Using High Definition TVs As Monitors

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We hear more and more people are connecting their workstations or laptops to LCD or Plasma TVs. This is probably due to the fact that prices for High Definition TVs have been dropping these past few months. A quick search in Amazon will show you that you can get a 40″ full HD TV for about $700.00. You might think that $700 is still a lot of money but you have to consider the fact that a 40″ dedicated computer monitor is about double that price.

Let’s look at the different ways you can connect your PC or laptop to a HDTV.


Samsung 40-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV

How To Connect Your Hardware

It is much easier to connect a desktop computer than a laptop to your TV. Most HDTVs, even entry level models, already come with a VGA port at the back. The VGA port is that same socket that is used by dedicated computer monitors. Connecting laptops can get a little bit more confusing. I’ll be using the Macbook as an example since most photographers I know use these more than PC laptops. If you look at the side of a Macbook, the only port you can use for an external monitor is the mini-DVI port.


CC Photo by gahdjun

I have yet to see a TV that has a mini DVI port so you will need a mini-DVI to component or mini-DVI to HDMI connector between your laptop and TV. These wires are not readily available in most electronic stores so you’ll either need to order directly from Apple or do some Google work if you want to save.

Working on an HDTV

When it comes to editing photos, having the best possible high-resolution monitor really makes a big difference. A average wide screen computer display has a resolution of about 1920×1200. A full HDTV has a resolution of 1920×1080 (or what is commonly referred to as 1080p). Just by looking at the numbers, you can see that HDTVs have a lower maximum resolution which translates to having bigger pixels. Bigger pixels will of course lead to grainier images.

Another thing to consider is the viewing distance. Dedicated monitors are designed to be used with the viewer being right in front of it while HDTVs are not. If you look at still images displayed on a HDTV up close, you will really start noticing the pixels in your images.

I’m not sure that dedicated monitors will be replaced by HDTVs when it comes to editing and everyday work, but it’s an effective way to present your work to a larger group of people without breaking the bank. There are some professional photographers who use this in presenting their work to clients.

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