View Full Version : Best color TV 1965-1975?


maxhifi
11-07-2017, 11:03 AM
Looking at performance, reliability, durabity, design. What's your vote for best?

Is it as simple as RCA versus Zenith?

I can't make up my mind, I like RCA, and Zenith, and Sony, even Motorola.

TUD1
11-07-2017, 11:17 AM
Zenith 25DC56, 25EC58. No question.

Electronic M
11-07-2017, 12:18 PM
Zenith 25DC56, 25EC58. No question.

If best is defined by reliability and or focus sharpness, then yes. Otherwise there are roundys from the era that can do better color...I've seen both RCA and Zenith roundys out preform a flat chassis in the color department...I'd probably go with a zenith roundy as being most reliable with really stunning color.

maxhifi
11-07-2017, 12:31 PM
I should add a couple other criteria - tube or hybrid chassis, and rectangular screen.

My only issue with Zenith is based on fairly limited experience, but the whole color demodulator circuit in RCA tv's seems to be better. It's like the Achilles heel of the otherwise ideal Zenith.

I put my 16 inch Zenith into my bedroom a few days ago, and it's such a pleasure to watch the sharp and bright picture, I haven't had a color CRT set hooked up for some time, and I forgot how great they are. I do need to mess with the color circuit though, sometimes there's a greenish cast to images which should be blue. It doesn't happen all the time but it's an occasional problem.

TUD1
11-07-2017, 01:31 PM
My only issue with Zenith is based on fairly limited experience, but the whole color demodulator circuit in RCA tv's seems to be better. It's like the Achilles heel of the otherwise ideal Zenith.

I agree about the Zenith color demodulators being annoying. My 1968 20Y1C50 set has a very annoying tint problem on scene changes. It's just all over the place.

zeno
11-07-2017, 07:53 PM
Best ever ALL AROUND color TV ?
Zenith SS flat chassis NO question about it.

Almost all early SS sets were better built than newer ones.
Also easier to fix than a tube job. Even GE & Admiral put
out good ones.

73 Zeno:smoke:
LFOD !

Kevin Kuehn
11-08-2017, 01:17 AM
OK, dumb guy question. What's a flat chassis, you mean as in horizontal versus the vertical PCB?

DaveWM
11-08-2017, 10:16 AM
25DC56 with the Zenith picture tube for durability. Agree that roundies often seem to have better color.

sampson159
11-08-2017, 10:40 AM
1.zenith hybrid and flat chassis sets.
2.sylvania hybrid and e45to e48 chassis
3.rca xl100 chassis with delta gun crt
4.magnavox t995 chassis
5.philco hybrid with cool chassis tubes
roundys do seem to produce much more pleasing color saturation.ctc 15 or zenith
roundys were the absolute best

this is just my opinion.i left the business in 1985 and just dabble occasionally.worked 26 years and saw many different sets but my list is based on my own experiences.

zeno
11-08-2017, 11:13 AM
OK, dumb guy question. What's a flat chassis, you mean as in horizontal versus the vertical PCB?

Flat chassis was 1st Zenith 100% solid state color. It sat in the
cabinet "flat" as opposed to being fold down vertical like
the later CC2 chassis. Sold in 25" C, D, E & probably a few F year
sets.
Still built on steel chassis with hand wiring & abt. 8 small modules.
All semis also plugged in.
Even at the time they were known for ruggedness, servicability,
almost immortal CRT's & had a great pix ! Everyone loved them, even
the RCA guys.

73 Zeno:smoke:
LFOD !

zeno
11-08-2017, 11:20 AM
1.zenith hybrid and flat chassis sets.
2.sylvania hybrid and e45to e48 chassis
3.rca xl100 chassis with delta gun crt
4.magnavox t995 chassis
5.philco hybrid with cool chassis tubes
roundys do seem to produce much more pleasing color saturation.ctc 15 or zenith
roundys were the absolute best

this is just my opinion.i left the business in 1985 and just dabble occasionally.worked 26 years and saw many different sets but my list is based on my own experiences.

