About CRT monitors

If you have been alive for at least more than 12 years or you are just a fan of old and retro technology you probably have seen those big, heavy and square monitors used from the mid 1900s to the early 2000s.
That type of screen that shouts old and retro but also obsolescence are a type of display called CRT and was use mainly for computer monitors and televisions.

What does CRT even mean?

CRT is an acronym for cathode-ray tub, an old type of technology used to display images in monitors and televisions. At the back of the box there’s an electron gun shooting charged electrons to the front of the screen. The screen is coated with phosphor dots which are ablaze by hitting the electrons which as a results creates a clear image on the screen.
So yeah, basically your monitor is a black box of radiation (not lethal or harmful tho).
Due to their big size, high power usage and cost of fabrication they slowly started to decrees their pupularity in the early 2000 when led displays appeared in the market. Of course I’m not talking about big 16:9 led monitors, no, I’m talking about small 4:3 ones.

But why keep using an old monitor instead of buying a big and new one?

At the end of 2019, after realized my laptop was getting too old and the only thing I could update was the RAM I decide to build a desktop computer by my own. In an attempt to reduce cost I choose to clean and use my old PC cabinet back from 2002.
After finishing my setup with an old 2007 led screen I felt a little bit nostalgic for my first setup. Since I was already using the old desk and PC cabinet I decided to look for my old monitor in the storage room, clean it and use it as my main screen.
Now I’m using two monitors, a 4:3 CRT at 1024x768 and a 16:9 led screen at 1360x768.

But of course nostalgia is not the only reason to use one. But I think is better to show the pros and cons of using a CRT



  • No motion blur
  • Almost zero input lag
  • They can have really high frame rates which can be beneficial if you play videogames
  • They have a better color contrast than a lot of flat monitors
  • Old games look majestic in this type of display. No black bars in the laterals.
  • Cheaper price since people tent to just get ride of them due to been seen as obsolete
  • Less resolution means less pixels on your screen which also means your graphic card don’t have to work that hard to display an image.
  • A lot of websites are optimized to still being view at lowers resolutions. Facebook, Youtube, Tumblr and Neocities are examples of sites that can be view without inconvenient at 1024x768
  • Too big and heavy. They require a lot of space and a sturdy desk.
  • Not all games support 4:3 resolutions
  • Higher power usage than modern displays like LCD and LED screens
  • Some of them can produce a really high pitch noise which can not only be annoying but might cause migraines in some people
  • If your computer and/or graphic card doesn’t have a VGA port you must buy a HDMI to VGA converter
  • Not all of them have high refresh rates in higher resolutions. Is not the same 80hrz at 600x800 than 60hrz at 1152x864
  • Not every website is properly displayed in lower resolutions. Especially at 800x600
  • You might need to use it in a dark room. Since the screen is made of glass it can reflect a lot of light
  • Some models are very prone to screen burn-in
  • An example of screen burn-in

    At this point it's mostly up to you if you want to use a CRT monitor.
    As I said before I'm currently using one (and that's the main reason this site is best view in a 4:3 ratio) since it was way cheaper using the one I already have than buying a new one. Of course there's also a retro feeling with it which is something a really love.
    Besides you can't deny they have an iconic look.

    A picture of my monitor from October 2022

    A computer with a CRT display from Kirby and the Forgotten Land

    Ok but what about CRT TVs?

    TV screens and computer screens are a little bit different, even if they are both CRTs.
    Since I'm not an expert in the subject I can't talk too much about it. But if you are interested in CRT TVs because you like old and retro videogames then I encourage you to get one.
    The reason you remember old videogames graphics looking really good isn't because of your kid memory making everything look astonishing but because they actually looked good. Old games were made with CRTs in mind so they always look better in them than in LED televisions. My personal favorite example of this is The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64. The game was almost unplayable on my LED TV since I couldn't tell what was the background and what not.
    A similar thing with the brightness. Fatal Frame 2 looks pitch black in modern displays making it totally unplayable.

    CRT screen - LED screen

    As I said before I'm not an expert on the subject but there's a lot of online communities, especially on Facebook, dedicated to CRT screens including televisions.