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How do I know if an LCD TV is usable as a Computer Monitor?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 20, 2009 7:50:20 PM

Hey everyone, long time reader, first time poster :) 

What sort of specs should I be looking at if I want to use an LCD TV as a monitor? I googled but most of the info I found was kinda dated.

I just built my own system to use as a DAW and the video card has HDMI out, but what other spec should I need? I'm assuming 1080p is essential, but any other considerations? There will be no gaming or any high intensive video stuff, I just want a lot of screen real estate

Thanks in advance! :D 
August 20, 2009 7:58:08 PM

Just depends on what resolution your TV is. If it is 1080p, then the res is 1920x1080 or some yyyy x 1080 derivative depending on the size of your tv. Same goes if it is 720p, something like yyyy x 768 I think is that it is. Your computer with fill the whole screen, but at 720p it will not look as nice as a higher res computer monitor. If you are 1080p, you should be good.
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a b C Monitor
August 20, 2009 8:00:13 PM

If the TV is HDMI, you NEED to have a digital out of the computer. If you have a VGA out (as in, you are using a integrated graphics style motherboard) then you can't use a VGA-DVI adapter to run DVI-HDMI, which is how you would hook that up. Sometimes tvs have VGA inputs on the back, might check for that too.
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August 20, 2009 8:14:59 PM

use dvi or preferably hdmi, and be aware even at 1080 it's not gonna look nearly as good as a moniter.
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August 21, 2009 1:44:58 PM

505090 said:
use dvi or preferably hdmi, and be aware even at 1080 it's not gonna look nearly as good as a moniter.


even with HDMI? why is that, just curious?

maybe I'm better off with some bigger dual monitors
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August 21, 2009 4:34:29 PM

+1 It doesn't look as good as a monitor.

BUT, if you have 1080p on a 32" TV, it will still look great. I have 20 different sony tvs in a lab, hooked up to various computers. They look great to me, but they don't look like monitors. They represent the best compromise for size and res for my uses.

Consider trying both the VGA input (if it has one) and the HDMI. All tvs are not made the same, some do better when the input is a computer using VGA than DVI/HDMI.
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August 21, 2009 6:37:15 PM

axm311 said:
even with HDMI? why is that, just curious?

maybe I'm better off with some bigger dual monitors



Because it is so big hell the little 17 inch monitor I'm on is at 1280*1024 now if you get a tv that has six times the area to it you would have to multiply the res by six as well to maintain the same res
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August 22, 2009 11:50:25 PM

505090 said:
Because it is so big hell the little 17 inch monitor I'm on is at 1280*1024 now if you get a tv that has six times the area to it you would have to multiply the res by six as well to maintain the same res


I started to ask you the same question. I think your answer is inappropriate to the issue. You're comparing a small screen monitor to a big screen TV. Of course the picture is better when you cram as many pixels in a much smaller area. It doesn't matter whether it's a 1080p TV or a monitor. It sounded (to me) like you were saying that a 1080p monitor would look worse than the same size screen monitor and that's what I would ask "why" to.
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August 23, 2009 12:24:53 AM

ram1009 said:
I started to ask you the same question. I think your answer is inappropriate to the issue. You're comparing a small screen monitor to a big screen TV. Of course the picture is better when you cram as many pixels in a much smaller area. It doesn't matter whether it's a 1080p TV or a monitor. It sounded (to me) like you were saying that a 1080p monitor would look worse than the same size screen monitor and that's what I would ask "why" to.


I have seen several people hook up their hd big screens to their computers. And I have seen the initial look of disappointment on their faces when it was first turned on. While it does make sense if you think about few people calculate pixel density until they are staring at a tv full of fuzzy text.
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a c 195 C Monitor
August 23, 2009 1:06:08 AM

Using a large HDTV will not look as good as using a PC monitor because the individual pixels are larger, thus things will not look as sharp as on a PC monitor. The greater the distance between you and the HDTV, the sharper thing will look because the pixels look smaller from a distance.

