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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,


I have an HTPC with a Radeon 9600 (vga,dvi and s-video). I currently run the s-video out to a s-video-> composite adapter, to a VCR and then remodulate to VHF to send it to a very old 25" television with a dying tube! This obviously stinks.


I was aiming for a Monivision monitor but the prices are higher than I had expected and I've become a little concerned about the post-sale product support based on some things I've been reading.


I went to Circuit City and fell in love with the Sony KV-..HS510 line (saw the 36" and the 32") for their clarity and small dot pitch compared to the slightly cheaper sets from the other manufacturers. However, if there is a different set that is a better match for an HTPC, then I am willing to sacrifice the dot pitch.


I've seen threads discussing the PowerStrip timings for DVI to Sonys... it seems like nobody has actually gotten 1080i input to work from an HTPC via DVI? Does 960i look just about as good for HDTV?


My additional questions are:


a) is anybody using component from an HTPC? If so, what resolutions are working?


b) are all of these Sony's (HS' and XBR's) going to behave the same way in this respect?


c) is there another major manufacturer that I should consider that works better with HTPCs?


Any other advice you can offer me?


TIA,

Stuart
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
bump.... if these are all FAQs, would somebody please say so in which case I'll know that I have to keep searching more deeply? Much obliged!
 

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I'll take your questions in order:


- I got 1080i working via DVI & Powerstrip in virtually no time. I can't remember if they were the stock PS timings, or posted here, but it works.


- Can't help you with 960i. Don't use it and I'm not sure why you'd want to.


- Using DVI, not component.


- With respect to resolutions, yes. The XBR will look infinitely better, of course, but the resolutions and timings will be exactly the same.


- Assuming you're gonna stay with consumer brands and not go Monivision/Princeton, then you'll be fine with Sony or maybe even the Toshiba (don't know anything about their DVI sets, though).


Overall, you'll be fine with the HS510. I'd recommend it for your HTPC if you saw it and liked it.


Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, Darwin2k! That helps all right.


I didn't see anybody claiming to have a good (centered, minimal or no overscan, not flickering) 1080i working within ADU's big Sony DVI thread, but I'm glad to hear it works for you. It may be that I don't understand what people mean when they draw distinctions and comparisons between 540p and 1080i. I just got the sense that 1080i was still a holy grail left unfound for Sony/DVI/HTPC people.
 

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salsbst,


I think most of the other users in the Computer Input link in my signature have gotten either 1080i or 720p timings working. I don't think anyone's necessarily gotten a 960i timing to work, but a 960i resolution within a 1080i timing ought to be doable. A 1440x960i mode might perhaps be nice for scaling DVDs because it's exactly 4x DVD resolution (720x480). I haven't researched the philosophies of scaling enough to know how important it is though.


A few of the components (OS , drivers, etc.) in my system are not as up to date, so I assume that's why it's been more difficult for me to do 720p/1080i. I'm actually fairly pleased with 960x540p though after performing the bypass on my 34xbr800 (see Signal Processing link). Despite appearances, home theater is actually rather low on my priorities for this computer, so I can't really sweat 1080i until a few other changes are made.


I not sure what to tell you on the monitor choice. If I had it do over, I think I'd look very carefully at some of the 16x9 multi-sync monitors with direct computer support. I really wish I'd known about those before. There might be some differences on them in terms of calibration as well. To be honest, I didn't really want to spend this much time and effort getting a TV up to speed. It's been educational though. :) And I can't really complain about the results, now that I'm seeing some of the fruits of my labor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your thoughts, ADU. As I said I was aiming at Monivision. I forgot to mention above one of the reasons for straying now toward the Sony.... dot pitch on the Monivision is reputed to be large enough that it can't possibly be actually displaying 1080 lines. The reason I'm leaning toward the Sony was that I saw a clear difference in it's clarity and naturalness, compared to the other consumer HDTVs, which I attribute to smaller dot pitch. If the Monivision is worse, in this respect, than the other consumer HDTVs, as I have heard rumored, then I don't want any part of it. I wish there was some place around here to actually see the Monivision in action.
 

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Hmm... I wasn't aware of that. If dot pitch is your thing, then maybe you could find someone willing to swing a deal on the 910? From what I've seen, it really is superior in that dept.
 

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For a technical discussion on CRT dot pitch, look at this thread .


Apparently, dot pitch isn't everything. For example, Monivision DM7752ST dot pitch is 0.78mm but that is diagonal, not horizontal which makes a big difference.
 

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Agreed. I think what you really want want to compare is probably the horizontal resolution. I think the 34" HS510 and XBR800 are in the neighborhood of 850-1000 lines, while the XBR910 is reportedly around 1400 lines.


Any idea what the horizontal resolution is on the Monivisions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, guys. I'm out of my league in that dot pitch/focus thread. Maybe I'd be better served by a subjective comparison of a Monivision's image quality (at 1080i, to be fair) to any of the consumer HDTVs? Has anybody had an opportunity to see how these two classes of display shape up when given similar sources?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I missed your last post before submitting mine, ADU.... yes, I think resolution may be a better yardstick for my uneducated brain given the varying effects of dot pitch with different display technologies.
 

