December 28, 2006
Instead of one giant monitor, I'd rather have multiple moderately large monitors. I'm a card-carrying member of the prestigious three monitor club. But giant monitors have their charms, too; there is something to be said for an enormous, contiguous display area.
But large monitors tend to be inordinately, prohibitively expensive all out of scale to their size. Consider Apple's monitor line:
|30" Apple Cinema HD Display||2560 x 1600||$1,999
|23" Apple Cinema HD Display||1920 x 1200||$999
|20" Apple Cinema Display||1680 x 1050||$699
30" is nice, but you're paying 2x the price of the 23" for 1.7x the number of pixels. And then there's that insanely high resolution. Additional resolution is always welcome, of course, but resolution has some pitfalls of its own. Greg Vederman, the editor of PC Gamer magazine, explains:
30-inch wide-screen displays are all the rage right now - seems like everyone wants one, and when people post saying that they've purchased one, the crowd does a lot of "oooh-ing" and "ahhhh-ing" over it. But, folks, I'm starting to think that the far more affordable 1920x1200 24-inchers are the true sweet spot. Not only is 1920x1200 a more easily attained resolution for most modern video cards, but counter-intuitively, text and fonts are larger on 1920x1200 24-inchers than they are on 2560x1600 30-inchers. You read that right: you'll have to sit closer to a 30-inch monitor than you will a 24-inch monitor in order to comfortably read text.
Vista is more scalable than XP, but it's still a far cry from a vector-based, PDF style environment where everything scales perfectly to 1200 DPI or better. We still live in a bitmapped world.
But something very interesting is happening: the emergence of inexpensive LCD high-definition televisions. Greg Vederman relates his experiences:
I've been running my PC on a 37" 1080p HDTV (Westinghouse LVM-37W3) since yesterday morning in anticipation of a review I'll be doing soon, comparing it to a couple of the newest 30" monitors from Dell and HP. I have more testing to do, but barring some sort of catastrophic failure in the next several days, I'm sold on this TV's fitness as a PC monitor. It has a terrific picture, multiple input options (VGA, DVI, component, composite, S-Video), and costs hundreds less than any of the 30" monitors on the market today. Plus, with the Westi, I can comfortably kick back in my office chair and read cnn.com without straining my eyes. (30" monitors run at 2560x1600 natively, and I'm starting to think that that res is simply too high for "typical" use.)
[this HDTV] proves that at least some of the new, smaller, 1080p sets give PC monitors a real run for their money.
This compares quite favorably with the largest Apple display:
If you can deal with the lower DPI-- and like Greg Vederman, I'm not convinced the higher DPI of 30" computer monitors is always a good thing-- then LCD HDTVs look like an outstanding deal for large monitor enthusiasts. They're larger, and due to economies of scale, should always be substantially cheaper than computer monitors, too.
Assuming you can fit it on your desk, that is. Here's a customer-submitted picture from Amazon of the 37" Westinghouse on the Ikea Jerker desk. For reference, I have three 20" LCD panels in the same area on the exact same desk.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
I guess if you're gaming a lot, than a large display like the Westinghouse is great. However, for development, I'd rather spend my $$$ on 3 20" LCD monitors. 4800x1200? Not too shabby. You're right, though, getting them on a desk can be difficult. I use an Ergotron stand and love it. It keeps the displays at the same height and they can be adjusted simultaneously. However, I don't use anything like the ikea desks.
Is that a Tarheel hat I see on the desk? That's my neck of the woods!
We NC State Wolfpackers don't get as much athletic fame as our two neighbors at UNC and Duke. :)
Aha! I also have the IKEA Jerker desk. I'm only sporting two monitors though sadly... a 20.1" 1680x1050 viewsonic LCD and an old 1280x1024 BenQ 17".
One thing to think about why someone would want a 30 inch with resolution that high is because they are editing 1080 video and they have it framed by their tools and still see it full scale.
"Vista is more scalable than XP, but it's still a far cry from a vector-based, PDF style environment where everything scales perfectly to 1200 DPI or better. We still live in a bitmapped world."
