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Thread: HDTV as Computer Monitor?

  1. #1
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    HDTV as Computer Monitor?

    So many of you guys know that I recently made a nice tower computer for myself. I was using a fairly large 22"+ (as a note of caution I'm not positive that I know how to measure screen diagonals very well) that was my friend's but he has recently asked for it back which forced me to start using a small like 14" monitor.

    So my question is this: does it make any sense to hit two birds with one stone and get an HDTV (not sure if I'd like plasma or LCD/LED yet) that could double as a computer monitor?

    Do HDTV's (either 720 or 1080pi) have as high resolution as, say, a large (ie 22"+) computer monitor would? Because I was browsing some plasma's and LED's online and it appears that although they are *bigger* they don't necessarily have a much higher native resolution. For instance some of the 46" HDTV's I am looking at seem to have resolutions around 1920x1080 which seems kinda weird to me because that means that they have diagonals that are twice the size of even big computer monitors but only have just a little bit more resolution than say a 22" computer monitor would have...

    But maybe those resolutions are kinda maxed out and they assume if you're sitting 6-10 feet away that the eyes can't see much better than that anyway? And maybe that's how they keep costs down for something of that size instead of having runaway resolution and consequently runaway costs?

    Has anyone here used an HDTV as their monitor before? If so then what advice would you give me?

    PS Price range is anywhere between $200-$1300
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  2. #2
    Smeagol on Steroids Mercuryblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'Anconia View Post
    So many of you guys know that I recently made a nice tower computer for myself. I was using a fairly large 22"+ (as a note of caution I'm not positive that I know how to measure screen diagonals very well) that was my friend's but he has recently asked for it back which forced me to start using a small like 14" monitor.

    So my question is this: does it make any sense to hit two birds with one stone and get an HDTV (not sure if I'd like plasma or LCD/LED yet) that could double as a computer monitor?

    Do HDTV's (either 720 or 1080pi) have as high resolution as, say, a large (ie 22"+) computer monitor would? Because I was browsing some plasma's and LED's online and it appears that although they are *bigger* they don't necessarily have a much higher native resolution. For instance some of the 46" HDTV's I am looking at seem to have resolutions around 1920x1080 which seems kinda weird to me because that means that they have diagonals that are twice the size of even big computer monitors but only have just a little bit more resolution than say a 22" computer monitor would have...

    But maybe those resolutions are kinda maxed out and they assume if you're sitting 6-10 feet away that the eyes can't see much better than that anyway? And maybe that's how they keep costs down for something of that size instead of having runaway resolution and consequently runaway costs?

    Has anyone here used an HDTV as their monitor before? If so then what advice would you give me?

    PS Price range is anywhere between $200-$1300
    I've never seen an HD TV that has a greater native resolution than 1920 x 1080 (it really wouldn't make sense for them to go greater than the native signal format). That doesn't mean they don't exist, but I just helped my girlfriend pick out a TV last summer, and I didn't encounter anything (which means if they do exist, they are probably either rare, expensive, or both).

    What are you going to use your computer for?
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  3. #3
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercuryblade View Post
    What are you going to use your computer for?
    Gaming is going to be a big part. I would like to be able to watch cable TV and blue-ray movies on my TV (through cable box and blue-ray player if necessary) but also have high resolution for gaming. Do you guys think computer games in the next year or two will ever need anything larger than 1080x 1920 or is that just absurd for the time being?

    Because it would be somewhat lame if a computer could handle higher resolution than that on a good game but have the TV screen not be able to show such definition. Or is it just trivial above 1080x1920?

    Thanks for the quick reply.
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  4. #4
    Smeagol on Steroids Mercuryblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'Anconia View Post
    Gaming is going to be a big part. I would like to be able to watch cable TV and blue-ray movies on my TV (through cable box and blue-ray player if necessary) but also have high resolution for gaming. Do you guys think computer games in the next year or two will ever need anything larger than 1080x 1920 or is that just absurd for the time being?

    Because it would be somewhat lame if a computer could handle higher resolution than that on a good game but have the TV screen not be able to show such definition. Or is it just trivial above 1080x1920?

    Thanks for the quick reply.
    It's definitely not trivial. But unless your going to be dropping an astounding amount of money on a new rig, you aren't going to be able to run many current gen games above 1920 x 1080 anyway. With Anti-aliasing turned on, 1920 x 1080 looks really good.

    You have to keep in mind that when you purchase a television set, you are also paying for the signal processing capabilities. If you have a monitor hooked up to a computer, the computer is going to be the one processing the incoming signal, not the monitor... In other words, you're paying for the computer power that is built into the televsion.

