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Direct View (single tube) CRT Displays

maxinquaye's Avatar maxinquaye
11:07 PM Liked: 10
post #1 of 8
10-06-2011 | Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2011
Hi, I was looking at monitors for my Xbox 360 and decided that I want to go the CRT route.

Are there any general tips or things to look for in a CRT monitor?

I've got one of the Samsung SlimFit HD CRTs in my living room, and it can look very nice, but geometry issues are pretty distracting. Will that be an issue with many monitors?

There is a local listing for a Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 900U for $65. I'm tempted to buy it, but I just want to be sure I get a display with good image quality.

Sorry that this is kind of a general topic, but any comments would be appreciated.
neccrttv's Avatar neccrttv
10:34 AM Liked: 11
post #2 of 8
10-07-2011 | Posts: 232
Joined: Jan 2011
Hello! I'll try giving my own comments .
Using a CRT monitor myself I can tell you that you are thinking the right way ahahah!

The things to look for in a CRT Monitor are many...

First, There are 2 kinds of monitors.
1: Aperture grille monitors namely Sony Trinitrons, and Mitsubishi Diamondtrons, like the one for 65$ you are looking at. Usually, these are very good monitors and have very good detail. Of course, you should look for the monitors with the highest rated resolution and smallest pixel pitch ( this is the stripe pitch in aperture grill displays). The smaller stripe pitch.. the more precise the Trinitron display. Of course, geometry can be a problem in aperture grill displays... but monitors are much easier to adjust since geometry adjustments are made on the on-screen menu. I don't know what kind of size you are looking for.. but the best display in this category is the Sony GDM-FW900.
A small con of this tech is that it has 2 faint lines on the bottom and top of the display that can be annoying for some (wires holding the aperture grill)

2) Invar Shadow Mask CRT monitors. This is the kind of gaming monitor I use... primarily because it was made in bigger sizes. This type of monitor is primarily made by NEC. The NEC Multisync series and the like are like normal TV's... but with VERY high quality picture tubes and more than often spotless geometry. I have a XP37 Xtra (36" visible) and it has a max resolution of 2046x1538 (QXGA). Even at that resolution.. in windows the desktop icons are still readable at 6-10feet. All the NEC Multisync XM and XP series are very good monitors and have awesome picture qualitu and precision. The XM and XP Xtra series have component inputs, RGBHV, VGA (D-sub 15) and also S-video and composite inputs. They have 2 speakers and simulated surround. The remote has all geometry options on it (height/width/pin overscan/underscan etc,).
The XP29 Xtra is an amazing choice if u can find one..... they are rare and sometimes costly .
Invar shadow mask CRT's have dot pitch.... the smaller the better... but in larger monitors it does not matter as much cause you are not at 3 inches of the screen...

Good luck finding a good monitor.. By the way my XP37 Xtra (as does the XM/XP 29 + and the Xtras) acceptes 1080p through component. The XBOX360 outputs 1080p through component, as does the PS3. The PS2 is limited to 1080i in GT4 and 480i through all others except a couple games. Lots of consoles have RGBHV/VGA possibilities or component. If you find a GDM-FW900 that isn't too costly that is an awesome choice too.
P719C1's Avatar P719C1
06:43 PM Liked: 11
post #3 of 8
10-07-2011 | Posts: 175
Joined: Feb 2010
The Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 900U sounds like a good choice, but you could probably do better for the money. I assume you're looking for a 19 inch model? If so I would say the Dell Trinitron UltraScan P991 is a good choice as well (Sony-made); they seem to be able to maintain a bright picture for a long time, but in my experience they are a bit more prone to burn-in than other models. The P991 can scan up to 107 KHz (good for 1600x1200 at 85 Hz) versus the Diamond Pro 900U's 95 KHz (1600x1200 at 75 Hz).

As neccrttv said, almost all CRT monitors made after the mid-90s allow you to adjust most of the geometry settings you'll need, such as pincushion, pincushion balance, tilt, trapezoid, parallelogram, and sometimes linearity, top/bottom hooks, and convergence. I wish more monitors had a bow adjustment, but either way you can still adjust the geometry to be pretty good. Earlier than that, multisync monitors were generally calibrated at factory for the preset modes and only have dials to adjust brightness, contrast, size, and position. The Samsung SlimFit TVs were known for geometric distortion because it's harder to control the electron beam once the neck is shortened.

