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HDTV as a Large Computer Monitor

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May 17, 2007 1:51:22 AM

Hey all,

I will be building a computer in the near future (specs tentatively posted below) and I want to use an HDTV as a giant monitor in my living room as opposed to a standard monitor. My question is does anyone here have any experience doing this and if so, how has it worked for you? Would you recommend it for others? And if so, what specific equipment would you recommend? My price limit is $800-1000 for the TV (ideally I want to get a 37" TV and keep it as cheap as possible) and about $1300 for my PC. I want this set up so i can play Warcraft, Madden and numerous other games, search the internet, type papers and watch movies all from the same work station (my living room).

Here is my (current, but certainly not set in stone) future Computer Configuration (I will buy buying the actual equipment in early August):

Computer parts list

CASE
Antec P182 Gun Metal Black

MOBO
MSI 975X PLATINUM V.2 INTEL 975X

CPU/Fan/Heat sync
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600/COOLER MASTER HYPER TX-INTEL (RR-PCH-S9U1-GP)

PSU
Xion PowerReal Series 600W Ver. 2.0 ATX Power Supply

Video Card
BFG Technologies GeForce 8800GTS OC

Hard Drive
HITACHI 500GB 0A33437 SATA300 7200RPM 16MB

Ram
Corsair 2GB PC26400 800MHZ

Optical Drive
LITE ON LH-20A1H-186C 20X LIGHTSCRIBE DUAL DVD REWRITABLE DRIVE


HDTV’s
37” LCD TV (Visio)

Surround Sound System
Philips 1000W 5.1-Ch. Home Theater System with DVD/CD/MP3/DivX Model: HTS3555/37


If you have any thoughts, ideas, or tweaks that you think may help improve my system or my experience, please post them here or e-mail me: Giblien@hotmail.com

Thanks all!
June 7, 2007 3:11:22 PM

I set off to do this as well and am currently in the middle of it and its giving me some trouble connecting everything. (Bought it 2-3 weeks ago)

Short Summary: Honestly, get a good regular computer monitor before you get the TV, especially for gaming. Details listed below.

My situation, my computer is a little dated. C2D 6400 @ 3 Ghz, 7900 GT VGA, 2 Gig Ram, blah blah. Well, I needed a new TV and as a bonus I wanted to connect it to my computer for the same reasons as you.

I went out and bought a 42" LCD, best I could find for the money was a Toshiba (Link below). It is amazingly good and slightly above your price range. Nothing could even come close to the quality for the money. (This is my first TV over 27" FYI so I had no previous experience)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BUT.

CONS:
Bad thing about using this as a monitor or even watching TV or console games is you had to sit far back, sitting too close will blind you! (Not really but its not pleasant) That means, for my set up, I would have to get a "lap desk" and a wireless mouse and key board so I can sit at a good viewing distance.

Another bad thing for gaming. Resolution, most likely you wont be touching a 1080p/i in your price range that has a high quality picture and big screen. The one I bought is the next best 720p, and it gives a MAX resolution of 1366x768, therefore you cannot run anything higher then that. (Almost all my games on my desktop I run at max res and settings which are higher then that, therefore why get a $400 dollar card if you cant exactly use it to its potential)

Some more bad things:

-Games without widescreen support. Most nowadays do, but I have run into some problems with with no supported resolution.

- This can vary on TV brands and especially size room and TV. The room that mine is in isnt very big but it has my TV, Computer, and other electronics. This TV puts out crazy heat, its not something I thought of before purchasing. With all my electronics going, not even my AC keeps up(in that room) and gets very warm. I live in florida so I can't just open a window...

I know this doesn't exactly answer your questions but I hope if gives you some insight.
July 20, 2007 11:58:54 AM

I bought a 32" LG HDTV 720 and I absolutely love it!!!

I will never go back to monitors...

The concerns listed by Jonny are very true, but I get around the ergonomic problems by using a small 2 seater sofa or a giant bean bag as my chair, and a cushion bottomed tray as a mouse mat with wireless mouse and keyboard combo. Damn Comfy when you get it right!

The benefits for someone like myself, who watches 90% of my TV viewing from downloaded sources, are immense. I just DL, watch and delete.... Cuts out all the crappy DVD burning and compatibility nonsense for a PAL DVD system.

Go for it!! very easy to setup and your living room will never seem as cool
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August 8, 2007 5:28:02 PM

Ideally, you should get a 1080p TV, but that might me tough (at least for now anyway) at the price point you specified.

