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Displays Technology

Large LCD HDTV as a Computer Monitor? 143

An anonymous reader asks: "I have seen $2000 27"and $1400 23" HDTV LCD sets at Costco, and similarly priced smaller sets elsewhere. I asked a salesperson (elsewhere) if I could try one with my laptop's DVI, and was told that the TVs wouldn't work well. DVI and VGA inputs, 400-600:1 contrast ratio, fast refresh rates (for gaming?), and HDTV capability for other uses, why can't they work? The prices run from as above to very significantly more. Has anyone tried the inexpensive large LCD HDTVs, or the expensive ones, for their desktop? I want to reduce the clutter in my family room and upgrade to highdef? Is it time?"
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Large LCD HDTV as a Computer Monitor?

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  • Abit expensive? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Celt ( 125318 )
    Its abit costly no?
    why not just get a nice Samsung 19" TFT for 650+ Euro (abit more in $'s) you can that patch a tv signal into this?

    I'd personally rather keep them both seperate (tv and pc monitor).
  • What's the resolution of these large HDTV displays? I wouldn't want anything less than Z x 1024 pixels. Z= the standard width in pixels for a wide-screen display when it is 1024 pixels high.
    • Z = 1280 in my experience.
      • Z=1280 is for a normal (a.k.a. oldschool) display. These HDTV displays are wide-screen so at 1024 pixels high, Z>1280.
      • Re:Resolution? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        your experience is only in computer monitors, then. HDTVs are often widescreen, which means 1024 (or, more appropriately, 1080, I can't remember which) lines of resolution won't give you 1280, it should give you more. (I think widescreen is often 16:9 or more, instead of 4:3, which is the ratio of most of the VGA derived resolutions (1280x1024 being a rather glaring exception))

        Thus, at 1080 lines, you'd get 1920 columns (16x9 widescreen).

        I think the biggest problem, though with using these things as nor
        • Re:Resolution? (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          the 'I cant remember which' was when I wasn't sure if it was 1040 or 1080. I then looked it up, found it was 1080, deleted the 1040 mentioned, but forgot to fix the text AFTER the 1080. oops :)
          • Re:Resolution? (Score:3, Informative)

            by notsoclever ( 748131 )
            1080 is the number of lines in the display format (which is 1920x1080, with rectangular pixels to make it a 16:9 display aspect). HDTVs don't yet have that high of an actual resolution; they downsample.
    • Re:Resolution? (Score:2, Informative)

      by UID1000000 ( 768677 )
      Parent has a good point.

      I purchasing IT equipment and albeit I'm not looking it up right now BUT I'm always turned off by the LCD TVs low native resolution when it comes to computer displays.

      Most of them only have an 800 x 600 resolution or commonly 1024 x 768. On a 23" LCD screen (1024 x 768) it's going to look decent but not as great as it can be.

      I'm not sure why the resolutions are so low but optimally I would say you should go for 1600 x 1200 resolution. These are out there but they're still up there
      • Dude, he said HD, not SD.

        HD resolution is 1920x1080 (or 1280x720, but I've never seen an HDTV that couldn't do at least 1080i). The aspect ratio on an HDTV is 16:9, aka letterbox, so the resolutions you're thinking of don't really apply.

        For standard def TV it makes perfect sense to top out at 800x600, since SDTV has a resolution of only 700x525 (NTSC, PAL is 833x625, but then you have to deal with the 50Hz refresh, which drives me nuts. I'd rather have inconsistent color, thank you very much.)

        Anyway, the
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:04PM (#8977832)
    Just think about a desktop at 1280 x 720 at 27". Shudder...

  • Soon... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by CosmicDreams ( 23020 )
    in the states HDTV plasma screens are a huge selling point for Electronics stores. As the market addresses this demand they will be motivated to offer better quality products. As each generation of products hit the market the previous generation will dip in price. As the system progresses, we are bound to have low cost / descent quality products for sale that meet your needs.

