Are Sony G90's/Barco Cine 9 CRT's still the king - of 1080P, in bat-cave, with 120" max screen size? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been considering moving to a JVC (after unsuccessfully searching for a Joe Kane 1080P DLP to replace my Joe kane 720p DLP), but recently discovered that Curt Palme has a good stock of G90's for very reasonable prices. That was always my dream projector but was way out of reach. They're under $5K with brand new tubes now.

So - I'm posting this here instead of the CRT forum because:

1 - It's rather dead
2 - It's biased.

Am I nuts to be considering this? Take out of the equation the installation/calibration/maintenance/parts-availability issues of a CRT.

Just considering shadow detail, motion resolution and overall image quality - at 1080P with a 120" screen, would you take a well-set-up G90 over the latest (2014) crop of D-ILA's with >100:000:1 native contrast ratios?

Part of it, I admit, is nostalgia. I owned a 7" CRT with bad tubes when I was young and broke, and I still remember its liquid-smooth image with fondness.

"Don't forget that a significant contribution made by the use of high-end cabling is emotional. Knowing that you have the best available causes the listening and viewing to be that much more enjoyable. Observable improvements make it even better."

-From a post on the audio video improvements forum
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post #2 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisreeves View Post

I've been considering moving to a JVC (after unsuccessfully searching for a Joe Kane 1080P DLP to replace my Joe kane 720p DLP), but recently discovered that Curt Palme has a good stock of G90's for very reasonable prices. That was always my dream projector but was way out of reach. They're under $5K with brand new tubes now.

So - I'm posting this here instead of the CRT forum because:

1 - It's rather dead
2 - It's biased.

Am I nuts to be considering this? Take out of the equation the installation/calibration/maintenance/parts-availability issues of a CRT.

Just considering shadow detail, motion resolution and overall image quality - at 1080P with a 120" screen, would you take a well-set-up G90 over the latest (2014) crop of D-ILA's with >100:000:1 native contrast ratios?

Part of it, I admit, is nostalgia. I owned a 7" CRT with bad tubes when I was young and broke, and I still remember its liquid-smooth image with fondness.

I would take the JVC over the CRT. The CRT is too much work, heat, size and noise.

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post #3 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 04:01 PM
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CRT is amazing.

But, like classic cars. I would rather know someone with one than owning one myself.

I did have a g70 and put in new sony tubes purchased directly from sony but that was some time ago now.
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post #4 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah if I go with a G90 I will definitely factor in a couple thousand more to pay for ceiling installation and a quality, anal-retentive calibration and focus. And then budget for a yearly touch-up. Being in L.A. I figure there must be qualified techs to handle servicing. If this was going in a cabin in the mountains somewhere I wouldn't be considering it.

"Don't forget that a significant contribution made by the use of high-end cabling is emotional. Knowing that you have the best available causes the listening and viewing to be that much more enjoyable. Observable improvements make it even better."

-From a post on the audio video improvements forum
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post #5 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 04:27 PM
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I think the two biggest exciting features of CRT is motion resolution (it's best you can get today) and absolute contrast and black level performance (with some gamma tweaking). Though there are some pretty big hurdles already mentioned by Mike. I haven't owned one but having to manually adjust the convergence fairly often seems like a task, they're not very bright which will almost necessitate a fairly high gain screen is you want a 120" image, they have very low ANSI contrast (around 150:1), and they're loud and bulky.

I'm sure image quality is amazing at the right screen size. I'm sure you'll enjoy the image as long as you're okay with all the work that's involved setting it up correctly. I've seen quite a few G90s sell on ebay for around $1500 that were in near perfect shape and with new tubes. I wouldn't pay much more for it unless Curt Palme offers a warranty on the units he sells.

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post #6 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post

I would take the JVC over the CRT. The CRT is too much work, heat, size and noise.

but picture quality? I'm curious as well, not that id ever deal with the hassles of installing one, I'm just curious if there are still some pros to the crt's

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post #7 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 05:23 PM
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It's been forever since I've seen a good CRT projector, but I've followed many discussions about them (in the CRT forums and elsewhere), vs digitals, year after year as digital took over.

