View Full Version : Best Era for CRT tvs?


RCAZenith
05-13-2016, 04:51 PM
I hear repeatedly that the best tvs made come from the late tube era and the early solid state era (late 60s to early 80s). That seems to be the consensus. RadioTVnut and Shango066 (YouTube), among others, repeatedly state how tvs declined in quality beginning in the early 80s. The chief reason they feel this way, I think, is the superior quality and design that makes them more easily reparable. However, high end sets from the late 80s and early 90s are considered good quality tvs by some.

Given the ever declining supply of CRT sets in good condition, I am not a snob. I will (almost) proudly admit that I own two Funai made sets (both Emersons?) from the early 2000s that still work well today. I have spent a combined $91 for the 4 CRT sets that I own today. Are the later sets as good as the older stuff? Definitely not, because of the cheaper materials and disposable design. But I bet you guys are shocked that even some of the black plastic crap sets can and will last for many years.




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Electronic M
05-13-2016, 05:55 PM
Depends on whether your yard stick is picture quality or reliability.

Picture quality wise I'd look for a sony super fine pitch CRT HD set.

Reliability wise I'd go for a early 70's Zenith CCII horizontal flat chassis soild state set...They have a great picture and aside from a safety cap issue are darn near immortal...The CRTs in them seem to last forever too.

It seems the early SS sets that were made to be so repairable are ironically the ones that need the least repair.

tvcollector
05-13-2016, 06:04 PM
Personally I think the early solid state stuff from the mid 70s to mid 80s was the best era of CRT Televisions.. The early solid state stuff seems to put off the best picture quality and is very reliable.. The Zeniths of those times are a great example.. I still have my Zenith digital set from 1981 and a Hitachi set from the same year that I had running for 6 years straight.. I finally got a flat screen that I have on alot now to cut down on the hours of the 80s set..

The HD sets may put off great pics, but they aren't reliable..

N2IXK
05-13-2016, 08:12 PM
On the basis of build quality/reliability, I'm another vote for the early/mid 70s solid state sets. PC board technology had improved with the use of fiberglass boards and solid state parts generating a lot less heat. But the boards were kept to small individual modules to aid troubleshooting, and still mostly discrete parts or simple linear ICs. The chassis itself was usually a full stamped steel holdover from the tube days. Heavily built, often transformer operated linear power supplies. CRTs got improved phosphors and black matrix screens, and delta gun color tubes were a fully mature technology, at the top of their development.

zeno
05-13-2016, 09:09 PM
N2IXK is spot on.

This is near & dear to my heart. I was at the bench from abt
1970 til the end.
The first few generations of SS sets were the best. The late 70's
through 80's were highly improved as far as reliability & pix
quality but lost much of the indestructible chassis & CRT's.
Any day I would take a flat chassis Zenith over anything,
scan lines & all. ( scan lines were GOOD ! none BAD !)
Those pre late 70's sets were built balls out. Nothing held back.
The engineers got there way for a change. Bean counters lost
that battle.

73 Zeno:smoke:

rca2000
05-13-2016, 09:32 PM
I join in on the agreement on the Zenith Flatties.. I STILL wonder what Zenith did to make those CRT"S so good and bullet-proof. I have my own theories..but am not really as knowledgeable on CRT design as some. I suspect it was overly-heavy cathode coatings, maybe superior getterings and vacuum too

there were only two real "weak points" on the flatties and the vertical chassis that followed. The biggest one--the safety caps, second...triplers (and focus components.). I would expect that MANY flat-chassis sets and vertical sets went to the grave with one of those bad parts--but with near-PERFECT tubes.,flybacks, and most else...

sampson159
05-13-2016, 10:48 PM
of course the zenith hybrids and solid states until 1979,the sylvania hybrids had monumental crts,the dark matrix crt looked great but suffered a short life,the rca xl100 crts and magnavox made a fine looking set.philco ford hybrids produced amazing pictures.overall,of the american sets,the years 1969 to 1979 was the greatest era for crt televisions.

maxhifi
05-13-2016, 10:57 PM
I think the trinitron had the nicest picture. Maybe they didn't last as long as the American CRTs, but when new the picture was outstanding.

rca2000
05-13-2016, 11:03 PM
I think the trinitron had the nicest picture. Maybe they didn't last as long as the American CRTs, but when new the picture was outstanding.


I guess it is like the saying on Blade Runner.."the light that burns twice as bright..lasts HALF as long !! A great, bright picture with outstanding color...while it LASTED...

maxhifi
05-13-2016, 11:19 PM
I guess it is like the saying on Blade Runner.."the light that burns twice as bright..lasts HALF as long !! A great, bright picture with outstanding color...while it LASTED...

When I was growing up my folks had the same 21" trinitron from 1982 - 1999, we watched maybe 2-3 hours of tv per day. In the last year or two the picture got green but before that it was always awesome. I know in some families people had the tv on many more hours per day, probably it wouldn't have been as good in that sort of a setting. To be honest the first complaints about trinitron a and longevity I heard were here on VK.

Electronic M
05-13-2016, 11:37 PM
One thing I realized is that we've discussed Color but not monochrome. I'd argue monochrome's best years were about 1958-1975. After tube designs became standard/mature (as long as you did not buy cheap crap) you usually got a good performing set that would last ~20 or more years with little maintenance. Heck I've got early 60's Zeniths still working well on original caps.

Outland
05-14-2016, 03:22 AM
I've heard that about Trinitrons too. I don't know where the rumor comes from. I have a Sony Trinitron computer monitor from about 1999 that has as great and sharp a picture as it always did.

maxhifi
05-14-2016, 10:31 AM
I've heard that about Trinitrons too. I don't know where the rumor comes from. I have a Sony Trinitron computer monitor from about 1999 that has as great and sharp a picture as it always did.

I think it could be to do with the brightness setting, I remember hearing many years ago that running brightness full blast will wear out the tv quickly, so I always kept it backed off.

dieseljeep
05-14-2016, 10:34 AM
One thing I realized is that we've discussed Color but not monochrome. I'd argue monochrome's best years were about 1958-1975. After tube designs became standard/mature (as long as you did not buy cheap crap) you usually got a good performing set that would last ~20 or more years with little maintenance. Heck I've got early 60's Zeniths still working well on original caps.

1954 and newer RCA's with the all glass CRT's, 1956 and newer Motorola's, 1958 and newer Zenith's, 1954/55 Westinghouse. Many Admiral models.

dieseljeep
05-14-2016, 11:09 AM
I think the trinitron had the nicest picture. Maybe they didn't last as long as the American CRTs, but when new the picture was outstanding.

All the smaller screen Sony's, 9 to 15 inch, seemed to have great longevity. I ran a KV 1212, myself for 10 years, until the CRT showed signs of weakness. I have several now, all seem to have a great picture. One of the main qualities is halfway decent sound, even on the real small sets. :thmbsp:

Dreamsbeard
05-14-2016, 07:35 PM
What about image quality (brightness, sharpness, colours)? Where the early solid state as good as lets say a mid 90's Toshiba or Sony or even RCA (I heard those had a pretty good picture too).

Outland
05-15-2016, 06:37 AM
I would say no way. S-video really was a huge leap forward. The comb filters on the 90s TVs were also very good, at least until the late '90s with the digital 3D comb filters, which never looked great.