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I just tried Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii using an old CRT TV and it blew my mind.

nkarafo

Member
Yeah, i wasn't expecting it to be that good. I know old CRTs have some qualities that modern panels haven't reached yet, like the complete lack of motion blur because they don't use the "sample and hold" method modern panels use.

So i knew it was going to look sharp in motion and all that. But i wasn't expecting such a huge difference. And this comes from someone who has a 240hz PC monitor and regularly plays some older games at 240fps. In modern panels, the more fps you get, the less the motion blur is. At 240hz/fps, the motion is very clear compared to the 60hz/fps blur fest. But even that doesn't come close to the clarity of the CRT, despite only being 60hz/fps (the game runs at 60fps). It looks so sharp when in motion and everything feels like it has more depth. It's a feast for the eyes and that's with a crappy composite cable.

Younger people who never played on a CRT don't know what they are missing and this is kind of a blessing. Because once you see how much more clarity CRTs offer, it's hard to go back and not think about it. It's like display technology took a few steps forward and a massive step back. That's without even mentioning the lower input lag a CRT offers as well.

Now i get that the Wii on that CRT only outputs a 480i image. Yet my eyes felt better than playing a game on my 2020 Samsung LCD at 4k, or my 1080p Alienware 240hz PC monitor. It was better than playing the same game upscaled on the Dolphin emulator. Yes, modern games look amazing and very detailed on the modern panels when they don't move. But when they start moving, everything goes down the drain. So, if i had to choose between lower resolution/size and CRT clarity VS the best quality still images, i would choose the CRT. And if i needed higher resolution, a PC CRT monitor would be even better. But i find it's too difficult to connect a modern PC/console on an old 480i CRT. Has anyone ever did this? I do have some CRT PC monitors but all of them have issues so i can't use them.
 
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BlackTron

Member
This post hurt my feelings. Yesterday I talked myself out of getting this 27" Toshiba CRT with s-video off craigslist for $25. They're huge, they're heavy, I don't have anywhere to put it, I accumulate too much stuff, be more minimalist, blah blah.

And then you come in here with this soul-crushing wall of text, god dammit...
 

nkarafo

Member
I wonder if companies will ever produce CRTs again, even at short supply like vinyls are nowadays would be awesome
I feel like the only reason companies pushed the TFT/LCD tech as early as the late 90's, even without the technology being good enough, was the lower manufacture cost VS CRTs. Remember, companies don't give a shit about consumers, whatever they do has to benefit them first and if that offers some side-benefits for consumer as well, that's just a bonus they can use for marketing.
 
This post hurt my feelings. Yesterday I talked myself out of getting this 27" Toshiba CRT with s-video off craigslist for $25. They're huge, they're heavy, I don't have anywhere to put it, I accumulate too much stuff, be more minimalist, blah blah.

And then you come in here with this soul-crushing wall of text, god dammit...
Do It GIF

DO IT
 

nkarafo

Member
This post hurt my feelings. Yesterday I talked myself out of getting this 27" Toshiba CRT with s-video off craigslist for $25. They're huge, they're heavy, I don't have anywhere to put it, I accumulate too much stuff, be more minimalist, blah blah.

And then you come in here with this soul-crushing wall of text, god dammit...
Yeah, all this time i never had the space to use this huge 27 inch CRT TV. But now that i moved to bigger space, i thought of using it. And i'm glad i did. To the point where i'm going to invest more time and effort on CRTs. If i can find a PC CRT monitor in good condition i'm going to use it as a third screen (along with the 240hz monitor and the big LCD TV). That's 4 screens in total in the same space but it's goddamn worth it :messenger_grinning_sweat:
 

BlackTron

Member
Yeah, all this time i never had the space to use this huge 27 inch CRT TV. But now that i moved to bigger space, i thought of using it. And i'm glad i did. To the point where i'm going to invest more time and effort on CRTs. If i can find a PC CRT monitor in good condition i'm going to use it as a third screen (along with the 240hz monitor and the big LCD TV). That's 4 screens in total in the same space but it's goddamn worth it :messenger_grinning_sweat:

There's a small part of me that was trying to move away from having my space look like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise but may as well just give up!
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
CRTs are great for older games. I forget where I saw the video (although I'm sure there's lots of articles or videos explaining it), but older games look and play great because they were designed for them. And Wii being archaic tech, I'm not surprised it looked good.

I used to have a plasma, but upgraded to 4k five years ago. Aside from a few key differences like the soap opera motion effect on TV shows (with that optional Motion Plus feature) and it being much lighter, I dont think my 4k Sony TV was any better than my 2011 Panasonic plasma. The plasma picture quality and refresh were just as good.
 