    So hooking up just a monitor to the computer, and getting a video card that can process an HD signal is going to be your best value.

    How big a screen are you thinking of getting?
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  5. #5
    romantic relations w/bacon Indifference's Avatar
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    I think I can help you with this. I built my gaming rig a little over a year ago and I have it connected to a 23" LG monitor and a 42" Vizio. The TV is probably 2ish years old and its native resolution is a little higher than 1280x720 (some odd number). I run it in 1280x720 (720P) when I use the TV and run the monitor at 1920x1080 To answer your question it is a pretty noticeable difference when playing games on the TV vs the CPU. However I still do it because I can sit in my recliner and play games on the TV instead of the CPU. The TV is good for streaming netflix and things like that from the CPU so I can watch stuff etc. Both are connected VIA HDMI from a Radeon 4870 1GBX2 card and I get sound to the TV through the (relatively) new HDMI sound attachment that new ATI cards have and it is transmitted through my stereo reciever.

    If theres anything specific I can answer please ask away.
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    Senior Member gohard's Avatar
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    Graphics cards now are capable of running at 1200P (1920x1200) so that is the most you will be able to get out of an HD card. With that being said, there is not an HDTV capable of running at 1920x1200 yet. Your best bet, like Merc said, is getting an HDMI compatible card and just running HDMI from PC to TV and knocking out picture and sound with one cable. I use my computer through my 46" on occasion and its great. How good your PC games look on your HDTV is really just going to be determined by how powerful your PC is.

  7. #7
    Smeagol on Steroids Mercuryblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gohard View Post
    Graphics cards now are capable of running at 1200P (1920x1200) so that is the most you will be able to get out of an HD card. With that being said, there is not an HDTV capable of running at 1920x1200 yet. Your best bet, like Merc said, is getting an HDMI compatible card and just running HDMI from PC to TV and knocking out picture and sound with one cable. I use my computer through my 46" on occasion and its great. How good your PC games look on your HDTV is really just going to be determined by how powerful your PC is.
    HDMI only makes sense if the plan is to use a receiver seperate from the computer. If the computer is going to be the receiver as well (which makes the most fiscal sense, as the you can get mobo's that support 7.1 surround sound), then a DVI or VGA cable will work. DVI and VGA cables are dirt cheap compared to HDMI cables, and carry the exact same picture quality.
    Last edited by Mercuryblade; 01-11-2010 at 02:36 PM.
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    Senior Member gohard's Avatar
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    You can grab a good HDMI cable for about $30.

    I would recommend going the HDMI route because you are going to need to transfer your sound from PC to TV, unless you plan to just set up PC speakers next to your TV.

  9. #9
    Smeagol on Steroids Mercuryblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gohard View Post
    You can grab a good HDMI cable for about $30.

    I would recommend going the HDMI route because you are going to need to transfer your sound from PC to TV, unless you plan to just set up PC speakers next to your TV.
    If the TV is going to be his monitor, it would only make sense that the speakers would be configured accordingly.
    If he's just using the TV for sound, and not any seperate speakers, than an HDMI cable would work.

    You can get about 20ft of VGA or DVI cable for under $10. Granted $20 is not that big a price leap compared to the rest of the system, but it's the little concessions that really start to add up when you are building a computer or home theater system.
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  10. #10
    Former Fatass Unreal's Avatar
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    You can get a good HDMI cable for $3.

    I use a 42" Toshiba LCD TV for my computer monitor. Works great for me. I game at 1920x1080 (I think, whatever the max is) and it works great.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member gohard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercuryblade View Post
    If the TV is going to be his monitor, it would only make sense that the speakers would be configured accordingly.
    If he's just using the TV for sound, and not any seperate speakers, than an HDMI cable would work.

    You can get about 20ft of VGA or DVI cable for under $10. Granted $20 is not that big a price leap compared to the rest of the system, but it's the little concessions that really start to add up when you are building a computer or home theater system.
    I guess I just assumed he would be picking up a receiver/speaker combo with a new HDTV, so I guess that was a bit naive of me. However I would recommend getting a receiver/speaker combo and do it the HDMI way, but that is just me.

    Playing PC games on a 46" in 1080p with 5.1 surround while laying back in bed with a wireless keyboard and mouse is the shiznit. It has been my sole occupation while recovering over the last year and a half.

