LCD Computer Monitors vs. LCD Television Monitors

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Briarpatch24, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. Briarpatch24 macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2007
    Pretty simple - I'm looking to get a second monitor to extend my desktop for graphics work. I'm thinking... if I'm gonna spend the money on a monitor (probably 22"+) i would like to be able to use it as a television as well.

    So, the question is: What are the plusses and minuses to using an LCD Television as an external computer monitor? and how does that compare to the plusses and minuses of using an LCD Computer Monitor as a television. I'm most concerned with issues of functionality and ease for both uses, picture quality/clarity (as it relates to resolution and brightness).

    Thanks, in advance, for all your help.
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Well, as a very general rule, although LCD TVs and LCD monitors are functionally the same, they're each designed with a particular use in mind--TVs are, unsurprisingly, designed to be a TV, while monitors are designed to be a monitor.

    The most basic upshot of this is that monitors are generally higher-resolution than TVs. Your average LCD TV is going to be in the general range of 1000X700 or 1300X750 pixels, which is plenty for regular TV and even 720p HDTV. It's not particularly good resolution for a monitor, however--my 20" apple display is 1680X1050.

    So, for example, my 20" monitor (and my 17" laptop monitor, for that matter) has more useable pixels than my 30" TV. You sit one heck of a lot closer to your computer than to your TV, so this makes sense.

    Further, TVs generally include lots of inputs plus tuners--at the very least an NTSC (low-def analog) tuner for non-digital cable and antenna signals, and usually an ATSC and QAM tuner, too, for high-def TV. Plus plenty of HDMI, component, and RCA inputs for your DVD player, game systems, etc.

    A computer monitor is going to primarily have a DVI input, and rarely has a tuner (or a remote, for that matter). Some do offer a secondary HDMI/component input or three, so they can double as a TV if you have a cable box or an external tuner, but it's a secondary feature, not the primary one.

    Basically, if you're buying a monitor, it's generally going to be cheaper for a given resolution (no tuners, remotes, built-in speaker, pip, etc) and going to have more pixels per square inch than a TV. If you buy a TV, it'll be physically larger so you can see it from farther away, it'll have a remote, usually at least basic built-in speakers, probably several tuners, lots of inputs, and it's probably designed to handle at least crude deinterlacing and upscaling internally to improve the picture from older sources.

    So if you want a TV, buy a TV and make sure that it has an HDMI or DVI input that can handle a computer signal so it can double as a monitor. If you want a monitor, you should just buy a monitor and either get a separate TV or, if space is a premium, get one that has an axulliary input and get a cable/tuner box to plug into it.
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Well said.

Share This Page