    We just need a few more iterations of this process for it to become economical. So not now, but soon.
  • Apple 23" is $2000 (Score:4, Informative)

    by potuncle ( 583651 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:08PM (#8977862)
    You can get a 23" Cinema display from Apple for $1999 (plus $100 for a DVI to ADC adapter if you don't have a Mac). It displays 1920 x 1200. Plus, Apple's LCD displays are beautiful is design and image quality. Also, if you decide you don't like it or want something else later on, Apple displays have a much higher resale value that any other LCD displays.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Or the beautiful Dell 20" will do 1600x1200 for $750-$1000 (depending on which day you're there)... and without a stupid $100 (!) adaptor.

      Apple? Get real.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Not to mention the Dell looks like utter shit when put up against the mac cinema display. Nothing shows the dell up for the cheap trash it is more than that.
        • by Pii ( 1955 )
          You're on crack...

          Dell sells rebranded Samsung flat panels, and they kick ass. They have the best refresh rates (not the same term as in a conventional CRT, but rather, the amount of time it takes to light or darken an individual pixel), and fantastic contrast ratios. The Apple displays look great, but saying that the Dell displays look like shit puts you squarely in the Apple Fan-boy category.

      • Uh, so a 20" compared to a 23" at 1/2 the cost? What a suprise! Also
        1. The Dell sells online at $1050 + S&H
        2. The Apple monitor looks...amazing. I have never seen such a beautuful monitor. The Dell is just another monitor

        • A lot of LCD for your money. No fancy designs, just a straight OEM ship.

          Buy two, and place them side by side. Ownage.
    • "Beautiful" is very subjective. I know a lot of people like them - I personally think the clear plastic look is ugly. I can't imagine that the easel style design allows for very good adjustment.

      It would be nice if other monitor manufacturers would produce units with the same screen. Apple doesn't build the LCD screen, they just buy them from someone and put them in their monitor, just like the Dell or Gateway branded monitors.

      I've been shopping around for a new LCD monitor. My Dell Inspiron 8500 laptop ha
      • It would be nice if other monitor manufacturers would produce units with the same screen. Apple doesn't build the LCD screen, they just buy them from someone and put them in their monitor, just like the Dell or Gateway branded monitors.

        The Sony SDM-P232W/B [amazon.com] uses the same panel as the Apple Cinema 23HD (but with a different anti-glare coating, I've heard). It also costs more than the Apple one, but I believe it has multiple DVI inputs.

        • That Sony looks nice... it's bigger than what I want. A quick google reveals that you can find one for $1799. I found the Apple 23" Cinema for $1723 on pricewatch, but I'd need the adapter to use it on my PC, and that's another $100.
    • and btw its extra wide too. They use them here at bcit in the broadcast building for video editing. I got the whole sales bitch for a mac pusher because i was bored on the open house day. Nice stuff.

      I dont see why everyone hates the xbox and macs after all they can run linux
    • Curious... Apple don't actually make TFT's, they just rebrand them. Who are they buying their gear from, so I can just buy direct from source, get a great monitor at a great price and without being stuck with the little fruit icon?

      Usually Apple buys displays from Sony or Mitsubishi, these being in the upper echelons of display quality, certainly in the CRT space. I bet Sony has a great TFT display of equal quality to the Apple rebrand, and even with Sony's inflated pricing it'd be cheaper.
      • In fact, Sony does offer a 23" display built around the same panel Apple uses for the Cinema 23HD. I think it's the SDM-P232. Last time I checked it had multiple DVI inputs... and cost a few hundred more than the Cinema 23HD.

        I don't think the panel is made by Sony... I forget who does make it.

  • I often thought one day I would purchase a nice new LCD TV and all my problems with space would be over in our cramped loft. Well one day I did and I regretted it instantly because instead of sticking with the 50" projection TV that was reasonably crisp I went out and bought some 26" Gateway that was being firesaled when I should of got something like this [amazon.com] at the minimium.

