TV as a Computer monitor?

Afbar1114

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 18, 2012
778
6
It seems like tvs are cheaper then monitors but can they be used as one for my MBP.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
It seems like tvs are cheaper then monitors but can they be used as one for my MBP.
Most cheap TVs are 720p as opposed to 1080p which means they'll actually have a lower resolution than the native screen on 15 and 17 inch variants of the MBP. To me, that is counterproductive, as I use an external screen because there is more real estate, not less than my screen.

Moreover, most TV's are larger than computer monitors, which will affect the dots per inch. Images will appear pixelated or rough compared to a proper monitor. Most use cheap LCD panels that do not reproduce colour all that well.

Don't forget that most TVs also have a larger footprint than their proper monitor counterparts. If you plan on using it at a desk, it may be a problem.

If you can live with that, sure, TV's can do an okay job. Personally, I'd look elsewhere.
 
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Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
I wouldn't recommend trying to use a TV as a normal desktop computer monitor.

TVs are cheaper for their size because they usually have much lower pixel density. They are designed to view moving video from across the room, not to read text from 2 feet away.

Some TVs also have issues displaying a computer image without doing strange scaling or clipping the borders. That mostly depends on the specific TV and how it handles different inputs (some have special computer input modes that fix that).

If you want a display for watching video on then go for it, but it probably won't be satisfactory if you just want to use it like a normal monitor.
 
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cocacolakid

macrumors 65816
Dec 18, 2010
1,108
19
Chicago
I've used a 37" Vizio 1080p HDTV as my computer monitor for 2 years without problems or any complaints. It has far more inputs than a regular monitor. I have my 2011 Mac Mini Server on it, as well as 2 other HDMI spots, which are taken up by my Xbox 360 and either my Power Mac G5 or a computer I might be fixing for someone. I also have a Windows machine hooked up to the VGA input because I have a finicky thermal printer that refuses to work properly on any Mac, even in Parallels. And it also has traditional Composite and Component inputs that come in handy in a pinch or for testing older equipment. And the ability to actually use it as a Television is an added plus, but I rarely do that since I do have other TV's and I'm normally on the computer when I'm in this room. The price when I bought this was around $500, and a 30" traditional computer monitor at the time was well over $2,000.
 
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crazydawg807

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2011
27
0
Nor-Cal
I use a 19in Samsung tv as an external monitor. It was pretty cheap, as I'm a college student and on a tight budget. As previously said, computer monitors will look sharper than tvs, but for me my tv gets the job done
 
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Nov 28, 2010
22,684
28
located
The price when I bought this was around $500, and a 30" traditional computer monitor at the time was well over $2,000.
The difference being two million more pixels on the 30" display with its 2560 x 1600 pixel (4,096,000 pixel) compared to a 37" TV with 1920 x 1080 pixel (2,073,600 pixel). Also consider the pixels per inch, which are almost 60 PPI on the 37" TV compared to the 100 PPI on the 30" display.
 
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mrsir2009

macrumors 604
Sep 17, 2009
7,505
156
Melbourne, Australia
TVs are designed to be viewed from several meters away, not half a metre or so like computer monitors - Therefore there will be less pixels per inch and the picture quality will be terrible up close. Go up and watch your TV from the same distance that you'd use your computer... The quality ain't great, is it?
 
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cocacolakid

macrumors 65816
Dec 18, 2010
1,108
19
Chicago
The difference being two million more pixels on the 30" display with its 2560 x 1600 pixel (4,096,000 pixel) compared to a 37" TV with 1920 x 1080 pixel (2,073,600 pixel). Also consider the pixels per inch, which are almost 60 PPI on the 37" TV compared to the 100 PPI on the 30" display.
Obviously a computer monitor gives you a higher resolution and far more pixels, I'm not arguing it's not. But I didn't have the $2,000 or more to buy a gigantic computer monitor at the time, and I have no problem with this Vizio. The picture quality is great, I have no pixel issues or trouble reading text. I can sit 3-4 feet away or take my keyboard/mouse or iPad and go sit across the room to watch a movie or anything else. And all of the different inputs as I said are very handy.
 
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