Help me find a laptop to match my TV.
November 12, 2009 4:05 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a laptop to match with my TV. More inside.

We are looking to run a laptop along with our TV as a sort of media center. It would need to have component (RGB) output, not HDMI. We have a tuner it would plug into, which would route the sound and video to our TV. When not in use with the TV, we would use it while sitting around the living room, so a desktop media center PC is not an option.

We do NOT need to record video on it, since we don't have a cable subscription. What we are looking to do with it is to watch hulu and other online shows, as well as do some web surfing. We would also watch HD videos from the computer, so the computer needs to be able to support HD output, which the currently available netbooks don't seem to do (and they also don't have component output connections).

Can someone help me find a solution?
posted by markblasco to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The HDfury, which is on the list of HDMI to component converters that limited slip posted above, is very well-regarded. It only works if your TV's YPbPr component or RGB inputs are 720p or 1080p-capable, though.
posted by zsazsa at 5:04 PM on November 12, 2009

What model is your TV?
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:38 PM on November 12, 2009

While I have the above-linked MacBook and it performs really nicely, keep in mind that you'd need an additional converter from MiniDisplay to HDMI/DVI.

Also, the Lenovo linked above has an Atom processor with the Ion chipset, and an early analysis of it's performance is terrible.

From one reviewer:
720p HD Completely unwatchable, CPU utilization > 90%

Sadly, I have nothing else to offer. But, I'd shy away from Atom processors if the biggest thing you want to do is watch Flash video.
posted by General Malaise at 5:41 PM on November 12, 2009

There's supposed to be the word "Flash" there between "it's" and "performance." Many apologies.
posted by General Malaise at 5:44 PM on November 12, 2009

I've never seen a consumer grade laptop that had component out.

That said, there are plenty of adapters/converters available- DVI->Component as well as VGA->Component. Just buy whatever laptop and buy the adapter depending on what type of output it has.
posted by wongcorgi at 5:51 PM on November 12, 2009

From one reviewer:
720p HD Completely unwatchable, CPU utilization > 90%

Thanks for sharing, General, I knew it had to be too good to be true. It's only a matter of time before a netbook will crank out HD video.
posted by limited slip at 6:08 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: I'm running into a Toshiba 32inch LCD TV. I know that it has HDMI and VGA inputs, but I am looking for something to plug directly into my tuner, which only has component inputs for HD. I do not want to have to plug the computer directly into the TV and change the TV settings every time we use it.
posted by markblasco at 8:14 PM on November 12, 2009

I watch stuff from my MacBook Pro through VGA or DVI without any fuss (our 37" LCD is pre-HDMI).

Once you've used Monitor Preferences to calibrate the output for your TV, the Mac keeps a history of monitors it's been hooked up to and matches it's resolution/brightness/contrast/gamma/etc to that particular monitor. I use it with a Cintiq during the day, then I can take it down to the living room and watch stuff on the big screen in the evening. The only adjustment I make to the TV is switching to VGA input.

I find the monitor and the MacBook have to be turned on when you make the connection for the monitor to be recognized properly. Also, you have to buy a remote separately now. Also, I don't know about your TV but I've found that on ours, the picture settings for the different inputs are all independent of each other.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:23 PM on November 12, 2009

HMM I know if you can find an inspiron 1520 in the dell outlet it has a vga out and you can buy a component out with digital coax audio out for it. I have this model. I connect the laptop via vga to my 40 inch tv and looks gorgeous. I also bought the adapter that plugs into that round svideo looking port that outputs via component.

IF my inspiron 1520 has it i am sure other notebooks have an adapter llike that also.
posted by majortom1981 at 5:44 AM on November 13, 2009

Getting a smart remote like a Logitech Harmony may be cheaper than an HDMI/DVI-component adapter, will automatically change the inputs on your TV and/or tuner depending on what you want to watch, and will probably also make other things in your AV setup easier.
posted by zsazsa at 3:49 PM on November 13, 2009

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