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Author Topic: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....  (Read 14084 times)

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Jimbo

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Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« on: October 24, 2007, 12:04:47 pm »
I recently purchased a 21" Polo (15Khz) arcade monitor from Hantarex. I told the guy there that what I really wanted was a 21" PoloStar Multisync, but they no longer supplied them.  He then told me that if I'd have spoke to him he would have put a neck board of one of the larger PoloStars onto a 21" tube.  Great I thought, maybe in a year or so on my next cab I'll come back and get him to do that!  A shiver went down my spine as I heard the words come out of his mouth... "I can't guarantee that we'll be doing CRTs in a year or two, LCDs are taking over now, and CRTs are becoming less and less popular.".

Arrgh... I wonder if this is the same for other CRT manufacturers....  :(

Will the arcade monitor die out?  Will it soon be impossible to get hold of a new one (especially low-res ones)?

ChadTower

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2007, 12:47:32 pm »

Standard res is just a TV without a tuner.  You'll always have a huge supply of those.

Jimbo

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2007, 01:48:43 pm »
Here in the UK even new crt TV's are becoming hard to find...  you go in your local dixons, currys, comet etc, and they usually just have LCDs on show.

PacMon

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2007, 02:15:47 pm »
I heard this week that Best Buy no longer carries CRT's (USA).  I guess CRT's will slowly disappear.

SavannahLion

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2007, 03:02:29 pm »
Will the arcade monitor die out?  Will it soon be impossible to get hold of a new one (especially low-res ones)?

Definitely. When was the last time you saw a Vector monitor for new? So a better question would be, when and what's going to happen when it does?

It really breaks my heart when I see old technology cast aside and discarded then no one remembers or cares about them anymore. The worst part of it is, electronics technology is moving in a direction that makes it harder and harder for people to gain access to it at a time when it should be easier. It's even more disconcerting when I encounter professional electronic engineers (not kidding about the title here) who have never touched a soldering iron in their entire lives and the only circuit boards they ever handle is when they install a video card or NIC into a PC. Based on that criteria, I've been doing EE work for the last twenty years.

I digress, A while ago I wanted to see what my options were regarding 15KHz monitors and panels that could potentially be used in an cabinet and I came across Dynamic Displays(also goes by Industrial Panels). They're a promising company (hopefully they'll stick around for a while) because they are specifically in the business of selling monitors for replacing or retrofitting old industrial equipment. Surprisingly, they actually offer a series of 15KHz LCD monitors that look like they might work with an arcade PCB.

Unfortunately, DD displays are (IMHO) prohibitively expensive. Even the used, refurbished, and overstock CRT units I've found here and there fetch some humbling prices. I'm sure given enough time, prices will almost certainly drop or someone like DD will come along and offer monitors specifically for arcades. My only hope is that this doesn't become an elitist hobby where only those with four digits of cash to throw away can gain access.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 03:04:17 pm by SavannahLion »

ahofle

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2007, 03:52:16 pm »
My hope is that SED technology (or something similar) will be practical by the time CRTs are completely gone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface-conduction_electron-emitter_display
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 03:59:32 pm by ahofle »

Jeff AMN

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2007, 04:03:13 pm »
My hope is that SED technology (or something similar) will be practical by the time CRTs are completely gone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface-conduction_electron-emitter_display

That would be nice, but SED has seen some serious setbacks as of late. It seems like it might not actually make it to the market in the end.
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bfauska

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2007, 04:06:27 pm »
My hope is that SED technology will be practical by the time CRTs are completely gone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface-conduction_electron-emitter_display

As a black level junkie, that sounds like a fantastic product.  I don't know that it addresses the difficulty of repairing, modifying, or replicating classic arcade machines though.

What's funny is that any of the new screen technologies would look similar to an original machine if they made fewer pixels that were large with soft edges.  It's not like the problem with the newer technology is that it is incapable of replicating the past, it just shoots for a higher standard that is not well suited for displaying older sources at the appropriate scale and refresh rate.  To be clearer, if it were built with different quality goals it could reproduce (more or less) the images we are looking for, but at the now mainstream higher resolutions and refresh rates, we can't get those results.

ahofle

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2007, 04:26:06 pm »
There are already products coming designed to replace CGA monitors with LCDs in the arcade:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=72637.0

I'm not sure if they are just scaling a standard CGA signal to a regular high resolution LCD panel, or if they are doing something like you mention.  I'm guessing the former though.  I will be curious to see this in action.  I personally don't care for the look of CGA arcade games on LCDs (or high resolution CRTs for that matter).

