General Question

shockvalue's avatar

LCD TV as a Computer Screen?

Asked by shockvalue (5770 points ) March 11th, 2008

I am a graphic designer, and I am looking for a new screen for my computer, somewhere between 32 and 42 inches. I think an LCD TV would be perfect, but I need it to reproduce colours with accuracy. Also, price IS a factor. Any suggestions?

Furthermore, is a 42 inch screen going to have too poor of quality for the detail work it will be used for?

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12 Answers

glial's avatar

Go for a nice 30” or perhaps (2) 24” or 30” LCD Monitors. LCD TVs generally don’t have high enough resolution for graphic work.

You have probably noticed that you can buy a 30” TV for less than a 30” monitor; however, check the native resolution on the two and you will find a huge difference.

sndfreQ's avatar

yes glial is right on the money…most of the HD LCDs out there max out at 1366×768 (typical for 720p HD, downscaled for 1080i/p HD); hardly the resolution you are hoping for as images will appear “zoomed in” at this size.

By contrast, most entry-level computer LCDs start at 20” with 1440×900, and more typically top out at 1900×1220 and higher (full 1080 HD). If your graphics card can handle dual-stripe (two monitors), then go for 2 24” monitors side-by-side. You’ll get more screen “real estate” and will be able to use one whole display for your main canvas and the 2nd for all your toolboxes/windows. Most video and graphics folks opt for this when on a pro system if the physical space can accommodate it.

bpeoples's avatar

Something to think about: do you really need a 32–42” monitor? Might want to try going to an Apple store and sitting infront of a 30” Cinema display? They are quite huge.

sndfreQ's avatar

24” monitors that have a resolution of 1900×1220 have the capability of displaying letter-size documents as full-size approximations on-screen. This is helpful for approximating print material such as 8×10 prints and in landscape, larger size prints. For web graphics it’s not really necessary , but for high-res Photoshop, HD video etc. it’s ideal. The second display will also free up the main display and aesthetically be less distracting for image viewing.

Of course beyond res and screen size, there are other issues to consider (refresh rate, brightness, color gamut, etc.) I would suggest doing your research before diving into any solution as “value” doesn’t necessarily yield increases in quality of output (read: cheaper ain’t always better).

paulipaul's avatar

Some of the Samsung TV’s have a built in PC port, which works ALOT better than using adaptors and such. You should look into those.

sharl's avatar

My Philips LCD TV has a DVI port which hooks right into the Mac mini. I use it for watching TV from the Mac, but you wouldn’t want to use it as a full-time monitor (for all the reasons already quoted), much less for graphic design of any kind.

RandomMrdan's avatar

at the store I work at, I have an item on sale for 449.99 for a 32in 1080p resolution that would look sharp as a monitor. It has a resolution for 1920×1080. I would suggest the route of a dual monitor setup like sndreQ has suggested. Dual 22’s or 24’s would be good choices. The 30in apple display will run you about 1800 dollars unless you can find a used one, or a refurbished one, but would still pay a high price.

If you want good quality, and a high gamut, there are professional grade monitors out there are reasonable prices. http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0300998 here is a link to a professional grade 22in Viewsonic going for 359.99. And I'm sure you can find Samsung monitors on sale as well.

Generally though, TV’s don’t make the best monitors unless they are 1080P and even then, you’re still pushing it.

I just realized this was asked back in March….great.

sndfreQ's avatar

I see now the context of your info RandomMrdan-your field of expertise is in HD tech! Okay, so now I’ll PM you when I have questions about my setup!!! Cheers

benny3's avatar

I have used LCD TVs as monitors before and they work great. There are some good deals on Toshiba or Sony panels out there if you shop around. These companies seem to make decent TVs.

I haven’t had much luck with the cheaper variants i bought from the supermarkets, the colours are way off and the text isn’t all that sharp.

There is a page on LCD TV HD that lists some decent makes and models that helped me. Initially i was looking for the Samsung HD 220 but ended up getting a 32 sony. I don’t think you should go bigger than this!

Which ever you get just make sure it has the right connection, HDMI if you have it or DVI!

J3's avatar

A 32” or 42” LCD TV is going to have in the best case scenario the same resolution as a 23” monitor. Unless TV production is what you’re working on, you’re better off getting a bigger monitor.

sndfreQ's avatar

One other thing-my experience has been hooking up via DVI-D to my plasma, that timing (color timing/sync), and resolution matching can be difficult, and the image can sometimes be cropped due to overscan issues; each model of LCD/flat panel is different in implementing its specs and ATSC color gamut. You may also likely need to get a calibration kit to make the colors, gamma, etc. match up to spec, especially if you’re calibrating based on Adobe RGB color profiles.

dabbler's avatar

If you really need super accurate pro quality a TV won’t cut it. But tvs these days are Very Good compared to what they used to be.
The 40” Sony Bravia we have hooked up to a mac mini in our tv zone looks gorgeous with photos up. Though if I got a replacement today I would seriously consider Samsung. Make sure your connection is digital, HDMI or the older computer standard DVI. And get one of those spyder color calibration thingies and use it esp at the beginning of the screen’s life when it will do most of its settling in. Plasma screens can be brighter but what I hear is their color will drift a lot more over time and flatten out.

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