CRT Television

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A CRT Television

Max Resolution 480i
Possible A/V Inputs RF, Composite, Component*, S-Video*, SCART**
Display Lag No
Weight 50-150 lbs.
Availability Not currently manufactured

*Note: Not all CRT TVs have component or S-Video inputs. There are ways to work around a CRT TV not having S-Video inputs, but if your CRT TV doesn't have component connectors then this means that recording footage at 480i with component cables is not an option.

**Note 2: SCART is more commonly used in Europe and it also enables players to use SEGA Genesis/Master System in 60hz and in colour by using the console's RGB SCART cable.

CRT stands for cathode ray tube. These televisions are named after the technology they use to display picture on the screen. CRT TVs are the television model of choice when speedrunning older console games or when capturing video footage from newer consoles in standard definition. The main reason is because there is no display lag. By display lag, we mean the moment of time from when the television receives the video signal to the time that it is displayed on the television screen.

Display Lag

With a CRT television, as soon as the TV receives the video signal it is instantaneously displayed on the screen. With an LCD or Plasma television, some processing of the image is required and this introduces a certain amount of display lag. How much display lag depends on a variety of factors. How much display lag affects your gameplay depends on the game and how well you are able to adjust to it. In the images below I have a CRT TV on the left and an LED LCD TV on the right. I've hooked up F-Zero GX running at 480i from the Wii. The composite cables are hooked from the Wii into a powered splitter and the splitter is sending the video signal to both televisions at the same time in the picture on the right. I rearranged the TVs to be close to each other for a screenshot. The CRT is on top and the LCD is on the bottom. Notice how the timer is showing 6'31''9xx on the LCD and that it is just about to move up to 6'32. The CRT has already displayed 6'32'0xx.

Left: A CRT TV Right: LCD TV
Top: CRT TV Bottom: LCD TV in gaming mode


  • Weight - The weight of a CRT TV increases rapidly as the screen size increases. A 20 inch model weights around 50 pounds. A 25 inch model may weigh more than 100 lbs. This makes the televisions hard to pick up and maneuver.
  • Availability - CRT TVs are no longer being manufactured as they have been replaced by LCD, Plasma, and other newer models. You will usually have to find a thrift shop or pawn shop in your local area and pick up these models in person. It is rare for these televisions to be sold online and even rarer to find shipping for these models.
  • Limited resolution support - Modern consoles have the option of outputting video footage at resolutions that are high definition. These signals will not be recognized by a CRT TV. This makes high definition capture out of the question with these models.


For a brief period of time, TVs that used CRT technology were manufactured that had support for high definition resolutions such as 720p and 1080i. HD CRT TVs are extremely uncommon. They have a few attributes which make them less ideal for speedrunning than traditional CRT TVs.

  • Unlike standard CRT TVs HD CRTs have a native resolution and will process video signals to match it. This means that they have display lag.
  • HD CRT models are usually available in models 26 inches or larger. This makes most models weight over 100 lbs.
  • HD CRT TVs were manufactured for a very short period of time. They are even more difficult to find in person. If you find them online they usually require local pickup instead of shipping
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