/CRT/ video monitors pasta

Oct 13th, 2016
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  1. /CRT/ Video monitors : An attempt at explaining what is a video monitor, and why people want them.
  3. - What is this text :
  5. An attempt at helping people understanding what is a video monitor (AKA PVM/BVM), choosing a monitor model/brand, or if they should pick a monitor they stumbled on in an ad or a shop.
  6. It's focused on monitors accepting at least 15khz signals AKA 240p/480i/SD(Standard Definition).
  8. - What is NOT this text :
  10. It doesn't cover 31khz and above monitors so this excludes most modern PC CRTs.
  11. It doesn't cover older CGA/EGA monitors, nor 8/16 bit euro/japan monitors (Atari / Commodore / MSX / X68000...) even if they might support 15khz as I have next to no info on them and would probably require another pasta altogether.
  12. It doesn't cover regular/consumer TVs, even if some can be considered as monitors, like Sony XBR line. Again, this would be the subject for another pasta.
  14. - What is a video monitor
  16. Generally speaking, a video (CRT) monitor is a monitor used in video or broadcast production, or for presentation or signalization purposes in expos, museums, airports and such.
  17. They don't have a tuner so they can't directly receive TV.
  18. Most use BNC connectors, but some have floppydisk-like connectors or DA15 / DB25.
  19. They usually have very limited audio (mono, small speaker...). Bigger models can have an audio amp and/or integrated or detachable speakers.
  20. Compared to TVs, they often have higher quality tubes, electronics, and have easy access to a wider array of image adjustments.
  21. They have no image enhancement so they don't induce latency (AKA display lag), a requirement for lightgun games.
  22. Tubes often have higher TV Lines count (TVL) than TVs, leading to a sharper image and stronger "scanline" effect.
  23. Most have multiple input types (composite, S-Video, RGBS, YpBpR...), some have expansion slots for more inputs.
  24. Most are multistandard (NTSC, PAL, sometimes SECAM) on their composite and svideo inputs, some need an appropriate expansion card to decode certain signals. Most should accept 50 and 60hz.
  25. Some are multiformat or multisync, meaning they can accept higher resolutions like 480p, VGA, or even higher.
  26. The form-factor is usually cubic as they were made to be stacked or rack-mounted, so a monitor might take less space than a CRT TV with the same tube diagonal size, or even allow a bigger screen size for the same space. Some have handles.
  28. - Why use a video monitor instead of a regular TV
  30. In North America and most of the world, the main incentive is access to RGB. Many retro consoles work internaly and output in RGB so this is the most direct signal you can get.
  32. In Europe, there are many TVs with a SCART input that will accept RGB signals. So the main reasons here are sharper image, professional looks and form-factor, or multiformat ability.
  34. The higher TVL count tends to produce a sharper image and a stronger "scanline" effect that is sought after by some, but other dislike the accentuated effects as it can look more like emulation.
  36. -Types of monitors
  38. Video monitors
  40. These were used in video studios, small tv companies, medical facilities or security rooms. The biggest ones (25" to 29") might have been used as presentation.
  41. They're commonly refered as PVM but this is a Sony brand name.
  42. Common sizes go from 6" to 29" (though a rare 43" PVM behemoth exists).
  43. They usually have mid to high TVL count (about 450-600 range) depending on model and size.
  44. Many (but not all) accept RGBS, some only go up to S-video and some are composite only. Many also accept component (AKA YPbPr, YCbCr, YUV) on the same inputs. Some accept Sync-on-green in either RGB or component.
  45. Some are multiformat (accept 15khz, but also higher so they can be used with 480p and above content).
  46. Most auto-terminate their outputs.
  48. Broadcast monitors
  50. Mostly used in tv production and broadcast.
  51. Commonly refered as BVM, but again, this is a Sony brand.
  52. Most found sizes go from 8" to 29". There are some widecreen monitors from 26" to 32".
  53. They have high to very high TVL count (600-1000 range).
  54. They have more image adjustments than video monitors.
  55. They're heavier than video monitors.
  56. Most accept RGB, component and composite in stock form, however many don't accept S-video, or need the appropriate expansion card to do so.
  57. Like video monitors, some are multiformat.
  58. Many need to have 75 ohms terminators on their outputs. If not, the image will be overbright.
  59. Usually rarer and more expensive than video monitors.
  61. Presentation monitors
  63. Used in expos, museums, display walls...
  64. Usually on the big size range, 29" to 39". Because of this, they're extremely heavy.
  65. They don't use TVL measurements, but are probably in the mid to high range.
  66. They have a fairly wide range of inputs, most can do composite, s-video, RGB. Some have a VGA (DE15 / HD15) connector for an easy connection to a computer (or a Dreamcast).
  67. Most have a 75 ohms switch to terminate their outputs.
  68. Many are multiformat.
  69. Are now pretty rare, and often expensive.
  71. -The brands
  73. Sony / Olympus
  75. The most found brand in video monitors. Olympus are just rebranded Sony models.
  76. Known as PVM (Professional Video Monitor), SSM (Security Systems Monitor), BVM (Broadcast Video Monitor). There's also older line known as ProFeel with model name starting with KX. They're the predecessors of PVMs and similar in specs ; the ProFeel Pro models look exactly like PVMs and exist in larger size, up to 34", but were sold only in asia it seems.
