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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay this is just as idea and I apologize if you see these kinds of posts everyday.


My PC is currently in the bedroom with a 17" monitor on the desk and I have a TV tuner card in it. I hardly feel the need to watch TV but sometimes my 27" in the living room is being used by someone and that is when I use it. Also, I use it occasionally for a DVR.


Now I am thinking about buying an LCD screen and hanging it on the wall just above where my monitor is and selling off my monitor on ebay (and eventually replacing my PC with a more powerful one).


The question I have is: what should I look for in the screen? I can see some LCD TV's in BB and CC for as little as $650 for 17". That is about my budget. These are EDTV/HDTV 16:9 screens with speakers built in. Or should I be looking at buying a monitor and using it as a TV by hanging it on the wall? (I have a remote I can use with my PC -- it is not an HTPC but it has been worked upon) :)


What is the best way to spend this money? Does HD-ready buy me anything here? Bear in mind that my PC is also going to be replaced soon. Anyone else done this?


Thanks in advance.
 

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Well I haven't done this yet, but I'm thinking about doing it.


You say that you'd be using this for actual TV viewing, rather than DVD's; that doesn't rule out watching DVD's, of course, but you may find that having a "normal" 4:3 screen vs. the 16:9 screens makes your computing life easier. I think at this point in time, most applications will play nice with 16:9, but there are exceptions (this is based off a few things I've read, and from experience with my brother's widescreen laptop).


It's probably not that you won't be able to run programs, but they can look funny. If this is primarily going to be a computer, it may be a consideration.


Wall-mounting the monitor is great for style points and reclaiming desktop space. On the flip side, if you think about it, you can generally change your monitor viewing distance substantially just by leaning back in your chair or whatnot. This is not so much the case when you're 5+ feet away, say watching TV from bed. The viewing distance you give up by wall-mounting is somewhat offset by the larger actual viewing area of LCD vs. CRT. If you're happy with your setup now at 17", there shouldn't be too many problems there.


Make sure that you're distinguishing between regular LCD monitors and LCD TV's? You pay more for the LCD TV's, among other things, b/c they have built-in tuners, so you don't even need to turn your PC on (although you will if it's your DVD player, eh). Also, at least some of them will come with their own remote. I'm pretty sure that you can find 17" LCD TV's for under $600 online, but it depends on what you're comfortable with.


Also, HD-ready simply buys you the ability to display the full glory of HDTV. It's up to you to get the signal into your bedroom and into the monitor, which normally means a separate cable/satellite box.


As you say you'll be replacing the PC as well as the monitor soon, I'd guess that your options basically break down as:


1. Get an LCD TV - you can start wall-mount and start watching TV from day one. The big differences from your current setup would be, you don't actually need the PC to watch TV; but also you lose DVR functionality.


2. Get a regular LCD monitor and an HDTV tuner for your PC - the monitor should be cheaper than option #1, but the tuner will probably account for more than the difference. You'll need to have your PC on to watch TV, but this also gives you DVR capability, if you have the right software.


You could also re-use your existing TV tuner if you can't get or don't care about HDTV; this is likely the cheapest option.


You probably don't want to get both an HDTV tuner for your PC *and* an LCD TV, since you'll be buying a tuner you'll probably never use; but it may be useful in the future, if you ever split them up.


Now, all that said, the main thing I look for in LCD's is the viewing angle, since it seems to correlate well to the quality of the screen as far as contrast and brightness and all that other stuff. 160/160 horizontal/vertical is good IMHO. Less than that, like 150/120 or 140/130, well, it works but it only "okay", again IMHO.


As always, your own eyeballs should be the final judge.


On a tangent, I wonder why nobody has made computer monitor CRT's with a tuner built-in. Everybody likes LCD's because they're slim, but also because they can serve as both computer monitor and TV. You'd think that you'd be able to go to Best Buy or whereever and pick up a decent flat-screen 19" CRT which could do both for $400 or so, but no such luck (at any price).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
apex660, I want to thank you for the excellent post. I knew I had all these options but not in such a clear manner -- you have sorted out my thoughts very well. Thanks so much.


I think I will try and find an LCD monitor with a good viewing angle for a decent price and use it with a wall-mount for computer and PC-TV like dimes mentioned above. This is for the short run.


However, if I buy an HD tuner card for my PC later on, will the LCD be my HD monitor? I know theoretically most LCD's can do resolutions similar to the HDTV's but is it going to be the same PQ?