    Now we have the 26" $2000mistake behind a couch displaying visuals for winamp and sometimes someone uses it for TV but we lost the rem

    • Wny do you consider the 26" a mistake? I'm considering the 26" JVC or Toshiba as a new HDTV and possibly a montior for the "living room" pc. I'm not too worried about resolution for the PC as all I am going to do is surf the web and stream some MP3's. Although it does need to function well as a TV. What do you feel is missing?

      By the way, the size is perfect for the size of my apartment, so I'm not too worried about that.
  • by dfinney ( 210092 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:13PM (#8977900)
    You'll see these fairly often at tradeshows. They make it easy to see the software from a relative distance during a software demonstration.

    I bought a large screen LCD for my company to use during such a software demo. We wanted to keep it in our development lab, figuring that a huge monitor would be a Good Thing.

    The unfortunate reality is that, for reasons that remain mysterious to me, the maximum resolution when driven by a computer is only 1280 x 768. This means that you're not getting a massive, high resolution display; you're just getting really big pixels.

    I spent some time searching, but couldn't find _any_ manufacturers whose large screens could be driven to 1080i HDTV resolution (1920 x 1080). Quite a disappointment.

    At a recent AFCEA show, I saw a 3000 x 3000 pixel large screen flat panel display in the Matrox booth. They said it was a prototype display made by Toshiba. They said it would be available in about 1 year for $30K.

    Is there someone out there with an EE type background that can explain why, with pixel addressability of 1920 x 1080 we're not seeing any LCDs that can be used at this resolution as computer monitors?
  • Uh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arrow ( 9545 ) <mike.damm@com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:18PM (#8977938) Homepage Journal
    Most likely he he was trying to politely convey "we would rather you didn't come in off the street and hook your laptop up to our $3000 floor display"

    You know, if your laptop was whacked out and outputting the wrong voltages (or something, im no electronics major), you could damage the inputs. They might not notice even notice untill the future buyer brings it back.
    • Re:Uh... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You're thinking in terms of 80's display technology.

      Mordern display won't even attempt to display things outside their range and the inputs are protected from over/under-voltage similar to an RS-232 port (tough suckers they are; at least the true-to-spec ones are).
    • But does random j. salesguy know that? Thats my point.
    • Re:Uh... (Score:3, Funny)

      by penguinboy ( 35085 )
      I believe this BOFH chapter [monash.edu.au] is appropriate here.
    • Does he want to sell a tv or not? Let the original poster try his laptop and he might make a sale. Dont let him try it, he'll potentially lose a sale to somewhere that will let him try it. Customer service these days is really in the shitter.
  • Is it possible/practical to use a standard 32inch or so TV as a computer monitor? I'm not talking about intensive use, just maybe web surfing with the text size turned up and then a custom interface for media playing....

    Any thoughts?
    • Re:Standard TVs? (Score:3, Informative)

      by sahala ( 105682 )
      I have one of my old computers hooked up to a 32" Sony. Watching quicktime trailers, playing silly flash games, downloading and watching a movie off MovieLink, and playing music with visualizations is pretty good.

      Browsing the web, however, is a pain in the ass. Text is very hard to read, even with the font sizes cranked up.

      Using a TV as monitor for playing media is a viable solution, however, especially if you have your hi-fi sound system in the proximity of your TV. It's much nicer to kick back and

      • Is it a new Sony? Like a HDTV/Digital (I believe digital is the terminology in the UK, it's well confusing) capable one? I was under the impression that these have higher resolution and refresh rates so they would be better for computer stuff...

        Do you have Teletext in the US? The text on that is very readable... I'd like the equivalent on the TV I suppose, just for the web. Also, what are games like on a TV like that?
        • I've got a standard Sony Trinitron. Nothing special. I've seen teletext and it is readable, but it's quite big and blocky. It'll be hard to get a computer to output something like that.
        • Digital is not the terminology in the UK: The UK and Europe have no plans yet for HDTV. Digital is all the channels deliverd over cable and satellite, and with the broadcast "freeview" digital box. Analog is the basic 5 channels that you can pick up without a decoder box.

