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  #1  
Old 04-03-2015, 01:49 AM
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Tubejunke Tubejunke is offline
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Do "roundie" color sets make a better picture than later sets?

I have always sort of liked having a working "roundie" color set around for decades now, but i'm not sure why really. I personally think that they can make as decent a picture as most anything else I have seen, but I also think that the flat screens everyone has gone nuts over don't look that great really. Or not great enough for me to spend the money that they at least once commanded at retail.

So what do some of you think the attraction is to these sets. I know some will be people who were kids when these were new and it was a BIG deal to have any color TV. So they will say they have fond memories of those days. As for me; I am almost 46 and there were certainly a lot of those sets around and remained in use until I was well into my teen years, but in my life most families had a color TV. For us screen size could be impressive and remote control was impressive, and projection sets with wall screens were impressive (or the later huge single unit projection sets).

So this may be interesting. Do they actually make a better picture in any kind of way than later sets, or is it all nostalgia? Maybe simply the love and interest in vintage tube type electronics as a lost science as is a bit of the case with me as well. Waddaya think?
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:07 AM
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I can't quite put my finger on it.....but there is SOMETHING about a roundie set. Particularly the Zeniths. I have watched enough shown on them to KNOW...there just look "different". I have seen things on a well working 25MC33 zenith..that just looked "out of this world" in picture quality !! (of course--this was over 30 years ago).

Maybe it is THIS. (just my opinion)...

Keep in mind...the gun structure of round color tubes is MUCH larger than rect. tubes. ESPECIALLY in-line ones. In FACT..ONE gun from a 21FBP22 or such....is LARGER--than all THREE guns physically of a mini-neck in line tube !!

This of course would seem to mean there would be a BIGGER--STRONGER beam to the phospor--which would seem to light it "better". Not necessairly brighter...just more vivid and lifelike.

Of course...NONE of this may be right..just my opinion and observations.

I would LOVE to see someone figure out some way...to show an HD program on a roundie tube. I just WONDER what that would look like?
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:52 AM
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Interesting ideas! Good to start the show with a Zenith fan. Mine is a Zenith 5111. I have posted before about every thread seeming to be RCA related, but was told and now have seen that there isn't as much to say about Zeniths' as the need far less repair. However, I have also heard that the RCA supposedly had superior picture quality. That I don't know and it's off topic anyway.
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:14 AM
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I'm an Italian guy, here the color television began in 1977, before this year only transmission tests was made in color. We are born with the rectangular television and almost never we had roundie screens (except few Zenith roundie sets that were imported in first seventies years in Florence because a famous italian technician transmitted a french station coming from the french coast). In 1983 I began to repair tv sets and I already had a great passion for tube color tv sets, and they were really rare, because almost all the tv sets at work were already solid state.

For me the roundie color sets give pictures exactly as the rectangular screen, but they are so "vintage" that they are more and more interesting that every other set!. I have a great plasma screen in living room, but if I should choose to have only a tv set in my home, I'd prefer to watch television on my Zenith Parkhurst (25MC33) that I keep in another dining room! And yet I had it only in 2006 through an ebay auction.
Before the digital television I kept a lot of old tv sets also from the 70-80 years, because they were more usable with their perfected remote controls. Now that all is flattened by the use of digital decoders, I keep only very fine tv sets and the roundies are for me the better expression of the historic color television.

The roundie sets are simply more handsome tv sets!

Last edited by radiomec; 04-03-2015 at 04:20 AM.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:55 AM
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The roundie sets were made at a time when color tv was a premium product and it shows in the build quality. Most roundies have metal crt bezels and control panels where later sets started using all plastic. I like Zenith for the hand wired chassis which seems to hold up far better with tube technology, no pc boards cooked with tube heat. I have a 25MC33 Zenith and the picture quality is very impressive. If I could only have one color tv a Zenith roundie would be my choice. The flesh tones on a Zenith seem to be warmer with more emphasis on red. Many RCA sets I have seen tend to be heavy on green. Zenith builds a better tv but I think RCA has nicer cabinet styles.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:27 AM
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Great thread - I submit that because the gun arrangement, convergence, deflection, shadow mask and screen are round and without pincushion correction in particular, there are few compromises to overcome.

A perfectly set up roundie has fewer possible geometric distortions which result in near-perfect purity and convergence. Few rectangular delta-gun sets produced mid-1960s through the end of the 1970s could converged without some issues at the corners.