There is another possibility (for emulation) which is software.  I imagine there will be a point where one can just apply a 'filter' that accurately recreates the exact softness/scanlines/etc of a CGA arcade monitor using a high resolution display.  Of course this doesn't help those with actual arcade cabinets.  :'(

Level42

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2007, 06:01:30 pm »
CRT's will be dying out, but I hope not 100%. 20 years ago, when the CD just started we all thought vinyl record players would be dead in 10 years. Look at it now, they're still in production, and are getting more popular again. For a relatively low price you can get very good quality players.

However, for the CRT the situation is different.  You don't have a physical medium that can be played on it....The most recent LCD's seem to do a pretty good job at hiding it's problems of the beginning. The black is getting better, angles better etc.

SED should have been on the market this year.....shame it may not make it...

I still don't want a LCD as my main TV, (also because I don't watch it that much :P)

There is still a market for CRT's now. I can still buy (very cheap) CRT TV's at 20" (80 !!!) and use them as great arcade monitors here, but for how long ??? They are at the extremely low level in the market here now. I guess markets like Africa, south-america etc. may still be wanting CRT's. But in the end, it will be more expensive to produce a CRT. Also think of shipping. One CRT takes the space of 10 LCD's.

It's a shame, but we will witness the end of the CRT over the next 10 years. SOoooooo, grap them while you can. The good thing is that (for Europe) people are literally giving away their CRT TV's, which make great arcade monitors :)

Maybe we will also see the flexible displays develop further. Than we put a foil over the CRT's front and have (almost) the same picture :P

Ken Layton

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2007, 06:22:44 pm »
I heard this week that Best Buy no longer carries CRT's (USA).  I guess CRT's will slowly disappear.

This is incorrect. Best Buy is no longer carrying TV sets with analog tuners. All sets they sell now will have digital tuners specifically for digital cable. These sets will not have any inputs for analog signals at all.

BobA

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2007, 06:30:47 pm »
.
It's a shame, but we will witness the end of the CRT over the next 10 years.

I don't think it will be 10 years.   I would be surprised if you could get a CRT TV in 5 years or less.   The consumer CRT TV will probably die very quickly now that it has hit what looks to be rock bottom sell off priceing.   When Walmart does not carry CRTs you wil know that they are next to gone.


SavannahLion

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2007, 06:53:39 pm »
There is another possibility (for emulation) which is software.  I imagine there will be a point where one can just apply a 'filter' that accurately recreates the exact softness/scanlines/etc of a CGA arcade monitor using a high resolution display.  Of course this doesn't help those with actual arcade cabinets.  :'(

That's the rub though. In order to obtain accurate representation of a CGA arcade monitor by filtering, the display resolution would have to be much much denser then what we can conceive of at this time. To tell you the truth, I don't think we'll ever reach that point for a variety of reasons.

superart

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2007, 06:54:42 pm »
edit
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 12:20:32 am by Suits00 »

SavannahLion

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2007, 06:59:22 pm »
This is incorrect. Best Buy is no longer carrying TV sets with analog tuners. All sets they sell now will have digital tuners specifically for digital cable. These sets will not have any inputs for analog signals at all.

Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that those sets would not have an analog channel tuner but still have analog inputs such as A/V, S-Video, and the like. Where did you pick up on that tidbit?

ahofle

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2007, 07:07:36 pm »
That's the rub though. In order to obtain accurate representation of a CGA arcade monitor by filtering, the display resolution would have to be much much denser then what we can conceive of at this time. To tell you the truth, I don't think we'll ever reach that point for a variety of reasons.

Are you sure about that?  Just looking at my computer screen here, it seems like there are enough pixels to try to simulate a low resolution game.  You'd just have to generate a different red/green/blue 'group' for each color pixel.  Like this:


or


Stand a few feet back and they almost turn white!  I'm actually getting very interested in this.  Has anyone even tried something like this (using a high resolution display to simulate CRT 'building blocks')?  I can't imagine anyone would have a use for it other than nostalgic freaks like us.

what's a CRT :dunno

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathode_ray_tube
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 07:09:46 pm by ahofle »

deadpool18

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2007, 09:06:30 pm »
I'm more concerned with how 4:3 displays are being phased out by 16:9 LCD's.  I don't know how I would put a widescreen monitor in my cabinet without it looking stupid once my 27" 4:3 crt eventually dies. 

Even if I do fit a decent size one in there and make a new bezel, what a waste of screen real estate when playing old games that were never meant for widescreen.  ???

