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CRT vs Plasma?


Active Member
Hi all. :)

I don't really have any opportunity to compare myself, so I was hoping you could help me out.

Purely in terms of PQ, how would you say a 36" CRT (like the Toshiba 36PZ38) compare to a 42" £2.5-3k plasma (like the Hitachi, Panasonic and Pioneer models in this price range)?

TIA. ;)

Bernard Barnett

Active Member
No plasma will match a top-class, glitch-free CRT for ultimate picture quality. But the problem is it's very hard to find a top-class, glitch-free CRT. That, plus the larger screen sizes offered, plus DVD playback - which is first-class - is I guess mostly why a lot of people opt for plasma. And of course a plasma takes up much less room than a 36-inch monster CRT.


Staff member
Both platforms have their weaknesses.

Compared to a CRT, a Plasma may have some or all of:

1) Less resolution depending on which one you buy - the cheaper ones typically are only 848 x 480 which is less than the native resiolution of a PAL TV signal

2) Less contrast - although there are those who consider that CRTs actually produce too much. Nevertheless, areas that should be completely black may exhibit some latent greyness.

3) Dithering effects - Plasmas have difficulty reproducing very small amounts of a given colour so they produce larger amounts in non-adjacent pixels. This can be seen on close inspection as a kind of shimmering, on some colours. Rarely visible at sensible distances

4) Possibility of bad (dark) pixels. Rarely fail in use. A good idea to inspect YOUR TV before you pay for it.

but a CRT (compared to Plasma) may have some or all of:

1) Bad geometry - straight things are curved

2) Bad convergence - coloured fringes around the edges of things - most often in the corners/extreme edges, but sometimes everywhere

3) Bad stability - picture size varies with brightness - causes a bouncing effect on material with a lot of change in it (eg music videos)

4) 'Dirty' spots - bad alignment of the electron stream and the shadow mask causing darker areas

5) Colour impurity. Same cause as (4) exaggerated. Also caused by external magnetism (nearby central heating radiator, loudspeaker, earth's magnetic field)

Hence Bernard's comment on the difficulty finding a 'top class, glitch free' CRT.

Plus of course the obvious space and weight issues.


Active Member
Thank you all for your replies. :)

Thanks for the detailed comparison, nigel. :smashin:

One question though:
Can't the bad geometry and convergence be fixed via the service menu in most cases?

Space is not really an issue as I'm currently using a 4 year-old 32" widescreen Hitachi.
The Toshiba 36PZ38 would be very similar in size, and might even be smaller. ;)


Distinguished Member
Originally posted by Bernard Barnett
No plasma will match a top-class, glitch-free CRT for ultimate picture quality. But the problem is it's very hard to find a top-class, glitch-free CRT.
If you are prepared to pay for it it isnt that hard.


Staff member
CRT TVs are often NOT set up optimally in the factory. To a great degree they can often be improved by tweaking in a service menu. But as regards the specific issues of geometry, tilt (which I didn't mention) and convergence, they can rarely be made as good as a flat panel.

Stability can never be cured. It's down to using cheap insufficient components.

Dirty spots and colour impurities can be cured by a trained, competent engineer. Trouble is, they are fairly rare.

Hornydragon's comment is true to an extent. If you are willing to overlook the Toshiba, Panasonic, Sony, Philips (etc) names and instead look at Loewe and/or Bang and Olufsen, what you will tend to find is that there is a greater likelihood that things will be closer to 'right'. That's not to say that a Sony (etc) is bound to be maladjusted - nor that a Loewe WILL be perfect. It's a matter of playing the odds.

Me ..... I'd prefer a flat panel any day to a dinosaur. (Just my own view, you understand).


Active Member
Thanks for the clarification, nigel.

From what I have read it does look like a good plasma would be very close to a CRT in terms of PQ, plus it'd have other advantages like picture size and the size of the unit itself.

I guess it comes down to £££s.

I can get the Toshiba 36PZ38 for about £1300, inc. stand (without it being too much of a financial strain).
The picture would be better than on my Hitachi, bigger, and the cabinet size equal.

Or I could go for the Hitachi 42PD5000 for £2500 from RS which is almost twice as much (not including the bits and bobs I'd need to buy, like stand or wall-bracket, plug-ins gizmos or converters...).
This would however make it financially more strenuous. :(

Maybe it would be more reasonable to go for the Tosh, and wait a year or so for the price of Plasmas to come down.

What do you all think?


Staff member
Do bear in mind that a 36 inch CRT is only actually about 33.5 inches. A 37 inch Plasma is 37 inches.


Active Member
P.S: I did look at the Loewe 32" Aventos, but thought the difference in quality didn't warrant buying it instead of the Toshiba 36".
Other Loewe and B&O models are much too expensive for me.
Plasma would be too, but I'd get the advantages of picture and unit size.

32" Hitachi 50Hz widescreen >> 36" Toshiba 36PZ38:
- better (if not perfect) picture.
- bigger picture.
- more connection options (component, 3 scarts/2rgb).
- same size cabinet
- cost: £1000 (a friend would be buying my Hitachi for £300).

32" Hitachi 50Hz widescreen >> 42" Hitachi 42PD5000:
- better (if not perfect) picture.
- much bigger picture.
- much lesser footprint.
- not sure about connections (would I need to buy an RGB board and such?).
- cost: £2200 (+ boards and/or lead converters.

So if I use my head >> Toshiba 36PZ38
If I use my heart >> Hitachi 42PD5000


Active Member
Originally posted by nigel
Do bear in mind that a 36 inch CRT is only actually about 33.5 inches. A 37 inch Plasma is 37 inches.
That's a very good point, nigel.
How much would a good 37" plasma cost and what brands are making them?


Active Member
I had a look at the 32" and 37" plasma available and they all are > £2500. :(

I think I'm going to use my head instead of my heart and go for the 36PZ38.
I'll be buying a plasma in a year or so. ;)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. :smashin:


Active Member
ddlooping, if you really do not need or want the size (42") that the plasma will give you and space is not an issue, then I think you have made a wise decision, as I said in my other post my 37" Mitsi lasted 13 years before i replaced it just two weeks ago with a 42" Plasma (Hitachi) and it was still working fine! I had some very bad experiences with Loewe before I bought the Mitsi (two brand new Loewe went bang in the space of two months!) I vowed never to toch that brand again after they pulled out of the UK market and I had a lot of trouble getting a refund, now they are back I dont expect thier attitude to customers has chnaged at all!

I love my Hitachi 42", but it will never last as long as my Mitsi has.

Best regards David

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