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01-Jul-2012, 07:04 AM #1
Solved: Can I use a modern TV as a monitor for my PC?
I want to upgrade my PC's monitor. I'm currently using a 23" monitor and it's just not large enough for me.

I'm thinking of getting a 27" monitor. But I'm also wondering about getting a new TV instead (one with a 40" display) and using that TV as a monitor for my PC. I've heard that I can use a modern TV as a monitor for my PC by using an HDMI cable input.

Does anyone know of any problems associated with using a modern TV as a monitor for the PC?

A monitor that is any larger than 27" can cost thousands of dollars, whereas I can get a new 40" TV now for around $300.

So, my interest is strictly price. Can I truly expect to be able to use a 40" TV as a monitor for my PC? I'd really love to have a monitor that was that large.

I'd very much appreciate if anyone here has any first-hand experience with this and can advise me. Are there any problems that you know of in using a TV as a monitor?

I'm not really looking to use the same TV both as a TV and a monitor for my PC and switching between the two. I'm just looking to get a larger display for my PC than my current 23" monitor.

Would anyone know if there are any problems with doing this?
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01-Jul-2012, 09:01 AM #2
You would need to make sure the video controller in your computer supports an HDMI output running the native (actual) resolution of the TV you wish to purchase.

Do you want the bigger screen so that you can see more information being displayed at the same time? If so, you may be in for a disappointment. The current highest resolution for an HDTV screen (at least in the USA) is 1920x1080 pixels. Some computer monitors have higher resolutions than that, even thought they have a smaller diagonal screen size than an HDTV set.

Are you going to be showing any kind of fast motion, such as movies or computer games, with the computer? If so, you may be in for another disappointment. An inexpensive HDTV may not have the response time you need for high speed on screen motion and is may also operate in an interlaced scan mode instead of progressive scan. This can cause annoying artifacts of fast moving things on the screen.
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01-Jul-2012, 11:57 PM #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwwozniak View Post
You would need to make sure the video controller in your computer supports an HDMI output running the native (actual) resolution of the TV you wish to purchase.

Do you want the bigger screen so that you can see more information being displayed at the same time? If so, you may be in for a disappointment. The current highest resolution for an HDTV screen (at least in the USA) is 1920x1080 pixels. Some computer monitors have higher resolutions than that, even thought they have a smaller diagonal screen size than an HDTV set.

Are you going to be showing any kind of fast motion, such as movies or computer games, with the computer? If so, you may be in for another disappointment. An inexpensive HDTV may not have the response time you need for high speed on screen motion and is may also operate in an interlaced scan mode instead of progressive scan. This can cause annoying artifacts of fast moving things on the screen.
Oh my! That is certainly some great info!! Thank you very much.

I wanted the larger display for two main reasons.

1) I wanted to be able to see more info on the display. You make it very clear that I will not be able to use a big screen TV for that purpose. My current resolution on my 23" monitor is 1920 x 1080. So, I guess I am at the maximum when it comes to TVs. If I want to see more info on the screen, I will have to buy a larger monitor.

2) But I also wanted a big screen so that I can use it from multiple distances. I'd really like to be able to use it when sitting at my desk. But also when sitting up in bed and the TV will be much further from my bed than it will be from my desk.

So, that desire might still be able to be met.

I have an HDMI cable and I have used it in the past to connect my 32" Sony TV to my PC and that worked great.

However, my 32" TV has become a little damaged. It has a few dark spots on it and it would be wonderful to upgrade the monitor for my PC as well as my TV - both with a single stroke and a single cost. It would save me some serious money.

So, I will have to consider what you've said most carefully and then make an educated purchase.

Thank you very, very much for that info. It was most helpful and I thank you again.

I will leave this thread open for a day or two - in case you or anyone else has any further advice for me. If not, I will mark it "Soved" after that time.
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02-Jul-2012, 11:10 AM #4
Wallenberg:

I have been using an inexpensive Sanyo 32 inch LCD as a computer monitor for almost two years now and have not had any problems doing so. I use this set-up for all my graphics\video work and find it more than adequate. I also have it hooked to cable TV, on air TV, and a DVD allowing me to switch between all modes flawlessly using the remote.
To tell you the truth I am not to sure why more people are not switching over too this set-up.