I currently have a 1080i/720p LCD TV which is fine for movies, but the PC resolution tops out at 1365x768. While CnC 3 still looked impressive, given the size of the screen, I couldn't get over the fact that I used to play even older games at a minimum SXGA resolution (1280x1024) on my LCD monitor (albeit smaller than my HDTV and not widescreen). I was not completely happy with the size vs detail trade off, giving most games a zoomed-in look. So now I'm shopping for a proper 1080p HDTV. I would suggest you reconsider too, a 32" 1080p is better than a 37" 1080i/720p when it comes to PC use.

You should also pay attention to text quality. I thought sharp text was a given for LCDs, but apprently some display it sharper than others, and for the 1080i/720p crowd quite a number of them display text too "soft"ly, making internet browsing challenging at times.

Anything bigger than 30" and you'll need to consider wireless keyboards and mice to be at the proper distance and not trip on wires. The Logitech DiNovo has served me well.

If you want surround sound gaming, you need to make sure your AV receiver has 5.1 analog INputs

Goodluck!
August 19, 2007 10:31:06 PM

If it helps, then I've done it - I'msing a 42" 1080p HDTV as a monitor and it's a revelation. Normally, I wouldnt reccomend it, for the reasons outlined by Jonny - but especiallyresolution for the price. Go for a 24" Monitor over a 720p HDTV. You won't regret it.

But then again, occasionally you find a bargain that makes you reconsider... namely my lovely Mirai...
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProdu...[\URL]
I know its a UK site, but b*****y froogle won't let me get to the US ones...

My specs are modest (E2140; x1950PRO) but your proposed rig will do fine. I have it set up with my 5.1 system surrounding my keyboard\mouse. Gaming is excellent; BF2142 is astounding; Oblivion at native res and tons of mods is stunning; Medieval 2:Total War is unbelievable. And when you watch TV, it actually looks good. Only problems are that at this resolution anything you download will look really poor, and 1080p files are 7GB...

Two things I'd mention though: first, I'd probably get the 640Mb 8800 GTS over an OC'd 320; at 1920 resolutions texture memory can go through the roof, and if you plan on 4xAA and HDR then yet more precious GDDR is uesd up. Second,you will have to sit MUCH closer than you would for TV watching; its a dilemma I havent yet sorted with mine (I can't lie on my bed and watch TV, as my desk gets in the way, and I need my desk for writing this...)

In short, the Mirai is my exception that proves the rule... 1080p TV's are really expensive, but the Mirai wasn't. And if you're considering any resolution thats less, go with a 24" monitor. I really do love it... " target="_blank">http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProdu...[\URL]
I know its a UK site, but b*****y froogle won't let me get to the US ones...

My specs are modest (E2140; x1950PRO) but your proposed rig will do fine. I have it set up with my 5.1 system surrounding my keyboard\mouse. Gaming is excellent; BF2142 is astounding; Oblivion at native res and tons of mods is stunning; Medieval 2:Total War is unbelievable. And when you watch TV, it actually looks good. Only problems are that at this resolution anything you download will look really poor, and 1080p files are 7GB...

Two things I'd mention though: first, I'd probably get the 640Mb 8800 GTS over an OC'd 320; at 1920 resolutions texture memory can go through the roof, and if you plan on 4xAA and HDR then yet more precious GDDR is uesd up. Second,you will have to sit MUCH closer than you would for TV watching; its a dilemma I havent yet sorted with mine (I can't lie on my bed and watch TV, as my desk gets in the way, and I need my desk for writing this...)

In short, the Mirai is my exception that proves the rule... 1080p TV's are really expensive, but the Mirai wasn't. And if you're considering any resolution thats less, go with a 24" monitor. I really do love it...
August 23, 2007 9:37:54 AM

I would just try to steer you away from a plasma TV but it sounds like you already did that. I would consider a mid range HD projector, you can find them for 1000.00 if you shop around. Just depends on lighting in the room etc, but its a cool way to go for gaming/programing IMO.
August 30, 2007 1:26:04 PM

I've built two HTPC's and I have a 37" 1080p LCD in the living room and a 720p Panasonic Projector (120") in the Bar. I think you can probably get pretty close to a 37" unit for a thousand bucks... I paid 1200 for mine last christmas.

If you're building an HTPC I would suggest ditching the antec case and getting Silverstone... they're without a doubt the best HTPC cases on the market, I'll never buy anything else for Home Theater use.

