LCD technology has more or less completely replaced CRT televisions, however there was a time when CRT screens were the number one option, and most households had a CRT TV.
Today, there are still some niche uses for CTR televisions, so let’s go over a brief history of CRT TVs, but first, let’s skip ahead a bit and talk about when the last CRT TV was made. Then, we’ll discuss why people are still interested in this older technology, and the rare practical use that still exists for a CRT.
When Was The Last CRT TV Made?
The last CRT TV was made around 2015 from recycled/refurbished parts by a company called Videocon.
This is when the final somewhat mass-produced CRT TV was made. This is long after plasma and LCD TV’s had gained the majority of the market share, but there was still some demand for CRT TV’s. In fact, there is still some demand for CRT to this day, mostly in certain hobby and enthusiast niches, since there are still some benefits of CRT TV in ways that newer styles of televisions haven’t been able to reproduce (or haven’t had any real need to).
The last company that made CRT’s on a big scale was called Videocon, and they stopped making TV’s in 2015. Their TV’s were recycled, so they weren’t being made entirely from scratch, but more of a refurbishing situation to save costs and because it’s not practical to make all of these parts from scratch, especially when second-hand stores and electronics recycling facilities were filled with them.
In the following years, there were price-fixing lawsuits brought against companies that were making CRT televisions. In such a small industry, that had shrunk immensely and all of the major players had moved on to LED and plasma televisions, the few remaining brands probably wanted to do their best to keep their margins as high as they could, but this collusion would be the end of things, for the most part.
The few holdouts that were making CRT TV’s around 2015 were still almost half a decade late, since the vast majority of new manufacturing was ceased around the year 2010. It’s been almost 15 years since there were any notable production lines making new cathode-ray TV sets, and it’s unlikely that this will ever resume since technology has simply passed them by – at least in terms of any mainstream usage that would justify new production.
Until 2008, cathode-ray technology was still outselling newer flatscreen types of televisions, but this was the year that LCD panels took over. 2008 was when Sony, one of the largest TV companies on the planet, stopped making CRT televisions.
The LCD technology was simply far too superior to ignore. It was thinner, offered better picture quality, it became less expensive, it was much lighter and easier to ship, and simply more practical.
Why Do People Still Buy CRT Televisions?
CRT televisions are still popular for older video games. They’ll have a slower refresh rate, but that’s not an issue for older game consoles and classic arcade games.
If you can imagine an old school arcade game, where it’s got a screen and a big wooden box with buttons and joysticks on it, those use CRT televisions. So, when somebody wants to fix up an old arcade game, or build a new one, they’ll have a use for a CRT TV, which helps fuel the second hand market.
However, the occasional hobbyist fixing up an old arcade machine is hardly enough of a market to justify companies continuing to manufacture these old televisions with any kind of scale, so manufacturing CRT TV’s is mainly a thing of the past.
Another reason not to make them is because there are still plenty of used ones floating around, so if someone does need a CRT tv, they probably won’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for a brand new one when they can just get a used one for free or very affordable.
Timeline of Cathode-Ray TV Technology (CRT)
The cathode-ray technology evolved from older inventions before televisions even existed, but let’s start this timeline at the first primitive version of a television.
1926: Kenjiro Takayanagi showed-off a very early prototype of a CRT screen that had a mere 40 lines worth of resolution (compared to the screens of today that have millions of pixels on them). By the next year, the resolution had reached 100 lines, and we were off to the races on what would become a staple in most homes in the coming decades.
1934: The German company Telefunken started selling a television made with cathode-ray tubes. This was the first commercially-made example of such technology.
1938: Cathode-ray television sets had a screen size of 20 inches, which would remain the standard until the mid 1950’s, when they’d grow an inch to 21 inches.
1954: The brand RCA was producing color televisions, and reached the milestone of being the first to product and sell a color CRT commercially for consumers to enjoy in their homes. Still, it would be many years that most households would still be watching TV in black and white.
1968: Sony released their Trinatron brand of television, which would become a staple for them for decades to come.
1985: The size of CRT televisions has increased exponentially to 35 inches.
1987: The brand Zenith produced flat CRT televisions, which were mostly used for commercial purposes. They were used as computer monitors, mostly in business and specialized industries, since the cost made them prohibitive for most households, where saving a bit of space wasn’t as big of a deal compared to the price.
1989: Now, the size of a CRT could reach what was, at the time, a staggering 43 inches. By today’s standards, that’s still a relatively small TV, but at the time it felt like being front row in a movie theater.
1995: By this year, there were 160 million cathode-ray televisions being sold each year. That’s like every household in America buying one every two years, but of course, these televisions were sold around the world and would last for much longer than two years.
2015: This year marked the end of commercial manufacturing and selling of CRT televisions, as mentioned earlier in this article, by the brand
Final Thoughts on When The Last CRT TV Was Made
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that the last CRT television was made. If you’re aware of any production lines that were making cathode-ray television sets after 2015, please let us know on our contact us page. We’ve done our best to research, but it’s always possible that there is a factory out there somewhere still repairing older TV’s or making new ones.