Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


LCD TVs and Monitors...there is no difference

I'm still looking at LCD TVs and/or monitors, and haven't made a choice yet.

My next bit of information is about video connections. DVI is a new~ish interface for video, but it's already being replaced on the high end by HDMI. HDMI is a smaller, more compact cable than DVI, but actually has room to transfer more information, and it can include audio.

Two good articles I found basically said it was a good interface, but that most devices today only transfer simple 2 channel audio. And, there hasn't been any adoption in the computer market yet. Based on the quote below from AnandTech, HDMI has copy protection baked in, so we're likely going to see it overtake DVI over the next couple of years.

Read on for some HDMI links and a listing of some different models and prices that I looked at.

  • Designtechnica: HDMI Falls Short on Audio - For Now
  • AnandTech: Gearing up for HDMI on the Desktop: this article should be a bit of a wake up call about how copyprotection is being baked into interfaces all around us:
    With Intel’s HDCP tied into the HDMI specification so tightly, manufacturers and content providers would be insane not to push HDMI out the door to replace DVI. The additional perks for HDMI are still there: it’s a smaller cable, can run longer distances without issues, and obviously, the integrated ability to transfer audio too. However, when a tier 1 OEM decides to build their next HTPC, they will certainly come under considerable scrutiny to provide a secure platform if they expect backing from the content providers. The fact that HDMI protects video and audio signaling is enough for content providers to lean on PC manufacturers to adopt the standard over DVI.

I was at Future Shop and got some good info from the TV section. Basically, there is no difference between a "TV" and a "monitor".

The TVs all include TV tuners (many have 2 for Picture-in-Picture functionality), tend to have lower native resolutions, and don't necessarily have a computer video connection (either analog VGA interface or DVI).

An LCD monitor will have a computer video connection and high native resolution. Some models include a TV tuner and are then virtually indistinguishable from an LCD TV, except perhaps for less video and audio connections.

I've pretty much decided that I'm going to get an LCD TV rather than a monitor with a TV tuner. This is because the use I have in mind is mainly for media and for occasional computer use. With a native resolution of 1280x768 or 1366x768, this is good enough to do computer work with.

At Future Shop I looked at the following models, all prices in CDN$:

  • Toshiba 23HL84 ($1699): 23", no DVI interface, native 1366x768
  • Sharp LC20B6US ($1599): 20", native 1024x768
  • Sharp 23M1U ($1899): 23", native 1366x768

None of those are particularly great feature or price wise.

At CompuSmart, which is just up the street from my new office, they had some very low prices on large no-name brand LCD TVs.

The particular one I was looking at was model LT30HU (some brand beginning with an "S"), for which I can't find any hits online. It was a 30" screen, 1280x768 native resolution, and had a DVI input, dual tuners, and pretty much everything else you would expect. For $1499!

Just to round this list of models out, jibbajabba commented that the ViewSonic 30" N3000W looked pretty good. At $1599US (just under $2000CDN), it's the most expensive of those listed, but ViewSonic is known for high-quality monitors, and the other specs also look good.

What does all this mean? It means that prices are still falling dramatically, and it's probably a good idea to wait a few months.