A new video shows what PS5 and Xbox Series X games look like played on a CRT TV.
In a complex breakdown of using a CRT monitor to play modern games, Digital Foundry has done a deep report on the benefits and drawbacks of using a retro CRT monitor for next-generation consoles. What's surprising is that it's even recommendable, though only to certain users.
In the video showing off the experiment (opens in new tab), a 2003 Sony GDM-FW900 was used, which can display impressive output. The monitor is capable of 1440p and 60hz, meaning that new games were able make use of the display's impressive features.
While Digital Foundry says, that CRTs are mostly good for retro gaming due to their general 4:3 shape, there were benefits to using one for modern gaming.
The report says: "The lower resolution you get when using an adapter is no big deal. It actually looks super, super clean and the pixel count just doesn't even matter in the end."
It's noted in a written report on Eurogamer (opens in new tab) that due to the way CRT monitors handle resolution, they still look great at lower resolutions. Digital Foundry's John Linneman says: "CRT with downscaled 4K content still looks stunning, even at 720p - because the way in which CRTs literally 'beam out' information changes the user's perception of detail and resolution."
However, there are several drawbacks to using a CRT monitor as noted. Of course, they are harder to find due to being discontinued, and also are exceptionally expensive. The model used in the test can cost up to more than $5000, and even more, reasonably priced displays are relative.
The other drawback is the pure size of a display. They are huge, especially for their relatively small screens. Perhaps even more complicated is their weight. The Sony GDM-FW900 weighs a whopping 92lbs (or 42kg). Finding, purchasing, maintaining, and housing one of these is a large commitment that really is a niche use case.
Still, it's a fascinating experiment and a great marrying old and new technology to produce great results in the gaming space. Just be aware if this has given you the itch to get out there and get your own CRT, you've got a big investment ahead of you.
If you are in the market for a more traditional screen, check out our best gaming monitors 2021 list.