IntroductionOnce upon a time, when only analog, tube TVs were around, buying a new set was a whole lot less of a nerve-racking experience. Now, there are all sorts of questions. What's the deal with 1080p? Is it worth it to go 1080p? And what about rear-projection? If all the tech jargon has you confused, don't worry. Read our guide to the pros and cons of high-tech TVs, and you'll feel a whole lot more confident when you hit your local electronics store.
Direct-view (tube) TVs
|Relatively inexpensive.||Bulky and heavy; limited screen size; lower resolution; usually incapable of displaying HDTV sources; rarely PC-compatible.||Tube TVs are becoming uncommon in stores, but this technology still has a few years left before it dies completely.|
The tube TV is a rare breed in electronics stores these days. Walk into any big-box retailer and you'll find them in the corner, if you find them at all, labeled "Standard-definition digital TV" and bearing a name like Dynex or Haier. These sets are, by law, equipped with digital tuners to receive DTV stations over-the-air, but they won't display anything near high-definition video quality. The few HDTV-compatible tubes are priced at levels similar to LCDs with the same screen size, so they're not very popular.
Direct view is how industry insiders refer to any television that doesn't use projection technology. They're called tubes because the glass forms the business end of a cathode-ray tube (CRT). Direct-view tube TVs can be found in sizes up to 36 inches (diagonal), and as their screen sizes increase, so do their heft and depth. The largest models in the mid-30-inch range can weigh nearly 200 pounds and measure two feet deep. Because of size and weight issues, it doesn't pay for companies to make larger tube TVs; they simply aren't practical.
We're not going to go into too much detail about tubes because we just don't recommend them for most TV shoppers. Unless you're on a very tight budget and don't care about high-definition, it's worth it to step up to a newer TV technology.