Our LCDs suck: Modern games on a CRT

The natural-resolution scaling of CRTs is something you just can’t do on and LCD, which has a fixed panel resolution. The free phosphor-glow “anti-aliasing” also, although that’s something that people are getting pretty good at simulating, I think.

But I wonder about the rest of it. CRTs have ~8 ms of “input lag” (basically, at 60 hz, it takes 8 ms to draw the next frame), so really, modern panels are pretty close. As I understand it, e.g. OLED has similar black levels to a CRT. So it might depend on exactly what you’re prioritizing, but you can get close in any given dimension.

Outside of extreme cases, like speed runners who do specific frame counting, and want consistency, it might not be that noticeable. (For retro-games, where they were built with some of those features in mind, and are generally much closer to the hardware, I think CRTs are clearly superior though).

I’ve been thinking about this a bit. Does the same rational that CRT’s scale better also apply to projectors? I.e. could you get a high quality projector and get your games looking good at low resolutions?

They were entertaining as hell back in my college electronics classes.
Discharging them was fun, but not as fun as when someone else didn’t.

Well…I don’t like them because I can hear them.

Apparently the image quality is good, but overall they are a PITA to install, configure and use.


  • Long service life; CRT’s maintain good brightness to 10,000 hours.[2]
  • High-end CRT projectors can precisely display images up to 1920 x 1200 [3][4] with accurate color reproduction. A few projectors can scan at even higher resolutions up to 3200 x 2560, although their ability to resolve fine detail at this resolution is greatly reduced.
  • Superior black level compared to LCD and DLP based projectors.
  • As with CRT monitors, the image resolution and the refresh rate are not fixed but variable within some limits. Interlaced material can be played directly, without need for imperfect deinterlacing mechanisms.
  • Very fast response time (especially when compared to LCD-based projectors), resulting in minimal (if any) motion blur when showing video with fast motion.
  • CRT projectors do not show a rainbow effect seen with single chip DLP projectors.

Huh, I was more asking about projectors in general cause I didn’t realize CRT projectors were a thing. Interesting.

The only thing that sucks about them is I assume I can’t hear them anymore since I ruined my ears with rock n roll. I always enjoyed being able to tell when I walked into the house whether a TV was on somewhere. It was like having superpowers.

Really annoying superpowers.

When I was in high school I worked at a Sears down the street. I got to know a lot of people there and used to talk to some of the Loss Prevention guys. Their office was a dark room kind of between the admin offices and the back room warehouse. Inside was a wall of small TVs (maybe 12-13 inches?) from all of the CC feeds around the store. All CRTs. I went to follow one of them in once and it was like a forcefield. The whine of all of those TVs was enough that I stopped cold at the doorway. They laughed at me and gave me shit about it. I never was able to go in that room.

Good times!

When I was little, I couldn’t stand near the entrance to department stores because the sound was overwhelming. I’d run into the middle of the store (or out into the mall) and wait for my mom to catch up. She thought I was making it up.

At Vandy, there was a library that had motion sensors (Or something) on the ceiling that were so loud, they gave me vertigo. I carried foam earplugs in my backpack in case I needed to work in there. They aren’t supposed to be on during the day but frequently were.

The lecture hall in medical school had 4 large crts. They were often left on with no signal. I had to find out how to control them from the av people. Whenever those sets were actually used during a lecture, it drove me from the room.

My son has this exact problem. The second we walk into Target he says, “Ahhh! We have to go. Come on, let’s go. My ears hurt.” And it sucks because of course that’s where you get a cart and the wife puts her purse in the cart and I pop our youngest kid into the seat and he’s miserable. :/

At least you understand that it is a real phenomenon.

Yeah, and we let him walk forward a bit into the store so he doesn’t suffer. I’m glad I don’t have it as bad now. Probably due to wearing ear canal headphones and listening to music 5+ hours a day at work.

As someone who has set up multiple CRT projectors, I can tell you that it’s not for the faint of heart lol. This of course depends on what brand etc, but the gist of it is, you have to manually calibrate the individual lenses to align the thing. This would often change due to any number of things, someone bumped it, heat/cold, bad tolerances on the adjustments…If you’re dealing with one of the more high endish brands, they aren’t bad, but some of the cheap ones are quite a bear to handle. You also get into problems with cheaper models, where you can get the center aligned, but one of more of the edges would be out of alignment. Getting one of those dialed in, so that the entire screen was actually aligned wasn’t particularly easy most of the time.

That being said, a good CRT projector in a dark room with a good screen, can be pretty damn good. I worked in a high end audio store, that also did some video back in the old days, so we did quite a few surround sound/home theater setups.

I recall using those for cultural showings of anime at my highschool, and that part was incredibly tough to achieve… and the difference in the quality of the picture was between night and day.

That’s basically my thing. I had a huge CRT monitor back in the day. The thing was a gigantic pain in the ass to move. It was heavy, but also just awkward to pick up, and it ate up almost the entire depth of my desk.

Plus, you forget how much electricity they eat up, and how much of that gets released as heat.

LCD monitors use more juice than CRT monitors due to the backlight, I think. LED or OLED may be more efficient, however.

It’s mainly due to the size. LCDs use less power per square inch, but the thing is, you never saw 65-inch CRTs in homes. (The weight of which would have probably been in the grand piano range).

A buddy of mine once won a 60-something inch CRT TV in a contest at his workplace.

The first I found out about it was when I stopped by his house one evening and saw the very large box (not a crate, but heavy duty cardboard) in his garage. He proudly pointed at it, proclaiming it to be the largest TV he’d ever seen (this was the late 90’s).

He never did set it up in the house; I don’t know what ever happened to it, but the box was indeed massive (slightly smaller and more square than a refrigerator IIRC), brought by a big truck, he said. He also told me what the thing was supposedly worth, but I’ve long since forgotten.

EDIT: I’ve gone in search of a 60-something CRT, and am having trouble finding one. As I never saw the thing out of the box, I guess it’s possible it was some sort of rear projection CRT?

My parents had a massive 45 or 50-ish CRT TV, and while it was big and heavy, it wasn’t much deeper than a more standard 30 one.
It was 100/120hz, so maybe the tube was somewhat quaint and doing some tricks to get around having to be as deep as it was large.
There wasn’t any line in the middle (I heard some of those tvs may have been two tubes next to each other or some other urban legendary stuff, but that was not the case).
And it was horrible, horrible for gaming. Excepting for the Dreamcast (why, of course), all the consoles were looking very ugly. It offered much less of that warm dithering that was expected for older hardware. Maybe it would rock with today’s hardware!
If the game console was displaying steady 30fps, it would convert it using some blending technique into 60fps, which was often time super weird and felt cheap looking (like going from a theater movie to cheap video-shot tv series). But I confess I don’t like 60 fps in modern gaming either, I always like the slight choppiness of 30 best.