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In Defense Of Ancient Monitors

Updated on July 13, 2008
The best images ever to be generated by a PC: The Sony Trinitron 21 inch CRT.
The best images ever to be generated by a PC: The Sony Trinitron 21 inch CRT.

When a computer enthusiast gets decrepit, ancient, and generally prehistoric like me, they seem to fall into an essentially irrational nostalgia loop about how computing was so much better in the bad old days. It is not difficult to get any balding, paunchy PCer to wax prosaic about how his Atari Pong was so much more fun than Crysis, how he could code in Fortran much better programs than you can buy now for thousands of dollars, how his Mac Paint would produce better art than the Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection, how his PC Jr. was ten times more functional than any modern computer, or even (gasp) that his Mac Plus would kick the pants off of an Athlon Dual Core.

Most of those claims are spurious in the extreme (except for the Mac Plus vs. Athlon Dual Core as my Hub readers well know), as the bad old days were just that. I've spent countless hours out of my life where I could have been engaging in the much more gratifying pursuit of dating supermodels just staring at a C:\ prompt wondering what the heck I should type in. The vast majority of technological improvement has been just that: Improvement! Computing is much more capable in the modern day and thus any nostalgia for the days of 8086 processors and handcoding is just sheer illusory nonsense.

If there is one and only one true justification for old time computer nostalgia, it has to be in the case of CRT monitors. Swept from the public consciousness and its desktops by the explosion onto the marketplace of the "superior" flat screens, CRTs are now generally derided and looked upon as a Ford Edsel in a parking lot full of hybrid Priuses. Confess: How many times have you been to an office, noticed that they are using CRTs instead of flat screens, and thought that they were a backwards and cheapo operation?

What most people fail to comprehend in this rush to flat screens is that in any comparison of visual characteristics of the best flat screen on Earth against a top of the line CRT such as the memorable Sony Trinitron, the newcomer fails each and every time.

Sony Trinitron CRTs offered color accuracy which has never been duplicated since. Not only do they offer a clear viewing angle of nearly 180 degrees with virtually equal clarity and luminescence as straight ahead viewing, but the "granularity" of a Sony Trinitron is so fine-grained that it makes gazing at a gargantuan top of the line Dell 3008WFP or Apple Cinema Display 30 inch seem as if you're looking at images through a tiny sieve. Much in the way that old vinyl 33 RPM records captured and reproduced sound in an analog manner which is far more akin to how the human ear actually works and thus will always sound more natural than CDs, the CRT displayed images in a more fluid and less digital manner than any flat screen, thus simply "looks better." If you want to experience true imaging perfection, you may want to note that there has never been a CRT to compare with the Sony Trinitron as the gold standard of monitor viewing and there may very well never be a flat screen that will even come close. If you can find a functioning Sony 20 or 21 inch Trinitron being sold for peanuts in the classifieds or a garage sale don't even hesitate. Buy it! You won't regret it!


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      Michael 6 years ago

      I had a friend who had a Sony Trinitron and when ever I visit her, her TV is usually on . I was always blown away by the beautiful natural colours that the TV displayed. Especially the skin tones of people. and mountainous scenes of nature. I wish I could still get one to buy.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

      Try telling that to the guy who just brought home a SuperZowie flatscreen with 2ms whatsit and a 359 degree viewing angle. They'll think you're nuts. But the bottom line is that to date, the finest image is always produced by the Trinitron!!!

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      Ronald Carhuas 9 years ago

      True, I sill have my sony and is bettre that the current flat screens