The picture tube, or more commonly known as cathode ray tube (CRT), monitors are no longer in production. The CRT monitor has been replaced by the flatscreen monitor. So, the CRT monitors are typically used, and around 5 to 30 years old. While, the flatscreen, also called LCD (liquid crystal display), monitors are available brand new.
A recent improvement for LCD monitors is LED (light emitting diode) panel backlighting.
- makes for brighter images,
- further reduces the LCD's already low AC power consumption,
- significantly extends the life of the monitor, and
- eliminates any possibility of monitor screen burn (see more about CRT screen burn below).
You, your kids, their kids, and their kid's kids will all get to enjoy our custom built multicade with an LCD/LED monitor for a really long time.
The LCD/LED is the type of flatscreen that we will provide. Both the LCD and LCD/LED monitors perform equally well and both look equally good. So, either one - the LCD or LCD/LED monitor - is suitable for arcade video game purposes. But, the LCD/LED monitor is the better choice.
How to decide between the two types of monitors - picture tube (CRT) or flatscreen (LCD):
1. CRT monitors -
The CRT monitors that we provide have been inspected for screen burn, or sometimes called burn-in. Screen burn are those permanent shadow or ghost game images on the monitor screen. If a monitor has severe screen burn, we discard that picture tube. Screen burn is the achilles heel of CRT monitors - it is inevitable and irreversible.
Since the manufacture of CRT monitors stopped several years ago, all CRT monitors are used and all suffer some degree of monitor burn.
Then, we overhaul a suitable monitor with new capacitors (usually around 20), and perform any other required repairs and adjustments. An overhauled CRT monitor should look good and perform trouble free.
But, a CRT monitor will eventually require another overhaul, suffer some additional degree of screen burn, require various screen adjustments, and possibly require frequent degaussing. These are recurring issues unique to a CRT monitor.
The corrective actions are not easily performed by an individual. Indeed, servicing and adjusting a CRT monitor can be extremely dangerous. For more about adjusting and properly handling a CRT monitor, visit this page.
In comparison, the CRT monitor issues are not present in an LCD monitor. Also, the CRT monitor is much heavier than an LCD monitor (see weight chart below).
If you are a classic arcade video game purist, you might prefer the classic look of the CRT monitor. After all, all classic arcade video games came with a CRT monitor (LCD monitors had not yet been invented).
Otherwise, there is no reason, other than initial price difference, to opt for a CRT monitor over an LCD monitor. And, even the price difference should not be an obstacle, once you consider the cost savings potential of an LCD monitor (more about this below).
There are a few other things that I have come to dislike about a CRT monitor:
- the CRT is a giant dust electro-magnet, it will collect stuff out of the air you have never seen before, this is not good, because the heat accumulation caused by dust prematurely ages the exposed electronic components,
- the CRT is in an open frame with all electronic components exposed, thus there is the danger of electrocution, an isolation transformer helps mitigate, but not remove, the danger,
- the isolation transformer has issues, its operating warmth attracts rodents, and it can short out, releasing smoke that will set off a fire alarm,
- the vibration of transit can cause problems for a CRT monitor, such as, loose phosphor falling onto and shorting out the color guns inside the picture tube (non-repairable), and
- the CRT, as it ages, will require a lot of time to warm-up enough to display an image.
2. LCD monitors -
The LCD monitor looks great and performs great. And, best of all, it is brand new, right out of the box. Compared to a CRT monitor, the LCD monitor:
- uses less electricity to operate,
- is instantly on (no warm up),
- is easier to replace,
- weighs much less,
- does not require an isolation transformer,
- does not attract dust,
- does not suffer screen burn,
- does not reflect background glare,
- does not suffer color washout in a bright room, and
- does not require degaussing.
Adjusting an LCD monitor is a safe, simple task. And, the adjustment controls are conveniently located at the front of the monitor. On the other hand, a CRT's adjustment controls are located at the rear of the monitor, usually amidst many 110VAC electrically "hot" components.
Why does an LCD monitor look better than a CRT monitor?
I am not an electronics guru, so I cannot explain why the displayed image of an LCD monitor looks better than a CRT monitor. Perhaps, if both monitors were brand new, there would be little difference.
But, I believe the technically correct answer has to do with a complex subject called display resolution. In the industry, the CRT monitor's display resolution is categorized as low (or standard) resolution; while, the LCD monitor is categorized as high resolution.
As I understand it, display resolution generally refers to, or is a function of, pixel density. So, the higher the pixel density, the higher the display resolution; and, as a consequence, the sharper and more colorful the displayed image.
If you are really curious about the subject of display resolution, visit this Wikipedia page, Display Resolution.
