Tips? Affordable 17”-20” LCD TV

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bobznc, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. bobznc macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Hey, I’m moving into a small apartment for my second year of college and in preparation all summer I’ve been researching into buying an Elgato EyeTv Ez or 250 for my 12” Powerbook 1GHz to save space in my relatively small room. I decided on the 250 a couple of weeks ago despite by 12” screen and my horrid 32mb integrated video card and then began looking for an outlet to purchase. Having a lot of trouble, I began to ponder my purchase further. Today I decided that there would not be feasible to move my laptop and still have the EyeTv hooked up, and it would be highly unlikely that I would want to leave my PB on my desk and still watch it while laying in bed or being elsewhere in the room. So I decided that I should start looking into a second, larger monitor for my laptop. Upon searching I realized the only practical time that I need a second monitor is when I do video editing (which is quite often, it is my major) but resolution isn’t too important. I also began worrying about my video card again, so I started looking for monitors with composite and/or RCA inputs. I realized what would virtually murder two avian creatures with one geological formation would be an LCD TV. I would loose the DVR capabilities of the EyeTv, but pretty much everything else pointed to LCD-TV being the better option. I also read a thread in this section of the forums where people were saying that the line between and LCD TV’s and Monitors is becoming very blurred. I was happy to see that most LCD TV’s have a VGA input, but I’m not sure what resolution that I should be searching for, my computer tells me that my display is running at 1024 x 786, which doesn’t make sense to me because my screen appears to be 4:3. Sorry this has been long but I had to let it all out, it’s like therapy, I’ll cut to the chase.

    I went researching; my goal is to spend under 300 dollars with the possibility of splurging a little more. If anyone has experience with the below products or can recommend any others, let me know.

    • AOC A17W221 17” 1280 x 768- $299 at Amazon:

    • Astar LTV-2001 20" 800 x 600- $299 (after $55 rebate) at Amazon:

    • Astat LTV-20PW 20" 800 x 600- $299 (after $40 rebate) at TigerDirect:
    *Wouldn't match my decor, but has 2 componet which is a plus

    • Niko OTP-2011R 20" 800 x 600- $249 (after $50 rebate) at TigerDirect:

    • Syntax Olevia LT20S 20" 800 x 600- $269.99 (after $60 rebate) at TigerDirect:

    • X2gen MV20T9 20" 1280 x 1024- $299.99 (after $69 rebate) at NewEgg:

    Hope that is enough. I don't know too much about Contrast Ratios or Response Times to base decisions off of them. Planning ahead I really don't think I need an HDTV ready television, EDTV (not the movie) would be a plus along with composite video inputs, seeing as I might be in the market for a Wii (not the war) or if I win the lottery, a PS3 sometime in the near future.

    So yeah, what do you think, I would really like to make an educated purchase, especially since I'll most likely be buying form these off-brands. Thanks.
  2. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    4/3=1024/768=1.33333/1 it's a ratio

    as for the tv's try and get any old 20" widescreen lcd, then you can run a 360/ps3 natively at 720p which is what i do with my 23" lcd tv.

    in general avoid 4:3 tv's everything is going 16:9.
  3. bobznc thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Sorry, I didn't really think that out. I for some reason assumed 1024/768 was a 16:9 ratio.

    20" widescreens seem really not to exist. 23" LCD TV's all seem to be widescreen. A 17" 16:9 kind of bothers me beacuse the main use of the TV will be to watch standard programs and playing PS2, with the secondary use as a second monitor for my 12" 4:3 Powerbook. I'd love to look in the future planning for HD televison and games, but I'm not sure if that is what I should be buying now for.
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    This is just a suggestion, and I admit a somewhat messy one, but you might at least consider a solution combining a TV tuner/Video to VGA converter box like this one:

    ($50-70 for this particular model, depending on where you get it and rebates)

    And a decent 19" (or larger) LCD monitor, which you should be able to find for a little over $200. Total price comes in right around $300, no rebate hassles, you get a MUCH higher resolution display when you're using it with a computer (none of this 600X800 business), and at least for the monitor you should be able to afford a decent brand like ViewSonic.

    Watch TV, play games, good monitor. Not an awful option, at least in theory... though I admit, I've never used one of those converter boxes, so I don't know how the quality is in reality.
  5. bobznc thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Sorry if this sounds like me talking aloud:

    I checked it out and doesn't seem like the worst idea, but I feel like I already talked myself out of a TV tuner, and if I'm not getting any dvr function out of it, I would really like to keep it simple. Thanks a lot for the input though. Nevertheless, I think I may stick with the affordable LCD TV.

    So I narrowed down my list to three based on several arbitrary criteria:

    • Niko OTP-2011R 20" 800 x 600- $249 (after $50 rebate) at TigerDirect:
    Pros: Seems to be well manufactured based on the pictures, by far the best price, even before the rebate. Colors would match my aluminum/ silver and black dominate decor. Speaker on the bottom would be sure to save space.
    Cons: Apparently the rebate is incredibly slow according to the reviews on NewEgg, some said they never got it all after. Has a sad 800 x 600 resolution, even through the VGA. One reviewer said it isn't great for gaming, due to the 16ms response time. Lacks a VGA to VGA Male cord.

    • Syntax Olevia LT20S 20" 800 x 600- $269.99 (after $60 rebate) at TigerDirect:
    Pros: Claims a 1024 x 768-pixel resolution when using the VGA cord, which is also supplied. Also seems to be well put together. The all silver would actually look great next to my Powerbook. The 12 ms is a plus. Most every review is positive. Seems to be an incredible seller on Amazon.
    Cons: Only negative review claimed the customer support is terrible, but that is the same with Niko and is basically expected from any low end electronic manufacturer. No screen tilt, which may or may not be a problem. Apparently the speakers blow, but I would be hooking them into my external Logitech’s as it is.

    • X2gen MV20T9 20" 1280 x 1024- $329 at Amazon:
    Pros: Says it’s HDTV ready. Highest resolution by far. Best contrast ratio at 700:1. One reviewer claims he is using it mainly as a computer monitor.
    Cons: Odd 5:4 aspect ratio. Of the only 2 reviews I could find, one person reported a dead pixel within his first week of owning it. Looks sloppily manufactured. Lacks composite ports. Black color wouldn’t fit in as well as the others. No tilt. Seems like the company isn’t great with the english language, which is always discouraging. Only reason it is on here is the fantastic resolution and contrast ratio for the price. I think this one is actually out.

    Results: I was almost sold on the Niko until reading about the horrors of the rebates, making the Syntax pull into first. The prospect of 1024 x 786 from the VGA as well as the 12 ms I think are going to be the winning factor.

    Syntax Olevia LT20S 20" LCD-TV seems to be the winner. Found it for $319.98 shipped at NewEgg! No rebates, but no hassles...
  6. kadajawi macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2006
    I would go for the Astar LTV-2001 because it looks just great. But actually I think you should get a 19" widescreen (or larger) and a TV card. You will get MUCH better quality if you choose a good tuner (most LCD TVs (especially the cheap ones) have crappy analog tuners and are not really good with scaling and deinterlacing and denoising etc.), at least with Windows and DScaler (guess something similar exists for the Mac too). You will also get much higher resolution (HDTV anyone), PVR. And you can use a nice, big screen on your PowerBook... 12" is really only something while not at home to me. The screen can also be in a much more comfortable position. Also I consider the black delivered by TV LCDs worse than the black of TFTs, and especially cheap LCDs are badly lit, some parts its dark and some its bright, while it should be one color. The built in speakers tend to be terrible too. Analog signal + LCDs are a bad combination.

    Been using a TV card in my PC for, uh, 5 years or so, recently upgraded to a higher quality one (and you should really get one of those if you're using analog TV, there is a HUGE difference). On windows you can also use dual screen for TV, so on one screen you watch TV while on the other one you can work.

    Although of course your video card may be a problem, but I did this with a GeForce 2 MX with 32 MB without a problem at all... though I used a second card for the dual monitor.

    That being said... IF you use a digital source and you have a good speaker system hooked up on the LCD, then the quality will be pretty nice. At least that was what I experienced with the cheap LCD TV my parents have. I still prefer my cheap TFT + PC approach though.

    Oh, and the TV tuner boxes with VGA... I've only seen a very cheap one a friend had from China for a few $, but that one was really terrible. Bad quality, ghosts, ...

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