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2 posts

Wannabe Geek

#11782 11-Feb-2007 17:37
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Hello people - sorry this will seem pretty lame, but we have been reading some forums & think that any recommendations from you out there will be helpful to us, who get by with pretty basic technology experience/knowledge.

We have a standard Dell system & have just moved into a small apartment.  We have recently gotten rid of our old TV, and have been thinking about buying an LCD tv that we can use for tv/movies/computer screen (to save space).  We currently watch DVDs on our computer screen through the computer (using either Windows Media Player or PowerDVD)

Can anyone recommend where we should start, with brands/products etc?  We know there is a few parts we will need for the computer, but if you can make some recommendations, that would make life easier!  Thanks

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BDFL - Memuneh
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#60458 11-Feb-2007 19:18
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It really depends on your computer's capabilities. Some high end models have HDMI outputs, while others only have SVIDEO or standard VGA outputs. Most LCD TV will accept all or at least SVIDEO and VGA. I bought a Sony Bravia that accepts all.

Also, your laptop's DVD drive may be locked to a single region after a few times you use it. If this is the case then your best option is a standalone multizoe DVD player. These can be as cheap as NZ$100, and you will have better controls than on your PC (unless you have a PC running Media Center).

As for sound, most laptops will only have stereo output, so you will really get behind in this area. You would be better off with a small integrated system. I've seem some as low as $450 with DVD player, Dolby Digital adn DTS receiver, and five speakers. Not high end by any means, but suitable for a small lounge for sure. And easier to use than a PC.



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  #60480 12-Feb-2007 00:19
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Most TVs suck as computer monitors, and vice versa.

check that any plasma/lcd you get will lock onto widescreen resolutions via the vga, most seem to only want to lock onto 4:3 and then stretch it to the screen. Check that when you use the VGA everything doesnt end up looking like 16 bit color, and that the hdmi/dvi will actually work with all resolutions on a PC, not just a select few.  



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  #60841 15-Feb-2007 07:49
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Mate of mine has one of the DSE TVs which he uses as a computer monitor and it's usable but I wouldn't use it for long periods. I used my V-series Bravia as a monitor before I got my Dell monitor, and it's perfectly usable via its native VGA input. It won't be as good as a dedicated monitor, but it's not bad. Plus they're not exactly cheap.

I'm using the Dell 2407WFP at the moment (24" LCD) and it's a good monitor for the price, and it does accept component, composite and S-video inputs as well as HDMI and VGA. However, it isn't a huge fan of interlaced signals so if you're at all fussy I wouldn't bother. I found it perfectly acceptable for watching normal TV through as long as you get a good signal to it. The screens are about $1200 and I'm very pleased with it.

Your laptop DVD player can almost certainly be de-zoned. (Not many can't) - If you can work out the model number of it you can have a look on to see if there's a region free firmware for it. Most modern screens will take the VGA input from the laptop then it's just a matter of getting it to output something useful.

You could get a creative labs DDTS-100 which will take a stereo signal and decode Prologic-2 signals from it (which most DVD player software can downmix to) so you get fairly reasonable surround sound and then output it to a 5.1 speaker setup. (Ascent sell these)

As for sound, there's plenty of 5.1 setups for the PC which are useful. I've got a creative labs/cambridge soundworks setup which is very good build quality and sounds quite nice considering. (This is for my room, the main HT setup is somewhat larger). It pays not to go too cheap as some of the stuff gets quite hissy or the subs try too hard and sound awful.

Failing that, as freitasm says, a small integrated system might be a good idea. Something like the Philips HTS3500S which is $500 and comes with a reasonable DVD player and 5.1 setup. Or the HTS3105 which is only $400. There's plenty of options out there along this line.


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Wannabe Geek

#60871 15-Feb-2007 12:06
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Hi & thanks to those who have replied so far

After the inital posts, we were thinking that maybe we should go with just a LCD monitor (such as the Dell one Stevenz suggested).  We aren't really big tv watchers, so dvd & computer usage are more important, though it is nice to have the option.

We have a pc, not a laptop, so I presume the dvd zone issues etc are the same (we have a CD drive & a dvd writer).

If we do want to try the tv option - what do we need to buy (& where's the best place)?

Perhaps if we do want to stick with going down the LCD tv route - that the integrated system (DVD player with speakers) could be the other option (taking the computer out of the equation).

We are very much still open to ideas, so if you have any preferences please feel free to add!

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