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    maybe this isn't what you're lookin for but i got this

    http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/i...eviewid=107323

    and am quite pleased with it.
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  13. #13
    Smeagol on Steroids Mercuryblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gohard View Post
    Playing PC games on a 46" in 1080p with 5.1 surround while laying back in bed with a wireless keyboard and mouse is the shiznit. It has been my sole occupation while recovering over the last year and a half.
    Get Borderlands.
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    Senior Member gohard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercuryblade View Post
    Get Borderlands.
    Already got it...Lvl 31 soldier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unreal View Post
    You can get a good HDMI cable for $3.

    I use a 42" Toshiba LCD TV for my computer monitor. Works great for me. I game at 1920x1080 (I think, whatever the max is) and it works great.
    Yea I bought a 3 pack at frys for like $12

  16. #16
    TJW jed's Avatar
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    How far away do you guys sit with a TV over 32" as your monitor when you're gaming? I have a 22" monitor and sit 2 feet away and I can't imagine having anything over 32" in front of my face without having my keyboard and mouse setup elsewhere further away.
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  17. #17
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    ^Yeah I was assuming that, as using a large (ie 42" or so) TV as my monitor, that I would have to be several feet away. Just like watching TV in a living room except I'd be using a wireless keyboard and mouse. Essentially gohard's description of being a couch potato is my goal here.

    I would probably use the TV as my speakers as well since I don't have enough money for a high end speaker system at this point. TV takes priority.

    One thing I'm not understanding is that you guys are talking about receivers and "signal processing" as MercuryBlade put it, but is that really much of a variable when it comers to HDTV? My assumption is that I would have a cable TV service that would give me satellite to my apartment. They would most likely give me one of their receiver sets (flat box shape) which would take my HDTV signal and then send it to my TV. As for my computer, the GPU in my computer would be doing that work and just sending the result to my HDTV which really should have no problem turning it into video on the TV screen. Worse comes to worst the HDTV would take a resolution that was too high for it and reduce it down to its native 1920x1080, right? How can a computer be a receiver for HDTV? Do you mean if I got an HDTV tuner (card)? Because I don't plan on using my computer as the receiver but rather just using the one the cable company gives me.

    And Indifference you kinda answered what I was trying to get at. When you say there's a noticeable difference between using your computer monitor vs your HDTV, what do you mean by that? Do you mean resolution-wise?

    Also MercuryBlade when you say that one is paying for the processing capabilities of the HDTV, what do you mean? I would think that the only main variables with HDTV is their resolution and frame/refresh rate. I know is also contrast and sharpness, etc but I'm not as concerned about them for now. If my computer were to do most of the work then would I need good processing capabilities of the HDTV? I can't think of too many things that are that demanding on a television... right?

    Sorry, lots of questions I know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'Anconia View Post
    I can't think of too many things that are that demanding on a television... right?

    Sorry, lots of questions I know.
    From what I've read when I was thinking for doing something similar to this running HD can take a toll on the PC. Although at the time they had released mobo boards with onboard GPU that would do all the HD processing not involving the CPU or something like that not sure exactly.

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    Former Fatass Unreal's Avatar
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    My video card (old one and new one) detect that it was a TV as a display and my choice of resolutions was limited. Using a TV has a monitor is no different then a monitor. It is just a big LCD screen. (assumming your using an LCD for a monitor). The difference between a 42" HDTV anda 42" Monitor is just the TV has a built in tuner. There is no extra stress or anything on your TV. Like I said, my only display on my computer is my 42" Toshiba LCD. All that is hooked to the TV is the Dish network box and my computer. Computer plays movies, games, surfs web, etc.
    Nick V

  20. #20
    Smeagol on Steroids Mercuryblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by method115 View Post
    From what I've read when I was thinking for doing something similar to this running HD can take a toll on the PC. Although at the time they had released mobo boards with onboard GPU that would do all the HD processing not involving the CPU or something like that not sure exactly.
    You're either remembering what you read incorrectly, or the person that wrote that has no idea what they are talking about.
    In fact, from computer standards, HD is not even that high. There are monitors that have been displaying much higher resolutions, that have been on the market for a lot longer.

    All laptops are motherboards with integrated GPUs and the display resolution on many laptops will be something pretty close or even higher than HD. Like Unreal said, whether the screen is 17" or 42" makes absolutely no difference.
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    Senior Member IronDiggy's Avatar
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    If you're going to game on an HDTV I'd say get something 1080P/120hz and grab a dvi->hdmi cable to hook up to it. Also if you like grab a tv tuner card and use your computer as a pvr/dvr as well. You'll love it.
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  22. #22
    Former Fatass Unreal's Avatar
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    Or just use the HDMI output on your video car. My past 2 video cards, 4670 and a 5770 both have HDMI out.
    Nick V

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