This is my first post to tomshardware, so i hope this doesn't seem like too bad a question and is on topic.
I would like to purchase a lcd screen specifically to play consoles (xbox, ps2, gamecube, etc.) and i want to get the best monitor possible. I was thinking about an lcdtv but thought a pc monitor would probably look better especially due to response times.
My biggest concern is interpolation as most of the games will be in 640*480 resolution. I dont know if i could find a monitor that had a 640*480 native resolution or even if this would be the best way to go. If i get a higher res screen what is the best way to deal with the interpolation? Game screenshots look so much better on my lcd than any CRT ive ever seen. I know i havent seen the best CRTs but i think the fact that lcds do not scan line by line and are always "lit" would be the best. To me an lcd image looks like there is nothing between me and the screen unlike a CRT. I have a great TV for games but i want a screen for just when i play.
Also does anyone know if there is a hack to directly output the frame buffer info from any console to an lcd dvi screen as this would bypass any rgb, component cable, conversion,etc. nonsense.
This is probably just a dream but if possible it could be the best way to display a console. I am trying my hardest to recreate the quality of the photos found in Play magazine. I don't know if they are retouched, but they are all FANTASTIC and i dont know if they would go to the trouble of altering every photo. The info probably is digital and not analog but accomplishing this in real time would be nice!!
I have been searching about this for a while so ANY help is appreciated.
Well I don't know much about consoles, so I don't know how they're set up (do you hook them up directly to the monitor? If so, then why does GameSpot talk about video cards? Or do they split the signal, one to a monitor and one to a computer which does the screen captures?), but I can give you some info about monitors.
There are no sizable monitor that's 640 x 480 these days. 15-inch monitors are generally 1024 x 768, while 17-inch and 19-inch monitors are generally 1280 x 1024. However, note that (640 x 480) * 2 = (1280 x 960) which is almost what you want. In other words, you can look for a 17-inch or 19-inch (that is, 1028 x 1024), then see if the monitor's OSD allows you to change the image size settings. Some do, some don't. The ones that do though, generally would have these options: normal, where the image is interpolated to fit the monitor's size; pixel, where there's a 1-to-1 ratio between the image's pixels and the monitor's pixels (in other words, a small 640 x 480 part of the middle of the screen is used); and aspect, where the image is fit to the monitor's dimensions, but the horizontal to vertical ratio is kept at a 1-to-1 ratio. This is important, because 17-inch and 19-inch monitors are on a 5:4 ratio, while most other resolutions (until you get to TVs) are on a 4:3 ratio. If you get a monitor that has this aspect option, when you display a 640 x 480 image on it, it ends up being a 1280 x 960 image -- there'll be a black bar at the top and bottom, but since that's exactly twice of the image, there will be no interpolation and thus loss of image quality. Simply put, every pixel will be 4 pixels large instead. Unfortunately, I don't think the terminology for this is standardized (or, at least, I don't know it), so I don't know what you should ask for if you decide to call up stores. You may have to go to a store and play around with the OSD and see if you can do that via the OSD. If a console requires a video card, you can also buy a video card that allows you to do that as well. My Amptron G19FP does have this option (which is how I know about it), but from what I know Amptron's current CMV and Polyview monitors don't.
Incidentally, the smaller LCD TV's (i.e. around 20 inches or even smaller) are generally at 640 x 480 resolution. So they might be worth looking into. You might want to first see how many meals you have to skip to save up for one though. Consider it a diet plan. Lose weight and get a "free" TV for doing so. What could be better?
Anyway, I don't know about any hacks, but if you are looking for minimal loss of image quality, you should go digital. Some LCD monitors have DVI connections, so it's just a matter of finding a console that has DVI-out. Or (since consoles are made for TVs) find a monitor that has another all-digital input, I don't know what the one for TVs is. This way, there is no analog conversion loss of information.
Incidentally, LCD TVs are more promising in terms of response times. Many of the newer technologies for speeding up response times (and other improvements) are going into TVs because it's a potentially bigger market (just that LCD TVs are still darn expensive). I was at a Chi Mei conference recently and they were displaying a TV with a response time of 2.3 ms...without any overdrive whatsoever, the panel itself is naturally that responsive, and the viewing angle is just about 90 degrees in every direction (U/D/L/R), I walked around it and there just wasn't any loss of image quality that I could tell all the way to the edges. No word yet on when it'll be publicly sold though nor how many digits the cost will have. But I don't think they have anything like that in the works for computer monitors. Sniff.
P.S. They also had a 1920 x 1200 TV that was capable of displaying at 120 Hz. Forget Viewsonic's crap about 4 ms response time meaning 250 frames per second (250 Hz) since the monitor's internal control circuitry can only manage up to 75 or 85 Hz. But Chi Mei got a TV that is capable of 120 frames per second. They also had a GameCube hooked up to it with a Street Fighter-type game (I'm not up on console games so I don't know what the name of the genre is). Most of the time though the screen just displayed someone dying to the computer...the guys that went there were more business executive types, not gamers.
Your information is very helpful. I did not know that lcds could do image resizing and will have to see if my current LCD (NEC 15212)is capable Thank you.
Consoles do not require video cards, they have them built in. However they are usually designed to output TV analog signals not digital signals (exept Xbox360 and PS3). Outputting digital signals would require some kind of chip to be hooked into the frame buffer of the console.