They key to good HT performance from your pc is to get decent quality components but to shoot for QUIET. I buy low noise power supplies and HSF's (Zalman usually), along with Gigabyte heat pipe Video cards... you don't want your pc to sound like a jet taking off while you're trying to watch a movie. Even if you have to back off on ultimate performance to get silence... it's worth it.
September 8, 2007 2:23:20 PM

I bought a Visio 26" Lcd TV with native res of 1366x768. I set my ATI card for 1360x768 the closest I have. It does not look right!!! I see less on the screen than I did with my 17" sqaure LCD. Everything is much bigger, my email program gets cutoff and I see less of my in/out box, everything it too big.

If I change the resolution to 1360x1024, it helps images and my email program, but text is fuzzy, and print looks weird.

My current video card, while old, (ati all in wonder 9200) supports tons of different resolutions, high and low. A newer card isn't going to fix my issue, is it?

After doing some more searching on resolutions... Is the problem because the native resolution of this 26" LCD is 1366x768? I want to use it strictly as a PC monitor only (word processing, typing, spreadsheets, work), not for outputting videos or playing games.

For ex, if you look at PC monitors only, I see 26" ones with resolutions of 1920x1200. Is that was I should have bought? Still learning.
September 8, 2007 9:55:10 PM

I use the Sharp LC32D62U 32" LCD @1080p. It's the smallest 1080p set on the market, and I absolutely LOVE IT!!! Check it out here.
September 10, 2007 9:47:55 PM

Cool, how much do those gof or $?
March 22, 2009 2:10:07 AM

Prob is to use as a "normal" monitor ...its blurry when looking at text up close....anyone know how to fix that.
i feel like the green gaint.
i need normail size text on a large screen. i feel like mac 30" is the only way to go.
March 22, 2009 2:58:01 AM

To change text size:
Vista: Right click on the desktop and click personalize. On the left is the option to adjust DPI which is dots per inch. There are two predefined settings 96 or 120. You can customize to any size. XP it is a similar process
March 24, 2009 7:45:35 PM

Jason B said:
I bought a Visio 26" Lcd TV with native res of 1366x768. I set my ATI card for 1360x768 the closest I have. It does not look right!!! I see less on the screen than I did with my 17" sqaure LCD. Everything is much bigger, my email program gets cutoff and I see less of my in/out box, everything it too big.

If I change the resolution to 1360x1024, it helps images and my email program, but text is fuzzy, and print looks weird.

My current video card, while old, (ati all in wonder 9200) supports tons of different resolutions, high and low. A newer card isn't going to fix my issue, is it?

After doing some more searching on resolutions... Is the problem because the native resolution of this 26" LCD is 1366x768? I want to use it strictly as a PC monitor only (word processing, typing, spreadsheets, work), not for outputting videos or playing games.

For ex, if you look at PC monitors only, I see 26" ones with resolutions of 1920x1200. Is that was I should have bought? Still learning.


Hmm, I have a Pioneer plasma TV that I use as a gaming monitor as well, with a DVI to HDMI cable to keep the connection all-digital. On certain HDMI inputs, it lets you select standard video (overscanning) or PC Input (underscanning) or auto-detect. You might see if your TV has the same or similar selection, and also make sure it is set to use "dot by dot" resolution instead of the scaler output.
April 21, 2009 3:24:54 AM

unnameduser said:
To change text size:
Vista: Right click on the desktop and click personalize. On the left is the option to adjust DPI which is dots per inch. There are two predefined settings 96 or 120. You can customize to any size. XP it is a similar process

Thanks
April 23, 2009 9:40:53 AM

Why don't you use a projector instead of a HDTV?
May 6, 2009 5:40:13 AM

You need at least a 8800GTX with HDCP. You are one model shy in your GPU to run to a 1080P display. More RAM. Also it takes more CPU than you might think, at least a dual core.

That is all!
May 12, 2009 2:21:19 AM

CONS:
Bad thing about using this as a monitor or even watching TV or console games is you had to sit far back, sitting too close will blind you! (Not really but its not pleasant) That means, for my set up, I would have to get a "lap desk" and a wireless mouse and key board so I can sit at a good viewing distance.

