Small HDTVs - what to look for?

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Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:12 pm

I just bought a Playstation 3, and I'm thinking about getting a small (18-22 inches) HDTV to put on my desk so I won't be competing with my roommates for the main TV. The only difficulty is that I know effectively nothing about HDTVs. I know there are two technologies, LCD and plasma, and I know image quality is expressed in terms of resolution (720 and 1080 are two numbers I hear bandied about). Beyond that, I'm totally at sea. Are there particular brands I should look for and/or avoid? What's the difference between, say, 1080p and 1080i? What other questions should I be asking?

Most importantly, how easy is it to convert a plasma TV into a plasma cannon? :D
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Re: Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:44 pm

you wont find plasma that small so your only choice is LCD

1080i means the display is interlaced, like a DVD
1080p means progress where the video image is displayed top to bottom, complete.
you do not want 1080i at all, however, you probably wont find a display in that size that is 1080i

if you just plan to play xbox360 720p is fine
once u get over 32" u want to get a 1080p
but if u like to watch movies and want to get a bluray player, be sure to get 1080p

EDIT:

VERY IMPORTANT
MAKE sure you monitor has HDMI ports!!!
forgot about that, not all computer LCDs do
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Re: Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:04 pm

anything under 30" 720p works just as well as 1080p would look, really just look for a panel thats stated for 1080i or 720p, mostly depends on what the company decided to label it :)
they all work close enough, black levels, colors, speaker quality aside; try to stay away from unknown or lower quality brands if possible, vizio for the price seem to work from what ive read, just as all the other brand names.
try to get a tv with atleast 1 hdmi input for the ps3 to get the absolute best image quality.
most televisions that advertise 1080i are just upscaling from 1366x768 resolution to 1920x1080, most cases unless the tv is over 55+ inches or so its not entirely noticeable difference from 1080p which is actually the real 1920x1080 resolution.
where as a 720p set is 1280x720 resolution, thats why some sets in the beginning were listed as a 1080i so it made people feel like they werent getting a gimpy product, most consumers wouldnt know the difference between 720p/1080i except the larger number is more enticing as far as perception goes :)
i mean you could also just get some stupid computer monitor with cheapish builtin speakers and run the hdmi out of that :wink: but compared to a tv the speakers make the comp monitor seem terrible, unless you already have some form of speaker hook up for the console...
thats my rant :D
probably drinking some tea.
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Re: Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:09 pm

At that size I suggest looking into getting a 1920x1080 (or 1200) monitor that takes HDMI and leave it at that.
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Re: Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:07 pm

Flying Fox wrote:At that size I suggest looking into getting a 1920x1080 (or 1200) monitor that takes HDMI and leave it at that.

This is what I've done. I have an HDMI switch (got it at Radio Shack for like $20) and a couple HDMI cables for my computer and the PS3, and then switch using the box on my desk. The audio is the only tricky thing; be sure to get a monitor that has some way to put out audio (either built-in speakers that suck or better yet some sort of headphone jack for regular speakers) to avoid messing with an extra cable (though the PS3 does have a multi-audio-out setting that will output audio to all connected cables).
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Re: Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:11 pm

Most Xbox 360 and PS3 games only support up to 720p. For gaming only, a monitor will be much cheaper than a TV. The 1080i signal seems to be uncommon for gaming and is generally not used since deinterlacing is needed.

I'm not sure on whether or not HDMI is actually needed. The Xbox 360 is able to output DVI via the HDMI port so all you need is an HDMI/DVI cable, and the 360 can output sound to stereo analog or 5.1 toslink at the same time. I'm not sure if the PS3 has this capability since the PS3 has had awful A/V output options; it lacks VGA support which is one of the most common methods of high resolution video.

A monitor supporting 1080p is not necessary unless you use it for a computer too and/or may use the PS3's blu-ray player. Most monitors that take HDMI that have built-in speakers may also have audio output for headphones/proper speakers but I'm not completely sure on this. Most TV's and monitors do not have particularly great speakers, though larger TV's may have speakers able to produce somewhat acceptable sound quality.

One type of monitor you'll probably want to avoid is anything in the 16:10 aspect ratio. The 360 can handle those monitors fine (but there will be black bars) but the PS3 cannot output an acceptable image to them, unless the monitor supports proper scaling instead of only screen stretching.

