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Petition for a new dream CRT in 2020 - the SONY PVM/BVM killer/successor?

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Posted (edited)

Re-capping a CRT is either a no-go, a major project, or a risk of death for a tinkerer.  Is there a better way? 

 

With all the amazing hardware in the most recent years from retro consoles and more, I've been wanting to start a place on the internet for this idea:  Has any group discussion occurred involving inviting a company to produce a new reference quality CRT for retro gaming, arcades, and or other applications? - what if you could buy a brand spanking new CRT in 2020 or beyond? What would you want?

 

Why CAN'T manufacturers bring CRTs back to market at least in niche form if not for gamer mass appeal?  Possible naysayers (even if justifiable): No one wants a big heavy clunker/we have thin 4k tvs/don't be a Luddite/no market vs budget. Can speed-runners and media professionals change their minds?  Any great audio engineer worth their salt will test their current audio mix not only in the studio, but on a standard cd/dvd/bluray player, and old 70s Volkswagen car stereo, etc.  Do A/V guys at Universal mastering use LCDs for all testing or do some professionals in media production still use CRTs? 

 

I have read that CRTs are still being produced for some purposes. The ONE I'd like to see do it now is SONY- they deserve the legacy to produce a new CRT- they are not only the PVM and BVM creators or "holy grail" of CRTs and doing quite well financially: they created Trinitron so I can't think of a better or more relevant company to produce a new CRT.

 

SOOOOO - where are we today compared to decades old quarter munchers? Can we as a community create (at least hypothetically) an ideal dream CRT using the latest and greatest tech?  Can we reduce the amount of leaky capacitors to make the next generation not hate us when they try to recap our work?  Please CRT enthusiasts, share your ideas of what you'd like to see. Sony makes slim versions of every console - can we make a "slim CRT?" Look at the modern efficiency of a Commodore reloaded board (V2) vs that of its 80's counterpart?  All those ram chips combined and more efficient, S-video replacing RF.

 

IF a CRT were produced in 2020, what daughter-boards could be consolidated, what capacitors could be consolidated, what components could be made smaller, safer, more energy efficient? What is the BIGGEST hurdle of theorizing a 2020 CRT using modern parts?  Would we still need BNC connectors? Would we even need S-Video or just add a Retrotink or OSSC built in?  Just imagine buying a BRAND NEW CRT in 2020 that was equal or better to a Sony PVM/BVM that didn't cost your first born to buy or repair? I also suppose I'd include the feedback question of sizes and formats: If SONY introduced a new CRT in 2020, would you want it to be home TV ( I'd say remove tv tuning), monitor only, or would you want size options? 15khz and 240p options a standard feature?  Maybe an arcade monitor replacement model? Even a Vectrex monitor option??  What connections? Would HDMI make RGB/component/S-video etc obsolete?

 

I'd love great minds here to tackle their idea of the ultimate CRT, and how to make it safer to work on, energy and cost efficient, and if possible, DIY ready for future generations within reason. 

 

That said, even IF classic game company names recreated their original consoles with new motherboards and 4k HDMI output, would you want that vs. CRT nostalgia? Or maybe both? I'll save a "Genesis model 1/C64 RELOADED board" idea for another thread...

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Edited by seastalker
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I've heard of one company in China that still makes CRTs, but the problem is that there just isn't a market demand there to warrant the wants of a relatively small pool of collectors and operators. 

 

While I totally get the desire, as I've not been happy with any LCD conversions I've *had* to do (running an arcade, there have been some tubes that I simply cannot find parts for, or it becomes very cost prohibitive to do, with the repair on the CRT running 3 times higher than what the game makes over the course of a year), I would like to see more investment go into making better/faster CGA-to-VGA conversion boards. I've heard of devices that provide an incredible image conversion, but they all seem to be made in limited quantities, then are impossible to find. 