Great list. The Philco hybrid is way underrated IMHO. Sweet pix.
I would add Admirals 1st SS 25" sets. ( NOT the 13, 17 & 19).
As good as any, just needed a better jug.

73 Zeno:smoke:
LFOD !

Sandy G
11-08-2017, 12:48 PM
This thread is just a TAD on the "Jingoish" side of things, but that's all right..An early day Trinitron is rather hard to beat ,in my book... EVERYBODY always enjoyed
watching it... A Golf match, when you had a cameraman who knew what he was doing, was a sight to behold...

maxhifi
11-08-2017, 01:31 PM
This thread is just a TAD on the "Jingoish" side of things, but that's all right..An early day Trinitron is rather hard to beat ,in my book... EVERYBODY always enjoyed
watching it... A Golf match, when you had a cameraman who knew what he was doing, was a sight to behold...

Before I got interested in vintage TV, and having grown up in the 1980s, I thought the trinitron was head and shoulders above everything else. Everyone in my family who cared about quality had one, I thought the only people who bought RCA or something else, were either too cheap to get a Sony or people not interested much in quality.

So seeing how good of a picture those old RCA and Zenith delta gun sets can make when they're operating properly was a bit of a surprise to me. The remaining ones I saw growing up were always on their last legs and all out of adjustment. And now, in 2017, it's really hard to find an early Trinitron with a good enough picture tube to make a good picture, they all seem to be off due to weak tubes. I'm not sure if it's because they were so good that people watched them until there was nothing left, or if they have worse longevity than the domestic tubes.

old_tv_nut
11-08-2017, 03:44 PM
...And now, in 2017, it's really hard to find an early Trinitron with a good enough picture tube to make a good picture, they all seem to be off due to weak tubes. I'm not sure if it's because they were so good that people watched them until there was nothing left, or if they have worse longevity than the domestic tubes.

I suspect a good part of it is that the Trinitrons probably were run at higher beam current than other tubes, which helped give them their brighter picture. This was possible because of the tensioned grille shadow mask, which did not deform with heat (until it got so hot that the tension was released.)

Celt
11-08-2017, 04:53 PM
Only problem I had with the Trinitrons is the RED was always a bit more ORANGE than RED.

Bill R
11-08-2017, 06:24 PM
My favorite was always the Magnavox T995 with the star tuner. Next favorite was the RCA CTC-16xl with a good crt and proper alignment very hard to beat. I never liked the orangy reds of the zenith sets. and since I am very nearsighted, I have to sit close to the set so I could never watch a Sony Trinitron. I could see the black lines from the shadow mask running up the picture. Most annoying.

Sandy G
11-08-2017, 06:37 PM
That KV-1070UA or whatever the Sony model number was kinda made everything else look like a Remedial Shop Class project..As long as Akio Morita ran things at Sony, they made VERY GOOD stuff. My KV-7010 U/A had the Hound run out of it, got fed w/127VAC most all its life-But as best as I recall, it STILL made a picture that was 2nd to none..My dad got it at Hammacher Schlemmer in Noo Yawk City... Seems like I remember that for some odd reason, they were "Never Officially imported" in America. Helluva note-Mine just had that UNBELIEVABLE sharp, stable picture that they were later on JUSTLY. famous for..

Sandy G
11-08-2017, 06:48 PM
In the "Early" days of TV, most sets were bought from yr friendly neighborhood furniture/appliance store, worked/were set up by a guy who was basically nothing more than a "Stepin Fetchit" guy whose primary importance was seeing Mrs Kabboble's new bedroom suit's Henrydon wasn't all "Skint" to death by the ogres who usually fooled w/this stuff. MAYBE the store spent a bit of money,& sent all their "Ogres" to a class where they learned-Hopefully- the ins & outs of setting up TVs.