As I understand, yeah CRTs have the potential to go darkest in the black levels, but simply having a CRT doesn't guarantee this - it takes some serious tweaking to get it there, and this is not without sacrifice as I understand it. (And even then, do the CRTs actually achieve perfect "light off" performance in the pure blacks?).

If I had to predict I'd think it would work out like this: If you compared an excellent CRT projector vs a new JVC, you might get the black levels of the CRT lower, but overall the JVC's black levels would still look excellent and the JVC's image would look significantly punchier, with an overall more vibrant and life-like contrast and clarity. And of course the JVC will allow significantly larger screen sizes in terms of light output.
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post #8 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 05:34 PM
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The image is sweet in a CRT projector properly set up. Thing about CRT is you have to ask yourself what is your time worth? The ROI is horrible in terms of your time with a CRT projector. Incredibly easy to change a lamp instead of replace a tube . . .
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post #9 of 35 Old 04-06-2014, 05:36 PM
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I recall all of the work to maintain my CRT RPTV back in the day (convergence, geometry, focus, etc.). I really don't miss those days and imagine it's certainly not any easier with CRT FP.

But, yes, it had the best blacks I have ever seen on anything although the lack of higher ansi-contrast as well as slightly softer image became apparent to other display technologies I eventually upgraded to (SXRD, plasma, etc.).

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post #10 of 35 Old 04-07-2014, 04:39 AM
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Silly me ... I went from CRT FP to Digital and I don't even JVC.
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post #11 of 35 Old 04-07-2014, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisreeves View Post

Yeah if I go with a G90 I will definitely factor in a couple thousand more to pay for ceiling installation and a quality, anal-retentive calibration and focus. And then budget for a yearly touch-up. Being in L.A. I figure there must be qualified techs to handle servicing. If this was going in a cabin in the mountains somewhere I wouldn't be considering it.

I guess you could pay someone a thousand dollars or something but honestly if you aren't going to tune it yourself then CRT FP is likely not for you. You can and need to give it a lot of attention. Doesn't matter how much you pay for initial setup... it's like having a kid.
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post #12 of 35 Old 04-07-2014, 08:17 PM
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I have owned and set up many CRT's. The last being a NEC10pg with new 9 inch tubes. The image is phenomenal on these units, but the issue you will run into is the age. All the caps are drying up, the resistors are getting old, and new tubes and new parts are hard to find.
If you spend the time hanging it properly, the geometry is a just walking through a menu and you could easily do the stig and flare yourself. (just don't put both hands in there at the same time.)
If you set it up properly, you will get very little convergence drift, and only have to touch it up every 6 months or so. Do the color at the same time as the tubes age differntly.
I'm sticking with JVC for now.

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post #13 of 35 Old 04-07-2014, 08:59 PM
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I went from Dwin 700 to Sony G90 to JVC RS-20 to Sony vw1000. It was an upgrade each time. Very little downside each time. The Dwin was quieter than the G90. G90 was more lumens and more resolution. JVC was better converged, blacks and motion handling not quite as good - but it was still an upgrade IMO. The Sony 1000 (now 1100 with the upgrade) is not even a contest. Motion handling and on/off black is minimally worse than the G90 (I don't notice), but overall picture quality of the new digitals is far better than CRT. G90 costs less and is a good value compared to the old days. Having said that, CRT would be a reasonable option if only considering spending only a few thousand and if absolute black level and motion handling are the primary consideration. The analogy to a vintage automobile is a good one.
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post #14 of 35 Old 04-08-2014, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

It's been forever since I've seen a good CRT projector, but I've followed many discussions about them (in the CRT forums and elsewhere), vs digitals, year after year as digital took over.

As I understand, yeah CRTs have the potential to go darkest in the black levels, but simply having a CRT doesn't guarantee this - it takes some serious tweaking to get it there, and this is not without sacrifice as I understand it. (And even then, do the CRTs actually achieve perfect "light off" performance in the pure blacks?).