 

There are new gaming LCD monitors that use tech where the input lag is essentially on par with CRTs; the video I'll link below is two years old and claimed a model was beating a CRT. Either way, display tech on LCDs has improved, but the crap Chinese conversion boards have not been so hot (I tested out a 144HZ gaming monitor on an UMK3, but because of the conversion board, it doesn't take advantage of the monitor's features)

 

 

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On 8/24/2019 at 3:04 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

There are new gaming LCD monitors that use tech where the input lag is essentially on par with CRTs; the video I'll link below is two years old and claimed a model was beating a CRT.

That isn't even possible. The best LCDs have 9 ms of input lag, while the electron guns in a CRT respond to the video signal in what is effectively real-time, i.e., the speed of electricity through its circuitry. LCDs have literally millions of times more display lag than a CRT. It isn't possible for a CRT to have 9 ms of input lag, because it has no means of delaying and storing a video signal at all, let alone for 9 ms. A CRT only works with analog video signals and those aren't easy to store. They can be, for example, recorded to video tape, but there's certainly no VCR inside a CRT intercepting and recording the video signal and then delivering it to the electron guns 9 ms later. There's also no analog-to-digital converter inside a CRT intercepting the video signal, storing it in digital form in nonexistent memory, then sending it to a nonexistent digital-to-analog converter which then sends it to the electron guns 9 ms later.

 

Claiming that an LCD can have lower input lag than a CRT indicates a lack of understanding of how a CRT works. Nothing can ever be faster at responding to / rendering a video signal than a CRT. The best that could be done is to equal it, and LCDs aren't even close to doing that. Any tests that ostensibly show otherwise are flawed by definition. In the case of the test you linked to, something in his PC is obviously delaying the signal before it reaches the CRT. Tests should be done with a video source that definitely doesn't delay the video signal at all; an Atari 2600 for example.

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On 8/20/2019 at 6:43 PM, seastalker said:

Re-capping a CRT is either a no-go, a major project, or a risk of death for a tinkerer.  Is there a better way?

 

Yes, it's usually a major project, but there's no known risk of death, i.e., the people who subscribe to the old "CRTs can kill you" wives' tale have never been able to produce a documented case of it ever having happened. The biggest danger from getting shocked by a CRT is not the shock itself, but your reaction to it. For example, while reacting to the shock you might trip over something and fall down, which could result in injury or death. But that could happen if someone sneaks up behind you and yells "boo" too.

 

Quote

I have read that CRTs are still being produced for some purposes. The ONE I'd like to see do it now is SONY- they deserve the legacy to produce a new CRT- they are not only the PVM and BVM creators or "holy grail" of CRTs and doing quite well financially: they created Trinitron so I can't think of a better or more relevant company to produce a new CRT.

 

I wouldn't want a Sony for an arcade machine. Their Trinitrons had cylindrical, and later, flat-faced picture tubes, and an aperture grille. Neither of those things look right on an arcade machine, because they used standard spherical picture tubes (made by companies such as Sanyo, Philips, Zenith, RCA, Orion, etc.) with a standard RGB triad shadow mask. 

 

Quote

SOOOOO - where are we today compared to decades old quarter munchers? Can we as a community create (at least hypothetically) an ideal dream CRT using the latest and greatest tech?  Can we reduce the amount of leaky capacitors to make the next generation not hate us when they try to recap our work?  Please CRT enthusiasts, share your ideas of what you'd like to see. Sony makes slim versions of every console - can we make a "slim CRT?"

 

CRT displays were a very mature technology when they stopped making them about ten years ago. You can't make them slimmer because of the way the CRT itself works; it needs that long neck to achieve proper deflection, as well as house the other elements, e.g., heater, electron guns, focusing coils.

 

Quote

IF a CRT were produced in 2020, what daughter-boards could be consolidated, what capacitors could be consolidated, what components could be made smaller, safer, more energy efficient?

 

None, or at least, nothing significant. It's only been ~10 years since CRTs were last made. I bought a brand new Happ Vision Pro CRT arcade monitor in 2009 for my Missile Command cabinet, and that was right around the time they stopped making them.

 

Quote

Would we still need BNC connectors? Would we even need S-Video or just add a Retrotink or OSSC built in?

