Beginners question about best HDTV for computer monitor use.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Phil Mazza, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. Phil Mazza

    Phil Mazza Auditioning

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    In the market for buying my first HDTV to be used as the focal point in my budding Home Theater/Ultimate Computer Station. My original pick was the Panasonic PT47wx42 (if anyone has any other pick around this price range and this size, whether larger or smaller, please feel free and let me know), and connected my computer to it via s-video.

    I was later informed that thru s-video games would be fine, but letters and such would have a slight blur. Then i read about the RCA D34W135D, granted it isn't nearly as large as the Panasonic but I believe it will fit my needs to a tee.

    Here is my question, on the RCA it has a "DVI-HDTV Input with HDCP". Is this the same DVI port that is on my graphics card? Does this mean that any other TV that has this input will work with my grpahics card or are they different?

    Also I figured the RCA would be a safer bet due to the possibility of burn in from a RPTV and the static image of a computers display.

    Finally if this makes any difference, I will soon be purchasing the Radeon 9700 Pro All-In-Wonder Video card. This new card based on the Nvidia killer chipset, also includes the all-in-wonder functions, but comes with composite jacks/rca jacks/and s-video. So will the composite jacks make up for DVI?

    Sorry if this is so detailed and so chock-full of questions. I'm a young guy that wants and needs the most bang for his buck.
    Thanks
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    1) When getting into incorporating a HD capable TV set with a computer, you should abandon (for a moment) the concepts of Svideo and Composite connections. These types of interfaces are designed to carry standard low-definition NTSC signal. In the old days, this was necessary to interface a TV and a computer- however in reality HDTV sets are really glorified computer monitors in a lot of ways- so this thinking is simply outdated.
    I always recommend AGAINST bothering with Svideo or Composite outputs and concentrate on getting your computer card to pass resolutions compatible with your TV set. In the majority of the cases, the svideo ability of these cards is absolute shite- and so I would recommend against even bothering buying a card with this ability as it is largely a waste of time for anyone who is looking for decent image quality.
    Coupling a decent video card with a program like POWER STRIP you can dial your screen resoltions in to the pixel and to the .01 of sync rates. You can find the various sweep spots for your set and exploit every available resolution the set can handle. Instead of gaming at 640x480- you can run full monitor resolutions on your set!
    2) In most cases- you can ignore (or at least largely ignore) the connection types that are available on the set- and pay closer attention to the various sync rates and resolutions it is compatible with. In most cases, even if the output from your card and the TV's inputs are not directly compatible- there is an adapter box available to make them work. I'm not sure if the RCA DVI input is the same format as PC dvi- but again- most HD sets have component ins, and there is a simple box to convert RGBHV on a DB15 (VGA connector) to HD component.
    The key is to figure out what resolutions and rates the set will sync to. Can it handle 720p? If so, 720p is basically a digital resolution of 1280x720- which almost every ATI card since the 7500 can pass. This way you can get a desktop resolution of 1280x720- and likely even pass scaled DVD playback at this resolution which will smoke the liking shit out of any stand alone DVD player you could buy! You might not be able to game at this res (depend on the game and the card)-- so find out if the set can lock to 800x600 or any of the other common digital gaming resolutions.
    3) There is a whole existing methodology of integrating a PC into a Home Theater- it is called HTPC. We have a dedicated area for this pursuit here on this forum, and the AVS forum (www.avsforum.com) has a HTPC section that will blow your mind (hundreds of posts per day). The trails for how to make this work, and how to make it work well are well blazed- so you might do yourself a big favor and start reading up on the info that already exists on how to make the most of such a configuration.
    The biggest appeal for HTPC for many people is DVD playback- since a radeon based card can do MPEG scaling that is comparable with scalers costing $10,000 or more. As of currently- many of the hardcore DVD HTPC people have stopped at the radeon 7500 series cards, as the 8500 has a serious grayscale ramp problem preventing truly ref quality video- and the new cards use a driver system which is incompatible with certain playback and hardware acceleration. For people serious about this pursuit- sometimes newest/best is not necessary- but rather understanding the last "Correct" product is more important.
    Also- those who have integrated gaming into their HTPC rigs have always gone with Geforce cards as they have stronger gaming performance for the most part. Radeon is key for MPEG DVD playback scaling- Geforce is preferred for gaming. If you're siding with a All-In-Wonder for the svideo/composite nonsense- I'd completely throw that out the window and realize that with HD as your display device- the road of real computer res playback direct from PC to TV is available without stooping to the level of NTSC 640x480 interlaced.
    -V
     
  3. Phil Mazza

    Phil Mazza Auditioning

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    In a word, WOW. I am thourghly impressed with the amount of information that was given back to my quandry, thank you Vince. But first things first, due to my beginning nature to the whole Home Theater realm, some of your words have bypassed my knowledge. The one paragraph about sync rates and .01 sync rate in particular I am unfamiliar with.

    The resolution on my computer I am currently using and have used for quite a while is 1024x768. If this helps any, and i must check up on that site.
    Thanks again for all your help!
    -Phil
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Well- my personal experience has been heavily emphasized on getting HTPC to display good looking DVD PLAYBACK to my specific display device. Since this has been my goal- my understanding and time invested center around the best resolutions for the NEC LT-150 projector, and the functionality of dvd playback specifically...

    In your case of working with a rear projection set and trying to do gaming- your setup and configurations might be different. You might try some looking on AVS on the proposed sets you're shopping for to see if anyone else has yet interfaced a computer with them.

    The second issue is control of resolution with games- as while I tend to avoid computer gaming like the plague, I have seen enough to know that the game settings often override the desktop display settings. I'm not 100% sure how an application like POWERSTRIP would work in this equation- but I would guess that with some experimentation you could get some gaming images on your big screen that will make you cringe to think you were ever going to try to pass them via svideo NTSC!

    -Vince
     
  5. Phil Mazza

    Phil Mazza Auditioning

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    Again, thanks for the excellent feedback. You've been an immense help, and now have given me quite a bit of homework to do, but it is definitely apprecianted.
    -Phil
     

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