ARTIFACT

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2007, 11:24:39 pm »
Pixel Shaders will come save us

New video cards (DX9 / DX10 grade) allow amaaazing pixel operations in real time... It is only a matter of time before some "GPU God" codes an "old CRT emulator" ... literally applying realistic glowing, curving, etc... to the whole picture

and guess what

the HIGHER the resolution, the more realistic the emulation of... LOW resolution screens will be.
YES.
The "reverse" of what you may be thinking :)
In fact you will need pretty high resolution / DPI to accurately represent our good old low-res CGA pictures...
It's not the pixels, it's what's BETWEEN the pixels that makes the magic :)

The magic of pixel shaders...

I just HOPE that the mame-dev gods are listening / aware of what is possible there... Right now they can't get a sharp picture out of D3D :( (and it is NOT d3d's fault at all... D3D is fantastic)

Anubis_au

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2007, 12:00:04 am »
Cheap CRT TVs should still be available for years to come, although they will one day disappear.

I recently picked up an old TV from my brother-in-law. It was useless to them as the tuner was busted, but I want to try an experiment on it: connect the sync from the pc to an AV input, and wire in the RGB signal straight to the back of the tube. I'll share any findings. If it works, then you can have a genuine arcade monitor for as long as you can get a CRT TV.

SavannahLion

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2007, 12:47:23 am »
Cheap CRT TVs should still be available for years to come, although they will one day disappear.

I recently picked up an old TV from my brother-in-law. It was useless to them as the tuner was busted, but I want to try an experiment on it: connect the sync from the pc to an AV input, and wire in the RGB signal straight to the back of the tube. I'll share any findings. If it works, then you can have a genuine arcade monitor for as long as you can get a CRT TV.

http://www.porkrind.org/arcade/tv-hack.html

Jimbo

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2007, 04:04:16 am »
Pixel Shaders will come save us

Surely there'll still be a problem with matching the low refresh rates though?

Akuma

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2007, 06:12:38 am »
Does any company at all manufacture 4:3 LCD panels above 21" ?

Anubis_au

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2007, 06:19:32 am »
Not that I've ever seen. I don't think they make them any bigger in 4:3 (which we can all agree, is a pity).

I've said it before, I've yet to see an arcade cab that uses a widescreen picture, whether pc monitor or TV (CRT or LCD). But the day will surely come...

genesim

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2007, 08:45:48 am »
There were a few games that used widescreen and also the widescreen can be utilized upright for all the vertical games.

Good riddance to CRT.

Its amazing how people forget how vector graphics came and went.    LCD is an improvement in almost every way.   Great technology and as artifact stated...it is only getting better.    Higher resolution is a good thing, not bad.

Anubis_au

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2007, 09:42:57 am »
Good riddance to CRT.

I'll miss CRT for an arcade monitor when they are gone. An arcade game on a CGA CRT is the authentic way to view these old, classic games, and it will be a sad day when that is no longer possible.

Anubis_au

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2007, 09:46:43 am »
Higher resolution is a good thing, not bad.

I know I'm potentially opening a can of worms here, disagreeing with genesim on this topic  ;D, but:

Genesim, I have nothing wrong with higher res when I want higher res. Like when using Windows. But when I want to play a classic arcade game, higher res just makes the game look too sharp, and I prefer the lower res blurry pic in all its imperfections. And so would most gamers here, I'd say...

(post #300 for me :))
« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 09:48:22 am by Anubis_au »

ChadTower

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2007, 09:51:58 am »
I've said it before, I've yet to see an arcade cab that uses a widescreen picture, whether pc monitor or TV (CRT or LCD). But the day will surely come...

New games do.  Off the top of my head the newest HOTD game and the recent Aliens themed gun game both used widescreen plasmas.  The versions I saw did, anyway.

SavannahLion

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2007, 10:01:59 am »
genesim, I would have to disagree with you on that.

While I'm enjoying higher res monitors, they're coming to us at a hidden cost.

Televisions and broadcast signals were originally developed with extreme care given to balancing the limits of the technology at the time and the human eye/mind. Once the technology was "set" gradual improvements were introduced until the dawn of the PC era and the need for high resolution and sharp images. Then an interesting thing happened, we essentially forgot or ignored the crucial research of 50 years ago and went to hell on a high horse trying to shoot for uber resolutions and super wide screens. Believe me, in another 30 to 50 years, we're going to back pedal on presentation technology.

Its amazing how people forget how vector graphics came and went.

This statement kind of illustrates why I think there's a gross misunderstanding about screen technology and why we're making a number of mistakes here. Vector graphics have not came and went, only the vector monitors. Vector development have continued on to be refined and improved. They're just severely restricted on the crap raster monitors we all use today.

ChadTower

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2007, 10:07:26 am »
Vector graphics have not came and went, only the vector monitors. Vector development have continued on to be refined and improved.

Could you elaborate on what projects you're referring to here?

XyloSesame

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2007, 10:25:39 am »
Good riddance to CRT.