sampson159
11-08-2017, 08:21 PM
my t995 star set has a fantastic picture and maybe the best of all the sets i own.i never inquired who made those crts for them?my e48 with the dark matrix crt is a close second,xl100 running neck and neck.i do remember those admiral sets and some of them had a really fine crt while others had low grade jugs.when those admirals were right,they were right!btw-since back then i never inquired,who built crts for admiral,magnavox,philco before gte,etc?the philco hybrid that i owned had the best picture of any set.my dad bought a d16 slide control sylvania new that had a knockout picture and is still in operation to this day.through the years,i ve saw many sets and there are quite few memorable ones but my favorite was my philco hybrid.few problems except for the electrolytics.had to recap it twice in five years.my first e45 with electronic tuning was great and in its ten year run with me not one problem.those furniture store tv experts!got so many call in regards.they would set up those sets and the complaint was always the same,"it looked much better in the store".usually degauss,set the grayscale and some minor color tint adjustments.paid me well and loved those service calls.back when you could actually make a buck in the business

Jon A.
11-08-2017, 08:43 PM
my t995 star set has a fantastic picture and maybe the best of all the sets i own.i never inquired who made those crts for them?
RCA probably, as far as I know all were equipped with the 25VCXP22. Two of my sets have them, both EIA 274, one in daily use. I agree, fantastic picture, stiff competition for even the newest CRTs.

Electronic M
11-09-2017, 11:23 AM
my t995 star set has a fantastic picture and maybe the best of all the sets i own.i never inquired who made those crts for them?my e48 with the dark matrix crt is a close second,xl100 running neck and neck.i do remember those admiral sets and some of them had a really fine crt while others had low grade jugs.when those admirals were right,they were right!btw-since back then i never inquired,who built crts for admiral,magnavox,philco before gte,etc?the philco hybrid that i owned had the best picture of any set.my dad bought a d16 slide control sylvania new that had a knockout picture and is still in operation to this day.through the years,i ve saw many sets and there are quite few memorable ones but my favorite was my philco hybrid.few problems except for the electrolytics.had to recap it twice in five years.my first e45 with electronic tuning was great and in its ten year run with me not one problem.those furniture store tv experts!got so many call in regards.they would set up those sets and the complaint was always the same,"it looked much better in the store".usually degauss,set the grayscale and some minor color tint adjustments.paid me well and loved those service calls.back when you could actually make a buck in the business

When your back on your feet, pull the backs on your sets find the CRT label and write down the 3-4 digit EIA number. The EIA number will tell you who REALLY made it. I've seen early Zenith labeled 21FJP22 CRTs with an RCA EIA number on the sticker because Zenith had yet to get their Rauland CRT division to start mass producing color CRTs.

Many maker's sources varied over the years, some times internal sometimes external, sometimes different external from other times....The color shortage of the late 60's caused some of the more unusual sourcing. Sets were selling faster than they could make them and if a make did not own a CRT supply chain, it might grab whatever make CRT it could get in a given week.

nasadowsk
11-09-2017, 09:00 PM
This thread is just a TAD on the "Jingoish" side of things, but that's all right..An early day Trinitron is rather hard to beat ,in my book... EVERYBODY always enjoyed
watching it... A Golf match, when you had a cameraman who knew what he was doing, was a sight to behold...


Yeah, Sony pretty much released the Trinitron and that was their first mic drop. Growing up in the 80's, the Trini was THE set to have - nothing really came close. The Colortraks were decent when they worked, which wasn't often on the one my parents had :/

bgadow
11-10-2017, 10:52 PM
my t995 star set has a fantastic picture and maybe the best of all the sets i own.i never inquired who made those crts for them?my e48 with the dark matrix crt is a close second,xl100 running neck and neck.i do remember those admiral sets and some of them had a really fine crt while others had low grade jugs.when those admirals were right,they were right!btw-since back then i never inquired,who built crts for admiral,magnavox,philco before gte,etc?the philco hybrid that i owned had the best picture of any set.my dad bought a d16 slide control sylvania new that had a knockout picture and is still in operation to this day.through the years,i ve saw many sets and there are quite few memorable ones but my favorite was my philco hybrid.few problems except for the electrolytics.had to recap it twice in five years.my first e45 with electronic tuning was great and in its ten year run with me not one problem.those furniture store tv experts!got so many call in regards.they would set up those sets and the complaint was always the same,"it looked much better in the store".usually degauss,set the grayscale and some minor color tint adjustments.paid me well and loved those service calls.back when you could actually make a buck in the business

That NOS XL100 of yours ranks as one of the nicest pictures I've ever seen. I can still remember it, and it's probably been 12 years or more!

