Displays: HDTV vs large LCD monitor

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by CortexRock, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. CortexRock macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2006
    Canterbury, England
    Hi folks

    Looking for some opinions on a display purchasing decision I'll be making in the near future...

    I want to be able to replace my aging Sony CRT 28" widescreen SDTV and get the best of both worlds for TV and computer:
    • Use as main display for new Mac Pro (with a smaller secondary display as a backup)
    • Watch HD movies via Blu-ray in 1080p24p with 120Hz
    • Watch HD movies in H.264 via iTunes/VLC
    • Watch SD broadcasts via Sky set-top box/Elgato EyeTV 250
    • Watch SD movies via standalone DVD player
    So I need a flexible display with plenty of connectivity options. I have around £1,000 to spend.

    I'm considering the new Dell 3008 30" monitor or the Samsung 40" LE40F86BD HDTV initially, but would like to hear from anyone who has other ideas or suggestions!

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. Eric1285 macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2007
    I thought about going with an HDTV as my primary monitor for a long time. I've had a 24" LCD for a while now, and when I got my 46" 1080P Sharp Aquos, I hooked my MBP up to it to try and use it as a monitor. I found that I have to sit pretty close (definitely within 10 feet, the sweet spot being about 6 feet) to be able to work with the tv as my monitor. Even then, some things are too small to see. I suppose it would work better if I were only 4 feet away, but my space isn't set up like that.
  3. Nugget macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    Wow, these two options are going to offer dramatically different computing experiences. Your decision can be encapsulated into this simple question:

    When you use your Mac Pro do you intend to sit in front of the display or 15 feet away from the display?

    If you plan to sit in front of the display, an HDTV will be beyond useless for you. If you plan to sit 15 feet away from the display then the 30" display will be absolutely useless for you.

    The Dell 30" (or Apple 30") display is a 2560x1600 high resolution display which can only be used at normal distances just like any other LCD computer display. You put it on a desk, sit in a chair, and view it from 1-2 feet away. That's the only way it can be used as a computer display. If you're across the room from it you will not be able to read anything.

    Any HDTV is a mid-resolution (1920x1080 max) display designed to be viewed from across the room. If you sit down right in front of it like you would with a normal display it will be unwieldy and difficult to use. Everything on the screen will be much too large and the (relatively) low resolution will drive you crazy. An HDTV can serve as a computer display only if you're comfortable with the plan of using the computer from across the room sort of like you're watching your computer on TV.
  4. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    i agree with what Nugget said and will add alittle with that.

    i debated on wether i wanted a hdtv as a display or just get a large full resolution 30" monitor.
    the idea of an all-in-one was nice, but i do more graphic work than i do leisure television watching...so i opted to spend alittle more on something im in front of and use more often than not.
    the resolution is just dependent on what you use your system for.
    if you do web browsing, emails, word processing, gaming, and other activities that dont do too much with graphic or video work..youll be fine. with a resolution of about 1366x768 ~ 1920x1080 and depending on the size wont be accurate enough for doing detail orientated work.

    now im not trying to say oh dont get a hdtv for your system.
    a 40" @ 1920x1080 would be similair to the dell 27" but if you stretched it to fit the 40" monitor (if that helps or makes sense)

    i first bought a 32" HDTV so i could watch movies/work and then switch to tv programming but it was too much of a hassle and i couldnt bare the resolution difference personally. though it looked great, i just opted to use the 500$ as my appleTV and purchase a separate monitor. but thats just me.

    goodluck and that hdtv looks nice =)
  5. CortexRock thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2006
    Canterbury, England
    Hahah... yep, that pretty much sums up my thought process initially. I want a big screen for movies, definitely though.

    Might have to fall back on my sturdy old Sony 19" TFT for day-to-day computing (what I had on my PC prior to switching), with the HDTV set up as a second monitor to give me a bit of extra flexibility.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone. I suppose one day there will be a device that truly straddles the gap between high res computer monitors and relatively mid-res HDTV... but until then, I'll have to compromise.
  6. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    TV's aren't designed to be looked at from 2 feet (approx) so if you are going to be sitting with the computer keyboard and the "screen" on a desk in front of you TV's are non runners. Get a decent monitor .. ;)
  7. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    My 40" AQUOS 1080P LCD requires a 6 foot viewing distance to start looking crisp. I purchased a MX Air Logitech Mouse and Bluetooth Apple Keyboard to accommodate the distance. It's been a few months and I am about to mount my TV for its true purposes and get a more reasonable sized ACD for the desk.

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