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Soodanim

Member
It's been so long that I don't remember the last time I played on a CRT. If I had the space I would put some effort into tracking one down.

What happens when the CRTs all die? If they aren't being produced the number of working ones can only go down, and I can't imagine there's that many left
 
CRTs are great for older games. I forget where I saw the video (although I'm sure there's lots of articles or videos explaining it), but older games look and play great because they were designed for them. And Wii being archaic tech, I'm not surprised it looked good.
Yeah. CRT have almost 0 input lag, and the graphics were designed for those kind of displays too.

There's this cool Twitter account that makes comparisons between displays.

 
If I can see this effect in these photos on my flat screen, why can't these effects be faked (in a good way, people always complain about the fake crt filters)?
Most filters I have seen, which aren't many tbh, look fake and/or shit.

I heard there are some pretty good filters that take adventage of 4K resolutions tho.
 
I wonder if companies will ever produce CRTs again, even at short supply like vinyls are nowadays would be awesome
Or like automatic watches vs quartz battery gourmands. Citizen ecodrive, Seiko kinetic or traditional automatic! Anything else just annoys me to maintain.

I wonder what would technically be possible with CRT or plasma or SED or FED today. Might be a lot more expensive especially if run as limited products, but interesting nevertheless. We got from around 250 ... 130nm when CRTs ceased to be relevant (and properly developed probably earlier) to now 5nm and the once considered absolute physical limits might not stop the next steps, so far, there must have been some additional improved ideas to explore or some wholly new technology, even when not comparable in mass prices.
I think I am not much troubled by low framerates, but the constant blur on everything bothers me, multiplied with some motion blur effects even on purpose.
 
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Aesius

Member
I haven't played on a CRT since 2007 or so. I do remember thinking that the very few HDTV CRTs they manufactured looked a hell of a lot better in store than the early LCD panels. I remember Best Buy even carrying a few widescreen HDTV CRTs for a while.
 
Absolutely, I only play older-generation games (Wii and prior) on a real CRT, otherwise it looks like garbage.

No amount of filters in the world will give you the original look of those pixels, and things that appear horribly pixellated on modern screens just look correct.

Here's one of the classic examples, where you can see how the CRT gives the correct view by bleeding together the elements where expected (and this is even better on the real screen rather than a picture of it; those scanlines wouldn't be so prominent, because the bright pixels kind of glow over the gaps due to their high luminosity):


I feel like the only reason companies pushed the TFT/LCD tech as early as the late 90's, even without the technology being good enough, was the lower manufacture cost VS CRTs. Remember, companies don't give a shit about consumers, whatever they do has to benefit them first and if that offers some side-benefits for consumer as well, that's just a bonus they can use for marketing.
Well into the 2000s I would get so annoyed visiting relatives houses and seeing their flatscreens--where it was technically higher res, sure, but every damn time the contrast, color fidelity, black, and every other measurement that really matters was significantly worse than my high-end CRT.
 
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Like I say, watching 60 fps on CRT is like watching butter melt.
It’s really not reproducible on a flat panel, even plasma had some judder. Doesn’t help that flat screens with their bigger size magnify all of their motion issues.
Crt motion is nearly perfect at 60fps. Without phosphor trails, which sample and hold TV's don't have, it would be perfect.

At lower fps, there's some image duplication, but you get something similar on sample and hold anyway.
 

GametimeUK

Member
I need an older TV, but I don't know where to start to get something decent in my country at a reasonable price.
 

Kilau

Gold Member
I haven't played on a CRT since 2007 or so. I do remember thinking that the very few HDTV CRTs they manufactured looked a hell of a lot better in store than the early LCD panels. I remember Best Buy even carrying a few widescreen HDTV CRTs for a while.
Yeah I had a Samsung HD CRT from Best Buy. It was ok but I upgraded to a plasma soon after and it was much better.
 

cortadew

Member
Yeah, i wasn't expecting it to be that good. I know old CRTs have some qualities that modern panels haven't reached yet, like the complete lack of motion blur because they don't use the "sample and hold" method modern panels use.

So i knew it was going to look sharp in motion and all that. But i wasn't expecting such a huge difference. And this comes from someone who has a 240hz PC monitor and regularly plays some older games at 240fps. In modern panels, the more fps you get, the less the motion blur is. At 240hz/fps, the motion is very clear compared to the 60hz/fps blur fest. But even that doesn't come close to the clarity of the CRT, despite only being 60hz/fps (the game runs at 60fps). It looks so sharp when in motion and everything feels like it has more depth. It's a feast for the eyes and that's with a crappy composite cable.