If you have a desk that can handle the slightly larger size and a 60 to 70 pound load, go for a 21 inch CRT monitor. Generally manufacturers seemed to really focus these as flagship models, so they're all good. One of my favorites is the NEC MultiSync FE2111SB, which uses a flat Diamondtron aperture grille CRT and can scan to 115 KHz (I've run mine up to 2048x1536 at 72 Hz, and 1920x1440 at 75 Hz is no problem for this monitor). The FE2111SB also has 300 MHz video bandwidth (compared to the Mitsu 900U's 150 MHz); the higher the video bandwidth, the higher the resolution can be before the picture starts looking soft or blurry because of scanlines overlapping.

If you're really looking for something good, a Sony GDM-FW900 is an excellent choice. This is a 24 inch widescreen (16:10) CRT monitor that can do very high resolutions. However, these weigh close to 100 pounds and it's not uncommon to see them sell for several hundred dollars. Sun and HP also sold rebadged FW900s that are equally as capable but perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing to all. Oh, and if you can get a hold of one of the larger multisync monitors like the one neccrttv has, GO FOR IT, but these are relatively rare and will cost quite a bit more.

In short, these are all factors you want to consider:
  • Maximum scan rate (resolution and refresh rate)
  • Dot/stripe pitch (the smaller, the better)
  • How the monitor is actually performing: color balance, black levels, strength of tube and phosphors
For that last one, consider using test patterns like Nokia Monitor Test and seeing how the particular monitor does with them. Brightness and contrast should be adjustable such that the picture is sufficiently bright enough for lighting conditions you plan on using it in while making sure that black looks purely black (and dark grays look a little brighter than black). When the picture suddenly goes from bright to dark or dark to bright, there should not be a major change in the size of the display area.
maxinquaye's Avatar maxinquaye
12:04 AM Liked: 10
post #4 of 8
10-08-2011 | Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2011
Thanks for all the info.
The GDM-FW900 looks amazing, but it's definitely out of my price range.

I'll look into more local offerings with your tips in mind. In general, how much money should I spending for one of these monitors?

And how important is the age of a monitor?
neccrttv's Avatar neccrttv
07:02 AM Liked: 11
post #5 of 8
10-08-2011 | Posts: 232
Joined: Jan 2011
For smaller sizes, look into monitors for 50-100$... and some you can even find for free... considering how the CRT's sell these days...

Age is not a real importance to CRT (I have 35 years old CRT's with perfect tubes used 4-5 hours everday) but of course like P719C1 said... older models have almost no geometry adjustments. Look at the picture quality... if whites are white and all colors are okay(test pattern like P719C1 said)... the tube could last a LONG time. Some monitors have never had any use since they were used in businesses. They can be 10 years old and still like new.
The bigger models can sometimes be given away... I got my XP37 Xtra (100khz horizontal) for 100$... that was a steal... problem... I had to do 13 hours non-stop driving to get it and it weighs 230 pounds
BWDinc's Avatar BWDinc
09:00 PM Liked: 10
post #6 of 8
10-20-2011 | Posts: 595
Joined: Oct 2006
I found a 30in wide hd sanyo crt a few years ago online really cheap. I was able to calibrate it to look really good, but input lag is a tad high. 50ms is a tad too much for competitive gaming. Otherwise its a great picture for the price. Built in ota tuner also.
hoffo's Avatar hoffo
09:37 PM Liked: 12
post #7 of 8
10-20-2011 | Posts: 147
Joined: Jan 2008
What method did you use to determine the input lag? Might have to try it sometime on my Toshiba HD CRT just to see what I get.
KOF's Avatar KOF
05:22 PM Liked: 131
post #8 of 8
10-21-2011 | Posts: 872
Joined: Apr 2006
I used FW900 to game on for 6 years and it was excellent. My only wish was it was a bit bigger.

Even though it does not support 240P classic consoles nor YUV component, there are variety of workarounds.

For Xbox360, I found standard VGA cable to work the best. I tried HDFury, but the result was more of the same.

For PS3, HDFury is perhaps mandatory, although you can use a cheap transcoder. (but HDMI through HDFury look nicer)

For PS2, and Xbox1, the easiest way to connect was through BNC port using component/BNC adaptor. Of course, I was using HDTV Xploder for PS2 (for 480P support for those interlace only games) and softmoded my Xbox to output 30hz RGBHV.

Right now, I'm using Dell 2311H and I don't really miss my CRT too much, as this monitor is pretty versatile for its size. (supports Sega Genesis and Saturn through simple mod) But it does make gaming a bit more difficult because of input lag.
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