Currently, LCDs don't hold a candle to CRTs for purity and contrast. That may change in the coming years, but technology can not yet duplicate the depth a tube monitor brings to the table.

Ahh, the good old analog/digital debate...

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2007, 10:31:40 am »
I'll miss CRT for an arcade monitor when they are gone. An arcade game on a CGA CRT is the authentic way to view these old, classic games, and it will be a sad day when that is no longer possible.

100% agree!  I've also yet to see a curved LCD screen... for some of us nostalgics the flatscreen effect just isn't the same.

Ken Layton

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2007, 10:45:42 am »
    LCD is an improvement in almost every way.   Great technology and as artifact stated...it is only getting better.    Higher resolution is a good thing, not bad.

And most of these LCD's will be throw-away's if they break. Impossible to economically repair. Only the most expensive LCD's will be considered repairable---and even then that'll be limited to complete module replacement.

People seem to forget that conventional CRT arcade monitors are made for commercial use and made to be repaired. Many have a lifespan of 20 years or more with parts still available to repair them. The prices of LCD's are still way too high.

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2007, 10:53:54 am »
Higher resolution is a good thing, not bad.

I know I'm potentially opening a can of worms here, disagreeing with genesim on this topic  ;D, but:

Genesim, I have nothing wrong with higher res when I want higher res. Like when using Windows. But when I want to play a classic arcade game, higher res just makes the game look too sharp, and I prefer the lower res blurry pic in all its imperfections. And so would most gamers here, I'd say...

(post #300 for me :))

OMG...  Please don't get him started...    ;D

ChadTower

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2007, 10:54:17 am »
I definitely don't see current LCDs running 18 hours a day for years at a time.

ahofle

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2007, 11:30:18 am »
I definitely don't see current LCDs running 18 hours a day for years at a time.

Here's a screenshot of what Pacman on an LCD would look like after a few weeks at that rate.   ;D

Dervacumen

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2007, 11:38:35 am »
So would it be a good idea to start hording CRT's
Bringing to life a child's imagination.

SavannahLion

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #36 on: October 25, 2007, 12:08:17 pm »
Vector graphics have not came and went, only the vector monitors. Vector development have continued on to be refined and improved.
Could you elaborate on what projects you're referring to here?

Fair enough  :cheers:

How about every single 3D video card on the market? Every 3D video game? Every 3D software? Every vector graphics file in use by architects, artists, engineers, etc?

Vectors were merely the baby steps we needed to take to get to the 3D representation methods we use today.

« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 12:10:00 pm by SavannahLion »

SavannahLion

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #37 on: October 25, 2007, 12:16:59 pm »
I definitely don't see current LCDs running 18 hours a day for years at a time.

That's what I do with my PC. I'll let you know the results in a few years  ;D

Barring the backlight burning out, what's the estimated life expectency of your average LCD screen? I've spotted a few "industrial" LCD screens here and there and I imagine their life expectency isn't all that different from your average home consumer model.

ChadTower

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #38 on: October 25, 2007, 12:24:13 pm »
Fair enough  :cheers:

How about every single 3D video card on the market? Every 3D video game? Every 3D software? Every vector graphics file in use by architects, artists, engineers, etc?

He wasn't talking about that, though.  He was talking about vectors being the representation method themselves.  Unfilled shapes drawn on an X-Y plane rather than via the scan method of a raster game.  You're talking about the basic geometry of representing a 3D object (thus faking Z as well) on a 2D plane.  It's all similar on some level, sure, but only tangentially.

And 2d vector art is a third beast entirely as far as actual human design goes.  Nearly all of the math involved, which is very heavy in designing a vector (i.e. Tempest) game, is done by the art package.  The vectors are used more as a means of scaling the artwork either up or down than they are as the medium itself.

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Re: Countdown to the death of the arcade monitor?.....
« Reply #39 on: October 25, 2007, 12:31:46 pm »
Barring the backlight burning out, what's the estimated life expectency of your average LCD screen? I've spotted a few "industrial" LCD screens here and there and I imagine their life expectency isn't all that different from your average home consumer model.

I have an LCD thats about 2 years old and it's used daily.  I turned it on about a week ago and noticed that on a white screen, the picture has darker horizontal lines everywhere there is text.  Sounds like it needs a cap kit.  But how many are going to be able to find and swap out SMD style components and how much is a complete board replacement going to cost, provided they are even still available when you encounter a problem.

Time to dig more landfills  :banghead:

And those folks who think scads of resolution is the answer are correct only when that capability is combined with massive computing horsepower.  It's sad when it takes a "reality engine" to faithfully reproduce something originally done on the equivalent of a 1mhz 8-bit C-64.

RandyT

  
 

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