When I started high school in 1978, I wanted a round-screen color set as a semi-daily watcher.
What I had was an RCA Nordholm(?) GG643 with a CTC 16XL chassis and a Channel Master rebuilt 21FJP22 that was already going weak on red.
(RCA's tended toward cyan for sure, Compucat)
I brought this TV into high school shop to follow Carl Babcoke's Tab RCA Color Service Manual book to do color set-up with the equipment I did not have at home.
I rejuvenated the CRT to near equal emission and cut-off, then carefully followed the purity and convergence methods in the book, likely copied from RCA factroy info.
After a week or so of repeated set-up adjustments, I brought it home and I swear it looked as good as my parents' 1971 Zenith 23V" console, which was hard to beat.

I saw many a Zenith roundie working beautifully and ocasionally had to fix one but I never HAD one for myself until getting a Zenith 5304 - ch.24MC32 (thanks again, Tim) last year.
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Last edited by DavGoodlin; 04-03-2015 at 10:31 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2015, 11:37 AM
zeno zeno is offline
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I think the roundies were better till the black matrix tubes
( chromacolor etc ). Still there is something about the roundie.
A perfect one in a dark room & older content just look "right".

Another thing about roundies is most were clones & when right
they all came close in pix. Latter sets were rarely clones &
the pix quality varied a LOT brand to brand. Also the wear out
time varied. Some sets after a while just had so many little
problems you couldnt money wise make them like new.
Up til the 70's RCA & Zenith were the high end sets.
Middle sets were Maggies & Sylvanias. Low end was GE, Emerson
& most store brands. Time has proven that, just see what
has survived

73 Zeno
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:02 PM
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The Roundies were from the era where the dealer was sposed to come to yr house & "Set it Up". If you got the guy who typically installed fridges, you might not have had as good of a picture as the TV was capable of delivering. I remember seeing a LOT of Roundies back then that the convergence left a lot to be desired. Another problem was that you could be depending on the signal quality of yr own antenna. Here in Greater Bugtussle, we were at least 50 miles away from the nearest TV station, so that was going against us, along w/ the problems of being in "The Mountains".
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:22 PM
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1st time I recall seeing a color tv, think it was a roundie, saw a BW show (typical of the time, not a lot of color programming).

it was so badly converged I could see the color fringing all over the place on a BW image, I was just a kid, and thought so this is color tv? was not impressed.
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Old 04-03-2015, 06:25 PM
JB5pro JB5pro is offline
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Angry i always did and still do prefer roundies

I like the rectangularies too for certain programs but i love the roundies especially when watching period correct shows like all the early color broadcasts.
i lost my '64 rca home entertainment center , the antionette with remote control and no uhf. Ctc15 low hours, It was awesome with a new crt from hawkeye i spent like 700 on that crt. The knife is still slowly twisting in my mind's gut over that loss. it'll likely drive me to
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:32 PM
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The green phosphor was originally "greener", but not as bright as the newer phosphors (these being more yellowish). Which makes for a smaller range of displayable colors.

One thing some more modern sets had was better chroma-luma separation, using a comb filter. This reduced the high frequency luma from contaminating the chroma (crawling rainbows on referee's shirts). A roundie with the old phosphor fed by an S-video source (and modified to accept the S-video) should look very good.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:52 PM
Bill R Bill R is offline
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The roundies seem to have more depth to the picture and the colors. Most sets were not set up properly when they were delivered, and I think that caused lots of people to not be impressed with color television. You could take an RCA CTC16XL set and do a complete IF and color alignment, and with a rare earth crt and proper setup get a picture that you could almost walk off into. It was second to none when done right. This was true of lots of the roundies. I never liked the Zenith crt's because they used a orange/red phospher. Pure reds were not as nice in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, the Zenith sets did make a good picture and I certianly would not turn one down. I own 2 of them. My 1964 model Zenith works great. I like period programing on the roundie. Thats the way it was intended to be seen in my opinion.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:58 PM
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This would describe for my Zenith 25MC33 set--from late 1981---1982. I watched a LOT of shows on it...and it looked VERY impressive !!
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:13 PM
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I've never seen a roundie in person so I can't compare.

As long as the picture doesn't look totally crappy I don't really care. Also, electronics from the 70s were still commonly used by most people I grew up around, so I guess that's where my preferences came from.

Either someone collects what I do or that part of history would be forever lost.

Last edited by Jon A.; 04-03-2015 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon A. View Post
I've never seen a roundie in person so I can't compare.

As long as the picture doesn't look totally crappy I don't really care. Also, electronics from the 70s were still commonly used by most people I grew up around, so I guess that's where my preferences came from.

Either someone collects what I do or that part of history would be forever lost.
1970s sets are well worth collecting. Quality did not start to take a serious drop until the 1980s although some '80s were well built such as the Sony's.
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