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Televisions - Is bigger better when playing Atari?

Is Bigger Better?  

42 members have voted

  1. 1. What size TV do your prefer to play Atari on?

    • Small screen (17 inch or less)
      3
    • Medium screen (18 inch to 31 inch)
      23
    • Large screen (32 inch to 40 inch)
      9
    • Really Large screen (41 inch or larger)
      7


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My 11 year old and I were trying to determine if it's better to play a fast moving game on a small screen or larger screen. We felt that we could see more of the action with a smaller screen and therefore maybe detect enemies a little sooner. However, we thought that we could recognize individual traits better with a larger screen. In the end, we agreed that certain games are probably better played on a smaller screen and others on a bigger screen. I tried Beamrider on two different sized TVs and definitely had a better score on the bigger TV. I seems to take me a little longer to be able to distinguish between extra ships and blockers on the smaller television causing me to sometimes shoot my extra ship (doh) or get hit by a blocker. However, since I played it on the bigger TV second, I think that also had something to do with my higher score.

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I mainly play on either a 42 or a 47 inch LCD/LED TV. The main thing to remember when using a big TV is that distance matters. The bigger the screen, the farther away you should be. I have 3 CRTS, ranging in size from 32 inch to 13 inch, but I rarely use them. I try to stay at least 10 feet away from the 47 inch tv, if possible. I don't have room to get that far away from the 42 and I can tell a difference in my scores. I tried playing on the 13 inch CRT a few times and I just didn't like it.

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I use a 13" Commodore 1702 for my daily-driver A8 machine via Chroma/Luma inputs on the back, plus an AV modded 2600 and an 7800 via RF. The 2600 and 7800 run through a VCR, then connected to the C1702 via the front composite input. Up close, that works just great.

 

Conversely, my 5200 is currently running on a 27" Toshiba CRT via RF and it looks pretty good as well, but I have to sit several feet away.

 

So, yeah ... the appropriate sized screen varies quite a bit with the size of the screen. If I were to connect my old systems to my 60" LED in the living room, or the 42" LCD in the bedroom, I'd have to sit substantially further away to get a comparable experience.

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I have two sets. a 40 inch 1080P Samsung LCD that I use for emulation(I usually make dumps of the home brews I buy in order to play the games with a XBox One controller or modded X Arcade with custom 4 way sticks,I do lots of modern gaming on this set as well,mainly Steam and XBox One.

I usually sit about 6-7 feet back(especially for emulation) so that the games don't look quite so so pixilated (hate using filters,I try to keep the games looking as close to their originals as possible but I do use some scan lines effects if available.)

 

Then I have a CRT set that was given to me by a friend,its a 21 inch composite set. I use it for allot of retro hardware,but I stay away from long adventure games on it since using old controllers tend to cramp my hands on long winded games. It sits on the carpet in my closet, it faces directly at me when I slide my closet door open. I'm about 4-5 feet back when I play. The only slight problem I have is it sits downward,on the carpet,while I sit up in a chair,so my angle for playing games is abit scewed. It takes some getting use to but after 5-10 minutes my feel for the games is pretty much ok after that. I wish I had more room in my bedroom but its loaded with so many past XBox systems and retro consoles that I just don't have room for having two tv sets on my furniture in my room. Meh. Its a crowded set up but hey it works :P

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Well, I'd say the overarching rule is that CRT is best for systems like these. To that end, just for practicality and logistics' sake, I wouldn't want to go more than 27".

In a desktop situation, 9"-13" CRT is the way to go. (15" is probably good too, but I don't have one.)

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I voted medium as smaller screens are kinder to older consoles. My 2600 is hooked up to a 25"CRT and the games look great on it.

 

But - I have played Combat, Surround and Kaboom on a projector and they still looked pretty good. I suspect it depends on which game you are playing. The simpler ones probably hold up to larger displays.

Edited by davyK

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Didn't vote because the size ranges strike me as strange. Oh... guess you're talking modern flat screens, of which I wouldn't play Atari on. :P

 

Size range I prefer for classic gaming is between 13"-20" CRT, but I do have a PS3 hooked to a 100" projector (primarily) for The Pinball Arcade in 3D. :grin:

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May be stating the obvious, but everything seems clearer on my 32" CRT than using emulation on a 15" laptop. I know a lot of people like the lynx and flashback portable, but I can imagine playing on a screen that small unless I was wearing magnifying glasses.

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I grew up playing Atari 2600 on a 14" colour TV (it was actually my family's first-ever colour set, bought on the same day as the 2600), so playing emu on a 15" laptop screen feels just right.

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I grew up playing Atari 2600 on a 14" colour TV (it was actually my family's first-ever colour set, bought on the same day as the 2600), so playing emu on a 15" laptop screen feels just right.

My childhood screen was more about 24", but in middle age I kind of regressed back into childhood, starting with an xbox 360 on a 32" LCD, using the kinect to get in shape, then the Wii and the PS2 and PS1, moving to 29" CRTs for DDR and lightgun games, then, inspired by Xbox Live Atari and Activision anthologies, skipping back to Atari and ColecoVision on emulations, begun while searching for the complete, four-level arcade version of Donkey Kong, and then to the 2nd generation consoles, then to the 7800, XEGS and soon, the Nintendo Famicom. Somewhere, deep in my mother's garage attic, I think my childhood Atari 2600 and cartridge collection still sleeps deeply, only to be awakened by a monumental archeological exploration.