Younger people who never played on a CRT don't know what they are missing and this is kind of a blessing. Because once you see how much more clarity CRTs offer, it's hard to go back and not think about it. It's like display technology took a few steps forward and a massive step back. That's without even mentioning the lower input lag a CRT offers as well.

Now i get that the Wii on that CRT only outputs a 480i image. Yet my eyes felt better than playing a game on my 2020 Samsung LCD at 4k, or my 1080p Alienware 240hz PC monitor. It was better than playing the same game upscaled on the Dolphin emulator. Yes, modern games look amazing and very detailed on the modern panels when they don't move. But when they start moving, everything goes down the drain. So, if i had to choose between lower resolution/size and CRT clarity VS the best quality still images, i would choose the CRT. And if i needed higher resolution, a PC CRT monitor would be even better. But i find it's too difficult to connect a modern PC/console on an old 480i CRT. Has anyone ever did this? I do have some CRT PC monitors but all of them have issues so i can't use them.
Interesting, which crt model did you play with?
 

cortadew

Member
Model is important because I have a ViewSonic Ultrabrite e70f+ and retrogames look fantastic on it but modern games look a bit blurry, contrast is very good but I wouldn't use it as a main monitor.
 
Here's one of the classic examples, where you can see how the CRT gives the correct view by bleeding together the elements where expected (and this is even better on the real screen rather than a picture of it; those scanlines wouldn't be so prominent, because the bright pixels kind of glow over the gaps due to their high luminosity):
I don't get it, what is this picture supposed to show?
Left is an actual photo of a crt, on the right is the raw output data? Where is a photo of a scaled LCD picture incl its subpixelmask?
Colors bleeding together sounds like some rough antialiasing technique that certainly have been taken into account in those days but now should not when a pixel should just show its own information.
 
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nkarafo

Member
CRTs are great for older games.

For older games they are essential.

But dunno, i feel like they are better for newer games too. I consider Metroid Prime 3 as a fairly modern game. Newer games also benefit from motion clarity. But i have to find a way to connect something more recent, i think the most recent console with a Composite/Component output was the XBOX 360 but only the fat models and i only have the slim (my fat RRODed).


Most filters I have seen, which aren't many tbh, look fake and/or shit.

I heard there are some pretty good filters that take adventage of 4K resolutions tho.

RetroArch has plenty of great looking CRT filters.





The above is a Guest-Advanced filter IIRC and the screens are from my setup.

But even the perfect filter still can't solve the problem of the motion blur.


Interesting, which crt model did you play with?
Model is important because I have a ViewSonic Ultrabrite e70f+ and retrogames look fantastic on it but modern games look a bit blurry, contrast is very good but I wouldn't use it as a main monitor.

It's a Sony Trinitron, i have to move it to see the back side for the exact model. I rather not if it's not too important.
 
It's a feast for the eyes and that's with a crappy composite cable.
You need to upgrade. Metroid Prime 3 is quite interesting technically.

Notice the cel shading in the helmet here:



I wouldn't say it is the best game in the series though. It's third place for me.
 
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nkarafo

Member
You need to upgrade. Metroid Prime 3 is quite interesting technically.
I played the game on the real Wii using component on 2 different LCDs.

I also played it on Dolphin, upscaled to 1080p or 4k.

Still looks better on the CRT. Maybe not the still images, like the one you show, but in motion. Which is something that can't be shown in a video unless maybe you also have a CRT.


I'll just put this here...


Retrotink 5x Pro. It's pricey, but it's also the first product that has made me feel okay about the prospect of losing my CRT. Not even the much loved Framemeister or OSSC ticked all the right boxes. The 5x, though, is a beast. Rumor is that there's a 4k box in the works too.

CRT filters can be great but the main reason why CRTs are better even now for me is the motion clarity. Input lag is also a factor but my 240hz VRR monitor is just as good.
 
Now i get that the Wii on that CRT only outputs a 480i image.
I reckon that Metroid Prime 3 was really nice at 576i.

50 Hz instead of 60 Hz (so 50 fps instead of 60), but I remember motion was nice nonetheless. You can probably force that on a NTSC Wii if you want to (just like we used to force 60 hz 480i/p on our PAL games).

With some games it was worth it. Xenoblade also benefitted if I recall correctly.
Yes, modern games look amazing and very detailed on the modern panels when they don't move. But when they start moving, everything goes down the drain.
Get a plasma. I still game on one due to that.

Motion is better and I care about motion more than I do about resolution.
I played the game on the real Wii using component on 2 different LCDs.
Sure, but you need S-Video, Scart/RGB or component if the TV allows it, I guess.
 
