CRTs fading fast

Back from holiday, having spent most of that time on golf courses or in lawn chairs. Always nice to turn off the brain at least for a few days.

Back at it now and encouraged that summer continues to be very busy in this space, despite all the people also on holiday.

Catching up on reading, I saw a piece in Display Daily about the imminent demise of conventional CRT TVs. Within a few years, maybe far less, tube-based TVs will not be manufactured.

“On Monday, August 7th, there was an article in the New York Times business section with the headline “Picture Tubes Are Fading Into the Past.”  The article quotes Geoff Shavey, the TV buyer for Costco, as saying After the holidays, the days of picture-tube TVs are gone.  One year from now, we will not sell picture-tube TVs.

People have been forecasting the demise of the CRT “within five years” for a couple of decades now.  Is it possible that the forecast is now correct?  The article discusses the CRT-based product offerings from Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba.  All 3 companies have cut their lines of CRT sets dramatically, with Panasonic eliminating them altogether.”

This is lamentable for a couple of short-terms reasons:

1 – Standard definition TV signals look way better on tube TVs than they do on LCDs. They smooth out fonts and give a nice rich image, while LCDs reveal every imperfection of a 720 by 480 image stretched to fit the larger resolution screen. I have a large LCD at home and regular TV, which is what a lot of digital signage media players are pushing out, really doesn’t look so hot.

2 – They cost far less, and in a lot of cases, CRTs make perfect sense when screens are just popped in a corner and then there is no real gain from using a thin profile flat panel.

That said, LCDs look great when HD is used and that’s clearly where the market is going. And as it goes, LCD prices will start to come in line with better CRTs.

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