Most (all that I've seen anyway) TV's advertised as 720p are actually 1366x768 instead of 1280x720. This means you will get slight upscaling which can get surprisingly ugly even at this "small" resolution change. That is, unless the display can put up the image properly with small black spaces surrounding it.

In the end, I think a 1080p 21.5" or 23" monitor with audio is the best choice, assuming the PS3 can't output audio seperately. Most likely it won't due to the HDCP requirements. 1080p is the most common resolution for 16:9 monitors now and of course it'll be perfect for blu-ray. Some of the monitors with HDMI also even have DVI available seperately so you can connect the computer to it. Lastly, the 360 can be hooked to say, the VGA with it's sound going through the computer. (If you're even using a 360 in the first place which is much, much more flexibile and compatible with various A/V equipment.)

Edit: Apparently another source I read says that you indeed can get stereo analog audio and HDMI fro a PS3 simultaneously. To do this you'll have to hook the composite audio cables to a 3.5mm adapter. This adapter can then be put through a computer input if you need volume control and/or want to mix with music, or you can use a 3.5mm coupler to get it straight to the speakers. (If you don't mind switching the inputs around.) Monoprice.com sells these audio adapters and video cables at good prices. (Just avoid some of their game console A/V cables and get official cables from eBay instead.)
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Re: Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:32 pm

C-A_99 wrote:I'm not sure on whether or not HDMI is actually needed. The Xbox 360 is able to output DVI via the HDMI port so all you need is an HDMI/DVI cable, and the 360 can output sound to stereo analog or 5.1 toslink at the same time. I'm not sure if the PS3 has this capability since the PS3 has had awful A/V output options; it lacks VGA support which is one of the most common methods of high resolution video.

My desk is setup with a computer, PS3, single monitor, and Z5500s. The monitor gets HDMI from the PS3 and DVI from the computer, and the Z5500s get optical out from the PS3 and analog 6-channel from the PC. It's perfectly doable to split outputs.
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Re: Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:49 am

C-A_99 wrote:I'm not sure on whether or not HDMI is actually needed. The Xbox 360 is able to output DVI via the HDMI port so all you need is an HDMI/DVI cable, and the 360 can output sound to stereo analog or 5.1 toslink at the same time.
Multi audio on the PS3. PS3 can do HDMI->DVI as well with an adapter or cable, but the monitor needs HDCP support of course.

C-A_99 wrote:I'm not sure if the PS3 has this capability since the PS3 has had awful A/V output options; it lacks VGA support which is one of the most common methods of high resolution video.
PS3 has awful A/V output options? I could have said the 360 pre-Elite days the lack of out-of-box HDMI was a failure too? We are talking about a console designed mainly for the living room and not the office. HDMI and component are the standard for outputting high resolution video in that context. VGA is more of a cop-out. I hate to use the f word, but you seem to have a lack of knowledge of the capabilities of the PS3 and was trying to pan the 360 is a better light. :roll:

C-A_99 wrote:A monitor supporting 1080p is not necessary unless you use it for a computer too and/or may use the PS3's blu-ray player. Most monitors that take HDMI that have built-in speakers may also have audio output for headphones/proper speakers but I'm not completely sure on this. Most TV's and monitors do not have particularly great speakers, though larger TV's may have speakers able to produce somewhat acceptable sound quality.
You do have to be careful if you are going the monitor route to make sure it has speakers, unless you are going straight for something like a speaker set with optical input and DD decoding, or a receiver+speaker setup. However, I do have to point out that a lot of monitors with HDMI are intended for "multimedia" use so there is a higher chance they have speakers.

C-A_99 wrote:One type of monitor you'll probably want to avoid is anything in the 16:10 aspect ratio. The 360 can handle those monitors fine (but there will be black bars) but the PS3 cannot output an acceptable image to them, unless the monitor supports proper scaling instead of only screen stretching.
This is a valid point. Although I would say if you are getting a higher-end enough monitor, like say the Dell U2410, there should be built-in monitor aspect scaling. Failing that, there seems to be a load of 21"-27" monitors that have HDMI input and 1920x1080 resolution, at a variety of prices. @OP: this is the list you should check out.