 

BNC connectors are fine, so are RCA connectors, or VGA connectors, or a Molex connector, for that matter (which is what arcade monitors use). They all do the same thing in the context of an RGB video signal, which any hypothetical new CRT should definitely have an input for. S-video and composite inputs could be included for legacy purposes.

 

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If SONY introduced a new CRT in 2020, would you want it to be home TV ( I'd say remove tv tuning), monitor only, or would you want size options?

 

I'd rather it be Sanyo, Wells Gardner, JVC, Mitsubishi, etc., than Sony, but if you remove TV tuning then it is a monitor-only by definition, not a TV. As for sizes, 19" and 25" will fit the vast majority of classic arcade machines, and 32" to 42" would be great for the living room to use with home video game consoles.

 

Quote

15khz and 240p options a standard feature?  Maybe an arcade monitor replacement model? Even a Vectrex monitor option??  What connections?

 

All 15 KHz CRTs can inherently sync to 240p, and yes, any new CRT should definitely be 15 KHz-capable, and they should be available in only 15 KHz for arcade monitors, since ones that can sync to higher frequencies/resolutions (multisync) have a finer dot pitch / less coarse shadow mask which doesn't look right with the classic arcade games. Multisync would be fine for the 32" to 42" models, say, 15 KHz to 64 KHz, like the big "presentation monitors" that various companies used to make (Mitsubishi MegaView Pro 42 for example).

 

Quote

Would HDMI make RGB/component/S-video etc obsolete?

 

HDMI is meaningless to a CRT. The electron guns in a CRT are driven by RGB signals no matter what you feed it. Even a lowly composite or RF signal gets converted to RGB in order to drive the guns. HDMI is a digital signal which can not drive electron guns, so while an HDMI jack could be included on a new CRT (and indeed, some widescreen HD CRTs did have them), it would just be a built-in HDMI-to-RGB converter. RGB is the best possible analog color video signal.

Edited by MaximRecoil

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Since we're playing what-if, I'll add the following to the list:

 

SCART - since we're talking low production runs, it may as well be on there in all territories.  No sense in making a dozen board variants because <insert locale here> didn't use a specific type of connector.

 

Multisync / multisystem capable.  We used to have a multisystem Sony TV from around the 1985 era that had manual switches to select both the RF input signal type (NTSC, PAL, or SECAM) as well as the display system.  It didn't provide for conversion between systems (which a modern one should do), but did allow for watching source material natively.

 

Picture adjustment controls that can be accessed remotely.  I've got an Eygo 21" CRT in the MAME cabinet that has the colour, deflection, etc. adjustment board on a two-foot-long ribbon cable; it's velcroed to one of the inner walls of the cabinet.  Being able to make adjustments with the CRT powered up and not have to worry about a 'finger in here == dead' moment is nice.

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On 10/15/2019 at 5:48 PM, MaximRecoil said:

That isn't even possible. The best LCDs have 9 ms of input lag, while the electron guns in a CRT respond to the video signal in what is effectively real-time, i.e., the speed of electricity through its circuitry. LCDs have literally millions of times more display lag than a CRT. It isn't possible for a CRT to have 9 ms of input lag, because it has no means of delaying and storing a video signal at all, let alone for 9 ms. A CRT only works with analog video signals and those aren't easy to store. They can be, for example, recorded to video tape, but there's certainly no VCR inside a CRT intercepting and recording the video signal and then delivering it to the electron guns 9 ms later. There's also no analog-to-digital converter inside a CRT intercepting the video signal, storing it in digital form in nonexistent memory, then sending it to a nonexistent digital-to-analog converter which then sends it to the electron guns 9 ms later.

 

Claiming that an LCD can have lower input lag than a CRT indicates a lack of understanding of how a CRT works. Nothing can ever be faster at responding to / rendering a video signal than a CRT. The best that could be done is to equal it, and LCDs aren't even close to doing that. Any tests that ostensibly show otherwise are flawed by definition. In the case of the test you linked to, something in his PC is obviously delaying the signal before it reaches the CRT. Tests should be done with a video source that definitely doesn't delay the video signal at all; an Atari 2600 for example.

I should have used the word "claimed" for that video there, so my bad on that.


