Using LCD TV as Your Computer Monitor

Yes, it can be done. In fact, many gamers and HD video enthusiasts use LCD TVs instead of standard PC monitors to views movies from their Home Theater PCs or HTPCs. 32″ LCD TVS are quite common among HTPC users as they are a cross between the more preferred 42″ plasma TV and the more modest 22″ LCD computer monitors. But 42″ high definition LCDs are getting mainstream and they can likewise be used as PC monitors. There are certain things to consider though.

– First is the fact the LCD TVs are basically derived from LCD PC monitors but enhanced and specialized to display movies that can rival Plasma TVs. The characteristics for a good high definition display on LCD, like high contrast ratios and response time used to be an issue as they were inferior to that on Plasma. But the newer LCD TVs and monitors have evened out the Plasma edge in the 42″ screen sizes and below. Plasma still reigns supreme above that size though LCDs are catching up.

– Because of higher dot pitches, you need to set the PC video output to match the LCD TV’s native resolution in order to display readable fine texts. This ensures exact pixel mapping between the computer and your display. Full-HD means 1080p resolution while HD-ready means either no digital tuner or 720p resolution. It is strongly recommended that you stick to 1080p resolution even for 32 inchers as pixel density is higher and allows a more comfortable reading of displayed text if you are going to use the LCD TV for word documents and spreadsheets. Bear in mind that for any given resolution, you get looser pixel density the bigger the screen size is.

– Consider your viewing distance. Typically, you would be seated 1ft – 1.5ft away from a monitor screen 15″ – 22″ in size on a regular computer table. With a 32″ LCD TV, you will need to seat farther back at around 2.5ft – 4ft away to have a better view of the entire screen. Check to ensure that your computer furniture can accommodate this. Otherwise, you could be running your face right smack on a large 32″ panel.

– Connections between the LCD TV and you PC can be problematic for certain LCD models. The problem starts with HDCP technology which is a security hand-shaking protocol that all 1080p LCD TVs now have. If your PC video card is not HCDP-compliant and your LCD TV is, you will not be able to view Blu-ray movies which have HDCP compliance built into the software when using HDCP-compliant DVI or HDMI connection. In addition, it is possible that the LCD TV will not display anything if it cannot verify that the signal it is receiving has HDCP. Either you get a blank display or the LCD TV automatically downscales its resolution to 720p or lower. To be safe, make sure the LCD TV you’re getting has at least a VGA terminal so you can use standard analog VGA connection.

– Alternatively, you can have a dual monitor configuration set on the PC video card if it’s supported this setting. You can have your standard PC monitor you can use for document processing and internet browsing while your secondary 32″ LCD TV can be used for movies watching. This may be a preferred option if you find the text display on a 32″ TV less than ideal. In addition, using a longer VGA cable, you can situate your LCD TV farther away from the computer so it can be shared with other members of your family when watching movies on it. GP