Also note that some people are having issues properly displaying 1920 x 1080 when connecting a PC to an HDTV. I certainly have that issue at the moment with my LG 47LH90, the desktop is basically "too big", it "falls of the screen". Fixed it once thru the drivers, but the next time I used my HTPC with my HDTV it reverted back to what it was before.

My setup is basically used for watching movies, my HTPC is connected to a 23.6" next to my HDTV should I wanna surf with it or do something else. Then again, that's what my primary PC is for.
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August 23, 2009 4:05:07 PM

PAPERCHECK:
Download the datasheet of the specific models you are interested...then on

Specification Section of the Data-Sheet: Look at the different inputs such as HDMI, and DVI. Display resolution is listed per input (i.e. 1080P, 1080I, 720P, 480i..etc).

There is also a section that specifies the actual screen size for 16:9 ratio, refresh rate 60HZ, 120 HZ...

I have seen or actually most of it have disclamer line" Personal Computer Compatibility cannot be guaranteed"

HDMI is highly recommended for Computer to TV interface. You have both audio and video in one cable.

REALITY CHECK:
Most of the HDTV today can support computer through HDMI and DVI.

HDTVs are limited to 1080P 16:9. Having stated that, actual appreciation of 1080P resolution or higher is best at 40inch or higher screen size. This is specially true for movies at 1080P. Its Awesome in games...totally different experience.

HDTV Specific settings when driven by a PC: You need to make adjustments on these parameters to address issues like "TOO BIG", "fuzzy text" etc. There may be differences in NAMEs between NVIDIA and ATI/AMD.

1) SCALING OPTIONS: This will allow you to fit your Desktop Space (1080P) to the actual screen size of your TV
2) HDTV SUPPORT: These are display formats that the driver can support specific to the HDTV / Display that you are using. You need to select these and enable it.
3) LCD Overdrive: These are pixel format that driver support specific to your display.


In the Desktop environment Screen Resolution also defines WORKSPACE SIZE. 1080P or higer means more workspace. FONT SIZE & FORMAT is indepedemt of this and can be custumized to your NEED, EYE SENSITIVITY, PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

I have 2 setup of DUAL DISPLAY with HDTV both are flawless. I don't have the issues that the others have. TAKE NOTE THAT THERE ARE KNOBS/SETTINGS TO SET TO MAKE IT WORK. Its not automatic that when you load the video card driver, connect your HDMI everything is OK... Not true... You need to make adjustments.

My 1st Setup:
Video Card is GTX 280
Primary Display 24 Inch LCD Display at 1080P... Connected via HDMI
Secondary Display 52 Inch HDTV at 1080P......... Connected via HDMI

My 2nd Setup:
Video Card is 2x XOC 4890(Crossfire)
Primary Display 24 Inch LCD Display at 1080p ... Connected via HDMI
Secondary Display 70 Inch HDTV at 1080P ... Connected via HDMI

Primary and Secondary designation is software assignable. You can set it base on your need.

I play games on the big screen (Half life, Crysis, Grid, Stalker)...
When i have visitors i run the PowerDVD on the Big HDTV while continue my work on the 24inch PC Display...

Huge WORKSPACE ( 2x 1080P).... This is very convenient to work with. A lot desktop space to spread the different task i'm working on.

Both of my setup run on Quad Core Q6600, Vista-64 Ultimate 8 Gig of RAM. 4 Gig of RAM will certainly work.


Read the datasheet then try it out on the specific TV of your interest. Appliance store such as Best Buy, Fry's, Walmart...etc will allow you to plug your notebook/pc in there store. They want your money and you need to be satisfied...

You can always return the big HDTV if you can't make it work although its a lot of work to do. Hope you don't need to come into this option.... Here in the US...30 or 90 days is a common return policy.

For games i use USB2 cables. Wireless are not recommended for games.

For multimedia where you want to seat and enjoy sound and video... I use Logitech DeNovo Mini....(Wireless Control)


Good Luck
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