          In the US and places where they are proposing to implement HDTV, it willbe deliverd only over digital channels, because digital channels can use compression and cut the bandwidth requirement massively. Plus, of course, digital channels don
          • Plus, of course, digital channels don't suffer from noise

            Not true. While a digital signal may not be as susceptible to noise as an analog signal, the digital cable is sent using a 64-QAM (or similar) modulation scheme. This can most definately suffer from noise, which is why the modulation scheme is chosen based on the channel's SNR (as well as other reasons too). -dave
    • by woobieman29 ( 593880 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:20PM (#8978392)
      You little whippersnappers must be too young to remember the days when hooking your computer up to the TV was your ONLY option? In my day, we had to hook our Commodore 64 up to a 13" Zenith with vacuum tubes - and we liked it!
      • Re:Standard TVs? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by colinramsay ( 603167 )
        No way man, I used to have a tv (sans remote!) connected to a Commodore 16, then a Spectrum of some variety, and then a Commodore 64. My mate and I used to argue about which was best - the 64 or the Plus4, but then we always were sad bastards.
        br/? Anyway, my first monitor was for the PC - just before that I had an Amiga which had a weird device called a TV modulator.
      • TV!?!! TV?!! BAH!

        In *my* day, we only had paper to write our C code on, and no whitetape, so it had better be right the first time!

        All this dynamic display stuff has been -terrible- on programming, I tell ya. One disappointment after the other... ;)
    • read subject. i have nothing else to say on the topic. yes i get it long answer not really all that long. deal with it ok i dont feal like stretching a very simple point out to a bunch of pointless garbage. Oops too late
    • Well, all of my more recent Nvidia cards support TV out, and I believe many of the ATI's do as well.

      With my 27" RCA... S-Video is beautiful for watching DVDs, web-browsing isn't bad. I think that this particular TV must support non-standard resolutions a little better though, or my video card is doing a better job than the last... at 800x600 or 1024x768 text still looks pretty good, the cursor is visible, and only things like small terminal fonts really give me problems (+1 fontsize on browser makes brows
  • by psyconaut ( 228947 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:19PM (#8977951)
    TV: continuous tones, smooth (i.e.) slow transitions, discrete pixels

    Monitor: clearly defined, sharp, ability to invididually see a pixel.

    Ipso facto: you're probably going to be disappointed trying to use a TV as a computer display.

  • by hawkstone ( 233083 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:58PM (#8978244)
    Keep in mind that HDTV does not even mean a full 1080 lines of resolution necessarily.

    Specifically, I have an HDTV LCD rear projection 50". Its native resolution is 1280x720, but with a little overscan you have to cut that down to about 1200x680 (roughly). I believe this resolution is typically the same for DLP rear projections and LCOS. I suspect that LCD flat panels are the same. Some DLP TVs appeared to me to have a limited color depth and too much dithering was apparent. I don't think this is an inherent problem with the technology, however, as DLP projectors work quite well hooked up to computers.

    An "EDTV" plasma flat-panel TV is (IIRC) 768x480. That is clearly inadequate for use as a computer monitor. I think even the HDTV plasmas are commonly only 720 vertical lines. The few TVs that actually have 1080 lines of resolution are mostly CRT tubes (e.g. CRT RP).

    The most important question is what the native resolution of these LCD flat panels is, and whether or not there is a computer-compatible connector that makes full use of it. For example, my TV I specifically got because it has both RGB (HD15) and DVI inputs, and I can get a resolution that maps directly to the pixels on the screen.

    Unfortunately, this resolution (again, 1280x720) is not really adequate for full-time use as a computer monitor. It's great for the occasional web surfing, but I wouldn't want to do any real work on it.

