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Information and Buyers Guide
The Direct View CRT or Picture Tube HDTV's are very enhanced versions of your current television set. This means that it is a pure analog television set that can receive and display digital signals. Most CRT based HDTV's use the 1080i (interlaced) format. At first thought your probably thinking "wait, if it is just like my current analog television then its not really HDTV, right?" The simple answer is "not necessarily". Just because it is an analog CRT does not mean it can't be designed to display a clear HDTV picture. Since it is analog by definition, it can display the full high resolution 1080i signal. And since the 1080i is interlaced, the TV only needs to display 540 lines of resolution. CRT's do not display pixels, they use scan lines and electronic beam spot sizes. Although, not as crisp as a pure pixel based screen such as an LCD Flat Panel Display, they still display very nice and crisp images at lower physical sizes. However, the larger the physical size of the screen the less attractive the image becomes. This is one reason why HDTV CRT's max out at about 34". Due to the limited resolution, CRT based HDTV's only display 1080i or less. It would be to expensive to design a progressive or 1080p CRT.
HDTV CRT's have a nice advantage over other HDTV screens. They are the best for displaying regular, none HDTV, analog signals. Since a CRT is analog by nature they are able to downgrade resolution much better than their big brothers. However, this will not be much of an advantage in the years to come since normal analog signals will be fading out. Most broadcast stations are now already broadcasting both normal analog signals as well as the much more detailed HDTV digital signal. CRT sets also tend to display smoother shades of contrast than most of the other types.
Another advantage of a CRT HDTV is cost. They are usually much lower priced than their larger pure digital counter parts albeit at usually smaller screen size. If your looking for a nice HDTV set at near the same size or to replace your current set at a low price, this is probably the right type high definition television for you.
The main disadvantage a CRT based HDTV is that they are bulky and can weigh hundreds of pounds especially at large screen sizes. They are definitely not as slim as an LCD for example. So, if space is limited or you would like to be able to move your television around often, this is probably not the right choice for you.
Although most normal television sets are based on the 4:3 aspect ratio, HDTV CRTs come in both 4:3 and 16:9 with more most at the 16:9 aspect ratio. Even at 16:9, CRT's still have the advantage of displaying a normal analog signal much better compared to other types of HDTV.
Here are some examples of CRT TVs:
What to look for when purchasing a CRT HDTV
When shopping for a CRT based HDTV there are few features or specs you will want to look for. These features are as follows:
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