If you own retro consoles—say, a Super Nintendo or a Sega Genesis—you have access to some of gaming’s greatest roots. However, you might find plugging these awesome consoles into your current TV doesn’t result in the experience you remember from years past. Games look fuzzy and distorted, and it can be tempting to think your memory is playing tricks on you. It’s not your memory, though; it’s your TV.
For retro gamers, the CRT is the display of choice . Those giant, boxy television sets that nearly everyone threw out or gave away in favor of modern flat panels are actually coveted for their ability to properly display games from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and even part of the aughts. Let’s explore why.
The main reason retro games don’t look great on modern TVs comes down to pixels; for the uninitiated, modern screens are made up of pixels—individual “dots” that, when combined together, form the images you see on your TV.
1080p refers to displays that are 1,920 pixels across, and 1,080 pixels down. 4K, on the other hand, refers to 3,840 across by 2,160 down. While there are way more pixels in a 4K screen than a 1080p one (8,294,400 vs 2,073,600), these displays both have way more pixels than retro games were designed to fill.