For a time Admiral made its own color crt's. In a history of the company outlined in the MAARC newsletter Radio Age it mentioned that they had a lot of quality issues that they couldn't resolve. Eventually they gave up; when Admiral disassembled their crt plant they found that somebody had apparently sabotoged the water purification apparatus, throwing some scraps of metal in a tank & thus contaminating the crt's.

old_tv_nut
11-10-2017, 11:27 PM
...when Admiral disassembled their crt plant they found that somebody had apparently sabotoged the water purification apparatus, throwing some scraps of metal in a tank & thus contaminating the crt's.

Wow, that's the first time I've heard the sabotage story.

philcophan
11-11-2017, 10:18 AM
Back in the day, when we were hunting a new TV, I noticed that Philco roundies had the finest skin tone rendition... people just looked like people!!! The chassis had the tuning bar eye tube. My Father had an Admiral aircraft carrier he was given... I was recruited to venture down to his place to resurrect it... after putting in an RCA HiLite jug it had a fine picture that rivaled my Zenith 25EC58 flatty. I trash picked a 13" Maggie that had one of the sharpest, brightest pictures... I also had a works in a drawer that was fantastic... My Uncle had the first color set in our relation... a 1957 RCA Deluxe... looked like $**t most of the time till I got my fingers inside it circa 1966. My observation: almost ANY decently engineered set that is properly adjusted from stem to stern by someone with the knowledge to do so WILL perform magnificently... this very thought just came to me as I was penning this!!! It's reassuring to know that the members of this forum have that knowledge and use it to love these beasts back to life for all to see and marvel at!!!

Jim

sampson159
11-11-2017, 10:28 AM
i agree with philco roundy.dad bought one and it had the best picture in the whole store.he bought the one on display.it was a slight hassle but thats what he wanted.the tuning bars and the flip down door that was broken within days.that set lasted ten years and a crt cleaning once a year kept it going.i really liked those philco sets.nice ly engineered and good looking cabinets.

centralradio
11-11-2017, 01:46 PM
The early 1970's Motorola Quasar 19 inch set that my parents had was the best I've seen compared to my friends and relatives TV's at the time.I cant recall what their sets brand names were since this was 40 plus years ago. I still have my parents set here some where along with my grandfathers Motorola Quasar 13 inch a son of the 19 inch set.My uncle found these sets and said they were the best around.

dieseljeep
11-12-2017, 12:43 PM
Wow, that's the first time I've heard the sabotage story.

The same thing happend at the Rauland plant, years later!
Poor follow-up of the QC department. That water quality should have been checked daily, by a real water expert or at least weekly and parameters established. A QC employee could take samples daily and submit them. :scratch2:

Sandy G
11-12-2017, 08:43 PM
My granddaddy,Fritz, had the only color set in my immediate family- A Zenith that had a metal cab, w/"Woodgrain" vinyl atop it. He had it in his office at work-Being the Big Dawg gave him a few privaleges.. We could only get one or 2 of the Knoxville stations, but the office was on a hill that was kinda oriented to that end of town. Fritz only watched ball games, golf, that sorta stuff, & as I said before, if you had a cameraman who knew his stuff, an outdoor scene could look UNREAL. I still have the set,one day,I'll take it to see Terry..Where the office was,& Fritz's TV was,too you sorta had the equivalent of a 100' tower..

dieseljeep
11-13-2017, 11:04 AM
Was it a round tube job? :scratch2:

Sandy G
11-13-2017, 12:02 PM
Yeppers...(grin) Now, THIS is "Reaching Back', but seems like TVs worked better if they were hooked up to an antenna, rabbit ears, whatever... Ones hooked up toa"Cable" system, just didn't look all that great. This was the era of WBIR TV-10, which was at the time, ONE of the tallest structures on Earth. Something was WRONG w/that antenna-It NEVER quite lived up to all the fol-der-all they dreamed up for it.

old_tv_nut
11-13-2017, 12:14 PM
Yeppers...(grin) Now, THIS is "Reaching Back', but seems like TVs worked better if they were hooked up to an antenna, rabbit ears, whatever... Ones hooked up toa"Cable" system, just didn't look all that great...

Analog cable systems consisted of cascades of multiple analog RF amps. Each one had to be flat within a gnat's eyebrow, or the variations would add up to something visible (and typically did) by the time the signal got to your home.

maxhifi
11-13-2017, 12:26 PM
I remember the opposite, CATV always had a beautiful picture in my area. Videotron had it nailed, the test pattern looked ideal, and the signal was always strong and beautiful. No interference from electric motors or car ignitions, no signal loss according to time of day... no need to every touch fine tuning. just beautiful colour TV.

The installers always used the best products too, they would hook up your TV with Belden coax cable, with the best terminations, and expensive low loss splitters... miles better than the junk you could buy at Radio Shack.

I do remember though that "private" systems in places like hotels often looked like garbage compared to the CATV system at home.

DavGoodlin
11-15-2017, 01:05 PM
An antenna and lead-in with a "notchy" or otherwise non-flat response over the 6 mc of your favorite channel, would likely cause issues similar to a sloppy CATV system.

Dad was certain the 10-foot JFD-LPVCL500 and the Belden fat-foam lead-in was the bees knees for the 1971 Chromacolor with "super gold video guard" tuner. The wacky-disc helical UHF part of that antenna would barely get channel 17 though.

And being 45 miles and just one big hill away from Philly's Roxborough tower farm should have made perfect color on 4 VHF channels a slam-dunk but... WFIL 6 looked really good compared to 3, 10 and 12. Color for ABC's 1972 Olympics was out of this world on that Zenith.

Jeffhs
11-15-2017, 04:36 PM
An antenna and lead-in with a "notchy" or otherwise non-flat response over the 6 mc of your favorite channel, would likely cause issues similar to a sloppy CATV system.



And being 45 miles and just one big hill away from Philly's Roxborough tower farm should have made perfect color on 4 VHF channels a slam-dunk but... WFIL 6 looked really good compared to 3, 10 and 12. Color for ABC's 1972 Olympics was out of this world on that Zenith.


Your area is much closer to Lancaster than to Philadelphia, as I found out on TVGuide.com when I searched on your zip code, 17601. How was your area's reception of channel 27, WHTM-TV in Lancaster? I would think, given that you are in the Lancaster metro area and in a near-fringe area for Philadelphia TV, you would have much, much better reception on channel 27 than on Philadelphia's channel 6. You wouldn't have needed a big outdoor antenna to get all three Lancaster network stations.

BTW, the reason you were getting such poor reception on Philadelphia's channel 17 may well have been because of the distance involved (45 miles). UHF signals do not reach as far as VHF ones, so fringe-area reception of the former is somewhat iffy when you are some distance from the transmitters. That you are 45 miles from Philadelphia's TV towers, with a hill thrown in (!), makes matters somewhat worse, requiring the use of an outdoor antenna (or cable) almost mandatory for good reception of all four of the city's VHF stations. Channel 12 is in Wilmington, Delaware, which is probably outside the Philadelphia metro area, probably won't reach your area without an outdoor antenna. I live in northeast Ohio and remember what a dickens of a time we had when Cleveland's first UHF station, a PBS (then NET, National Educational TV) affiliate went on the air in 1965. I was perhaps 16 miles from downtown, 30+ miles from the station's towers, and could barely see the station's test pattern through heavy snow, even using a small outdoor TV antenna mounted on an old window-shade roller and attached to the side of the TV stand. Our TV was not that great, either; just a 17-inch Sears Silvertone all-channel portable. That the PBS station was only running one million watts ERP at the time wasn't helping matters much, either. I bet no one much except the local elementary school, just down the road from me at the time (it has since been torn down), was seeing this station in its early years. I doubt very much if anyone in those days saw Cleveland's PBS station where I live today, a small village some 30 miles from Cleveland and 35-40 (!) miles from the transmitters. The station had several UHF translator stations to address this issue, but none of them were meant to reach my area.