Hmmm....that should probably read "Windows still lives in a bitmapped world."
Granted - Linux is still mostly bitmapped, but given that nearly all Linux toolkits (GTK, QT, etc...) have dynamic layout managers instead of pixel-based absolute layouts, nearly all applications will scale fine on hi-res displays.
Is this "Rappelz" you're playing at ?
I used to be in the multi-monitor club (two 18" LCDs). I now have a single, 30" Apple Cinema display and will *never* go back to multimonitors (in fact, im done with desktops - i use a laptop with it).
Going to HDTV is an interesting option though...
re bitmapped world: My NeXT computer was using Display Postscript (DPS) as far back as 1992. Since OS X is a continuation of the NeXT OS I'm guessing it does something similar. In addition to scaling properly you could expect to get exactly what was on your screen when you printed something -- something that was unheard of on a PC at the time.
Personally, I'm a member of the 2+2 monitor club :-) Two PCs, the first with 17" and 19" LCD monitors, and the second PC with a 20" LCD monitor and a 32" HDTV from Grundig. I use Multiplicity (http://www.stardock.com/products/multiplicity/) to turn it all into a single virtual desktop. When I bring my laptop home it's added to the mix (for a total of five screens)...
Dude, seriously. Apple Cinema displays use the exact same panels as Dells. It's ball/b markup. a href="http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=usl=ens=dhscs=19sku=222-0863"this dell/a is $800 cheaper then the compatible apple.
I have a Media Center PC (NVIDIA 6600 video card) connected to an HP 37" HDTV via a high quality DVI to HDMA cable. This has been quite a learning experience to say the least. I expected out-of-the-box-with-very-little-configuration to be able to use my new HDTV and MPC as a PC (www, email, gaming, etc...) and as a television (live TV and DVDs). What I have discovered after laborious hours of trial-and-error and research is that the resolution appropriate for the television usage is not right for the PC and vice versa.
I can summarize the gory details by saying that I had to journey into the realms of video card hell where NVIDIA places behind the caveat of "changing these settings might damage your monitor or TV". Custom resolutions, blanking, uderscan/overscan and other jargon I had to learn while my wife glared at me for spending $1500 on a new TV that I apparently couldn't get to work as "I had advertised to her".
All of you married IT guys know exactly what I'm talking about here.
In the end, I settled for two modes of low resolution. For the TV mode, I'm running in 480p (640x480) so that the "black bars" on both regular TV and HD are as small as possible. For the PC mode, I'm running in 720p with underscan enabled at about 5%. This was the best I could get, all things considered.
Although my wife is now happy with the quality, I find myself less than satisfied. What was considerably disappointing was the lack of information I could find to help me through this. I was all over the web. I poured through a 400+ PDF manual from NVIDIA only feeling more confused. I checked various how-to and MPC enthusiast sites, and even HP's site in a last ditch effort. I did find a few scant posts of people asking questions similar to my own. But they either had lame unhelpful answers or none at all. It was like a big secret (either that or some elusive sites severely lacking in natural SEO).
I hope this helps some of you out there who have yet to travel this bumpy road.
I currently lease-to-own a 32" LCD that only displays at a single resolution, and I've got to say... I'm not impressed. But then again, I've got it connected to a low-tech video card (an nVidia GeForce 4000 or whatever, a 64 MB card).
One of my biggest problems is that despite using a VGA connector, there appears to be ghosting on the image. When I had it connected to my laptop with an S-Video cable, the image was blurry and unbearable. But that may have something to do with the S-Video itself.
I'm going to try hooking this directly to my laptop's VGA port (X1400 ATI Radeon Mobile 256MB card there) and see if there's any improvement. If there's not, then I'm going to give up and stop leasing the TV as I have no other use for it at all.
'Tiny' Ikea Desks? Have you SEEN the Ikea Jerker desk? I have one - the thing is huge. At one point I had a 19-inch CRT monitor, 13-inch TV/VCR combo, PC, and two printers on mine, and still had desk space to spare. It may not be 6'x3', but it has some decent acreage.