  77. SSMs and most PVMs have non-upgradeable inputs, BVMs have upgrade cards (usually not needed for RGB/component).
  78. Have the typical Sony aperture grille phosphor pattern.
  79. BVM are much heavier than PVMs/SSMs.
  80. Some SSMs are black & white, so beware.
  82. JVC / Panasonic
  84. Decently common brands. Same models under different brands, in fact their expansion cards are interchangeable.
  85. Some models have fixed inputs, some have expansion slots. High end models have no stock inputs so they need an expansion card.
  86. RGB/Component cards are rare and expensive so beware if you find a naked monitor. However, it is possible to clone the RGB card fairly easily. See https://pastebin.com/EXqMBfcY
  87. SD monitors use shadow mask, multiformats use aperture grille.
  88. SD monitors are fairly simple inside and thus lighter than a size equivalent PVM/BVM. Mulltiformats are much heavier.
  89. SD models have video monitor stats, while multiformat models look closer to broadcast monitor specs.
  91. Ikegami
  93. Video monitors, fairly rare.
  94. Said to be of high quality.
  95. Use shadow mask.
  96. Multiformat monitors exist but a DIP switch inside needs to be changed to support 720p.
  97. The HTM-1700 is a clone of the JVC DT-V1700 and thus needs a additional card to work with consoles. As with JVC, a cloned RGB card should work.
  99. Mitsubishi
  101. Presentation monitors.
  102. Rare and very sought after, so usually expensive, without even accounting for shipping.
  103. Multiple inputs, standards, formats... basically : "One monitor to rule them all".
  104. No VGA input, but a DA15 connector (often incorrectly designed as DB15) that accepts VGA and above signals, in addition to the usual BNCs.
  105. Use shadow mask.
  107. NEC
  109. Presentation monitors.
  110. Also rare and sought after, also expensive.
  111. Another case of "One monitor to rule them all". Most (all ?) have a VGA input.
  112. Use shadow mask AFAIK.
  114. Hantarex
  116. Video and presentation monitors
  117. Apparently also used in quite a lot of arcade cabinets.
  118. Some monitor models were designed specifically for screen walls, and thus have a very thin border (for a CRT).
  119. Most seem to take RGB via a DB9 socket.
  121. -Is this monitor for me ?
  123. It boils down to your use, and money too.
  124. "I want a small crt for shit and giggles", you can found some 8/9", ideal to put on a desk. They can still be found cheap. Even smaller are 6" models, but they are as deep as 8" ones, and marginally taller/wider.
  125. "I want something for my bedroom", the 14"-17" range allow sitting a bit farther while still compact. Prices are on the rise unfortunately.
  126. "Something to do multiplayer on, or for a living room", 20"-25", the most wanted range, so price are getting on the crazy side.
  127. "The baddest thing around, as big as possible, for a dedicated room", 27" and beyond, just be ready to pay alot, if you can find one.
  128. "A light enough one to move around", SD JVCs are definitively on the lighter side and have convenient side handles. And there are all the other 8/9" models of course.
  129. "Something better than composite", the jump to s-video is already a huge quality upgrade, so don't turn down an s-video only monitor, especially if it's your entry ticket into monitors and if it's at a reasonable price. Lack of more than S-Video can also give you an argument for lowering the asked price.
  131. -What to look out for
  133. You should NOT get a CRT shipped. There are many horror stories about monitors being insuffisiently protected and arriving partly or totally destroyed. So, don't get a CRT shipped, unless you're absolutelly sure the seller packs it and insures it like a Ming vase.
  135. Once you've found a monitor near you :
  137. Make sure that inputs available match what you will be using, there's little to no point on getting a monitor to only use it with composite (except if all you do is NES, and even that is debatable).
  138. Bring something to test, a console, a dvd player with test pattern disc... Remember that most of the time you'll need to adapt to BNC. If you're gonna use composite or s-video, remember to use a device that outputs the right signal or you might get a black & white image (might be enough to quickly estimate general condition though). If you want to test RGB, you will have to adapt the console cable, a SCART cable most of the time, to the BNC inputs, so you will need a SCART-to-BNC breakout.
  139. Some monitors are picky about sync, so in any case have a composite backup plan ready as it's the most standardized format.
  140. Once you have something displayed, check for tube markings AKA burn-in. Check if the image "pumps" on dark/bright changes.
  141. Check if the actual image pleases you. You might find it too sharp depending on specs and console used.
  142. Check the tube surface itself, look out for scratches and dents. Minor scratches are often invisible, but a big scratch or a dent could be noticiable. A really big dent can be dangerous as it makes a weak point and can lead to a tube implosion.
  143. General state, case scratches are probably unavoidable, but as long as the monitor isn't held togheter with duct tape you should be fine.
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