If I had to predict I'd think it would work out like this: If you compared an excellent CRT projector vs a new JVC, you might get the black levels of the CRT lower, but overall the JVC's black levels would still look excellent and the JVC's image would look significantly punchier, with an overall more vibrant and life-like contrast and clarity. And of course the JVC will allow significantly larger screen sizes in terms of light output.

CRTs can achieve full lights off black levels. I gave my G90 to a friend and I don't miss it. CRTs for most are just too hard to properly maintain and digitals IMO are sharper, punchier and most now have good to excellent black levels. Not having a 250 pound behemoth hanging over your head or floor mounted taking up half the room is also a relief. What about 3D and CRT? Digital is just so much easier with no real downside anymore and probably a lot of upside.
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post #15 of 35 Old 04-09-2014, 03:58 AM
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I had a custom hush box that was as heavy as my G70 ... it was all secure but never stopped being a bit scary... Think car suspended over your kids heads.

And, if you don't have kids ... then, maybe CRT is for you after all. They can soak all of your time and life force.
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post #16 of 35 Old 04-10-2014, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deja Vu View Post

CRTs can achieve full lights off black levels. I gave my G90 to a friend and I don't miss it. CRTs for most are just too hard to properly maintain and digitals IMO are sharper, punchier and most now have good to excellent black levels. Not having a 250 pound behemoth hanging over your head or floor mounted taking up half the room is also a relief. What about 3D and CRT? Digital is just so much easier with no real downside anymore and probably a lot of upside.

Wow, that is interesting. Is that recent? I remember you were running a dual pj system. IIRC you had an Epson. Are you still using the Epson or something else?

I have two G90s and two G70s. I will probably install the G90 on the floor for the foreseeable future, when I get my place done. Supposedly JVC is coming out with a laser light engine this fall. That is what I will probably replace the G90 with.

As for sticking with CRT, I think you would have to love the hobby at this point. If I didn't have the CRTs already, then I would probably have pulled the trigger on the JVCs by now. I actually did a couple of years ago. I told Mike at Cedia to put me down on the pre-order, but my situation changed and I gave the slot to my best friend. He loves it, but his friends and family get more use out of it. Kind of funny that when people come to visit that they want to stay in and watch movies on his pj.smile.gif

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post #17 of 35 Old 04-10-2014, 11:02 AM
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Hi Eric, how are you doing?

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post #18 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 02:37 AM
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Absolutely !

Batcave with such a projector is incredible.

9 inch CRT
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post #19 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 02:40 AM
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The good thing about CRT today is.

Get multiple units like a G90 to have spares for the future.

Before spending 7-8K for a digital you could get 3-4 G90's.

9 inch CRT
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post #20 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 04:19 AM
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This a tough one, but as someone who just dumped their G70 after 11 wonderful years for a JVC 4810, I can attest that it was a step up in all the areas that matter. Even black levels appear to be the same (it passes the hand between eyes and screen on a black screen test. i.e. can't see the outline of my hand.).

I would never go back to a CRT, and I know how to do all the setup and tweaking required, my time is just to scarce now to waste dozens of hours per year on CRT maintenance.
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post #21 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElTopo View Post

Absolutely !

Batcave with such a projector is incredible.

I disagree. To the OP, trust what the former CRT owners say -- go with a JVC, Sony or even an Epson. There's a reason why these projectors are so popular. What's incredible is just how good digital has become in such a short time and the features they now have. At no time do I say to myself: "Gee, I wish I still had my gamma corrected Marquee 8500(LC) and my gamma corrected G90." Spend your $5,000 on a JVC or whatever and be happy.
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post #22 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 09:28 AM
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I cannot say that about my Cine9.

Once setup is done enjoy.

No tweaking required.

9 inch CRT
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post #23 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 10:57 AM
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I cannot say that about my Cine9.

Once setup is done enjoy.

No tweaking required.

No tweaking as humidity and temperature changes during the year? No worries about burn-in? No worries about circuit boards and tubes pushing 15 or more years? What size of screen and how bright is your image? Do you have the option of watching 3D?

