If you’re a fan of classic arcade games, you know that there’s nothing that compares to the experience of playing them on a CRT (cathode ray tube) TV. These TVs have a lower input lag and a particular look that’s perfect to recreate that retro experience. So, if you’re building an arcade cabinet and want to display your games on a CRT TV, this article is for you. We’ll go over every detail you need to know to mount a CRT TV in your arcade cabinet, as well as tips for positioning, connecting, and maintaining it.
Why CRT TVs are Still Relevant for Arcade Cabinets
To understand why CRT TVs are still preferred for arcade cabinets, it’s essential to know that they don’t create input lag, like modern TVs do. This means that the response time between the game and the player is almost instantaneous, providing a smooth gaming experience. Additionally, CRT TVs have that classic, curved screen look that many of us nostalgically associate with gaming. Their 4:3 aspect ratio also ensures that the game images fit the whole screen, without any letterboxing or stretching. Finally, CRT TVs are also still popular for arcade cabinets because they don’t wash-out in bright environments, providing better contrast and color saturation for an optimal gaming experience.
Another reason why CRT TVs are still relevant for arcade cabinets is that they are more forgiving when it comes to displaying lower resolution graphics. Many classic arcade games were designed to be played on CRT TVs, and their graphics were optimized for this type of display. When these games are played on modern LCD or LED screens, the lower resolution graphics can appear pixelated or blurry. CRT TVs, on the other hand, can display these graphics more accurately, preserving the original look and feel of the game.
Tools and Materials Needed for Mounting a CRT TV in an Arcade Cabinet
To mount your CRT TV, you’ll need some essential tools and materials, including screwdrivers, pliers, a drill, screws, wood boards, brackets, and of course, your CRT TV. We recommend measuring the dimensions of your CRT TV and cabinet to determine what size boards and brackets you’ll need, as you don’t want them to be too big or too small. Additionally, ensure that your CRT TV supports being mounted on brackets, as some models can’t be strapped to walls or other surfaces.
It’s important to note that mounting a CRT TV in an arcade cabinet can be a challenging task, especially if you’re not familiar with electronics or woodworking. We recommend seeking the help of a professional if you’re unsure about any aspect of the process. Additionally, make sure to follow all safety precautions when working with power tools and electricity.
Step-by-Step Guide to Mounting a CRT TV in an Arcade Cabinet
The following steps will guide you through the process of mounting your CRT TV inside your arcade cabinet. For best results, we recommend following them in order:
- First, remove the existing monitor from your arcade cabinet, if there is one.
- Measure the interior dimensions of your cabinet and the back of your CRT TV.
- Cut two wooden boards to the size of your CRT TV’s back, making sure they fit snuggly against the back of your cabinet.
- Attach brackets to your wooden boards and your CRT TV’s back, making sure the brackets line up correctly.
- Secure the wooden boards into your arcade cabinet, making sure they fit tightly.
- Affix the CRT TV to the brackets, using screws to ensure it’s secured correctly.
When you’re finished, ensure that the wiring between your CRT TV and your arcade cabinet is correctly connected and that all screws and brackets are tight and secure.
It’s important to note that CRT TVs can be heavy and difficult to maneuver, so it’s recommended to have a second person assist you during the installation process. Additionally, make sure to properly ground your CRT TV to prevent any electrical hazards. Following these precautions will ensure a safe and successful installation.
How to Position the CRT TV for Optimal Gaming Experience
The optimal position for your CRT TV is below the control panel so that it’s at eye level, and players can maintain proper posture while gaming. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that the screen is positioned relatively perpendicular to the player’s viewing position, reducing any potential viewing problems. This arrangement might take some experimentation to get right, but we assure you that it’s worth the effort.
Another important factor to consider when positioning your CRT TV for optimal gaming experience is the lighting in the room. You’ll want to avoid placing the TV in direct sunlight or in a room with bright overhead lighting, as this can cause glare on the screen and make it difficult to see the game. Instead, opt for a room with softer, ambient lighting or use curtains or blinds to control the amount of light entering the room. This will help to reduce eye strain and ensure that you can fully immerse yourself in the game.
Tips for Reducing Glare and Reflection on the CRT TV Screen
As CRT TVs are susceptible to glare and reflection, you might want to take some extra steps to reduce any glare and reflection on your CRT TV screen to ensure optimal viewing. You can:
- Adjust the angle of your CRT TV to face away from any light sources, including windows and overhead lights.
- Place a light shield or filter on your CRT TV screen to reduce glare and reflection.
- Position your CRT TV inside your arcade cabinet, away from any bright lights.
