Using a Smart TV as a Computer Monitor

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by schwine1, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. schwine1, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013

    schwine1 macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2008
    Is it a good idea to use a smart tv as a computer monitor?

    My main concern with doing this is the quality of the computer text.
    Will the text be blurry, or hopefully sharp and crisp?

    I only have experience with 27 inch dedicated computer monitors, and
    the smart tv's I am considering are 32 inch units. So the larger size screen is appealing, but is the quality of smart tv text comparable to dedicated computer monitors?

    I'm referring to text in all applications, including online text, Microsoft Word and Excel for Mac text, Mac Mail and text from the Notes application. In general, anywhere text is read within the tv screen.

    Here are the details about my computer.
    Mac Pro Desktop Tower (2.66 GHz quad-core intel xeon, early 2009), with the Mountain Lion OS (version 10.8.5).

    Here are the details about two smart tv's I am considering.

    Sony KDL-32W650A LED HDTV 32 inch

    Samsung 5500 Series Smart LED TV 32 inch

    Both LED tv's are 1080p with a refresh rate of 60 Hz.
    However, the Samsung has a "120 Clear Motion Rate," whatever that means.

    Both smart tv's also have a built-in browser for surfing the Internet.

    I will be using an hdmi to dvi cable for the connection.
    The hdmi end goes into the smart tv, and the dvi end goes into the computer.

    I'll make the necessary adjustments on the smart tv and computer in terms of optimal resolution.

    Thanks for any tips on using a smart tv as a computer monitor, and in particular, whether or not the quality of the text on 1080p smart tv's is as good as dedicated computer monitors.
  2. Giuly, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    The Sony KDL-32W650A (or rather the W/R series in general) may or may not be the pinnacle of current 3D-less 1080p TVs, however like every other display beyond 24" it's simply too large to be a viable computer screen at 1080p.

    Have a look at the Dell UltraSharp U2713HM or U3014 instead, both have an HDMI port for a cable box.
  3. Outrigger macrumors 68000


    Dec 22, 2008
    it doesn't matter if its smart tv, connected tv, dumb tv. at the end of the day, its still a tv which if you sit at your typical 2 feet distance, the text will not be sharp because the pixel size will be bigger. TVs are not meant to be used as a computer monitor. I tried it for a while, but would never do it again.
  4. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Definitely not for plasmas but that doesn't seem to be relevant to you.

    ^ This. Games are generally ok though.
  5. schwine1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2008
    Here is a better, more targeted question.

    Is there a 32 inch "computer monitor" on the market today?
    The largest "computer monitor" I've seen is 27 inch.
  6. meistervu macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    It won't be blurry unless there is something wrong with the connection. In a LCD panel a pixel is a pixel, not like a CRT. But it will be pixelated as Outrigger said.
  7. Giuly, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    Unless you're looking to spend $3500+ (plus the new Mac Pro to drive it), you're maxing out with the 30" Dell UltraSharp U3014 at 2560x1600.
  8. Puonti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2011
    There are some large computer monitors, though not sure about 32". Asus has a 31.5" PQ321QE (4K display, so priced accordingly), HP has the more reasonably priced 30" ZR30w and Z30i and Nec has a 30" PA301W (also pretty pricey).
  9. Outrigger macrumors 68000


    Dec 22, 2008
    ok, blurry was the wrong word. not sharp and pixelated depending on your viewing distance.
  10. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    This looks like a pretty cool TV to use as a monitor.
  11. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    The connection should not affect things one way or another. The connection is digital. It will display to the resolution of the panel.

    The OP's question is not at all unusual. It is borne of a fundamental lack of understanding of the design goals of TVs and computer monitors. The two devices have almost diametrically opposing design goals. Computer monitors are designed to view primarily text from within arm's reach--about two feet away. TV sets are designed to view primarily moving pictures from across the room--six to twelve feet away.

    Another thing is that real estate on the two displays is used quite differently. The characters on a 20" computer display are the same size as the characters on a 30" computer display. The larger the computer ay, the more text and graphics it can present. A TV set flips this on its head. A 32" TV set shows the exact same number is pixels as a 84" set. The larger display allows the viewer to be more distant from the display. This, in turn, allows more viewers.

    The bottom line is that a TV set does not make for a good computer monitor. A computer monitor makes for a very expensive TV set.
  12. meistervu macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    True, with the OP's computer in mind, the connection is digital, so it will either is there, or not, no blurry text. In general, if you connect to an LCD using an analog cable, it's possible to have blurry text if the connection is bad.

    The rest of your response doesn't shed much light on the topic. Forget the design goal of a product, instead focus on the physical characteristics because it's black and white in this case.

    In this case, 1920x1080 pixels spread out over a 32 inch display viewing at an arm length distance will makes thing appears grainy, i.e.. you can see individual pixels. However, if your eyesight are bad, 32 inch display at that distance can be exactly what you are looking for.

    One thing about larger display is that it's harder to design even back lighting. But then again, don't go by design goal and specs on paper. Look at one in real person. What may be bad on paper may not matter at all in person.

    A friend of mine bought one of these 32 inch TV to use as a monitor and he loved it. It's not for me though.

  13. Giuly macrumors 68040


    The backlight on the Sony is rather uniform (for a TV), so that shouldn't be the problem. It does however have a LED-backlit AOU M-MVA panel and not an IPS one, which also makes it less great as a computer display.

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