    In summary: If you can deal with the resolution, and there is a good connector on the TV (DVI is ideal, VGA is acceptable), then you will be fine. There's nothing particularly wrong with the attributes of these LCD TVs for use as computer monitors, in general, including color depth and pixel response times. (Once you start looking at other technologies like CRT RP, DLP, and Plasma, these other issues may become problematic.)
    • with that explanation be sure to note what the NATIVE resolution is of the "monitor" you are looking at. Sun has rebranded Sony's 24" monitors in the past. Here is Sony's latest:
      http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHO P .enfinity /eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-S tart;sid=h-qxIaP1nNqxRON4Ksy7Kuz6sgnNIdpGgmw=?Cate goryName=cpu_Displays_FlatPanelLCDs_20%22&Dept=cpu &TemplateName=item%2fsy_item_b&ProductSKU=SDMP232W %2fB
    • If you can deal with the resolution...
      But who would want to? Low rez computer graphics looks worse on a big screen.

      The monitor I'm using right now (a tired old Viewsonic M90) has less than half the screen real-estate of your HDTV, yet can display almost twice as many pixels! I don't see anything on my screen that would look better on a big screen..

      Broadcast and computer video have always been apples and oranges, despite their superficial similarity.

      • > > if you can deal with the resolution...

        > But who would want to?

        Got to agree with you there. You'll note I also called that resolution "not really adequate for full-time use as a computer monitor". At the same time, for some applications bigger is better. Particularly, this resolution is quite adequate for most 3D games, but you better turn on the best damn antialiasing your card can handle.
    • Unfortunately, this resolution (again, 1280x720) is not really adequate for full-time use as a computer monitor. It's great for the occasional web surfing, but I wouldn't want to do any real work on it.

      Why? I use everyday to work 1280x720 (using it right now)... and I'm curious....
      • > Why? I use everyday to work 1280x720 (using it right now)... and I'm curious....

        It depends entirely on (a) what kind of work you are doing, and (b) your style.

        I do coding full-time, and I typically have 6 half-screen-height shells and 3 full-height editor windows open at a time, or maybe 4 editors and 4 shells. This gives me 600 lines of text on the screen at once. I'm running a dual-monitor setup with both monitors at 1600x1200. And yet, I could probably make good use of three monitors.
        • That's just a matter of taste. I use 1280*1024, but I nearly always have the main window I am looking at maximised so I only use one window at a time, but change frequently.

          Nothing wrong with your way (or mine), but it is still personal preference.
          • I use this amazing res in a 15" CRT because it won't go 1280x1024... (LG520i)
            and I use tabs a lot, tabbed browser, tabbed IDE (KDevelop), tabbed terminal (konsole) or konsole + screen (better keyboard support, can detach. the day konsole can detach a terminal session, I won't use screen anymore!)
    • Lets not also forget that with any LCD projection screen, about 20% of the screen is the blank space between the pixels.. With DLP you've only got about 10% empty.. We don't have an LCOS on the floor where I work yet, so I haven't done a great deal of research into them.. But I belive that they have a higher resolution by default.. With 20% blank space, or even 10%, you're not going to want to use it as a monitor..
      • You're right -- DLPs do tend to have less blank space. Your numbers seem high, but not unbelievable. However, from a proper viewing distance neither one should be noticable, even if you are using it as a monitor instead of a television. If they are, you're sitting too close.

        • It's not about actully seeing the blank space.. it's more about the picture quality that results.. DLP pictures seem brighter because of it, and closer to that of a computer monitor.. Hope that makes sense..
          • It makes sense, but I still don't think it's a big deal. First, we're talking about 90% brightness vs 80% brightness given the same wattage bulb. That's less than a 12% relative difference.