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What shape of screen are we talking about though?

 

A 32" wide screen prob only has the same display area as a 24-25" 4:3 CRT.

 

unless you are playing them stretched. Please. No.

Edited by davyK
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I play my games on a 32" old school CRT (rounded, not flat). Everything looks great. In hindsight I think I would go a bit smaller though. Like a 27" or so. The 32" is a beast and I sit close enough that it's a bit overkill. Plus the WEIGHT of that beast! I darn near dropped it when I brought it home...luckily the chair in the living room was close by and I sort of half threw half dived towards it and saved it Lol!

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I dont know if bigger is better. In my opinion the TV/Monitor should not be smaller than for example 15", but when i play on a really big TV, i must sit further away to have the overview and without that overview i can not play good.

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I've gotten so used to having my 42 inch connected to my laptop, that anything smaller just feels wrong. If my big CRTs were more accessible, I would use them. The issue is, I can only afford to have air conditioning in one room, my bedroom. I spend most most of my time here. If I'm hanging out with my Father at his house, it's the same situation. I gave him my 47 inch TV and he only uses an air conditioner in the front/living room, so none of the CRTs are in a room that's comfortable, at either house, until late fall or early winter. I use the 4:3 setting on both tvs. Stretching the picture would look horrible. I do have a cheap 13 inch CRT, but I just don't like it. Maybe it would grow on me if I were forced to use it...

 

 

EDIT: I just realized I'm just rewording what I wrote earlier in the thread. :P

Edited by RamrodHare

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I do have a cheap 13 inch CRT, but I just don't like it.

Maybe you just need a better, cheap and small CRT?

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We use 3 TVs in our game room. A 13" black and white for pong games, a 32" Trinitron CRT for everything before 2001, and a 50" LCD for modern consoles.

 

I love the size of the 32, big enough for everyone to see without the distortion that games start to get on the 36" CRTs

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I personally picked up a very nice Panasonic 36" CRT TV. I absolutely love it. I never really enjoy playing retro games on LCD TV. I have a Toshiba 55 inch 1080p TV but I just don't like playing retro games on it. I'll leave that TV for my Xbox one and PlayStation 4.

 

Sent from my RePad-8-R606 using Tapatalk

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I got my Atari hooked up to a 10" CRT-TV and it plays great , I also have an atari in a "go-bag" and whatever size TV is available at nieces and nephews it plays great there too. 32" at one place , 42" another and even as large as 70" all flat screen ... sometimes the picture will jump on the 42"

 

it hooks up to anything and it's fun to play but CRT is my preference

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I don't think you have all the variables necessary to draw any conclusion. You need at least 2 variables, Screen Size & Distance from TV.

 

To see the whole TV screen within your central vision, rather than your peripheral vision, so that you would notice details and not just motion, you need to sit far enough back so that the height/width of the TV is within 5-8 degrees.

1065px-Peripheral_vision.svg.png[/img]

 

17" TV diagonal (4:3), 9'-14' from TV for 8-5 Degrees

31" TV, 16'-26' from TV for 8-5 Degrees

40" TV, 21'-33' from TV for 8-5 Degrees

60" TV, 31'-50' from TV for 8-5 Degrees

(Figures from https://www.projectorscreen.com/projector-screen-calculators)

 

The only other complications (besides cord lengths and room sizes) are visual acuity. The human eye cannot make out the individual pixels if you go beyond a certain distance. This is based upon the eyes ability to discern alternating black/white bars, which ends up being about 1 arc minute (1/60th of a degree) for someone with 20/20 vision. Luckily, the 2600's resolution is so low (160(w)x192(h) pixels) that this isn't an issue.

17" TV, max 19'

31" TV, max 35'

40" TV, max 45'

60" TV, max 69'

https://stari.co/tv-monitor-viewing-distance-calculator

 

This setup doesn't seem optimal for watching movies though. The projection website recommends an arc angle of 11 degrees for watching, Wikipedia says 31 degrees is optimal, and anywhere from 10-40 degrees are suggested, goes into the various recommendations and their impact on "feeling present"

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum_HDTV_viewing_distance

Edited by CapitanClassic

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That's why I always get a kick out of peoples "bigger is better" attitude. Resolution also plays a role. Basically research was done to determine the optimal distance from the TV you should sit to get the best view, not see individual pixels, get the cleanest image, best size etc.

 

Its a fairly simple formula even, for older low res CRTs its like distance is 2-3xsize, for more modern high resolution LCD types its closer to 1-1.5 distance to size. (UHD/4k will probably want to be 1x1 or so, but idk yet)

 

Basically, if you're sitting the proper distance, size isn't really relevant.

Edited by Video

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for more modern high resolution LCD types its closer to 1-1.5 distance to size.

So for a 48" tv you would sit 4 to 6 feet away? That seems kind of close.

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