Plasma and LCD TVs can be much larger than tube TVs, but are lighter.
HDTVs have gradually taken over the market since the mid-2000s. It is not uncommon to find households that have completely done away with their old cathode-ray-tube TVs in their kitchens and bedrooms and upgraded to an HDTV in every room. The lightweight, space-saving nature of HDTVs, as well as advantages in picture and audio quality, make HDTVs more desirable. For those who may not be able to afford an HDTV for every room, there are plenty of older TVs to be found on the used market for heavily reduced prices and with respectable picture quality.
Screen Size and Physical Dimensions
Older tube TVs are much bulkier and heavier than HDTVs, yet their size tops out at around 36 inches. A 36″ tube TV can often weigh over 200 pounds, which can make hauling one up flights of stairs extremely difficult. They are also around 2-feet deep and require wide TV stands. Meanwhile, HD plasma and LCD TVs are flat, as well as larger and lighter. Large HDTVs are often 50 to 60 inches wide when measured diagonally. Though their screen size is larger, these TVs rarely exceed 85 to 110 pounds.
Although tube TVs are able to produce rich colors and solid blacks, they are only able to produce 480 vertical lines of resolution. HDTVs produce either 720 or 1080 vertical lines of resolution, and are abbreviated as either 720p, 1080i or 1080p. These TVs allow HD channels to be viewed in crystal-clear quality and have an HDMI input for connecting a Blu-Ray player. Thus, an HDTV has the potential to offer a far superior viewing experience.
Most larger HDTVs consume more energy than tube TVs, but the difference should not significantly increase your electric bill. Tube TVs became highly efficient by the 90s and early 2000s and most medium-sized models produced around 25 watts of energy. Properly calibrated HDTVs over 32 inches often produce between 60 and 100 watts, though some models can produce nearly 200 watts. It is interesting to note that very early tube TVs from the 1950s produced well over 400 watts, which no HDTV comes close to.
For price, older TVs hold a significant advantage over HDTVs. However, as more and more HDTVs wind up on the used market, their prices are coming down as well. A used tube TV in the 32- to 36-inch range can easily be found for under $100. HDTVs of similar size may still command $300 to $400, depending on the brand. A brand new HDTV of over 50 inches usually costs more than $1,000, so they are still a major investment, requiring thought and consideration.