True, but its not hard to sit further back. What you do is purchase a small foldable writing desk. Foldable so you can fold it and put it in a closet for when you want to watch tv or a movie. You can pick these up at Office Max or Staples. Put it as far away as you want from your HDTV and then put a wireless keyboard and mouse on it. You can use a regular desk chair to sit on. Its just like what you would normally use just a smaller desk that is only used to place the key board and mouse on.

Another bad thing for gaming. Resolution, most likely you wont be touching a 1080p/i in your price range that has a high quality picture and big screen. The one I bought is the next best 720p, and it gives a MAX resolution of 1366x768, therefore you cannot run anything higher then that. (Almost all my games on my desktop I run at max res and settings which are higher then that, therefore why get a $400 dollar card if you cant exactly use it to its potential)

Very true. I have a 720p 32 inch and I agree it sucks having a lower resolution. So I would def. suggest to you to get a 1080p. That is what I am doing soon. Gonna get the new 55 inch from Samsung the ultra thin : )
Some more bad things:

-Games without widescreen support. Most nowadays do, but I have run into some problems with with no supported resolution.

Never came across a game that does not support wide screen and if he bought a monitor it probably be wide screen as well.

- This can vary on TV brands and especially size room and TV. The room that mine is in isnt very big but it has my TV, Computer, and other electronics. This TV puts out crazy heat, its not something I thought of before purchasing. With all my electronics going, not even my AC keeps up(in that room) and gets very warm. I live in florida so I can't just open a window...

Again, agreed. My 32 HDTV does put out decent heat. Combine that with my computer and sometimes it does get toasty in here. It isnt bad though and only happens if I am gaming for many hours straight. You living in Florida certainly does not help.


I say go for it! Just get a 1080p. Like i said get a small foldable desk and your good to go! The extra size of the screen is absolutely worth it! I can not play on monitors no more. Its just a joke now. When I go on the computers at school I laugh cuz the screen is so tiny. I dont see why some people complain about the picture. I think it looks great even at 720p. Everything fits on the screen and browsing is great. Do it. I would post pics of my set up, but I am too lazy. Look at MIahallens HDTV it looks great! Everything fits and looks awesome. Only thing I would say is I would not have it set up as a tradition monitor would on a desk. Obviously he does not mind sitting close, but I would STRONGLY recommend getting a small desk just for your keyboard and mouse and sit further away.
Anonymous
a b C Monitor
January 1, 2010 9:43:16 AM

:bounce:  Well, all i can say is my SONY BRAVIA TV £456 WORKS AS A MONITOR & TV I LOVE PLAYING MY FAVORITE GAME RAVENSHIELD SIX 3 (yes i know it's over 5yrs old but i love it!)
it takes my pana DVD PLAYER 650 HD ETC THIS ALSO CONNECTED TO MY OTHER VAIO
COMPUTER ROUTER ETC SO IF ANYONE FANCIES A LAN GAME DROP ME A LINE

THX JRW :p 
January 21, 2010 2:57:16 AM

You can still get a tv, but I wouldn't go over 26/7" if you want to sit close. My 26 inch was a little overwhlming at first as a monitor, but now it's fine. and I'm POSITIVE, that at 4 feet away I would not have wanted anything bigger. 24 inches was just a little small
January 21, 2010 9:41:54 AM

Hi,
I am having Toshiba 46SV685D and I just love it. This one's having probably the best features and display.
August 13, 2010 6:29:16 PM

I think this thread should be locked, because people are still replying to the OP without realizing that the thread is 3 years old...
December 23, 2010 3:23:24 AM

Maybe "mousemonkey" will lock this for us. ;)  Good subject but time to move on. Open another thread, etc.
September 20, 2011 1:49:56 AM

Quote:
:bounce:  Well, all i can say is my SONY BRAVIA TV £456 WORKS AS A MONITOR & TV I LOVE PLAYING MY FAVORITE GAME RAVENSHIELD SIX 3 (yes i know it's over 5yrs old but i love it!)
it takes my pana DVD PLAYER 650 HD ETC THIS ALSO CONNECTED TO MY OTHER VAIO
COMPUTER ROUTER ETC SO IF ANYONE FANCIES A LAN GAME DROP ME A LINE

THX JRW :p 

I have the Sony Brava 42 and cannot get the tv to link with the Computer. I can disconnet the tv and get the monitor back but when I connect the tv I only get the desk top without the controls. I have to disconnect the tv to get the monitor back so I can control all input to the computer. Where have I disconnected the display for both tv and monitor?
Email me at bob @bobconway.org
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