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N30RYU

Member
Absolutely, I only play older-generation games (Wii and prior) on a real CRT, otherwise it looks like garbage.

No amount of filters in the world will give you the original look of those pixels, and things that appear horribly pixellated on modern screens just look correct.

Here's one of the classic examples, where you can see how the CRT gives the correct view by bleeding together the elements where expected (and this is even better on the real screen rather than a picture of it; those scanlines wouldn't be so prominent, because the bright pixels kind of glow over the gaps due to their high luminosity):



Well into the 2000s I would get so annoyed visiting relatives houses and seeing their flatscreens--where it was technically higher res, sure, but every damn time the contrast, color fidelity, black, and every other measurement that really matters was significantly worse than my high-end CRT.
leonard nimoy dat ass GIF
 
I don't get it, what is this picture supposed to show?
Left is an actual photo of a crt, on the right is the raw output data? Where is a photo of a scaled LCD picture incl its subpixelmask?
Colors bleeding together sounds like some rough antialiasing technique that certainly have been taken into account in those days but now should not when a pixel should just show its own information.
The art wasn't made that way though. The art was not made to be seen as the pixels showing only their own information, the artists created art knowing the CRT will "bleed." The artist created that spite to look like the left, using the right to achieve that. Perfect example below, do you think they really wanted this nice perfect red square dot on the right, or do you think they were trying to achieve the left?



Hell, the concept of a "pixel" is tenuous at best on old systems because there is so much analog stuff going on with non square pixels and all sorts of weird shit. Like, if an artist is going to display a circle on an SNES the sprite would be 20x16 pixels, not 20x20 pixels.

"Pixel art" is unbelievably misunderstood, and playing emulators on a computer for decades by people who have never even used an actual console on a CRT has completely distorted the perception of it.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
Most filters I have seen, which aren't many tbh, look fake and/or shit.

I heard there are some pretty good filters that take adventage of 4K resolutions tho.
There's CRT Royale which from my experience is surprisingly accurate

But yeah, you do need a good 4k monitor/TV to take advantage. i have one so it's no biggie but for others who don't have as powerful GPUs/monitors you're kind of fucked
 
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Azelover

Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was. It really was.
Yeah. I don't understand what happens, but I totally agree.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
Frankly though i don't see the point of playing on a CRT for anything higher than PS1/N64
PS2 was when game resolutions became high enough that the color blending from a CRT hurt rather than help
 

JohnnyTropics

Neo Member
If I can see this effect in these photos on my flat screen, why can't these effects be faked (in a good way, people always complain about the fake crt filters)?

I truly believe people let perfect be the enemy of good in this discussion.
The Final Fantasy 1-6 Pixel Remasters all come with the option of turning on a built in CRT-TV filter, and it makes the game look 10x better.
Is it perfect? I truly don't know, but it has the same effect that you're seeing in the tweet of Castlevania.
I posted about it on reddit and was downvoted to oblivion and shouted out of the discussion because the filter is "awful."
It comes down to personal preference, and you have 3 choices:
1) play a classic game with no filter and see the pixels, and complain about lost tech
2) play a classic game with a CRT-TV filter and get a nice blur that is 80% as good as a CRT-TV
3) Buy a 27 inch CRT-TV
Option 3 will always have the most fidelity, but option 2 can still bring you more joy than option 1.
Option 1 seems to be the most miserable, argumentative, and condescending option--not surprisingly, most people you speak with on the internet choose this path.
 
This.

One day I'll have a dedicated gaming room...

But for now, have to save space, and my trusty flat panel TV will have to make do. The upscalers (one Framemeister, one RetroTink-5X) definitely make my current configuration awesome though...
I think about getting a retro tink all the time, but I want one that can scale to 4k. Seems like we don't have to wait that long.
 

MrMephistoX

Member
That trilogy really is something special. Which is why I curse Nintendo every day that they don’t release a switch version. 😭😭😭
If you can get your hands on a Steam Deck they have a search tool for emulators built in…with PrimeHacks it’s currently the best way to play the trilogy. Hell even Samuel Returns for 3DS runs and plays great upscaled.
 

nkarafo

Member
"Pixel art" is unbelievably misunderstood, and playing emulators on a computer for decades by people who have never even used an actual console on a CRT has completely distorted the perception of it.

Basically something like this:




Frankly though i don't see the point of playing on a CRT for anything higher than PS1/N64
PS2 was when game resolutions became high enough that the color blending from a CRT hurt rather than help

PS2/GC/XBOX/Wii, are all SD devices. They don't benefit from HD displays. in fact the HD displays will make them look worse.

But this isn't even about resolution. It's about motion clarity. Even a modern game will have much better motion clarity on a CRT.
 
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