In the long run, I will upgrade my PC and then put an HD tuner card in the new PC when the prices fall.


Also, is LCD technology good enough? I had an 19" LCD at work and I am not sure I would want to watch TV on that. A little distance and tweaking might change my opinion though. If I buy a TV monitor instead, will the technology be the same or do they make them with some different screens? How about Plasma? Are they too expensive?


Thanks once again.
 

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I'm also in the market for a 17" set, an HDTV for a small study, that will have a DVD player also to watch movies.


The two choices that look the best to me at the moment are


1) Samsung's brand new model, the LTP-1795W, which succeeds the LTN-1785W (that looked nice but had a very slow, 25 ms response time; the LTP has a 16 ms one).


2) Zenith's L17W36, with a 10 ms response time (but only 400:1 contrast ratio; the Sammy LTP has a 600:1 one).


Any info that anyone can add to my analysis to date?
 

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yelloguy, thanks for the kind words, they are much appreciated. I'm sure there are numerous other people here who would've posted the same info if I hadn't beaten 'em to it this time.


The swing arm is an interesting option, and I think it could make sense.


Yes, your LCD monitor would also be your HDTV. (Careful tho, there are a few standard definition LCD monitors floating around, with a resolution of "only" 640x480.) Presumably your 17" LCD would be 1280x1024 (unless you go widescreen), which will accomodate both 720p and 1080i resolutions (although they will be scaled to the 1024 horizontal lines).


Also yes, as far as I know, the actual screens themselves are the same, whether you get a "PC" LCD or "TV" LCD - dependent on the manufacturer using the same screen, but basically yes.


Now for the $64,000 question, is LCD "good enough"? Well, the resolution is there, but there are many other aspects to a good video picture, as you'll see from reading all the other posts. Myself, I used to be a big nut about resolution, coming from the PC perspective; but frankly, at the moment I think LCD has the worst video quality vs. a CRT tube or plasma.


That is video quality in a TV/DVD sense, though. For PC work, you'll notice that color fidelity varies widely, because it tends not be important exactly how white your Word background is, or how grey the buttons are. And LCD does give, IMHO, the sharpest picture of the aforementioned display technologies, and that's a big plus for the PC.


Still, for the most part, I'd say that LCD *can* be "good enough" for video. I've seen the Samsung LTN-325W, which is last year's big big brother of their other LCD TV models, and I thought it looked perfectly fine.


Also, given your screen size (17"), space (wall-mount), and price requirements (

Personally, I'm close to biting the bullet on the Samsung 192MP, because it has both component and DVI inputs. But the demand seems to be higher than the supply at the moment.
 

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Hm, I take that back. Just saw the 192MP showing regular cable at my local Circuit City, and it looked horrible. Probably due to the signal being split X number of times, although it was over in another section by the computer monitors, and it looked like most of the other TV's were locked onto the in-store HD loop, ie. not wired for coax at all.


Anyway. Had the classic "washed-out" look. Was able to adjust picture, but it came out either way too dark, or hazy bright. Colors did not "pop" at all. Text (eg. ESPN sports ticker) and obvious straight lines (box scores) were extremely muddled; so much so, I suspect it can't entirely be the scaler's fault - again, probably oversplit signal. Also will make allowances for store lighting, and those problems would be mitigated at home with digital cable. But then again, I'm looking for something which can handle poor signals gracefully, and was put off pretty badly.


Well. I don't mean to be overly critical. Probably shouldn't post right after being disappointed, heh. I *am* looking for a similar solution as the original poster. Also, I am typing on a Samsung 171P, and DVD's generally look good on it, and I can't imagine that screens have gotten worse in the past two years. I did think that the LTN-325W (at Harvey's) looked fine displaying an HD loop. Still.


Thought about picking it up anyway, since I could bring it back if I really hated it, which is the nice thing about brick-and-mortar. But, didn't feel like going through the hassle, so I figured I'd come back and do some more research.


Anybody out there have a good experience with the Samsung 192MP, or other LCD TV's?
 

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192mp doesnt shine on analog signal being fed through it.


Pump any DVD, HD material, PC or Game on it and you will see what this monitor can do.


It is severely lacking on out of the box settings for PQ it has to be toned way down and thru some tweeking i got the PQ to a respectable level. The idea behind the tv tune in this unit IMO is for using it in PIP mode while on the pc.


XBOX and PS2 looks amazing on this screen.


i higly reccomend this and almost all samsung tv's they are quite good!
 
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