Loewe is about the best you can get, Panny Tau also v. good. Some Loewe's could display 480p but some were also able to display true HD (not sure if it was 720p or 1080i. Big, heavy, expensive, but to die for PQ.
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I had the 36" hi def. Sony CRT and the picture was very good. Weighed over 200LBs. After living with my 720 Panasonic 50" Plasma I have never regretted changing. If you find a good deal on a high quality CRT they are capable of an excellent picture but with Plasma prices coming down as they are it is hard to beat the bigger screen.
Your best bets are these Sony KD series sets: KD-30XS955, KD-34XS955, KD-36XS955, and KD-34XS960 (most recent model). These were Sony's very best and nearly last CRT HDTV's. They have full high definition tuners and are capable of displaying 1080i. The plasmas and LCD TV's could not come close to the picture quality of these sets at the time. Plus, these models are loaded with a ton of high-tech and features, unlike the later Sony CRT's, which were cheapened and offered less attractive cabinets, cheaper tubes, and less features. Understandably, after the XS9 series, Sony focussed their efforts and investment on the flat screens.
I have the KD-30XS955 and love it. It's beautiful TV, but it's huge and weighs 154 lbs. I had lots of trouble getting it into my basement because the cabinet is so long. By comparison, the 34 inch set is even bigger @ nearly 200 lbs.
Yet, if you can find one in good order and have the room, youll love the HD picture on the CRT. Plus, they can be had for next to nothing!
I own the Loewe tube tv Swampwalker speaks of (it's a 38" and called the 'Aconda'). It does do high-def- I believe 1080i, but what I like about it that it is the best 'double-duty' set I have yet seen- that is, fabulous regular def, along with super high-def. In fact the regular def (if you need it) is much better than any plasmas or LCD's that I have seen. Most of what we watch is still regular def, but that will change over time as more cable channels go to hd- it has been a perfect compromise for the last few years- HIGHLY recommended as a 'crossover' set..
GReat to hear that the Loewe Aconda displays SD well. The only complaint I have (which is significant) is that the Loewe 30" 16:9 Planus that I own is NOT GREAT w an SD signal. It makes standard DVDs look fantastic w its built in de-interlacer via component in, but it was built just as the transition to DTV was starting here in the US and is a bit of "bastard child". Of course, the other problem is that AFAIK, Loewe has gotten out of the consumer TV market in the U.S. And they are not only heavy but VERY clumsy to handle. OTOH, you cannot beat its PQ for watching movies. Properly set up, the black levels beat the pants off LCD and are better than plasma as well.
I bought my Sony Kv-34" XBR800 widescreen CRT as my first/main HDTV and it is still awesome after owning it over five years. It sits in the corner of my living room so the bulk/depth is not an issue. In fact, it still looks quite handsome if you ask me! I used the video essentials DVD to adjust the picture to a contrast-safe level from when the set was new so it still has lots of life left in the tube. Before purchasing my Sony XBR, I considered the larger 38" Aconda set too, but preferred the truly flat screen of the Sony to the Loewe's slightly curved one. The sound in the XBR's is very good as well, with a built-in 15 watt "subwoofer" that provides very good bottom-end for a TV.
My set is not the newer "super fine pitch" tube but the PQ on DVD and high-def is still exceptional. The video processing built-in this set is hard to beat, too. The DRC (scaler) is adjustable on these XBR's so you can really tweak a clean image with very few artifacts. In fact, I still use a non-progressive DVD player feeding it 480i and have never felt the need to "upgrade". I have never fed it a Blu-Ray disc yet but have no doubt it will look stunning with the new format. I'm in no hurry to get into BluRay for HT because my front projector is, alas, only 480p. I may buy one for the better audio, though. We'll see...
The set will scan at true 1080i horizontal resolution with roughly 1150 vertical slits in the trinitron aperture grill which provides a "pixel count" somewhat north of a 720p plasma or lcd. Resolution falls short of 1080p X 1920, however. The newer "super fine pitch" models have over 1600 vertical slits so they will very nearly resolve all the detail in the 1080i format, despite it's modest 34" diagonal size.
Yes, these sets are heavy and bulky by plasma/lcd standards, but the picture quality is still very hard to beat or even match. I have yet to have the set ISF'd to eliminate the slight red push in the color decoder and to tweak the gray scale, but even without that it still has a great picture overall. On a good over-the-air HD program that is well-produced ( like good PBS shows produced in HD) there is a "liquid" and three-dimensional quality to the image that I have not seen as well-produced in fixed-pixel TV's. I spent several hours with my father-in-law's new Panny 42" 1080p plasma watching it and adjusting w/video essentials and it looked very good after calibration. But, when I got home and turned on my XBR, I remembered why I am so happy with this set. The shadow detail and seemingly infinite gradations within the shadows give the picture amazing depth and realism. Pick one of these sets up for a smaller room or bedroom and you will not be dissapointed. People in the Bay Area are practically giving them away on Craigslist after they "upgraded" to a new flat panel for Christmas.
One more I forgot to mention.. If you don't mind the smaller 30" (widescreen) diagonal size, the HDTV monitor from Princeton Graphics was hard to beat. (I'm not referring to their computer monitors). It was a TV produced in the late '90's and originally sold under the Unity Motion brand. It had a Toshiba tube and high-quality line doubler built-in. It also featured design input by Joe Kane and was one of the few consumer-grade CRT's that would do 720p native. Princeton also offered a few 4:3 HD-capable sets in the 32"-36" size as well. All had excellent PQ - probably the best available this side of a professional monitor.
I am using RCA 38310(?) 38" 1080i 16:9 CRT 1999 model purchased 2000. Have been watching OTA HD for almost 10 years now with $39 RadioShack antenna. 300lbs? Is only now bettered by picture quality of newer flat panels. No HDMI, component video input only. Highly recommend new cheap LCD instead of trying for deal on old CRT, best wishes, Mike.
I actually have a Sony XBR 30" tube for sale.
One of the last ones made.... XBR 955 I think.
It is a wonderful set. Just getting a bigger tv for that room. The picture is amazing. It still goes up against
anything presently. Most people upon viewing think it is
a little plasma. HDMI and 1080i. Where this tv has never been surpassed with an HDMI cable is the NON HD channels.
Nothing now even comes close. And HD is awesome.
If anyone is interested feel free to e-mail me. No
I am not shipping this (over 200 lbs!)