The blue tube on my G90 had to be slightly defocused to obtain a good grey scale. Even then perfect convergence was pretty much impossible so you had an image that couldn't match that of a good DLP for sharpness. Set up was mostly done with tools similar to key stone manipulation -- in other words key stoning times 100. If you can't service it yourself you have a major problem -- fly someone in at great expense or ship the 200 pound behemoth out. Been there and done that -- no thanks!
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post #24 of 35 Old 05-10-2014, 07:27 AM
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Why should i care about a burn-in ?

If you have a Plasma You should.

3D yes

Screen size 2,35m in width. Will be 3m in the future.

Spares are not a problem as i have spare units.

9 inch CRT
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post #25 of 35 Old 05-10-2014, 07:38 AM
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I admit I would forget about CRT for reasons already expressed by others.. Owning high end CRT Projectors for 15+ years, Moome HDMI cards, Sim grade tubes Ect. The latest JVC's once optimized produce A quality image, good blacks & in comparison are plug & play with way less of the related hassle of CRT as stated above smile.gif ..
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post #26 of 35 Old 05-10-2014, 08:20 AM
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I had many CRT based projectors over the years before going to digital. The last one was a G70 which to this day I miss.... the picture quality, but not the constant tochup of adjustments to maintain the picture quality.
I went through 4 digital projectors before landing on my VW1000, now 1100. I started with the Sony HS10 then the 20. Then the VW100 came out, I thought that this is it with it's xenon lamp, wow the color was spot on then the vW200 came out, so had to have it... big improvement over the 100 and ran it for several years. When Sony came out with the VW1000, made the jump and I am very happy with it, but I miss the color rendition of the xenon lamp.
But, I still miss the G70 picture quality of analog video. I had 6000hrs on the G70 tubes when I retired it, and I still have it in storage as I thought that I would retube it, but Guess I will just send it off to the recycle center as at this point, I don't plan on putting it back in service.
I don't know how popular the G70's are now, but perhaps I should put the boards and remote on ebay as I am sure if there are people out there still using G70's, they might want spares.

My advice to you is if you are an avid videophile go with digital, buy the best as you will not be happy with anything less.
The G90 was the best tube projector, hands down. I have seen stacked G90's with a picture that would knock your socks off, but they are dated now and at the rate that digital quality is improving, with the price is coming down, it is the only way to go.
Good luck with your choice!
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post #27 of 35 Old 05-10-2014, 08:53 AM
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A hybrid solution is the way.

I also have a digital for mostly tv and sports. Movies on CRT.

9 inch CRT
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post #28 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 09:25 AM
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Hi Eric, how are you doing?

Not bad. I was hoping that you would go up to Axpona, but I only got over there on the last day. I went to Cliffy's last HT meet with the CRT stack that same weekend it was a blast. Haflich was begging me to come check out the Sony 4k, but I didn't have time. I will try to make it up to his place late this summer.


I plan to be at Cedia this year. I am not driving, so no car troubles to worry about.wink.gif

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post #29 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input - and the update is that I did locate a Joe Kane Samsung SP-A800B 1080P nearby, and negotiated an acceptable price (below $2,000). And this is blowing me away with the detail. Mr. Kane says it can be upgraded to the SP-A900B (they take it apart and put in a Dark Chip 4 DMD, and update the firmware). I think this may be my last projector before going to 4K. The shadow detail, sharpness, and spot-on color fidelity are so engrossing. So, no CRT for me. R.I.P.

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post #30 of 35 Old 05-12-2014, 07:34 AM
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You got something you are happy with, that is most important.

I am happy with the performance of my Barco CRT but only after fixing it up and adding a Lumagen Radiance. However I am finally going digital for one reason: noise!

Fortunate thing for CRT pjs is they are now CHEAP and serviceable many years after, thanks to the internet. Digitals offer more instant gratification but can be risky in terms of parts failure, and in extreme cases resulting in an expensive paperweight. Sony, for example, was notorious for dropping critical parts after only a few years (don't know if they still are).

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