Dave
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02-Jul-2012, 02:05 PM #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallenberg View Post
I'd really like to be able to use it when sitting at my desk. But also when sitting up in bed and the TV will be much further from my bed than it will be from my desk.
With you sitting at the desk, it would be like watching a movie at a theater with a big screen and sitting in the first couple of rows. You might start to get some eye and neck strain from moving your focus to different parts of the screen. Plus, if you wanted to see everything on the screen at once, you could find yourself leaning way back in your chair to do so.

You could try going to a store that sells HDTVs, and find an operating model TV with the same resolution and similar size as the one you are considering purchasing. Then get your face as close the the screen as it would be with the TV on your desk and start shifting you attention to different areas of the screen. Then imagine doing so for long periods of time.
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02-Jul-2012, 04:46 PM #6
I use a 47" LED TV as the monitor for my home theater. Using hdmi cable I have had zero problems; works great. I do not play games on it however movies look fine.

As pointed out above make sure you have a hdmi output from your video card.
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02-Jul-2012, 06:36 PM #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davey7549 View Post
Wallenberg:

I have been using an inexpensive Sanyo 32 inch LCD as a computer monitor for almost two years now and have not had any problems doing so. I use this set-up for all my graphics\video work and find it more than adequate. I also have it hooked to cable TV, on air TV, and a DVD allowing me to switch between all modes flawlessly using the remote.
To tell you the truth I am not to sure why more people are not switching over too this set-up.

Dave
I think the reason is made very clear by cwwozniak.

According to (him/her), the maximum resolution available when using a TV is 1920 x 1080.

I suppose many people don't need anything larger than that and so they can use a TV and can be perfectly happy with it.

I am currently using that resolution on a 23" monitor and although it is very good, I've been using that config for several years now and I'd like to see more info on my display.

But if I want any higher resolution, according to cwwozniak, I need to get a bigger monitor that will support a bigger resolution and I am more than ready to do that.

I bought a 27' monitor a few days ago but drastically over-paid for it. (I paid $329 but then saw the exact same make and model for sale at a diff store for only $199). I really enjoyed the experience of using that 27" monitor and I am eager to get back to that. It will cost me $199 plus a government "landfill" tax. The total will come to about $236. Compare that to the total I paid when I bought the $329 monitor. That was $383. So, $383 - $236 is $147. Had I kept that 27" monitor, I would have spent $147 more than necessary.

I returned that 27" monitor for a refund but plan to get another one within a few days. It's easily worth $236 to me to get a 27" monitor. The experience of using a 27" monitor was a significant improvement over my 23" monitor.

Here in Canada, we have to pay a 13% general purpose tax on anything we buy (except for food). In addition we have to pay a tax on technology products that the government calls a "recycling fee" but many of the people who have to pay it call it a "landfill tax" because that is what the money is used for (to purchase and maintain the landfills).

For a $199 monitor the 13% tax plus the $11.00 recycling fee comes to $236.

I am just assuming the recycling tax will be $11 because that is what I had to pay for the $329 27" monitor. I don't know if it will be exactly proportion to the price or not. I just guessed $11 since that is what I paid for the $329 monitor. I just thought I should explain that.

If it is proportional and cost me $11 on a $327 product, it will be $6.65 on a $199 monitor.

I want to thank everyone for their replies. You people have provided me with some truly excellent information and I am grateful. I will leave this thread open for another 2 days in case anyone has anything more to add. But then I will mark as Solved.

Thank you all very much again.

Last edited by Wallenberg; 02-Jul-2012 at 11:01 PM..
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02-Jul-2012, 11:27 PM #8
If you really want to see a lot at the same time and have the room and the right controller card, you can expand your Windows desktop across two side by side monitors.

Oh, I am a "he".
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03-Jul-2012, 06:55 AM #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwwozniak View Post
If you really want to see a lot at the same time and have the room and the right controller card, you can expand your Windows desktop across two side by side monitors.

Oh, I am a "he".


Thanks Chuck. I should tell you that I bought an advanced graphics card so that I could use an HDMI cable and connect my PC to my TV.

When I did that, I tried several different techniques - including placing two monitors side-by-side.

But, I had a problem with that because there was a significant gap between the two monitors along the horizontal axis. That is there was about six inches between the end of the image on the right hand side of the first monitor and the beginning of the image on the left hand side of the second monitor. That was a result of the physical bars surrounding the images and so far as I can see, that problem can never be eliminated. Can it?

