Samsung GXE1395 TV Opens Its Doors To Retro Gaming
One of the drags of classic video games (or as we called them, "games") at my house in the early 80's was that we only had one giant screen (19 whole inches) that was in color. Even the most intense Swordquest session was easily felled by evening news anchor Dan Rather coming on. It wasn't common yet for children to have a TV in their bedroom (though I did have an old Zenith I'd garbagepicked hidden in our basement), so the family TV became a CRT entertainment bottleneck.
Some of my friends used cast-off 13" color portables for gaming and computing, and that was pretty much the state of things for a long time. In the 90's Samsung released the GX1395, a 13" TV designed expressly as a 2nd TV for gaming. No longer did the gaming youth have to be relegated to woodgrain clad second rate status. An exorbitant $300 got you a very special gaming display that didn't tie up the family TV.
The GX (capitalizing on "gen x" perhaps?) has a set of doors protecting the 13" screen from the usual bedroom antics. Hinge them open and you see the left and right speakers of the 21 watt sound system, along with a rooftop subwoofer that can offer quasi-surround. A pair of RCA inputs (no s-video?) and an RF in (for stealing cable of course) puts your favorite game's graphics on the special low emission screen. When kids won't back up from the TV after you've asked them to for the 100th time, at least it's nice to know that the GX produces somewhat fewer bozo rays. Today's more tyrannical parent will appreciate the password lockable aspects (once your kids explain it to you) as well as the countdown timer to limit even the most ambitious video game campaign.
On-screen menus let you adjust the picture as well as tweak the stereo sound system capable of both impressive quality and amplitude. The CRT is treated against the ravages of burn-in, with several color temperature modes like a contemporary TV. The titular GX mode offered a crisper contrast ratio for excellent contrast during gaming. Heck, I've even calibrated this TV set for broadcast specs and have used it for editing video.
I imagine that a mere 13" TV might sound funny to those accustomed to 42" LCD displays. It wasn't always as easy to dot the entire household with a TV in every room as it is today. The great sound system goes a long way to delivering a fun experience surpassing the comparatively small display real estate. The extra speakers, tilt stand, and tough guy styling make for a TV that's quite a bit larger than 13" televisions of the day. If your bedroom was as cramped as mine was, it would be hard to fit anything much larger in there.
The GX is a rather sophisticated device for its time with great display options, especially in a product aimed at kids. No wonder they were mostly use in stores as demo kiosks for new games. I also find that the Samsung is excellent for gaming from before the 90's. Compact-sized general movie viewing is great too thanks to the extended contrast. There is little information online about Samsung's GXE1395, except people wishing that they had one today. A flat panel also will never house the audio oomph of this guy. If the GX ever sold at the original $300 price, I can't imagine that there would be many of these around