Additionally, there are properties of an LCD monitor's flatscreen panel that tend to enhance the appearance of displayed images. Primarily, the LCD panel is of a black, non-reflective material; whereas, a CRT monitor screen is of a whiteish background (the phosphor coating inside the picture tube), clear polished glass.
Thus, as noted elsewhere in this article, the CRT monitor will suffer screen burn (loss of phosphor), glare from room lighting, and color washout from room brightness.
The LCD monitor offers another important and unique feature - it is available in a variety of sizes. Whereas, the CRT monitor is available in basically only two sizes - 19" for the standard cabinet, and 25" for the large cabinet.
In this business of cabinet restoration, the element of customization is greatly enhanced when being able to more closely match monitor size with cabinet size.
In other words, we are not limited to only two LCD monitor sizes, as is the case with CRT monitors. Instead, for a standard size cabinet, we can use the 18-1/2" LCD monitor. Or, sometimes a larger LCD monitor, say 20-1/2", may be more desirable and appropriate.
Then, there may be instances when a 27" LCD monitor would not fit into a large cabinet. In that case, a smaller LCD, say 25", may solve the problem.
The overall goal being to offer the largest game images possible, which would also in scale with the cabinet size and would be physically achievable. This goal can be met only with the LCD monitor, because of its low profile flatscreen construction and more compact case.
3. LCD/LED monitor prices -
A. A 19" to 21" LCD/LED monitor comparable in image size and area to a 19" CRT monitor, such as one used in an original Ms. Pac-Man upright cabinet, is $195.
B. A 25" to 27" LCD/LED monitor comparable in image size and area to a 25" CRT monitor, such as one used in an original Golden Tee upright cabinet, is $395.
The larger LCD monitors also usually feature a stereo sound system. While the LCD monitor system typically produces better quality sound than does the original cabinet speakers, the volumn control would be difficult to access.
The particular size of LCD/LED monitor used for a particular cabinet would be the largest comparable monitor that would fit in the cabinet. For example, the 27" LCD/LED monitor will only fit in a Golden Tee cabinet.
These are current LCD/LED prices, which are subject to product availability; and thus, subject to change.
We currently have a good source for a very good product (LCD/LED monitor), but the marketplace can change anytime.
There is no additional charge for a CRT monitor. An overhauled CRT monitor is standard equipment included in the base price of our custom multicades.
If you prefer an LCD monitor rather than a CRT monitor, the appropriate LCD monitor price noted above would be in addition to the multicade base price.
4. Monitor weights -
A. A 25" CRT monitor (Golden Tee) weighs approx. 65 lbs.
B. A 19" CRT monitor (Ms. Pac-Man) weighs approx. 36 lbs.
C. An 19" LCD/LED monitor (comparable to a 19" CRT) weighs approx. 7 lbs.
D. A 27" LCD/LED monitor (comparable to a 25" CRT) weighs approx. 13-1/2 lbs.
5. Retrofitting and upgrading to an LCD monitor -
A. Retrofitting. If you already own a multicade, and want to retrofit the cabinet with an LCD monitor; most retrofits can be accomplished for a $75 installation fee, plus the price of the LCD monitor, as quoted above.
There is no charge for the safe disposal of your old CRT monitor. Before the old picture tube can be discarded, it must first have its neck broken; which is a potentially dangerous task.
Want to do it yourself? Here is How To Upgrade Your Arcade Classics Multicade From A CRT To LCD Monitor.
B. Upgrading. If we are currently building a multicade for you, and you want to upgrade your order to include an LCD monitor; no problem, just send me an email authorizing the change.
We will collect one-half the price increase at the time of your authorization, and the balance upon completion of your order.
6. The bottom line -
Even though there is an initial price difference between the LCD and the CRT monitor, the LCD monitor will probably pay for itself due to these cost saving facts:
- it is new, thus less likely to require service,
- it is cheaper to operate (uses less electricity), and
- it is much lighter than a CRT monitor, thus it is cheaper to ship the multicade.
Plus, there are these LCD monitor convenience factors. First, since the LCD monitor is new, you will probably never have to worry about having to find someone to service your monitor. And second, since the LCD monitor is so much lighter than a CRT monitor, moving your multicade around will be considerably easier on the old back.
Frankly, no matter how hard I try, and no matter how good the CRT monitor may look; it is physically impossible to adjust a CRT monitor to look as bright, crisp, and colorful as an LCD monitor.
For looks, performance, and longevitity, I seriously recommend the LCD monitor over the CRT monitor.
And, a final word. While we currently offer the LCD monitor as an upgrade option, this will not always be the case. Soon, the 18-1/2" LCD monitor will become standard equipment in the previous 19" CRT monitor cabinets. The 27" LCD monitor will continue as an option for a while longer.
Questions? Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org