Besides, that technique may have expanded the horizontal axis. But it didn't do anything to expand the vertical. What do you do about the vertical? I checked and this technique applies to putting two monitors together - side by side. But, there was just no technique for placing two monitors together - one on top of the other.

Also, to work best, you need two monitors that are both exactly the same size and have very little separation between them. I seem to remember that separation was a very unpleasant aspect of using two monitors side-by-side. There was at least six inches separating the two images on the horizontal axis. Have you ever found any way to eliminate that separation?

Do you use that technique on a regular basis?
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03-Jul-2012, 07:16 AM #10
I just tried to use my HDMI cable again to check the quality of the image and I found out two things:

1) The only resolution that seems to work at all on my TV is 1680 x 1080 and not 1920 x 1080 as I previously recalled.

2) At that resolution, the image of text displayed by my editor is not at all clear and crisp. It is very difficult to read from anything further away than about 3 feet.

But a large part of that is due to the fact that my TV has become a little damaged and parts of the screen contain dark areas that are very difficult to see.

I'm wondering if a new TV (I currently use a Sony 32" TV) might resolve these problems. Even a new TV at the same size might be a huge improvement. But a 38" or 40" TV would probably be even better.

The cost of a new TV would be close to the cost of a new monitor and maybe if I got a new 38" or 40" TV, that might solve both problems at the same time.

I see a new 38" TV for sale for around $300. Compare that to a new 27" monitor which is $200.

I'm thinking it may be worth paying the extra money because then I will be able to get rid of the damaged TV I currently use and also be able to use that new TV as a monitor for my PC as well as a normal TV.

What do you think?
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03-Jul-2012, 08:51 AM #11
I can use either d-sub or hdmi with my bravia, you can convert dvi to either hdmi or d-sub
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03-Jul-2012, 08:48 PM #12
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Originally Posted by techniquev3 View Post
I can use either d-sub or hdmi with my bravia, you can convert dvi to either hdmi or d-sub
I'm sorry but I don't understand what you mean.

How does one convert DVI to either HDMI or D-SUB?

I googled "D-Sub" and now I know what it is. But I still don't know how it can help me. Can you please explain?

What are the advantages to converting DVI to either HDMI or D-SUB?

My biggest problem with using the TV is reading 60 lines of text on a single screen with my editor.

I need a TV that will display that text from about 6 feet.

Thank you.

Last edited by Wallenberg; 04-Jul-2012 at 07:22 AM..
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05-Jul-2012, 11:24 AM #13
To clarify my last post,

my problem is that when I try to read a 60 line text page from my editor on my big screen TV, it is kind of blurry and not at all easy to read.

AAMOF, it is downright difficult to read the screen from about 6 feet away and understand what it says.
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05-Jul-2012, 12:21 PM #14
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Originally Posted by Wallenberg View Post
How does one convert DVI to either HDMI or D-SUB?

I googled "D-Sub" and now I know what it is.
There are three variations of the DVI standard.

A DVI-D output only has serial digital data video signals. The signal timing and levels are the same as in the HDMI standard. A simple adapter cable or connector block would allow a video controller with DVI-D output to drive a monitors HDMI input.

EDIT: Any kind of DVI-D to HDMI adapter would only work with a single link DVI-I signal. There is no simple way to combine a dual link DVI-D signal into a single HDMI output.

A DVI-A output only has RGB analog video signals and digital horizontal and vertical sync signals for outputs. The timing and signal levels are the same as those that come out of a 15 pin VGA connector. The shell of a VGA connector is matches standard D-Sub(minature) dimensions. A simple adapter cable or connector block would allow a video controller with DVD-A output to drive a monitors VGA input. techniquev3 chose not to use an accurate description of the connector, as there is a much older video digital video standard that uses the same size D-Sub shell that had only a total of 9 pins in two rows.

A DVI-I connector has a pin-out that combines a DVI-D and DVI-A connector and outputs both types of video. It could drive either a VGA or HDMI input to a monitor, depending on the type of adapter cable or adapter block used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallenberg View Post
What are the advantages to converting DVI to either HDMI or D-SUB?
There is no advantage of converting a DVI-D or DVI-I output to HDMI. You would only need to convert if the TV/Monitor does not have a DVI-D or DVI-input

There is no advantage of converting a DVI-A or DVI-I output to VGA (D-Sub). You would only need to convert if the TV/Monitor does not have a DVI-A or DVI-input, but has a VGA input.

