* Prices may differ from that shown
~ Seeing the bigger picture ~
For nearly the last 10 years or so we have had a little silver coloured CRT television in our living room. When I say little, I mean screen size at 24 inches, as this telly is almost as deep as it is wide and needs two people to lift it. Made by Phillips which is a large local employer with it's main UK office not too far from me, it is still standing the test of time well, much to my irritation now that television wizardry has moved on more in the last 5 years or so than it had since the old King was on the throne.
~ Picture quality ~
Manufactured in the years before anyone knew or cared what high definition was, there are bound to be some inaccuracies in the colour and contrast over time. There is certainly some picture noise, which is more apparent the lighter the background and the nearer I am to the screen, but whether it has always been there or is becoming worse with age I couldn't say. On a normal evening's viewing as we usually sit a fair distance away on the sofa, it's not distracting enough to pose a problem and the picture, to us at least, is still perfectly acceptable. It's also fair to say that I've noticed that images look far softer on this screen than they do on newer televisions, although I imagine that's more to do with the definition as opposed to the age of the set and probably applies to any CRT telly. The upside of that is Nancy Dell'uded's costumes on Strictly Come Dancing appear more muted as does the lady herself. Who said High Definition was all good?
~ Sound quality ~
In all honesty, I can't help but notice that the bass seems rather muffled and higher frequencies can be slightly weak. For my regular television viewing this doesn't really pose a problem or hinder my enjoyment of it, but then we don't really watch many action shoot 'em up type films where it might make for more disappointing viewing.
Despite that, there is a rather surprising addition to the sound which makes me think that for something so outdated, this Philips television was quite forward thinking in it's day. Via the remote control, the sound can be altered between what Philips has termed Voice, Music, Theatre and Personal. The best way I can describe the differences in sound is that Personal and Music are both very good (we keep our on Personal) and seem to give the best all round sound, Voice can seem rather tinny when you're not actually listening to someone speaking, and Theatre gives a more pronounced bass sound than any of the others, which can result in a rather muffled sound when someone is speaking.
And also on the plus side, I haven't noticed any noise distortions or popping sounds on this which I've noticed occasionally on our much newer television in our bedroom, and which does prove annoying.
~ The remote ~
The telly's Electronic Programming Guide I haven't used in years now, thanks to my Freeview box, although as I recall the screen menus were clear and simple enough to use and tab through. The remote itself is a rather bulbous contraption in comparison to my Freeview remote which is only half as thick and smaller in length and has probably just as many functions. It is easy to use though, as the buttons are a decent size and well spaced out. One drawback I would say is that there are just so many buttons, most of which are redundant as they never get used by us and I've forgotten their actual purpose unless I consult the manual. The sound options, as mentioned above, is one.
~ Any features at all? ~
It does what it says on the big silver box, and no more or less. Smaller and later televisions came with dvd players inbuilt but not this one. It does accommodate a dvd player and as I've said I have a Freeview box attached too. Both are via scart sockets which are themselves outdated it seems. A quick glance around televisions currently for sale and one scart socket seems to be the norm, with modern media being transmitted via HDMI's, usb ports and SD card slots. Frankly this doesn't bother me. I have no intention of watching youtube on this particular box, or playing music through it, or surfing the web - even for Dooyoo- it's purely to watch television or films on. There is also the obligatory headphone socket on one side of the telly which is easy enough to access although I can't remember a time when we've ever used it.
~ A pip past it's day? ~
If you were to hark back, perhaps to the televisions of yesteryear, or even 10 years ago, then I'd say this was probably right up there. Otherwise I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions. One negative aspect of owning this beast is that CRT's generally use far more electricity than their sleeker new counterparts. At a time when energy suppliers are upping their prices hand over fist I'm conscious of the comparative extra cost to us using this is, although I'm not bothered enough to swap it immediately.
The actual size of the television itself poses some problems too. You really need to be sure where to put it in your room because lifting and moving it regularly isn't practical, especially for those with bad backs. Being so deep, it also gathers more dust than I imagine the flat screen upstarts do. An upside for me is that the top of the television is an ideal place to put receipts and bits and bobs when I walk in the room (even a hairdryer when I'm drying my hair). Try resting your hairdryer on a 42" 3D television and see where it gets you.
~ Making this Pip squeak ~
Philips evidently are not selling enough televisions. They have recently announced plans to shed 4,000 jobs and sell off the television side of things to a Chinese manufacturer I have never heard of. This feels rather sad as not only has this television proved reliable but they are a large local employer with it's main UK office not too far from me.
For someone like me who simply wants a television that allows them to watch programmes and play dvd discs with the minimum of fuss and without needing a degree in quantum physics first this has proved fine. While its spec sheet is a little thin on the ground it hasn't had anything go wrong with it since we bought it, and it gives a good enough picture and sound quality for us to think we ought to keep it a little while longer. Or at least until after Nancy gets kicked off Strictly. Which hopefully will be around Christmas time... just in time for the January sales.