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Monivision does actually display 1080 lines. The difference is that it can also truly display 720, as well as 16 others standard resolutions including the foreign-country ones. No HDTV does that, as far as I know; it's part of what makes the Monivision a "computer monitor" instead of a TV.


For using DVD players and VCRs and such, use a TV, not a Monivision. For a computer, use a computer monitor, not a TV such as Sony's XBRs. The prices are about the same either way.
 

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It always gets confusing when we start talking resolution on these displays, Delvo. In this case, by "horizontal resolution", I think Salsbst and I are referring to the actual number of rows of RGB dots/stripes arrayed across the screen, not the number of scanlines the TV can draw (720p, 1080i etc.).


You make a good point though about the 720p. That would have worked very nice for some of my applications.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'll confess that I don't *really know* whether I'm talking about the # of dots or not... all I can really say is that the Sony HS510s at Circuit City looked much "smoother" than the other CRT HDTVs (although not quite as bright). I attributed this to what I had read, which is that the Sonys, even the HS line, have superior dot pitch. Of course, it could also be the case that the store had just calibrated that sets differently.


I'd love to find the Monivision's "resolution" (and tube curvature) acceptable because, as we all realize, a computer monitor is a better natural fit with an HTPC (720p and active sync being the 600 pound elephant in that room). But without being able to see a Monivision in action, I've resorted to trying to understand their differences through the very helpful words from people on this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I just saw a couple of Monivision 38" at a semi-local highschool.


Unfortunately wires must have been crossed because they did not have any high-definition video sources to feed and so I didn't really get what I came there to see. One was hooked up to a Windows PC at, I believe, 800x600, and the other a VHS VCR via RF coax. Neither was terribly impressive although obviously I didn't get to see the monitor doing what it does best.


The curvature of the tube is definitely a drawback compared with the Sony, and again I felt like I could see black lines between the dots on the Windows desktop, similar to how the consumer HDTVs looked, with the exception of the Sony.


Now, to make matters worse, the Media Specialist who was showing these to me made a point of saying that 3 of the 4 Monivisions that the school owns have broken, that Monivision often sends the wrong part to the local service company, and that, when the sets have been required to be shipped back to Monivision for repairs, that the turnaround time has been in the 2 months and longer range.


Thus, I'm heavily leaning toward Sony at the moment. I suppose that Sony repairs are not instantaneous, but my impression is that they are more rare and the number of repair shops able to service a Sony must be great enough that a level of competition (and thus speed and quality) must exist that will make it a more owner-friendly set.


Somebody stop me before I make up my mind -- indecision has plagued me these many months that it has become comfortable, like a warm blanket on a cool evening. Now, I'm faced with the possibility that I may actually commit to a purchase! Frightening.


Seriously, though, please chip in any final words of wisdom before I hesitantly take the plunge.


Thanks,

Stuart
 

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Many people including myself have bought Monivision displays sight unseen and have been extremely happy with it. Personally, I did it because the risk of buying sight unseen was more than worth not having to deal with Powerstrip anymore.


Tell you what. Why don't you download Powerstrip to your PC and play around with it. . . then decide if it is your cup of tea and if you are willing to spend time tweaking it. If you are OK with it, then go for the Sony. If it scares the bejesus out of you, go for the Monivision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for your efforts, kharvel!


Actually I did download PowerStrip to see which of the timings from the Sony thread my multiscan 17sf II could muster and to get a sense of what it was all about. While I don't fully understand Powerstrip, I wouldn't say it quite scares the bejesus out of me -- at least not when I have the good folks from this thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1&pagenumber=4


Honestly I think I might have a very good experience with a Monivision, but I cannot ignore the stories of 2-month turnaround time to service a monitor that seems more likely to go south than a college student on spring break. :)
 

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It appears that you may be comfortable with Powerstrip and there is indeed good support from the AVS forum regarding Powerstrip timings for Sony XBRs. If quality is a big concern for you and you are OK with the limitations of a consumer-grade HDTV/HTPC set-up (i.e. Powerstrip, some overscan, limited resolutions, etc), then by all means, go ahead and get the Sony. Just be careful with Powerstrip because there is a risk that it may damage your display.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, kharvel I guess that's the closest thing to a blessing that I'll get from a Monivision fan. I'll take it! Thanks for all of your advice and assistance.
 

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salsbst, you are more than welcome. Too few people fully understand the risk and the amount of work associated with making a HTPC work with a consumer-grade HDTV. I want everyone, including yourself, to be aware of what it will take to make the HDTV/HTPC set-up work and what they can expect from the set-up in terms of picture quality, flexibility, resolutions, etc. In other words, I want everyone to make their display purchase with eyes wide open.


I am a bit of a zealot on that issue because of the horrible experience I had with trying to make my HTPC work with my previous display, the Panasonic CT-36HX41 HDTV, which I dumped for the Monivision. I do not wish for others like me to go through the same experience again without fully understanding the risks, the time, and the effort required to make it work.


Perhaps the Sony will be more accommodating with the HTPC, who knows? Good luck with your HTPC/HDTV adventure.
 
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