HDTV computing

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HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:32 am

Placeholder for randomness to come; likely to cover
  • Primary display selection and consequences
  • Logitech DiNovo Edge experiences
  • Audio output issues (2 outputs, 1 input, directionality)
  • Putting it together, connectivity
  • Remote controls
  • TV placement and adjustment
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby Jonathan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:36 pm

Hey, any insight to share here?

When I move apartments again in a couple months, I am going to get a one bedroom and keep the computer in the living room. I am thinking I'd like a 1080p display to put on my desk for surfing, photo editing, and games, but I'd sit on the sofa to use the same display to watch Netflix or Hulu. Is this a good idea? Would I be better off trying to do all my surfing from the couch or all my TV watching from the desk? If I bought something like a 37" 1080p LCD would the pixels be too grainy at regular desk monitor viewing distance for reading text? I don't know where I'm going to move, but around an eight to ten foot viewing distance from the sofa is a reasonably safe guess. Any foreseeable issue there? Is the color gamut on a TV always tip-top or do I need to worry about that? One of the reasons I want to move away from my current 12x10 LCD is that it uses 6-bit panels and photos on it look like ass. I can never tell what something will look like in print before I finish touching it up.

I don't have any DVDs right now so I am not particularly concerned about that mode of operation, but any clue to get there is worth getting. I do not intend to invest in a BR player or media.

Are there websites or forums that do comparisons or reviews of monitors vs. TVs? I'm still fuzzy on which kind of display I want. I would weight the importance of streaming video and internet surfing/3d gaming about equally. One possible small bonus is that the TV would come with speakers, which I do not have and have been thinking I want.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby Jonathan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:04 pm

I use a 19x12 24" IPS panel at work and I am determined not to go below that in resolution or size. I might go above that mark in either size, resolution, or both for the right price. I am seriously thinking about using my existing monitor as a secondary monitor for toolbars while I have a fullscreen GIMP window open on my new monitor.

I need to print calibrate my current monitor so I have a correctly adjusted piece of ass to compare possible purchases against.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby Peijen » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:53 pm

I have a 47" at 1080p, HD content even at 720p shouldn't be an issue, however none HD content could look pixelated (I sit about 6 - 7 feet from the TV so that's very close). We play settlers on catan on it and it looks fine.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby quantus » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:55 pm

I also have a 47". Hooking my laptop up looks fine at 1080p. Standard def stuff will look like crap until you're at least 6 feet away. A smaller tv will let you be a bit closer, but text from the computer will be damn tiny. Even on the 47", some computer text is a bit too small to read from more than 2-3 feet away. As far as color quality, I'm not so picky, and can't really comment.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:49 pm

Stream-of-consciousness GO!

When my 46" LCD (Sony 46XBR4) was upstairs, I'd watch it mainly from my beanbag, but could also watch it from my desk and my bed. To facilitate this, I higher recommend swiveling your TV. Since my LCD's base doesn't swivel, I just bought a turntable (amazon). The biggest remaining issue is height. My television stand made the beanbag the best viewing experience. The computer chair was slightly too high and the bed resulted in my feet obscuring part of the image unless I laid forward, which became uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I don't know of a cheap LCD mount stand that is easily adjustable vertically and horizontally. If you find one, please let me know.

Regarding sound, the XBR4 series has pretty decent speakers, so they rotated with the display. I've toyed with the idea of getting a sound bar to swivel for downstairs. The "Sony HTCT100 Sound Bar with Subwoofer" (amazon) is my first choice if I went that route (pretty good speakers, no need for a receiver, cheap, integrates with my Sony TV, easy installation, my PS3 decodes to LPCM, etc).

Regarding control, if I couldn't reach my desk keyboard, I use my Logitech DiNovo Edge. Having mouse-equivalent control (the DiNovo has a touchpad) is invaluable. The wireless keyboards George and Peijen use have trackballs.

The effects of pixel size vary based on the viewer. For piece of mind, I just got a 1080p, but I doubt most people would notice (once again, you're getting the TV for yourself, not most people).

Color gamut varies between models and manufacturers. You'll have to do your research yourself, especially to see if you notice it (seems you would). If it helps, I was concerned myself, especially since I prefer accurate colors, unlike the over-saturated and over-bright colors many seem to enjoy (hello white crush).

Monitors in general are MUCH more expensive per square inch than TVs (much smaller pixel-pitch, etc). If your new display is predominantly for coding, I'd definitely get a monitor instead. My current wish list monitor is the Dell U2711 (cnet).

For detailed monitor info in general, the AnandTech LCD Thread Sticky is pretty much your one-stop shop. If you have a lot of free time, enjoy dealing with fanboys, and have a pretty decent BS filter, you could try braving the AVS Forum, but I honestly wouldn't.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:59 pm

If you're using multiple displays, I highly recommend multiple sound devices. Having non-centered sound drives me up-a-wall.