Diving into the semantics, as this analysis provides, you're talking about raw image processing - yes, there is no image buffering on a CRT, but there's still the lag in a CRT of drawing the frame, which takes 16.7ms/2, or 8.3ms (at the center of the screen). But since CRTs are used as the baseline, it's always "zero" instead of 8.3ms, per industry standards. So LCDs at 9ms are not exactly "millions of times" out there on input lag as the hyperbole suggests, meaning that it's almost on par by those numbers.  Unless that analyst has his math completely wrong. 

 

Equaling a CRT isn't outside the realm of possibility of course. SED technology (and a rival called FED) displays were developing a method to miniaturize the electron gun tech in CRTs so that every pixel had it's own emitter for it. Unfortunately Canon and Sony ended their research on those because they felt that LCDs (LED & OLED) displays were good enough. IMO, it would be great to see one of those technologies be made for arcades as a drop in replacement as opposed to a bulky new CRT. 

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59 minutes ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

Diving into the semantics, as this analysis provides, you're talking about raw image processing - yes, there is no image buffering on a CRT, but there's still the lag in a CRT of drawing the frame, which takes 16.7ms/2, or 8.3ms (at the center of the screen).

That isn't lag. You're talking about the vertical refresh rate, and there is no inherent specific amount of time that it takes a CRT to draw a frame. The number you mentioned applies to a 60 Hz vertical refresh rate, but the refresh rate is determined by the video signal, not by the CRT. The best direct-view CRT monitors had about 400 MHz of bandwidth, which means that if you fed it a standard resolution like classic consoles and arcade games used (in the neighborhood of 320 x 240), it would have enough bandwidth to sync to a video signal with a 3,500 Hz (3.5 KHz) vertical refresh rate.

 

Quote

But since CRTs are used as the baseline, it's always "zero" instead of 8.3ms, per industry standards. So LCDs at 9ms are not exactly "millions of times" out there on input lag as the hyperbole suggests, meaning that it's almost on par by those numbers.  Unless that analyst has his math completely wrong.

 

It's zero because refresh rate has nothing to do with input lag. A CRT responds in what is effectively real-time to the video signal, and it is always responding to the video signal regardless of what position the electron beams are on the screen. Of course, nothing actually happens instantaneously, so it isn't truly zero input lag, but it happens at the speed of electricity through its circuitry, which might be a nanosecond. There is no hyperbole; 9 ms is 9 million times longer than 1 nanosecond.

 

Quote

Equaling a CRT isn't outside the realm of possibility of course.

SED technology (and a rival called FED) displays were developing a method to miniaturize the electron gun tech in CRTs so that every pixel had it's own emitter for it. Unfortunately Canon and Sony ended their research on those because they felt that LCDs (LED & OLED) displays were good enough. IMO, it would be great to see one of those technologies be made for arcades as a drop in replacement as opposed to a bulky new CRT.

 

An SED couldn't equal a CRT's lack of input lag. SED was a digital display, so it would have input lag in the millisecond range like any other digital display. In terms of picture quality, the SED could equal a CRT because it's using the same electron-beam-exciting-phosphors method of generating light, and it could exceed it in terms of geometry, purity, and convergence (which would all inherently be perfect on an SED, while close-enough-to-perfect-that-you-can't-tell-it's-not-truly-perfect is the best you can get with a CRT).

 

An SED wouldn't make for a good replacement for a standard resolution arcade monitor for a similar reason that high-resolution CRT PC monitors don't make good arcade monitors. But an SED would be even worse than a high-resolution CRT PC monitor, because it is a digital display, which means it has a fixed resolution. To get a 240p image to fill a screen that has a fixed resolution of say, 1920 x 1080 (or even worse, 3840 x 2160), it has to be scaled, and scales images look like crap. CRTs have no fixed resolution, so any resolution they can sync to, they can display fullscreen without any scaling involved.

Edited by MaximRecoil

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On 8/20/2019 at 6:43 PM, seastalker said:

Re-capping a CRT is either a no-go, a major project, or a risk of death for a tinkerer.  Is there a better way? 

Yes: Having a professional do it for you. 

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