Interesting point on the resolution issues. This is becoming a total nightmare. I couldn't believe how hard it was to get the resolution right for watching movies on my 1920x1200 24" monitor.
I have 3 Dell 2007FPs side-by-side and I'm sold. I don't expect to go with any monitor that doesn't offer vertical resolution 1200 or higher.
You guys sitting at your tiny Ikea desks, if you're putting money into size monitors, how about spending a little on desktop space too? My work table is 6'x3', height adjustable, solid as a rock. $150 plus shipping, easily found on the web.
Got same hell with resolutions while connecting a laptop to an Epson home cinema LCD projector. The laptop native resolution is 1280x800, the projector's - 1280x720. It was really very unobvious, how to get it playing movies. The projector just would display a black picture instead of video! Thank God, it is all fine now, but it took me several days to understand all the details that I really didn't want to know :-)
I bought a similar Westinghouse LCD TV (mine is 42"), mainly for use as a TV, but I also tried hooking my Dell D610 up to it as an experiment. The video output showed up in the central part of the TV's screen. I'd estimate its size to be similar to a standard 27" TV, though I didn't get a yardstick and measure. The resolution max was the same that the laptop uses on its screen. Text seemed fuzzy.
Overall, I was disappointed, and wouldn't use this for work. I might use it to show friends YouTube videos or the like. However, this is using plug n play and the Dell D610's built-in graphics, so I'm sure there's a way to tweak it for better results.
Just wanted to post because that is my desk/monitor in the amazon picture linked here. :D
Well I have a big monitor. Mine is bigger! I have the Toshiba 62 inch DLP TV, with VGA input. But resolution on this thing is terrible. 1024 x 768, and it does not do wide screen. But for my purposees this is quite adequite.
Oh, and the reason, well I am going blind, so I need a lot of help. Sitting 4 feet from this monster I can still code for a long while. I still use conventional monitors at work, but by the end of the day the big box is a lot easier on the eyes for the times when a good idea just wont leave me alone. Higher resolution? well I cant see all that clearly as it is, but I guess other people can tell.
I am really thankful for it despite the cost. It totally dominates my living room, and dwarfs the large sound system that sits beside it. At one time the sound system was the biggest thing, but no more. My MONITOR is large and klunky but just plain good imho.
I own a recording studio because the time is coming when I won't be able to do much with my eyesight. Eventually the big screen will probably be my ONLY monitor alternative. At least I can still hear...
Er, what did ya say? Sorry sonny, speak up a bit... lol
I recently upgraded from my 27" Viewsonic HDTV to the 37" Westinghouse, and it was worth every dollar. Since I basically don't watch TV, I didn't mind the Westinghouse's lack of a TV tuner. 1080p on the new unit is beautiful over DVI, I've yet to test the VGA input though.
With my previous 27", I had issues displaying native res over DVI/HDMI.
Over VGA, the unit matched the resolution 1:1 pixel at 1360 x 768
But I couldn't achieve the same thing over HDMI, there was always a certain amount of overscan/understand depending on what resolution I'm using, and the best I could do was go with 1280 x 720, and tell the monitor to do 1:1 with no scaling, but I'm losing 80 pixels across, and 48 pixels vertical. A friend of mine also had the very same issue with his 720p/1080i, where the VGA looks beautiful, while the DVI/HDMI can't scale correctly
I'm still using a 19" CRT, max usable res is 1920x1440
I'm not sure why CRT's generally have a higher resolution than LCD monitors of the same size
not sure why CRT's generally have a higher resolution than LCD monitors of the same size.
Just because a CRT "supports" 1920x1440 doesn't mean it has enough RGB phosphor triads to actually do that resolution justice. Check this image out to see why:
From Dan's excellent review of a few CRT monitors way back in the year 2000.
Interesting Michael, Jon.
