Tube televisions are by no means "clearer" than RPTV's In fact, some tubes have masks that limit resolution and make it less "clear". The actual resolution of a TV has nothing to do with direct view vs. RPTV. The reason tubes look "clearer" is because the picture is smaller, meaning the lines of resolution are contained in a smaller space, thus any imperfections are hidden. A large screen, having more real estate and the same lines of resolution, shows imperfections and scanlines more easily, at a greater distance. Think a direct view is "clearer"? Sit 3 feet from it and you'll see scanlines just as you would sitting 5 ft from my 56" RPTV.
The difference in price between the two is easy to explain - Large tube TV's are more difficult to manufacture, more expensive to manufacture and extremely heavy (expensive) to ship. RPTV's have no heavy, expensive vacuum tubes, so they can be made lighter and less expensive for a larger picture size.
Tubes might not be clearer, but IMO they look much better. I would say the brightness is a big part of it. When you look at an RPTV from an angle, it looks like crap. When you look at a nice flat screen CRT from an angle, it still looks good. Must be a lot of RPTV owners in here...
It's true that RPTV's have a 'limited' viewing angle, but the new RP HDTV's are MUCH better in this respect than the projections from a few years ago. Now of course I am talking about horizontal viewing radius, and on my tv I can sit at a 150 degree angle from the tv and still see a decent picture. Now the vertical problem is still there, but who watches tv standing up?
I have noticed that RPTV's have improved quite a bit over the last few years, they used to be really bad in that aspect. Some are brighter than others, I'm sure you get what you pay for. Still, I don't think they look as good as a nice CRT. When I had the decision to make, I went for the Sony 36HS500 instead of an RPTV. I really like it, and I don't think it gets much better for video games. (Space was also an issue) I would get a front projector before I got an RPTV. I say, if you're gonna go big, go BIG.