HDTV for PC Monitor

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HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:42 pm

So I need a little help getting caught up on the newest display technology and input/output interfaces. It's been nearly three years since I purchased a video card for my main PC and it's been nearly five years since I purchased a new monitor for the same PC. Suffice it to say I am a little behind the times and out of the loop on display related topics.

About a month ago I was working on my PC in my home office and I look over at my 22'" LCD TV that I had left in the room when I converted the spare bedroom into and office. My intent was to leave the TV in the room because I thought I might like to have it on now and again while I am doing something in the office. Well, I rarely have ever turned it on. So the thought occurs to me that maybe I could use it for my PC monitor and retire my 17" 4:3 LCD to my other PC that still had a big space hogging CRT hooked up to it. I had noticed that the HDTV had a VGA port on it when I bought it. I hooked it up to my video card wondering if it would even look good because it's not really made for PC's. I was pleasantly surprised at how good my Windows desktop looked and also surprised at how good games looked on it.

Fast forward a few weeks. I finally buy a game that actually started making my video card have fits at the resolutions I like to play games at. So I buy a new Radeon 5670 to get me by for a few months until I see what new video card I want when I build a new PC. I install the new card and I notice it has an HDMI port on it. So does the HDTV. I figure if the graphics look as good as they do through an old VGA port, then they should look even better through HDMI. So I grab a HDMI cable from a store the next day, take it home, plug it into the video card and monitor and voila! The graphics look like crap. Icons on my desktop are small and blurry. The refresh rate seems abnormal and hurts my eyes. I have tried reinstalling the drivers for the video card and adjusting every setting I can think of under display properties and Catalyst. Was I wrong to think that HDMI would work from the PC to and HDTV? Wouldn't this be the interface I would want to use if I were to use the video card for an HTPC?
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Re: HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:59 pm

Sounds like your resolution isn't set to 1920x1080. Check that, and you should be golden.
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Re: HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:10 pm

My parents got a nice new 50" plasma last summer and hooked up a computer to it and they actually have the exact same issue. If you use the VGA it looks fine and if you use the HDMI it looks terrible. I'm fairly certain its because the TVs assume that an HDMI input is coming from a dvd player or something so they do some sort of strange post processing on it but if it comes from the VGA port they know its a computer and don't do any weird post-processing. It seems silly especially when you consider that if you plan to play blue-ray movies through your computer you have to use the HDMI port but that seems to be how it is.
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Re: HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:14 pm

TheEmrys wrote:Sounds like your resolution isn't set to 1920x1080. Check that, and you should be golden.
I doubt that's the native resolution of the screen -- a 22" LCD TV from a few years ago is unlikely to be 1080. But a resolution mismatch is likely the problem, or part of it anyway. As the poster above notes, TVs (as opposed to proper monitors) generally assume that what they're getting over HDMI is a bog-standard HDTV signal -- in this case probably 1280x720 -- and it that's not what the PC is delivering then you're likely to be unhappy with the results. It's sometimes possible to fix it by adjusting the properties in the TV. You're going to be at the mercy of whatever the TV allows, but you may find something that allows you to pick a mode ("movie", "game", "PC") or otherwise adjust the HDMI input.
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Re: HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:43 pm

Well, I just tried it in 1920x1080 through HDMI. It actually offered that resolution for the first time under display properties. I had just updated the latest version of ATI Catalyst drivers last night and maybe it fixed the issue of not having many options for screen resolution. However, the desktop issues that I described in my original post remain. Even as I am typing this right now in firefox, my eyes are really strained to see what I am typing. I tried a game real quick and it seemed a bit better but still not as smooth as through the VGA interface. Dang, this is making me want to pull out the Newegg Pref. Account card and buy a monitor.
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Re: HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:54 pm

I highly doubt the monitor is 1080p (1920x1080). As Uber says it is most likely 1280x720.
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Re: HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:17 pm

UberGerbil wrote:
TheEmrys wrote:Sounds like your resolution isn't set to 1920x1080. Check that, and you should be golden.
I doubt that's the native resolution of the screen -- a 22" LCD TV from a few years ago is unlikely to be 1080. But a resolution mismatch is likely the problem, or part of it anyway. As the poster above notes, TVs (as opposed to proper monitors) generally assume that what they're getting over HDMI is a bog-standard HDTV signal -- in this case probably 1280x720 -- and it that's not what the PC is delivering then you're likely to be unhappy with the results. It's sometimes possible to fix it by adjusting the properties in the TV. You're going to be at the mercy of whatever the TV allows, but you may find something that allows you to pick a mode ("movie", "game", "PC") or otherwise adjust the HDMI input.


Ok, so I tried 1280x720. It looks much better now. I believe you and ApockofFork are correct. It is a combination of the TV not really being made for connection to a PC and resolution mismatch. At 1280x720 the image quality is very good. Right on par with 1440x900 through the VGA. Everything is a bit "big" on my desktop but it is clear and sharp now. I could either run it through the VGA as I am not unhappy with the quality or I could keep this setting with the HDMI and use scaling options and the settings in the TV menu to clear up the few small gripes I have from here.
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Re: HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:35 pm

If 1440x900 is the native resolution of the display then that is what you should run it at. To get a clear picture with HDMI you may still have to adjust a setting in the HDTV's menu or override the monitor's EDID to make it behave like DVI, although you'll lose audio over HDMI in the process.
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Re: HDTV for PC Monitor

Postposted on Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:22 am

crazybus wrote:If 1440x900 is the native resolution of the display then that is what you should run it at.
This is exactly right. Native resolution will always look better than any other option. Once you have the resolution and TV setting issues settled, you can also try fiddling with the ClearType options.
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