Here's our RGB SCART TV Buying Guide
It's 2017 guys, so if you're still on the hunt for an old CRT TV to enjoy those light gun games and the vivid colours from RGB SCART with scanlines, then you better hurry up! Most of them are long gone.
Finding an old TV like this is getter harder and harder by the day. Drive down any street and you will invariably see a discarded CRT on the side of the road, face down in the dirt. As I drive past I have an overwhelming urge to rescue them all like a stray dog, but unfortunately space, time and my wife harmony permits.
So let's get straight to the point. You're looking for a CRT that is one of the 'good ones' right? I hear these questions all the time, so let's go over it.
Which is the best CRT TV for retro gaming? Loewe, as they look amazing!
Which TV has RGB SCART inputs? Many, keep reading.
Are 100hz TVs any good for retro gaming? No! Don't even go there. Typically all widescreen CRTs are 100hz, so that's an easy way to tell.
Right off the bat, Loewe CRT TVs from the late 90's to early 2000's are the best ones to look for. Why? Because they were sold locally here in Australia and distribution was in Melbourne. You'll often find them in the prime real estate suburbs such as Melbourne's Inner East. They also perform better than any other consumer TV tested.
Make - Loewe German TV (Pronounced Lur-Ver)
Tubes - Phillips
Inputs - They nearly always have SCART (One enabled for RGB)
Size - Anything around 27 to 28 inch is the best with a square 4:3 ratio. Avoid anything widescreen 16:9 as they were usually always 100hz and just too modern for retro gaming. The image will tear and blur as they had early forms of image processing enabled.
Models - If you see an ad always check the rear label for the model number. Ask the seller to take a quick photo on their phone and send it to you. Here's the summary of what you're looking for.
If the label says 100hz or has a Z anywhere, let it go. It's common to see PIP (Picture in picture) feature of the newer 100hz ones, so that's another tell tail sign of ones to avoid. You want an older 50/60hz model. Generally, these older ones just don't say anything like that on the rear label.
Good - 50/60hz with E3000 Chassis!
Bad - 100hz image processing
Loewe model numbers follow this format:
Brand | Style | Model | Features
Loewe | Calida | 5072 |
Loewe | Ergo | 6772 | ZP
Loewe | Profil Plus | 3472
There are so many variants, but steer clear of any models ending in ZP or a Z in general as they are all 100hz
Once you have the model number such as 5072 you can look it up in this PDF to see which type of chassis it had. This list is not 100% perfect, but it's a great start to decode the models and find the desirable chassis codes.
You see in this case the "LOEWE Calida 5072" has an E3000 chassis. Perfect!
The ideal chassis type you want are either of these:
E3000 - Link to Manual
You may find further specs here to help decode the model - Link
Good example TVs matching the right specs are:
Profil Plus 3472
Loewe ART 9500 (very large)
Entering the Service Menu
Press the front menu button on the TV until "Service" is displayed, then quickly press Menu on the remote.
Where to find them?
Well, I find https://www.gumtree.com.au/ the best location as the seller wants a cheap and easy way to get rid of the TV. eBay is too expensive, so I focussed my search on Gumtree. Put in a search term of "Loewe tv" (without quotes) and just subscribe to the listings. If its widescreen, forget it. If it's a 4:3 then dig a bit deeper and look up the model number on the PDF listed earlier.
What about VGA input for SEGA Dreamcast?
Well, that's a rare beast indeed, but if you come across one you should grab it as they can look stunning in VGA and high resolution. These models are 100hz and generally, I would avoid them, but, if it rear of the TV also has a VGA input socket (DB15) it means it was fitted with the optional VGA card from the factory. These are highly desirable and look absolutely stunning for Dreamcast! (not other consoles) Still always aim for a 4:3 ratio one, not a 16:9 widescreen.
Good example models are:
Loewe Ergo 6772 ZP
You'll notice the ZP on the end. That's 100hz, but it also has VGA and in that mode can accept the Dreamcast signal in 640x480 (480p progressive scan) in RGBHV at 31 kHz. Games like House of the Dead 2 look and play exceptionally well on this VGA TV. Yes the Dreamcast light guns work on these TVs.
So it's tempting to pick up a VGA TV for Dreamcast, buy you'll need another one for all the other consoles.
Remember that old light gun games like NES Duck Hunt operate at very precise timings that are based on standard TV definition 240P and 50/60hz, and not the faster 100hz screens. These are too fast and will mess with the timing of the gun and the position that you're aiming. Some HDTVs from those days can work, but more often than not your light gun games won't be accurate or work at all.Always stick to a 4:3 screen at 50/60hz!
Always stick to a 4:3 screen at 50/60hz!
If you can't find a Loewe TV, here's some other makes and models to look out for that are also good.
These are also German TVs sold in Australia that use Phillips tubes and are 50/60hz with SCART inputs.
Gundig M95-795 89cm around 1996 with RGB SCART
Grundig Xentia MFW 82 490 9 - This one is 100hz but it has VGA, so it's good for Dreamcast only.
Another great German brand sold here, but quite uncommon. I don't have any experience with these but they do have RGB SCART inputs and were 50/60hz. I think the later 100hz models were more common so do your research on the exact model number before buying.
Bang & Olufsen
Another great European brand sold here that ticks all the boxes.
I've used a few of these and generally think they are good, but not as sharp or vivid as the Loewe models.
Models: MX7000 & MX8000. The older models like Beovision MX4000 are OK.
Another German TV which is very uncommon in Australia, but I have had good results with this model. I found this one in Melbourne.
Model: Siemens FS247 with RGB SCART
Japanese maker NEC had one or two great consumer grade TVs. If you can find the XM29 you should buy it. It's very rare TV but an amazing unit as it performs somewhat like a PVM monitor as it has a lof of inputs and looks fantastic.
Model: NEC Multisync XM29 monitor
They are better known for their later models for actually watching TV instead of gaming. The Sony Trinitron range was exceptional for TV and Video back in the day, but unfortunately, they went the best for 240P retro gaming. They almost never came with RGB SCART inputs and maxed out with Component video input.
If you're lucky enough to find an imported TV from the UK you may get a SCART one but even then they are not as good as the German brands.Sony KVA2942U
Model: Sony KVA2942U
Model: Sony KV2900T is a good performer
Very old models sometimes had RGB SCART, so it's a real treasure hunt to find one of these. In my opinion, it's not worth the hassle as they are not as good as the German TVs and very old and heavy.
Model: Mitsubishi CT-3762QEM
Regardless of which CRT you end up with, at least you'll be enjoying your retro gaming the way it was meant to be played! ...and once you have your RGB SCART TV, you'll need a proper cable to go with it.
We only recommend the cables from retrogamingcables.co.uk