            Second, don't LCD flat panels suffer the same amount as LCD rear projection? Obviously there are a ton of LCD monitors out there, so it doesn't seem to be impacting their perception as a viable technology for computer monitors.
            • Could be.. Not exactly sure how the tiny tiny tiny ones used in the projection screens are different from ones typically used in laptop screens and such.. I do know that my laptop screen at 1600x1200 looks a lot brighter and crisper than the Hitachi LCD projection we have at work.. and better than any I've seen other places.. However, I can see some space between the pixels when I get real real close to my screen ;-) As far as both suffering.. Could be that the larger size influences my perception more..
              • (OT a little)

                Also, you get less of the "screen door effect" with a DLP than with an LCD projection because of the better fill percentage. This may let you get a bigger DLP screen for the same viewing distance.

                So in many ways I think DLP has the potential to be a better technology. It is lacking right now (in my opinion) because I think most screens are a single chip solution with a color wheel, and that gave them perceptually less color depth despite the better contrast ratio. That and the cost was sig
  • Projector (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coppit ( 2441 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:12PM (#8978338) Homepage
    Given that you can get an X1 projector for a lot less, why would you try to put a huge, expensive TV on your desktop? ;)
    • Re:Projector (Score:2, Informative)

      by UID1000000 ( 768677 )
      Coppit, projectors bulbs last anywhere from 1000-3000 hours. They run at a high wattage and they're expensive to repair. The average bulb (thinking NEC, Dell, Infocus, Toshiba, ViewSonic) is from 180 - 400 dollars a piece.

      So up front the investment is great but the downside is the replacement of the parts, bulbs, color wheel, ballast, etc.
    • Ummm ... because I like to be able to see my screen when the lights are on?
      • with a 2000 lumen system you could see it in almost any interior lighting setup. I recently evaluated a Toshiba MU-700 (or something close to that) and I setup a 1000-1200 lumen, Toshiba P5, system next to it. The 2000 lumen system looked incredible in comparison.

        Then again the 2000 lumen system was $1649.00 compared to the 1K mark for the lesser.

    • So that you can leave it on for 8 hours a day and not buy lots of $400 bulbs, maybe?
  • Video-Fu (Score:5, Funny)

    by kurosawdust ( 654754 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:13PM (#8978352)
    I want to reduce the clutter in my family room and upgrade to highdef? Is it time?

    When you can snatch the DVI adapter out of my hand, grasshopper, it will be time for you to upgrade.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Someone earlier said that they wouldnt let you hook up a laptop to the 3000 dollar floor model... I believe that most stores would. they'll do anything if they think you'll buy it, go in and give it a shot, worst case they'll say no. I would like to hear the answer to this question as well, which nobody has yet to come up with.
  • by multiplexo ( 27356 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:54PM (#8979944) Journal
    that I use as a computer monitor with my HTPC. The resolution is not high enough for dedicated work, it's OK for websurfing if I want to look something up on IMDB but the resolution is too low for any sustained work. It is however pretty good for playing Civ III or other PC games and as soon as I get some time I'm going to set it up to play upsampled DVDs.
    I never had any luck using the DVI inputs on the TV with my video cards, I'd end up with horribly low resolutions or weird looking stretched screens. I finally went out and got an ATI video card and one of ATI's VGA to component video converters and that worked pretty well with Powerstrip to give me a resolution of 1280 by 680.
    Again, it's not perfect, but it's not bad for light web surfing, playing games, etc.
  • I think I know why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Rutter ( 126873 ) <dan@dansdata.com> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:54AM (#8980777) Homepage
    > why can't they work?

    I talk about this in one of my letters columns [dansdata.com].

    In brief: They will work, but only for suitably small values of "work", because they'll only accept DVI-HDTV input. That's a subset of regular DVI that only supports a few scan rates. If you can't goose your video card into outputting the resolution and frequency combinations the screen wants, you're out of luck.

  • Is my next monitor. 1280x720 pixels in 22" diagonal at my age is great...

    At the moment we use a 15" Samsung which is fed by computer, analog sat tuner and digital sat tuner.