When my LCD was upstairs, I resolved that with some wires, adapters, and a cheap RCA switch box from radio shack. Typically, it's used for sending two inputs (triplets of red-white-yellow RCA cables) to one output (triplet of red-white-yellow RCA cables). Of course, you can simply use it in reverse like I did. To be clear, the box had 6 wires (all red-white) coming out of it despite having 9 female RCA jacks since I didn't use it to switch video (that was handled by an HDMI cable connected to my video card).
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby Jonathan » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:35 pm

One thing I don't understand. Are the panels used in TVs all IPS? Or are they TFT? Or does that somehow not apply to TVs?
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:43 pm

Thin film transistor (TFT) is a superset than contains various panel types. Saying that a display is a TFT LCD pretty much tells you jack.

If I remember correctly, the VAST majority of quality TVs are Patterned Vertical Alignment (PVA) for wide viewing angles and great black levels. In-Plane Switching (IPS) is better, especially in color reproduction, but is prohibitively expensive.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby Jonathan » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:47 pm

Pardon my error. I meant TN.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:00 pm

Twisted Nematic (TN) sucks! (except for input lag and cost)

If viewing angle or color matters to you, I highly recommend steering clear of TN. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Also, to give you an idea of how annoying it is to handle panel types for televisions (it's hard enough for monitors), here's a relevant recent post from a 07-21-10, 12:35 PM thread on avsforum.com:
TNG wrote:You have allot of work ahead of you. Allot of manufacturers not only use their own panels, they sub out work to places like Chi Mei and AU Optronics in Taiwan. Also Samsung, Sharp, Sony and LG also make panels for other brands. This is commonly referred to here as the "Panel Lottery".

If you buy a set from Toshiba, who made the panel with what tech type? Hard to tell, and if you buy from Samsung you really don't know if Samsung made the panel or not, even on some of the larger more premiere models. Sony gets panels from Samsung, Sharp and other partnerships that they have, including some from Toyota (not sure if those go into TVs or not). I have a Toshiba at home that I had to disassemble once and was surprised to find a Samsung panel in it.

Not an easy job. Just search here on the AVS for Samsung A, B, C panels, there is a whole thread of mostly speculation about where the panels came from.

This should keep you busy for awhile, check here

Edit: s/viewing/viewing angle/
Last edited by VLSmooth on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:02 pm

It seems Panasonic and LG have used IPS in some displays in the past year, therefore I'm probably a bit out-of-date. However, I'm almost certain they carry a hefty price premium.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby Jonathan » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:23 pm

VLSmooth wrote:If I remember correctly, the VAST majority of quality TVs are Patterned Vertical Alignment (PVA) for wide viewing angles and great black levels. In-Plane Switching (IPS) is better, especially in color reproduction, but is prohibitively expensive.


I agree TN is balls. The question is now really between an IPS monitor and a PVA TV, I imagine. Likely the TV is larger for the same price.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:32 pm

When I was in the same dilemma, my priorities were:
  1. Do I already have a suitable monitor? (min 24", 1920 horizontal, PVA or IPS)
  2. Do I already have a suitable TV? (min 40", 1080p, PVA or IPS)
I got my monitor first (Dell 2405FPW, 24", 1920x1200, PVA), then my TV (46" Sony XBR4, 1920x1080, I think PVA). Now that those are out of the way, I'm looking to get a Dell U2711 (27", 2560x1440, H-IPS).

Hope that helps.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:43 pm

As an aside, I'm also interested in two accessories:

  • Ergotron 33-329-057 Neo-Flex Widescreen Lift Stand (ergotron | amazon)
    For monitors <32" whose stands don't support portrait mode[1]. This also has a 5" vertical adjustment, rotates a full 360 degrees, and 30 degrees of tilt. If you have a suitable desk[2], I'd also recommend the Ergotron MX Desk Mount LCD Arm (ergotron | amazon, cheaper at walmart) for extreme flexibility without wall-mounting.

  • X-Rite Eye-One Display 2 (amazon)
    Pretty much the best bang for the buck colorimeter. Colormunki (amazon) costs a lot more and includes features I don't use (print color calibration, etc). Spyder products simply aren't as good (lost the links). The Lacie Blue Eye is ~$350, although it's commonly regarded as the best.

Footnotes:
  1. The U2711's default stand doesn't support portrait mode
  2. My computer table is too deep at 42", the arm extends up to 16.7", I like extreme depth control
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby Jonathan » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:50 pm

I am only buying one screen. It's the same damn thing. I'm not going to pay for two of them.
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Re: HDTV computing

Postby VLSmooth » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:55 pm

Depends on what you plan on using more. For me, it's the monitor by far.

Random:
I used to have both displays hooked up to my computer. The Sony XBR4 has MUCH better color than my old Dell 2405FPW (like night and day, even after manual calibration). Currently the TV is downstairs, but I can still watch videos off my computer upstairs due to the awesomeness of my ps3 slim, PS3 Media Server, and ethernet.
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