C-A_99 wrote:In the end, I think a 1080p 21.5" or 23" monitor with audio is the best choice, assuming the PS3 can't output audio seperately.
The PS3 can definitely output audio separately. Even so a monitor with speakers will still be the better choice in terms of functionality. Of course if the OP already has a speaker setup that is capable of using the output from his PS3, then you can choose a monitor (usually higher quality and price) without integrated speakers.

C-A_99 wrote:Most likely it won't due to the HDCP requirements.
HDCP has more to do with the video signal than audio. Besides, if you are doing 5.1/7.1 LPCM optical simply does not have enough bandwidth. DD encoded 5.1 goes out via optical just fine, unencrypted. BTW, most HDMI-equipped monitors should support HDCP since they are usually designed for "multimedia", including Blu-ray players. I just checked the list I linked above and it seems fine. It seems only when you have a monitor with only DVI you need to worry about HDCP support.

C-A_99 wrote:1080p is the most common resolution for 16:9 monitors now and of course it'll be perfect for blu-ray. Some of the monitors with HDMI also even have DVI available seperately so you can connect the computer to it.
In this case it is actually fortunate for the OP that the manufacturers are moving to 16:9 resolutions due to costs. The 16:10 ones are now expensive harder to find.

C-A_99 wrote:Lastly, the 360 can be hooked to say, the VGA with it's sound going through the computer. (If you're even using a 360 in the first place which is much, much more flexibile and compatible with various A/V equipment.)
The only thing that the PS3 is lacking is VGA output, but the breakout of audio is just as good. With new HDMI-equipped monitors costing as low as $180, I don't see it as a problem anymore. The world has moved on since 360's launch and HDMI is more prevalent everywhere. In theory you can add a component to VGA adapter in the chain, as the PS3 can do component output too (same cable as the PS2, can't say the same for the old Xbox).

C-A_99 wrote:Monoprice.com sells these audio adapters and video cables at good prices. (Just avoid some of their game console A/V cables and get official cables from eBay instead.)
eBay? I will take Monoprice almost any day. The quality of cables from Monoprice is the same if not better than the official ones, and if you are unfortunate enough to get an unscrupulous seller with fake garbage, then Monoprice beats those by a few lightyears.
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Re: Small HDTVs - what to look for?

Postposted on Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:36 pm

I edited my post regarding the PS3's audio output options, but it's lack of VGA and resolution support renders it pretty much incompatible for most old monitors (unless you don't mind the 16:9-16:10 stretch) as well as for many newer but cheaper ones that do not support scaling or are not 1080p. For people who still don't have HDTV's nor decent monitors (say they spent the money on a cheap 1680x1050 one earlier), VGA is often the only option for a decent resolution, though most instead choose to use composite and their old TV since they may not know better.

The vast majority of Monoprice cables are good quality, but read up on some reviews of a few cables. Users have reported ghosting (i.e. improper shielding) with various generically branded component and VGA cables for consoles. (NOT their regular VGA/component cables; those are fine.) I got a VGA cable for the Xbox 360 from them and it also has the same problems, though numerous eBay sellings also listed the same generic cable. (You do have to know how to find proper manufacturer cables from there to avoid the flood of fake ones.) Either way, the manufacturer's A/V cables are the best choice but I recommended getting used ones from eBay because they're usually overpriced.

The 360's without HDMI are pretty much obsolete given that they RRoD after a few months. MS did eventually fix it up and the new systems are fairly reliable. (Despite other hardware shortcomings such as poor USB device support and various proprietary, overpriced crap.) As for PS3, I haven't seen any VGA solutions around, and it seems to lack video scaling to handle cheap (but common) 16:10 monitors. The 22" 1680x1050 used to be $100 cheaper than 1080p monitors close in size and thus many users have them though now they are being phased out slowly by the 1080 displays.

As for now, I guess none of it will matter for the OP anyways since there are numerous 1080p monitors now, mainly because the PS3 can do seperate analog audio. (Even without HDMI, there's still HDMI to DVI, and the analog audio can go to a neary computer or directly to speakers.) I haven't seen any monitors with decent speakers and it's probably not worth it to bother with one unless it's the same price as a similar monitor without speakers. (i.e. if the item is on sale.)
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