DavGoodlin
11-16-2017, 12:43 PM
I did extensive antenna testing since moving here in 1989, testing all manner of antennas all on 40-foot Rohn Towers. The VCR's had all the possible channels programmed in, even Washington DC's 4-5-7-9 and a rotor was a must. On a few memorable summer nights, every VHF channel showed a picture here, while some were BW only, others made no sound! On extra-special nights and summer mornings - with e-skip New York channels over-powered Baltimore-DC, while New Haven and Hartford stepped all over KYW-3 and WGAL-8, no small feat!!!

Adding mast pre-amps, knowing the effect on cheaper amps from image frequencies of nearby FM flamethrowers, I was able to select equipment because I could S-E-E what was happening a Sony KV-1711 or Magnavox T995. I even saw effects of radiated noise and interference from switch-mode power supplies. No more. :sigh:

I had the key benefit of knowing how analog reception was here before the shutdown and only the frequencies have changed NOT the transmitter locations. Appalachia, these Blue Mountain and Pocono foothills and even most of New England is similar this way. Good UHF over 40 miles away required an amp, including Philadelphia UHF's.

In a 1962 PF reporter, I read with nostalgia how Winegard and JFD antenna full page ADs touting the Midwest's VHF reception over 200 miles. Channel 13 of Toledo received in Milwaukee was in one ad, 248 miles! That dealer sure was proud, I bet.

Out of all the "local channels" for this market area, WHTM is the elusive one like WOIO is in Cleveland, every area has at least one problem channel that drives the minimum acceptable installation, and its usually VHF.

WHTM was RF 27 in analog days, but was still a bugaboo to get 40 miles away :thumbsdn: unless the rotor was dead-on for 27, ABC default was WPVI-6. Normally, all but channels 4-5-7-9 was receivable on my 1967 Philco hybrid color, using built-in rabbit ears , but only up in the attics of both our 2.5 story houses. This is how good it was compared to WHTM.

Low rolling and wooded hills west of Philly are small but biggest factors affecting digitized RF are nearby trees, not reflected signals. Multipath was not a problem due to agricultural surroundings, so increasing antenna elevation is mostly used to overcome near-obstacles like trees, and equally important, reduce terrain-reflected noise.

The distance factor is why Antenna rabbit or antenna web shows "one edge", not line of sight, reception for all the Philly and Baltimore Stations.

The VHF signals for the ABC channels in Harrisburg-10 and Philadelphia-6 (with 2-3 subs each) are generally hard to get without an outdoor fringe-rated VHF antenna. Forget using anything else, even the little broadband ones like "Radio Shack's VU-90, or the ones sold now by CM that are similar.

Believe it or not, the most reliable local ABC reception is from WMAR, which was VHF-2, now DT RF-38. But that is in a different direction.

Sandy G
11-16-2017, 11:04 PM
Anyone who DOESN'T believe that there is a healthy dose of Black Magic in TV & FM reception oughta come down here. Sometimes, you could BARELY get any of the Knoxville stations on FM,& then other times, the ENTIRE FM band was one solid station. The BEST times, generally, are when the weather is changing over from one season to another. The sky is that gorgeous "Chrome Blue" that you'll have for maybe a week in the spring & fall. Roanoke, Virginia, is roughly 200 miles from here-a tough catch, ordinarily, but on the "Chrome" days they boom in here like there's no tomorrow..