I want to set up my LCD monitor to receive digital TV
September 2, 2010 11:44 AM   Subscribe

I want to use an LCD monitor to receive over the air digital broadcast signals. How do I go about doing this, and what equipment do I need?

I have a Dell ST2310 23 Inch Full HD Widescreen Monitor that I currently use as a stand alone screen to watch DVD's on. I've been reading about various tuner boxes and the like, but have little to no experience with setting up a digital converter box or tuner.

I'd appreciate FAQ's, product names and information, and any other handy tips that can help me watch football in the fall on my LCD monitor.

MeFi, you're my only hope...
posted by reenum to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well normally you buy the LCD monitor with the tuner built in. Since you don't have that, you could buy a tuner for your laptop and connect the laptop to your monitor. If you don't want to do that maybe someone makes a standalone tuner now.
posted by devnull at 11:55 AM on September 2, 2010

I have this box. It does a fine job of receiving digital channels over the air, and the HD channels look great on an LCD monitor. The UI is pretty limited, though; the on-screen program guide is limited to the currently tuned-in channel, for example. It has DVI output and comes with adapters for HDMI as well.
posted by zsazsa at 11:58 AM on September 2, 2010

Response by poster: The monitor has the following inputs:

High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)
Digital Visual Interface - Digital (DVI-D) with High Definition Content Protection (HDCP)
Video Graphics Array (VGA)
posted by reenum at 12:25 PM on September 2, 2010

Can you hook it up to a computer of any sort? Getting a USB tuner for your computer will greatly increase the user experience, including program guides, DVR, etc.
posted by supercres at 12:44 PM on September 2, 2010

Response by poster: Sadly, I don't have a spare PC to devote to this.
posted by reenum at 1:25 PM on September 2, 2010

You want a Digital TV tuner (sometimes called an ATSC tuner).

The tuner is what you plug the antenna into and will allow you to change channels. Something like this will work.

You can plug the output of the tuner into the monitor and the audio out will go to whatever speakers you want to use.

Key to success will be a good antenna. Start out with a pair of rabbit ears, but be prepared to get a better antenna if you have trouble picking up signals.
posted by Argyle at 1:34 PM on September 2, 2010

Any terrestrial over the air HD TV Tuner with HDMI output should fit the bill. Zsazsa's link should be what you're looking for.

Note that you'll still have to find a way to get sound to your speakers, usually through RCA to mini-jack converter that your computer speakers can plug into.
posted by ijoyner at 1:36 PM on September 2, 2010

I went kind of crazy on OTA digital TV here. The tuner I ended up with had VGA output (Samsung SIR T451), but I've search a bit for cheap tuners with one of the outputs you have available and haven't found a lot, even used. Most of the early ATSC tuners had multiple output formats. But almost every tuner you could get with the $40 govt coupon was RCA out only.
posted by putzface_dickman at 2:30 PM on September 2, 2010

p_d touched on one critical issue at the end there: any tuner you get will need to have an HDMI output to connect to your monitor. The cheaper ones all have RCA and S-Video outputs only; that's because that's what was mandated to qualify for the $40 coupon program. So just watch for HDMI output.

How have you been hearing the DVDs you've been watching?
posted by intermod at 9:26 PM on September 2, 2010

Response by poster: Of course. I've got some Altec Lansing speakers hooked up to the monitor.
posted by reenum at 9:36 PM on September 2, 2010

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