CRT vs. DLP vs. LCD, Ohm’s amazing Walsh speakers

Week of December 7, 2003  

Q: I am shopping for a rear projection High Definition-ready television set. The stores are really pushing LCDs and DLPs. They are thinner and lighter weight, and of course higher priced. If the quality of picture, in your opinion, is not worth the extra money I would like to know.

-Jim Dawson, Wichita, KS

A: This is a question that can only be answered by individual tastes, but experts largely agree the ultimate in projection television picture quality is a traditional CRT model. When you spend more on an LCD or DLP you are paying for the technology, not necessarily a better picture.

CRT rear-projection sets are the ones we have known for many years. Unlike a tube television, in which there is one CRT tube, in a CRT projection set there are three tubes: red, green and blue. These three color tubes project onto the back of the screen to create the image.

DLP televisions use a lamp, tiny mirrors and a spinning color wheel to produce a
full-color television picture. Interestingly, this is not the first time a spinning color wheel has been used to make a color television. In 1950 CBS developed a color television system using a spinning color wheel. It was not compatible with existing signals, so it was passed over in favor of the current analog system.

LCD technology is familiar to anyone who has used a laptop computer. In an LCD projection television, a small LCD chip is used in conjunction with a lamp to project the image on the television screen.

CRTs are considered the ultimate in picture quality for their natural color rendition, lack of pixelization or “screen door” effect caused by DLP or LCD pixels, and their ability to create deep, rich blacks.

Of course, quality differences exist between all televisions. A good DLP or LCD will be better than a mediocre CRT television. But if you compare the best CRTs to the best DLPs and LCDs, the CRT will produce a more accurate picture that most people will prefer.

This brings us to the subjective factor. Though the LCD or DLP technologies may not be as accurate as CRT, some people may prefer it anyway. I experienced this recently myself. I use Apple computers for writing my column and for professional digital photography. In shopping for a new monitor, I compared the Apple HD 23″ widescreen LCD display and a large professional CRT monitor. Though I knew the CRT would give me more accurate color rendition for adjusting my digital photographs, I bought the Apple. I preferred the slightly more contrasty, colorful look of the Apple display, and it will be accurate enough for my purposes.

Q: I’ve been a ‘big’ speaker guy in the past, but now Mrs. Ottman has some valid space concerns. I’ve listened to both tower and bookshelf speaker options and the quality differences won’t let me give up considering the towers. Any recommendations?

-John Ottman, Plymouth, MN

A: Check out the new Ohm Acoustics MicroWalsh speaker. They are only 23 inches tall and sound like a larger, full-sized tower speaker.

The Ohm Walsh models use a patented technology that produces almost all of the sound from a single, downward-facing cone. The cone reproduces incoming signals very accurately and creates natural sound with a reach-out-and-touch it realism that must be experienced to be appreciated. For a long time, this technology required a large, expensive speaker. The new MicroWalsh series has brought it to a new low price point and small size.

The MicroWalsh models start at $750 per pair and can be seen at www.ohmspeakers.com.

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