    15" is OK for analog TV viewing. The idea behind a 22" wide XGA screen is that it will be good for DVB-S and DVD too. I also need more pixel real estate for work. 1024x768 DVB-S TV is awesome quality - real blacks and whites and sharp clean images.

    When we want to watch movies on a big screen we go to a cinema... Or other half brings h
  • My setup (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shaheen ( 313 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:23AM (#8981740) Homepage
    I don't know if I'm too late to comment on this story, but here goes anyway...

    I personally have a HTPC (home theater PC) setup in my apartment. The display is a Samsung HLN4365W DLP set. Not the same as LCD, but it accepts the same types of input as a standard HDTV device: DVI, Component, etc.

    My PC is a standard Windows XP box. Shuttle XPC SN45G case/mobo, Athlon 1800+, 512MB RAM, WinTV PVR, and a Radeon 9600 Pro.

    My display's native resolution is 1280x720p. By default, my video card does not have this resolution enabled. An application called PowerStrip has been around for a good long while that excels at doing things like adjusting vertical/horizontal scan rates, resolutions, etc. in most video cards' firmware & drivers. Note that the display worked fine at 800x600, but then I wasn't making much good use of the widescreen aspect ratio and DVDs from the HTPC were letterboxed in the 8x6 area of the screen, which looked retarded.

    So will your laptop work? It's not 100% clear that it will since your laptop probably has an integrated video chipset that PowerStrip may not support. Of course, you might just get lucky and it might work out of the box, too.
  • by gregarican ( 694358 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:37AM (#8982559) Homepage
    I recently assembled a VIA EPIA mini-ITX box to integrate into my home theater system. The idea was having a small form factor that would fit into the entertainment center, utilize an RCA out video port for my 51" rear projection TV, and operate with a wireless keyboard/trackball device. All of that came together fine. On paper at least.

    Where I was extremely let down was in the quality of the TV display. I don't have an HDTV, just an older rear projection set. I have to enable the Windows Accessibility Options in order to even come close to reading the fonts on the screen. Really ugly Windows High Contrast Black (large fonts). Yuck.

    When I called VIA to get the display driver specs versus typical TV specs I was told that 800x600 was the best resolution I could hope for. And that this sort of setup is primarily intended for watching videos. Any onscreen fonts are really pushing it.

    Can't complain in that the whole setup was around $600 in all, but I am still amazed at how average TV screen resolution is so much poorer than what a home PC can put out. I guess HDTV would be a good step up for me, but then again I am not relishing shelling out $1500-2000 only 5-6 years after getting my current set.

    • I recently assembled a VIA EPIA mini-ITX box to integrate into my home theater system. The idea was having a small form factor that would fit into the entertainment center, utilize an RCA out video port for my 51" rear projection TV, and operate with a wireless keyboard/trackball device. All of that came together fine. On paper at least.

      Composite video is bad. Really bad. Very low bandwidth. Switch to S-Video out (if your ITX supports it), and you'll see a huge increase in video quality.
      • Good point. I do have an S-Video output on my EPIA 5000 mainboard but my Sony receiver doesn't have an S-Video input. I could go directly into the TV's S-Video input as a test but will bit the bullet for now since I want to route everything through my receiver.
        • Do that, and use Component if AT ALL possible. Better yet, VGA. But S-video is noticable over composite, easily.

          Hell, do this as a test; plug in to your television both the composite and the S-video, put on a video, and flip between the two.

          Bear in mind also that going through the receiver is going to degrade your signal further; you won't notice on a 20 inch CRT, but you will on something like that.

  • 1080 native support is out there and you CAN get a plasma that will do a respectable 1280X1024, but even at the $8K range the ghosting and blurring on fast video is VERY NOTICEABLE. If you've got money to burn more power to ya. I'd
    suggest a digi projector for half the cost, and wait for the LCD's to exceed the plasma's in quality, cost and lifetime...very soon...

    Although the Apple 23" Cinema display is hard to not LOVE :)

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous