HDTV as Computer Display

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by danny_w, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. danny_w macrumors 601

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    Austin, TX
    #1
    I know there are a multitude of threads on this, and I have looked at most of them. However, the ones the I have looked at generally were concerned with using the hdtv as a tv, with occasional computer use. I am looking at it from the other way around. Allow me to explain.

    I do not have the best eyesight in the world, and generally run my 20" monitor at much lower than the native resolution of 1680x1050, and I still end up leaning over the desk to see well. Of course, the text does not look as good as it would at native resolution, and I cannot fit much on the screen. I did an experiment last night where I placed the monitor at the back of my desk, set the resolution to where it looked big enough for me to read comfortably, and then calculated out to see what size display would give me a 1388x768 (720p) image at the roughly same font size. This showed me that I could place a 32" hdtv at the back of my desk and see the text plainly at the native resolution. So I need a 32" hdtv to get the display size that I need.

    My question, not knowing anything about hdtv's and never having used one for a computer, is how do they compare when displaying text (at their native resolution) to a computer monitor (at its native resolution)? Would a 720p hdtv look better than my 20" at the same resolution? Compared to the monitor at 848x530? Does anybody have any recommendations on what to look for? Thanks for any help in advance.
     
  2. thegman1234 macrumors 6502

    thegman1234

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    Long Island
    #2
    Unfortunately from what I've seen they're terrible. Not only is it difficult to get the colors right, but the quality is pretty bad. I plug my laptop into my 30inch tube hd everyonce in a while to play games and that's fine. But when it comes to reading text I have to use the zoom feature in OSX to really get a decent reading on things. I think it has something to do with the fact that tv's are NTSC. So even if the tv has a designated PC input, the quality I believe will still be kinda of bad. However this might be different with a more expensive tv.

    Edit: I have a 23inch ACD and I just tried lowering the resolution and the text looked great. You might want to look into one of those. However you need double DVI for a 30 inch, so you wouldn't be able to go that big with the Macs that you have in your sig.
     
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
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    USA
    #3
    You are correct. TV displays and computer monitors are definite devices that serve different purposes. Computer monitors make small expensive TV sets. TV sets make big crappy computer monitors. Consider the 30" Apple Cinema Display, which is really too big for most users. It has enough pixels to simultaneously display every pixel of four (4) 720p high-definition videos with space left over.
     
  4. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #4
    I am well aware that computer monitors have a much higher resolution than tv monitors, and that is exactly the reason I am interested in a tv monitor. While the 30" Apple display can display very high resolutions very well, the resulting text is too small for me to see. I normally run my computer monitor in a very low resolution anyway, and I was wondering if a tv monitor does as good of a job at a low resolution. To get the text large enough to see easily on my 20" display I have to set it to 848x480, which is about equivalent text-wise to 1366x768 on a 32" monitor (text would appear about the same size on both monitors). What I am asking is will the 32" hdtv display the text clearly at that resolution, assuming that the tv is a 720p model? And I already expect that the answer may be "no", but I have never seen text on an hdtv before so I don't know.
     
  5. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #5
    they are telling you to do the same thing that you already do with your monitor now, but on an apple 30" monitor.

    just go to an apple store, set the resolution lower on the 30" display, and see how you like it
     
  6. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #6
    OK, I know that the Apple 30" display supposedly requires a dual-link dvi connection, but is that only for the high resolutions? Can a Macbook drive the 30" display at lower resolutions?
     
  7. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    TX
    #7
    no
     
  8. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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  9. thegman1234 macrumors 6502

    thegman1234

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    #9
    I'm sorry I may not have been too clear. No tv at any resolution will give you clear text. I don't know how clear you really need it, but a tv will not do a good job of showing text, hd or not.

    Yes the 30 inch ACD requires dual link DVI which none of your Macs support. However, a 23 inch may suffice as I tested the clarity of text at low resolutions on mine, and the quality was pretty darn good. So you may be able to go with a 23 inch ACD instead of having to go with a 32 inch HD tv.

    Hope that helped.
     
  10. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

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    Dec 2, 2003
    #10
    I disagree, I've used text on a standard def tv for simple web surfing with acceptable clarity (though it's not too pretty), and an HDTV would certainly be sharper.
     
  11. heiesuke macrumors newbie

    heiesuke

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    #11
    I use one HDTV and one LCD monitor as my dual display setup. The TV can help me view my media, pictures and random stuff with ease as the monitor helps me with my work. I also play games on the HDTV, well those that allow it and they look better and bigger. I wouldn't recommend doing print work for accurate colors on the tv set, but I also illustrate and the smaller resolution is sometimes a nice look less stress on the eyes.
     
  12. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #12
    I totally disagree with you on this. Will a dedicated monitor be better than an HDTV in displaying text? Of course it will. Will an HDTV be acceptable for some/many people, including the OP? Yes!

    I have a Sharp 46" 1080p HDTV and the text clarity is quite acceptable. And this Sharp is definately not a top-of-the-line TV. I'm using DVI-HDMI and it's easily readable.

    I'm sure the OP can find a decent 32" 768p HDTV for his purposes. It's not like his eyes are that great in the first place.

    The 30" ACD won't work for his set-up and it's $$$. A 23" ACD won't look as good when set at a non-native resolution. I would surmise that a 23" ACD set to a resolution where the OP can read the text would be comparable to a decent 32" HDTV at it's native resolution.

    ft
     
  13. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    #13
    I must agree. For text a dedicated computer monitor will always win. Also TV sets are not designed to be watched at a viewing distance of 18" to 24"
     
  14. kolax macrumors G3

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #14
    I use my 37" LCD HD TV as a monitor quite regularly. I use it for playing mainly videos and movies though.

    The quality for text and likes of surfing the net is fine, however it ain't no monitor.
     
  15. thegman1234 macrumors 6502

    thegman1234

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    #15
    I wouldn't be so sure of that, because he says he has bad eyesight, an "acceptable" text quality may not do the trick. I've used both RCA, S-Video, and VGA and have not found anything that I enjoyed. Maybe using DVI to HDMI is different at the computers output in DVI and HDMI is supposedly amazing.

    We know the 30inch ACD won't work for his computers, but as I stated before, the 23inch ACD DOES look good out of native resolution as I tested it. I do have one therefore I am able to test that, and at the resolution he had his 20 inch monitor at, the 23inch looks excellent.

    Not necessarily, standard definition tvs show some things better than HD tvs do believe it or not.

    It all has to do with formatting, that's the bottom line of it. Tvs are an NTSC format, now I have no clue what that means but I know it's not the best for a computer.

    In all honesty though, the best thing you can do is test them out. Bring your computer to the Apple store, and a Best Buy or Circuit City or wherever you like to go. See if they'll let you plug your computer in.

    And when it comes to HD LCD's be careful of the contrast ratio. Even if you find a tv with a native res of 1388x768, a tv with a 1000:1 contrast ratio will give you quality issues.

    To get a really good image you'll probably need something along the lines of at least 2000:1 which can start to get expensive.

    But definitely see if you can try them out, we can all sit here all day giving you suggestiongs, but seeing is believing you know.
     
  16. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Austin, TX
    #16
    Thanks to everyone for your input. I guess I will try to take my MB to the stores and see if they will let me hook it up, but I don't expect that most of them will. For some reason it seems that stores around here would rather you buy it and bring it back if it doesn't work out. That is a lot of hassle, but I may have to do it. Thanks again!
     
  17. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    Feb 6, 2006
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    London
    #17
    Yes. It will drive it at 1280x800. Anybody who tells you otherwise is wrong. I am running one off of a Mini right now while I wait for the MP update. Same dedicated Intel graphics as your MacBook. If your eyesight is poor, this is actually a pretty good resolution though, depending on the application, it can be a little jagged.
     
  18. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    #18
    Don't answer when you don't know what you are talking about. Your answer is just plain wrong.
     
  19. thegman1234 macrumors 6502

    thegman1234

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    Nov 10, 2007
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    #19
    That's interesting, I was unaware of that. I was under the impression that you needed both links for it to work.

    To the OP. Good luck, if you explain your dilemma you may be able to get TV stores to let you test your computer. If they don't, complain to Eyewitness news lol.

    And of course Apple has ACD's hooked up at their store, and they'll definitely let you test the resolutions there.
     
  20. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Mar 8, 2005
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    Austin, TX
    #20
    Well, I have been vacillating back and forth, and I finally went out today and bought a Westinghouse 26H240S 26" hdtv to try with my Macbook. I checked the menu in the store and found that it had settings for Standard, Fill, and Overscan picture view modes. I tried them all out on the tv signals and it looked like the Standard might work for a computer display with no overscan. Unfortunately I can't get the menubar to show up no matter what setting I use when connected via miniDVI-DVI-HDMI, no matter what resolution I select, and I get a very loud hum from the backlight unless it is on 100%. If I had a miniDVI-VGA adapter I might try the VGA input and see if that works better, but what is the purpose in that? Since the backlight is on all the way it is extremely bright, certainly too bright for a dark room. Oh well, what could I really expect from a cheap hdtv? And no,I don't want to mess around with DisplayConfigX, or whatever that is. I guess I will take it back tomorrow. Too bad too, since the size and clarity look pretty good for my use.

    EDIT: I might go try the Samsung LN-T2642H or the Panasonic TC26LX70. Has anybody tried using either of these units with a computer via hdmi? They are both much more expensive but may be worth it if they work right via hdmi.
     
  21. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

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    Dec 2, 2003
    #21
    If you're using a laptop, unless you have video mirroring turned on or you set the 2nd display to act as the primary display then the menu bar will never show up on the 2nd display no matter what kind of monitor it is.
     
  22. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Austin, TX
    #22
    I have been using a 2nd display since I got it just fine. I normally work in clamshell mode, and when I don't I have the external set as the primary display with the menu bar and dock.
     
  23. JHNguyen macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    #23
    Sorry if this is no help, but..

    I recently bought a Sony Bravia 32" that works great with my macbook pro. It is my permanant display for my macbook pro, as well as TV for xbox 360.

    The max resolution is 1360 x 768, and that worked out fine for me. At first, the HDTV bugged my eyes quite a bit, but now I have gotten used to it. It's not that it's blurrier, just something about the colors I can't get right. One thing I DO have problems with is certain colored texts are very hard to see, but, I haven't come across anything like that. I only knew about it when reading about others using it as a monitor.

    Other than that colored text thing. It's great. I wouldn't use it for photo editting or video editing. But for what I'm using it for, it's fine. Plus, the sony bravia has a VGA plug in the back as well as HDMI. I've tried both and can't tell a difference from either one, but, with VGA, there's a setting so that when your monitor goes to sleep, the TV goes to sleep as well too.

    If I had to do it over again, I'd get a dell monitor. But then again, I'm only using the HDTV as my monitor (for movies/tv shows as well) and xbox 360.. no cable channels or anything. And I also got the 32" Bravia for a very decent price.
     
  24. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #24
    I was thinking about the 26" or 32" Bravia models when I was at BB today, but they would have been a stretch. Good to know that they work though, they may be an option for me. So I take it you get the complete desktop on screen even in hdmi mode? That would be great. Thanks for the tip.
     
  25. Spievy macrumors regular

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    Dec 24, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia
    #25
    I think a lot of you guys have not connected your computer to a HD LCD TV correctly. It has spectacular color representation and VERY sharp of course that is depending on how far away you are from the TV. I have an Olevia 37" LCD running at 1360x768 (VGA CONNECTOR). I love it I am using right now. BTW I am about 8 feet away. I have found HDMI a little blurry, I use VGA.
     

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