- Use specialized anti-glare films or coatings to reduce reflection on your CRT TV screen.
Another way to reduce glare and reflection on your CRT TV screen is to adjust the brightness and contrast settings on your TV. By lowering the brightness and increasing the contrast, you can reduce the amount of light reflected on the screen.
It’s also important to keep your CRT TV screen clean to prevent any buildup of dust or fingerprints, which can increase glare and reflection. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently clean the screen, and avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the screen.
How to Connect the CRT TV to Your Arcade System
To connect your CRT TV to your arcade system, you’ll want to ensure that you have the necessary wires and connectors. Many arcade systems use VGA, RCA, or S-video cables for video output, each of which may require specific adapters to connect to your CRT TV. These adapters might include VGA to RCA adapters or RCA splitters. Ensure that you check whether your CRT TV is compatible with your arcade system’s output.
Once you have the necessary cables and adapters, you can begin the process of connecting your CRT TV to your arcade system. Start by turning off both the TV and the arcade system. Then, connect the video output cable from the arcade system to the appropriate adapter, and then connect the adapter to the CRT TV. Make sure that you connect the cables to the correct ports on both the arcade system and the TV.
After you have connected the cables, turn on the CRT TV and the arcade system. You should see the arcade system’s output displayed on the TV. If you don’t see anything, double-check that the cables are connected properly and that the TV is set to the correct input. You may also need to adjust the settings on the arcade system to ensure that it is outputting the correct resolution for your CRT TV.
Troubleshooting Common Issues with Mounting a CRT TV in an Arcade Cabinet
Even with proper planning, it’s common to encounter some issues when mounting a CRT TV in an arcade cabinet. Some things to watch out for might include:
- Wires getting tangled or twisted when positioning your CRT TV inside your cabinet.
- Glare or reflection problems on the CRT TV screen caused by lighting or other external factors.
- Difficulty mounting brackets onto your CRT TV, or not being able to place them correctly on your cabinet without the whole structure wobbling.
If you encounter any of these or other issues, take a break, step away from your project, and re-evaluate your approach. Consider seeking advice from experts or arcade cabinet forums for specific advice.
Another common issue when mounting a CRT TV in an arcade cabinet is the weight of the TV. CRT TVs can be quite heavy, and if your cabinet is not sturdy enough, it may not be able to support the weight of the TV. This can lead to the cabinet collapsing or the TV falling out of the cabinet, causing damage to both the TV and the cabinet.
Additionally, it’s important to consider the ventilation of your CRT TV when mounting it in an arcade cabinet. CRT TVs can generate a lot of heat, and if the cabinet is not properly ventilated, this heat can build up and cause damage to the TV. Make sure to leave enough space around the TV for air to circulate, and consider adding fans or other cooling mechanisms to keep the TV from overheating.
Upgrading Your Arcade Cabinet with Modern Display Technology: Pros and Cons
Even though CRT TVs provide an experience unmatched by modern displays, there are some pros and cons to consider if you’re thinking of upgrading your arcade cabinet’s display technology. A modern display may offer more options regarding input/output connections, resolution, and size. Still, they often tend to be expensive, introduce input lag, and don’t have the classic look or feel that CRT TVs can provide. Furthermore, many arcade games were designed with CRT TVs in mind, meaning that modern TV displays may not necessarily work well with some classic arcade games.
One of the significant advantages of modern display technology is that they are more energy-efficient than CRT TVs. They consume less power, which means that they can save you money on your electricity bills in the long run. Additionally, modern displays are more durable and have a longer lifespan than CRT TVs, which tend to degrade over time and require frequent maintenance.
Another factor to consider when upgrading your arcade cabinet’s display technology is the availability of replacement parts. CRT TVs are becoming increasingly rare, and finding replacement parts for them can be challenging and expensive. On the other hand, modern displays are widely available, and replacement parts are relatively easy to find and replace, making them a more practical choice for long-term use.
Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your CRT TV in Top Condition
To ensure that your CRT TV stays in top condition, you’ll want to take some extra precautions. These may include cleaning the screen with anti-static cloths, protecting it from direct sunlight, and ensuring that it’s positioned correctly in your arcade cabinet. However, if you do encounter any problems with your CRT TV, it’s always best to call in a professional rather than attempting any repairs yourself. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and if you treat your CRT TV with care, it will provide you with years of classic gaming pleasure.
With this guide in mind, you should now have all the information you need to mount a CRT TV in your arcade cabinet. Just remember that with a little effort and care, you can bring that classic arcade feel right to your home. Happy gaming!