TV as monitor for "light" browsing?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by wdonovan, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. wdonovan

    wdonovan Auditioning

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    Hi all. My first post here. I'm trying to build a budget HTPC system to complement my Roku / Netflix system. This is my war against $103/mo cable + $15/mo Blockbuster. So far the Roku (phase 1) is in place and we're very happy with it. I now want to assemble an HTPC system for the things not available on Roku.

    My plans after a lot of research are:
    Sony rear projection 53" TV (own it). It displays 1080i through component input.
    ATI HD 4350 HDMI vid board
    HDMI to component converter
    PC with big and quiet enough fan(s) and adequate power supply (probably Acer w/ aftermkt fans)
    The CPU will fit in the corner behind the TV so it's not seen.
    Wireless kybd / mouse
    Plans are for a wireless system and no hardware visible in the room except the portable kybd/mouse (no monitor)

    I have ordered the HDMI/component converter (reviews say it works) and before ordering all the rest of the system I will hook my wife's laptop (HDMI) and try the video quality, etc.

    In the mean time I hooked my laptop (no HDMI) through s-video just to see what I could see. Picture quality was acceptable for the 480 stuff I tried but here is my problem.

    My planned system is based on using the TV as a monitor also for the purpose of navigating the net to get to streamed video. Using the s-video conn. I could barely read the text on the 53" monitor. It was tedious to navigate sites that I was semi familiar with because the text was impossible to read.

    When I hook up using the HDMI Dell (Studio 1735) or the proposed tower system (through HDMI), will it improve the vid quality enough that I can navigate? I am not trying to read news reports or any other things online, just get to streams.

    If not, what do others do in this case? I really don't want a separate, hard-wired computer monitor in the room.
    Once other constriction... I have a budget of only a few hundred bucks to make this whole thing fly.

    Thanks,
    Walt Donovan
     
  2. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    I think the limiting factor in ur equipment would be the RPTV. U will always have blurry text with that set even if u have it hooked up via HDMI. It will be a tad better using component over S-video. BUT like everything else, u have to see for youself. So if at all possible, get ur stuff from a place u can easily return.
    FYI, I use a Dell Studio Hybrid hooked up to a 54" and a 42" plasma thru HDMI. I also use a 32" LCD as a monitor for my main PC with which I'm typing on right now. All sets however are 1080p.
     
  3. wdonovan

    wdonovan Auditioning

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    Thanks for the comments. I have come to realize that my initial hookup thru s-video was 480. The HDMI outputs of both the other laptop and proposed dedicated computer will have 1080i capability. Should that make a significant difference? I realize that I won't ever get VGA type clarity but as I said in the original post, I just want to be able to navigate successfully.
     
  4. wdonovan

    wdonovan Auditioning

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    Anybody? Anyone here that has driven a RPTV @ 1080i and gone online with it?
     
  5. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    You probably aren't going to be satisfied with web browsing of any kind on a tv screen. I've tried dozens of them, from the Opera on the Wii to the PS3s built in browser to HTPCs. They all suck IMO.
     
  6. Anthony Moore

    Anthony Moore Supporting Actor

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    I've had my 37" Westinghouse LCD hooked up to my Dell Inspiron for an HTPC for a long time. I have it through the DVI port. I use it for HTPC, a little bit of TV while laying in bed, and its my main computer. My girlfriend hates it. Its 2 feet from her face and she has to move her head side-to-side to follow the mouse. LOL. It's great with my fave computer games...but its 1080p and ive never had a problem with blurring or anything.
    But i guess my situation is a little different than yours, since you have a projection tv. Just putting in my 2 cents.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Sam, you need a better TV :)

    I can't speak to RPTV, but I recently connected a MacBook Pro to my 50" Plasma and it looked good. Due to overscan issues, the edges are cut off slightly, cutting into the menu bar, etc. But the quality is as you'd expect: a 50" ~1920x1080 computer monitor. This specific screen has known issues with computer inputs, but it looked good enough for email and web use, if desired.

    Full screen Hulu looked great. As did iTunes visualizer for music :)

    As for dealing with $135/mo on cable: We chose instead to spend $20/mo on two TivoHD's and use OTA HD. We don't get the cable-only shows, obviously. But we save about $100/mo in comparison. Tivo does Netflix, so we could add Netflix for $8/mo and not need any additional hardware for the streaming service.
     
  8. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    My HTPC is attached to my Sony 55" LCD Rear Projection and I have no problem browsing the web using Firefox as my browser and my eyes are not the sharpest either. I mostly use it to view news sites and review this forum. I also use it to view video from the various network sites as well as Hulu with no problem. Serious browsing is done on my laptop though.
     

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