Solid state vs. vaccuum tube - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-07-2015, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Solid state vs. vaccuum tube

I'm a bit confused on the whole "solid state" vs. "vacuum tube technology" thing I've been reading about. On one hand, when googling "CRT" it describes it as a "vacuum tube," however, articles I've read have talked about improvements after the move to "solid state electronics" in TVs in the 1970s. However, obviously, the 1970s was part of the CRT era, as were the next couple decades after it.

So what is this referring to?
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-07-2015, 07:42 PM
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I have no specific knowledge on this, but just basic induction tells me that there's more to a tv than just the picture technology. The TV gets its picture and audio from outside, the volume outs amplified separate from the picture technology, the channels are interpreted and changed from outside the picture technology, etc. So I'd assume they mean everything but the CRT itself
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-08-2015, 06:13 AM
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Put aside the "vacuum tube" thought solely on the CRT itself.

Solid State refers to the technology of using transistors for the "electronics".
Tube refers to the older technology that was common in the old days.

If you are old enough (and you're probably not), you can probably remember that radios, TV's, Hi-Fi's, and even car radios, took a minute to "warm up" (the tubes) before you'd hear or see anything. With solid state, only a few seconds.
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-08-2015, 06:23 AM
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Both. A CRT screen is a large vacuum tube. The electronics that control that vacuum tube are solid state. Easy, peasy.

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post #5 of 16 Old 11-08-2015, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
Both. A CRT screen is a large vacuum tube. The electronics that control that vacuum tube are solid state. Easy, peasy.
Again... forget the CRT itself. (Yes... it is a vacuum tube ).
There was a time when TV's were made that did not have solid state electronics.
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-08-2015, 09:08 AM
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Wow, I'm older than I thought! Unless the youth are audiophiles, electric guitarists, etc. where vacuum tube electronics are still prolific and/or making a comeback (some have come to prefer the 'other' harmonic and 'warm' sound of tube audio).

I'd heard that the Russians continued using vacuum tube electronics during the Cold War because it is way less susceptible to radiation (i.e. nuclear war) than solid state. Of course they were further behind tech than us but at the time it didn't seem there should be that much gap.

90sTVFan, those articles would be in reference to the electronics in the sets, not the CRT.

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post #7 of 16 Old 11-08-2015, 10:21 AM
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Incandescent light bulbs are vacuum tubes.
ENIAC and most computers used vacuum tubes for many years.

If my post(s) misled others that "vacuum tubes" are dead, I apologize. They are still alive in various forms for those that desire that type of technology for their gear.

Just was trying to clear up things for the OP.
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-08-2015, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 90sTVFan View Post
I'm a bit confused on the whole "solid state" vs. "vacuum tube technology" thing I've been reading about. On one hand, when googling "CRT" it describes it as a "vacuum tube," however, articles I've read have talked about improvements after the move to "solid state electronics" in TVs in the 1970s. However, obviously, the 1970s was part of the CRT era, as were the next couple decades after it.

So what is this referring to?
The glass objects plugged into the chassis in this picture, other than the picture tube itself:



Image source and more chassis views at: http://www.boxcarcabin.com/vintagetvs.htm

There are variations, but almost all TVs back in the 1950s and 1960s had vacuum tubes as their rectifiers and amplifiers, providing all the amplification needed from the tuner to the speakers and to driving the CRT (which, technically, is also a vacuum tube). In the 1960s transistors were making their way into small radios, but anything needing significant power (such as a Public Address system, or driving a cathode ray tube) was still cheaper to do with vacuum tubes.

So the move to "solid state electronics" in the 1970s represented the replacement of the vacuum tubes, other than the CRT, with transistors and diodes, and later with integrated circuits.
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-09-2015, 11:36 AM
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And finally the last vacuum tube in a TV, albeit a rather large one, passed away this century. RIP my friend! lol

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post #10 of 16 Old 11-09-2015, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
Both. A CRT screen is a large vacuum tube. The electronics that control that vacuum tube are solid state. Easy, peasy.
I remember (as a wee lad) when much of the controlling electronics were tubes as well. My dad used to repair old-school radios and TVs.
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post #11 of 16 Old 11-09-2015, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rezzy View Post
I remember (as a wee lad) when much of the controlling electronics were tubes as well. My dad used to repair old-school radios and TVs.
Yeah... that was when you could pull a few "tubes" out of the TV or radio and take them to the "Tube Tester" at the local Five and Dime.
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post #12 of 16 Old 11-09-2015, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Yeah... that was when you could pull a few "tubes" out of the TV or radio and take them to the "Tube Tester" at the local Five and Dime.
For us, the local grocery store had a tube tester with a bunch of replacement tubes, and for some you would have to buy an equivalent tube with a different model number.

I don't miss that trek to the grocery store about every other month for just one purpose: to test a bunch of tubes to find out which one(s) no longer work so we could buy replacements (often an "equivalent" tube with a different part number) and then back at home put the tubes back where they belong, sometimes the new tube going in last since the tube placement diagram never showed the "equivalent" number.

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post #13 of 16 Old 11-09-2015, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post
And finally the last vacuum tube in a TV, albeit a rather large one, passed away this century.
Although tubes in the TV chassis circuitry have been replaced by solid state (i.e. transistors), the CRT display has not (at least not yet).
DLP could qualify as solid state, but not LCD or plasma. OLED probably is also not solid.

Last edited by blue_z; 11-09-2015 at 03:16 PM.
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post #14 of 16 Old 11-09-2015, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Incandescent light bulbs are vacuum tubes.
Incandescent light bulbs do not have the minimal attributes of a vacuum tube, i.e. having at least an anode and a cathode like a diode tube.

Quote:
They are still alive in various forms for those that desire that type of technology for their gear.
FYI there's a vacuum tube in your microwave oven.
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post #15 of 16 Old 11-09-2015, 04:36 PM
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post #16 of 16 Old 11-10-2015, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_z View Post
Although tubes in the TV chassis circuitry have been replaced by solid state (i.e. transistors), the CRT display has not (at least not yet).
DLP could qualify as solid state, but not LCD or plasma. OLED probably is also not solid.
Now I didn't say the CRT was replaced with solid-state electronics, I said it passed away this century. Well for most practical purposes...I suppose one could still travel to India and buy a 'new' CRT TV or monitor.

Hey I have some cool single numeric display vacuum tubes. Were given to me by a former co-worker EE, he is a true geek and used two of the tubes to display the revolution count of his gerbil wheel.

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