In most cases, an all digital video signal path with give you a better picture if the TV/Monitor has both analog and digital inputs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallenberg View Post
My biggest problem with using the TV is reading 60 lines of text on a single screen with my editor.
The minimum monitor resolution needed to display that much text would depend on the font size, font style and and spacing between rows of text. Assuming the text box is filling the whole screen and you are using a simple DOS command screen type of text display, you could get away with a monitor have a vertical resolution of 720 pixel (12 vertical pixels per row of text and spacing).

As for the needed screen size to show that amount of legible text at a certain viewing distance, there are some some standards around that have formulas that show the relationship between screen size and viewing distance for a person with average visual acuity.

One thing you do need to do is drive the TV/Monitor at its native resolution by the computer. If the monitor supports inputting other video resolutions, it only means that its internal hardware converts the incoming video on the fly to match its native resolution. This will usually result in fuzzy text and image details.

Last edited by cwwozniak; 05-Jul-2012 at 12:35 PM.. Reason: Clariifcation of Dual vs. Single Link DVI-D outputs
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05-Jul-2012, 03:50 PM #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwwozniak View Post
There are three variations of the DVI standard.

A DVI-D output only has serial digital data video signals. The signal timing and levels are the same as in the HDMI standard. A simple adapter cable or connector block would allow a video controller with DVI-D output to drive a monitors HDMI input.

EDIT: Any kind of DVI-D to HDMI adapter would only work with a single link DVI-I signal. There is no simple way to combine a dual link DVI-D signal into a single HDMI output.

A DVI-A output only has RGB analog video signals and digital horizontal and vertical sync signals for outputs. The timing and signal levels are the same as those that come out of a 15 pin VGA connector. The shell of a VGA connector is matches standard D-Sub(minature) dimensions. A simple adapter cable or connector block would allow a video controller with DVD-A output to drive a monitors VGA input. techniquev3 chose not to use an accurate description of the connector, as there is a much older video digital video standard that uses the same size D-Sub shell that had only a total of 9 pins in two rows.

A DVI-I connector has a pin-out that combines a DVI-D and DVI-A connector and outputs both types of video. It could drive either a VGA or HDMI input to a monitor, depending on the type of adapter cable or adapter block used.


There is no advantage of converting a DVI-D or DVI-I output to HDMI. You would only need to convert if the TV/Monitor does not have a DVI-D or DVI-input

There is no advantage of converting a DVI-A or DVI-I output to VGA (D-Sub). You would only need to convert if the TV/Monitor does not have a DVI-A or DVI-input, but has a VGA input.

In most cases, an all digital video signal path with give you a better picture if the TV/Monitor has both analog and digital inputs


The minimum monitor resolution needed to display that much text would depend on the font size, font style and and spacing between rows of text. Assuming the text box is filling the whole screen and you are using a simple DOS command screen type of text display, you could get away with a monitor have a vertical resolution of 720 pixel (12 vertical pixels per row of text and spacing).

As for the needed screen size to show that amount of legible text at a certain viewing distance, there are some some standards around that have formulas that show the relationship between screen size and viewing distance for a person with average visual acuity.

One thing you do need to do is drive the TV/Monitor at its native resolution by the computer. If the monitor supports inputting other video resolutions, it only means that its internal hardware converts the incoming video on the fly to match its native resolution. This will usually result in fuzzy text and image details.

Oh Finally! That sounds like a perfect explanation to me.

I cannot thank you enough Chuck. That was just great.

I have been thinking about this problem for a long long time and finally someone has been able to put the answer all together for me.

If I could give you a million kudos for that answer, then I would be glad to do that. But all I can say is you have my undying gratitude. Yes, indeed!

Oh my yes! What a wonderful explanation! Thank you ever so much!!!

Your answer hit the nail right on the head. Square and True. It gave me exactly what I have been looking for.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

How wonderful! I feel like I have been dying of thirst for several days now and finally someone stops by and gives me a great big jug of ice cold water. It felt so good! You just have no idea!!!

I just hope the day will come when I can somehow repay you.

I am reminded of that old Aesop fable about the lion and the mouse and the thorn in the lion's paw.

Do you remember that one?

Do you ever get any thorns? If you do, please come and see me!

Thanking you again.

If you ever want to change your name to Leo (the lion), I will pay one half the cost. But in the meantime, please just accept my thanks.

Oh yes!
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