.

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I used to have some old monitors dumpster-dived from the control room of a major TV network.

They sucked. They all had ‘88:88;88’ burnt into them from displaying timecode for so long, and the phosphors were pretty faded.

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Don’t forget ‘purity problems’. Getting all three electron guns on (slightly different) targets across the entire display tended to be nontrivial.

Cheaper displays with big fuzzy phosphors or weaknesses somewhere else in the effective analog bandwidth tended to cover this up by sucking in ways that made it noticeable only in dramatic cases; but CRTs that were actually good could drive you nuts.

What made it even worse was that the default X11 root window pattern looks something like

which is absolutely pin-sharp on any LCD that isn’t atrocious garbage; but was always ups for a game of “moiré money, moiré problems” on pretty much any CRT I ever got my hands on.

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And strobing moiré on an interlaced display!

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Let’s just all pretend that interlaced video didn’t happen; and was never a thing. Please.

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Yes, but that FW900 is vastly more capable than a regular trinitron TV. Trinitrons can still be had for free, or very cheap. I gave someone $40 for one last year but it was more a “thank you for responding and being available so I can pick this up”. If I had been more patient, I probably could have snagged one for free. I don’t regret it, there’s worse ways to spend $40.

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Mice are lawful evil and will kill you. I swear if I so much as touch a scroll wheel I will fail at holding cutlery by the end of the week.

Also: pre Covid had been trying to get rid of my stupid corner desk not in a corner and replace it with a tiny desk and a lectern. For some reason people with small desks in work thought it was a sweet deal. But then kept pulling out of taking mine.

ETA

Now I share a quite small desk for two to have to sit at in a tiny room. But on the plus side it is with a person who I met 20 years ago tonight and have been in love with ever since. So we make that work. I had to go into work a couple of times recently and, despite the fact that we spend most of the time with cans on or one wanders out to the bedroom as you don’t have to be seen, it really made our days a little bit less chill. Rather hang out at home.

ETA 2

No room for CRT in that office. Let alone two of them

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I have been using a 55 inch 4K LG OLED TV as a computer monitor. They recently introduced a 48 inch. It is not as great as I hoped in that OLED is known for wide viewing angles but there is color shift at different viewing angles which makes white look different in different parts of the screen. It is not noticeable when consuming content but becomes significant trying to color correct photos.

The other surprise issue is that antialiasing doesn’t work as well due to the different RGB layout. Even after using the controls that are supposed to account for this, text looks more pixelated than it should. Of course the 55 inch size doesn’t help.

The surprising advantage came when I moved the desk out and hung it on the wall. Being able to sit much further away is better for the eyes, so computer glasses are not as important.

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Can vouch for this having sold/delivered/installed AV/whiteware in the late 90’s early 00’s. These things and double-door refrigerators were my least favourite to get up stairs!

Some tips for CRT monitor hunters:

  • They’re surprisingly rugged but contain some pretty toxic components so be careful.
  • Remember: all the weight is in the front in the screen.
  • Don’t get too large a screen for your space.
  • A strong swivel-arm wall mount on a stud is very handy.
  • For transport anywhere just throw a thick folded duvet/blanket over the top and down over the front screen and you’re good.
  • Lift a corner and slide a two-wheel trolley under the screen and go up stairs backward.
  • Throw in back of vehicle - screen facing front and up against something is best - but long as it won’t flip face down when you brake/accelerate it’ll be fine.
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Mostly the front, because that’s where you’re firing the electrons at. Apparently sitting in front of a CRT monitor for 8 hours a day for a year, is the equivalent of half an arm x-ray, to the face. (As in, if you got one arm x-ray in a year, that would be twice as much radiation as sitting in front of a CRT for a year).
ETA XKCD puts it as about the same, not half.

I had a mate who spent probably 12 hours a day, sat in front of a pair of old CRTs, up until only a few years ago. By his late twenties he was already getting white hair, which started at his forehead and moved back. I always told him it was from the x-rays coming out of those monitors.

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I had a cheapie CRT back in the day, ensconced in a desk with a back made of finest fake-wood-laminate-cardboard.

When removal time came, there was an array of what looked like sun-bleached stripes on the cardboard. No sun had reached back there; but the shape and layout matched the notches in a metal enclosure in the rear of the CRT rather neatly.

No idea if not all the electrons in that thing understood “this side toward enemy user” or if there was some ozone being generated by all the high voltage witchcraft and diffusing out through the slots; but it didn’t make me feel 100% peachy-keen about the arrangement.

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Robotic electron guns are intrinsically cool, but not enough to go back to lifting them and taking up precious desk space.

Big Hernia forgives you.

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I’ve heard OLED also have the same burn-in issue the old CRT’s do. Which will be great for screen saver designers once they get cheaper. That whole industry is mostly dead now, and the only thing worthwhile these days is going through their pocket for loose change.

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coward!

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image

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I have yet to have anyone explain how someone with a 200ms response time can detect 7ms of latency. Even if you’re a twitch gamer operating on reflexes, you’d take at least 80ms to respond to a visual stimulus. 7ms doesn’t seem like it would cause any problems at all.

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20201014_122256
(CRT purists)

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The main thing for me with CRTs was the refresh rate, or lack thereof…

Last CRT i had was actually reasonable, did 80hz at 1280x[something] i think.

Getting windows to do that setting wasn’t too bad, but getting games to do that was a neverending problem, with the display going to 60hz at the drop of a hat… (i was quite senstive to that. 70-75hz was borderline for me, the default 60hz was like concentrated headache fuel)

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