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The last CRT survey
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on March 30, 2006

One of the last CRT test
Even if LCDs are very successful with many of you asking for new tests, there are still some amongst us that don´t want to take the plunge. The reasons are multiple as we listed in last year’s LCD vs CRT duel that opposed two perfect representatives of each technology.

The choice of this old technology is no longer justified by the price. CRTs are now more expensive than LCDs. For example, ViewSonic´s latest 21" CRT costs approximately 600€. A CRT 21" equals a 20" real diagonal (there is a distortion of the image on the side hidden by the bezel that partly covers the panel). Today, it is possible to find a 20" LCD for less than 500€.

In fact, CRT supporters defend their choice for many reasons, some good, some not so good:
- excellent reaction times much better than that of LCDs even the 2ms
- not restricted to 60 or 75 fps in games,
- color rendering much closer to reality, especially when printed
- brightness homogeneity
- black level independent from LCD backlighting
- total viewing angles
- absence of twinkling effects in videos
- total freedom for the choice of resolution
- lower brightness
- text rendering and softer edges for objects, etc.

All these good points deserve an in-depth look!

We are in a situation similar to the transition from vinyl to laser discs. In this case, a new technology pushed the previous one out, but the transition from analog to numeric didn’t necessarily result in improvements in quality. For LCDs it’s a different rendering that requires some time to adapt to. The change to flat monitors isn’t so smooth at first with very bright images and sharpness, extremely vivid colors, discovery of afterglow. Some have preferred not to make this transition and they persist with CRTs or as long as they are on the market.
The problem is that manufacturers have one by one given up production. Our survey (in French) mentioned DiamondTron – made by Mitsubishi – and Trinitron, by Sony technologies. There was also a Diamondtron under the PerfectFlat denomination sold by ViewSonic and one of our favourite monitors. But too bad! First Sony and then Mitsubishi stopped production. More recently, the LG-Philips joint venture has announced the suspension of some of their factories. The others will restructure their activities.

If we were only listening to manufacturers, no one would build tube monitors anymore. You just have to see how they reacted to the announcement of this survey. We looked at several online websites to see that Acer and LG still have a few 17"s, Belinea one 17 and one 21", Dell some 17" and 19"s. This all sounds as if CRTs are heading for an early grave…Others have more products with Iiyama’s complete product line from 17" to 22"s, just like Philips, Samsung and ViewSonic. Testing them however is a different story. Most of them officially tell us that they don’t sell CRTs anymore. Acer, Belinea, Dell, Iiyama, LG and Samsung told us that they were unable to send us monitors (or didn´t want to). Only two welcomed our idea, Philips and ViewSonic. All models weren´t available for testing however and this is the reason why there are some differences in the diagonal sizes.

Philips sent us the 109B60, a 19" (18" visible) with an FST tube, optimised for 1280 x 1024 @ 85 Hz, capable of reaching up to 1920 x 1440 @ 64 Hz.

ViewSonic sent us the brand new P227FB, a 21" (20" visible surface) in PerfectFlat technology. It is optimised for 1600 x 1200 pixels @ 99 Hz and goes up to 2048 x 1536 @ 79 Hz.

We also managed to get a Iiyama. The MA203DT is a 22" with only 20" visible. It is one of the last new DiamondTron on sale. It goes up to 1920 x 1440 @ 74 Hz.

This is an unusual product survey. First off, because it is devoted to CRTs and there is no longer the tendency to push these products and secondly, because it only includes three products. The three diagonals are different, but we made the best out of what we found.

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