A westinghouse 37" 1080p is coming to my doorsteps tomorrow and I'm eager to hook it to my pc to replace my 19 incher
I'll get back with a report soon :)
p/s Happy Ramadhan for the Muslims out there. May you complete a full month of fasting
I already have a computer that is hooked to two 40 HDTVs. It's awesome, because I tile my windows at high resolution and can fit 4 windows on each screen. That way I can use eight windows, or use four and watch an HD movie. It's big enough that I can work from the couch with my wireless keyboard and mouse. Now I'm combining my poroductivity and laziness. ha! Great Article!
Although the 20" Apple Cinema HD Display is very nice, at $699 it is too rich for my blood. I just bought a Dell 2007WFP (20" widescreen with the same resolution as the Apple) through the Dell outlet for $319, with free 3-5 day delivery (which turned out to be 2 because I live in Texas). I just checked now and they have another 82 still in stock. The picture is fantastic, plus the monitor handles VGA, DVI, s-video and regular analog video (the old school yellow RCA plug). It even ships with DVI and VGA cables. Admittedly it is not aluminum and it won't get me into the chic Apple club, but it is very nice at an awesome price. It is the third Dell flat panel I've bought (two 1907FP's, plus this new one). Say what you like about their unimaginative designs, etc., they make some good hardware for great prices, which is why they are still the 800 lb. gorilla.
Sorry - scratch that - the WFP models with all the inputs are $289. The newer 2007FP (regular 4:3 20" LCD) is $319. There is a newer 20" widescreen (E207WFP) with only DVI and VGA inputs and no USB ports on the side, but it has a 5ms response time, as opposed to the 16ms of the 2007WFP (as a non-hardcore gamer it meant nothing to me).
Those three articles about OS X not being graphically scalable surprised me so I checked apple's site and they have a little note about resolution independence in Leopard.
Now Leopard isn't released yet, but it's comforting to know that they aren't going to continue ignoring the issue.
I personally like a Large Monitor for my main center monitor with around 20' on each side. I use my desktop more for gaming purposes, that is why I like the large monitor for the middle.
I have the Westingouse 37" 1080p display, which my wife and I use as combination of computer monitor and HDTV. After configuring the resolution for Win XP (it defaults to 1080i mode, which is a bit fuzzy and needs to be switched to 1080p), it ran perfectly without issue.
The PC is connected via DVI cable, the TV with component inputs, and the Xbox with the VGA input (for the 1080p resolution). All-in-all, it's a great setup. The resolution is high enough that the PC display isn't pixellated up close, but low enough that you can actually read text.
Setup was cake, and we're very happy with the results. The picture-in-picture function allows you to put any of the inputs in the PiP window, so we can watch the TV while we're working on the computer, or check in on downloads or installs while watching TV. Pretty handy.
First of all, you missed a spam comment! One snuck in from 3/14/2010.
Secondly, I'd love to see an update to this post. My mother has macular degeneration, and I've experimented with an HD TV display. The results using a VGA cable were awful . I suspect results would be better using HDMI.
Despite your 2006 optimism, the worsening problem with pixel density, the falling cost of HD TVs, and the slowwww emergence of vector solutions, I don't see people taking this route. Why not?
I've been running my computer via a 42" HDTV, but mainly to watch movies and as a 2nd monitor for multimedia stuff. Still waiting news on a real HDTV computer monitor. Its been a while - has anyone come across any news lately?
It would be cool to have a big 42" PC monitor, but I'm quite happy with my small computer monitor that I got for under $200. Not quite HD but does the job. If anyones interested, check SmallMonitor.com for some decent offers on all kinds of monitors.
And if someone comes across anything about the big HDTV computer monitors - please let me know :)
by: Ashlee Mezza
When it comes to gaming on your PC I find large Plasma screen TVs produce a great piture with a quick response time with fast action.
hdtv as monitor for computers is the best idea ever. as I searched for more articles on this criteria, i have found that they are kind of expensive and to be honest , not many people will afford it. but not impossible ...
Already got a 37" LCD TV and it rocks man I tell you! I would endorse this product especially if you're going to play games and watch movies, do some autoCAD or 3D animations. This thing does wonders to your visual field.