Saying Goodbye to My Wonderful (Old CRT) Television

I just got my first flast-screen TV.  I moved into a third floor apartment and I just couldn’t get my 40″ CRT up the stairs (it weighed 5,000 pounds, give or take).  It’s the end of an era, for me.

I’m not the only A/V worker who likes old-school CRT.  They have perfect response times, there’s no digital artifacts, every viewing angle is good, and even cheap models could show a fantastic range of contrast, brightness, and color.  (When LCD TVs first came along, they couldn’t display very dark colors, making episodes of The X-Files a lot less scary.)  Many of us in the A/V industry secretly love these CRT screens when our co-workers aren’t looking – including Mike Nelson (of MST3K fame) who said the following when he finally took his CRT out to pasture:

Why, given its many, countless, manifold, and sometimes dangerous shortcomings, will I be sad to see it go? Because through much coaxing, massaging, cleaning, and manipulating, I got a terrific picture out of it—better than many TVs out there now. Sure, there was a fair amount of maintenance involved. I regularly contorted my ungainly body to clean the mirror, which, because of the static involved, was invariably coated with a thick lacquer of dust…In a fit of A/V nerdiness not seen since junior high school, I cracked into my CRT’s secret locked menus (secret, that is, if you don’t happen to have access to the Internet or know anyone who does). With the aid of a photographic gray card and a 6500K flashlight, I painstakingly tweaked its gray scale. With the same super-secret service menu, I adjusted its gamma and overscan settings. (Yeah, I know, my wife is a lucky woman.) 

Nelson one of my favorite people, and I’m glad to know that we’re kindred spirits on this issue.

I got a great picture on my TV, and it wasn’t easy to leave it by the curb when I moved.  But, maybe some nerd will see it, recognize its potential, and use it (or its parts) for some greater purpose.

For now, I’m getting used to HDTV.  I’m only using 720p – and that’s deliberate.  1080 resolutions are strong enough to make lighting look bad, show me which actor is wearing too much makeup, and pretty much ruin a good show by distracting me with every detail I wasn’t supposed to fixate on.  Besides, HDTV never impressed me on the technical level as it has others.

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