How to use a monitor as a TV?
September 26, 2005 5:40 AM   Subscribe

Let's say that you have a nice, big flat panel monitor, such as the ones referred to in this recent AskMe thread. What does it take to use such a monitor as a TV? Especially hoping for a device that doesn't require a computer. How much do such things cost?
posted by donkeymon to Technology (10 answers total)
See here
posted by cillit bang at 5:51 AM on September 26, 2005

Response by poster: That doesn't really answer my question, because it is mainly concerned with how to connect a VCR to an older LCD with no video inputs or anything. I would assume that the VCR could handle the TV tuning aspect of the whole arrangement, but I don't have a VCR. I guess what I am asking about would be called an "External TV Tuner" or something like that, but searching for such a thing only turns up tuners which are for use with a computer, so you can watch TV on the computer screen. What I am looking for is something that will enable me to watch TV on the monitor without the computer being involved. Should I just buy a cheap VCR or something?
posted by donkeymon at 6:09 AM on September 26, 2005

Your cable or satellite box should have outputs that can be converted into VGA or DVI, no? Or are you really stuck to local analog TV? If so, a VCR would be as cheap as anything, I guess.
posted by wackybrit at 6:30 AM on September 26, 2005

A VCR is one of the cheapest ways to acquire a TV tuner, if the monitor has video inputs. If not, a VGA TV tuner is what you need.
posted by cillit bang at 6:30 AM on September 26, 2005

Beyond the suggestions so far, you could also get a monitor with a built-in TV tuner (I can't vouch for them personally, they may be rubbish).

Amazon turns up 42 results for "lcd monitor tv tuner" in their Computers store, like this one.
posted by aiko at 6:43 AM on September 26, 2005

Dell's 20 inch monitors have S-video and RCA composite video inputs. So you can use them as TVs easily.

The picture quality of standard def TV on an LCD monitor is not going to be the best, however. They have to blow up the 640x480 picture to the monitor's native resolution, leaving everything looking blocky and pixellated. The black levels will probably require tweaking as well.

So buying an LCD monitor to use as a TV isn't the best idea. This is also the problem with cheap "HD-ready" LCD TVs with 1024x768 resolutions. You get a picture that looks worse than what you see on a TV screen (because it's blown up), but can't see high-def (because most monitors are too low-rez). Unless you've got the $$$ to spend for an HD quality monitor like Dell's 24 inch monster or Apple's Cinema HD. But in that case, you lose out on all the savings of buying one device for displaying TV and computing.
posted by jbrjake at 9:21 AM on September 26, 2005

Cillit Bang is dead on. I have this model.
posted by viama at 9:27 AM on September 26, 2005

my XGA box is supposed to come in today. Will let you know if the results are worth the $50 :-)
posted by flyby22 at 11:09 AM on September 26, 2005

I have the discontinued AVerMedia TV Genie. It works like a charm. Then again, I use a CRT monitor.
posted by malp at 11:37 AM on September 26, 2005

hooked up the VCR with a 17inch LCD tonight via the new XGA box. I was pleasantly surprised. The picture quality is good enough for casual viewing before going to bed and after waking up in the morning. The mornitor's native resolution is 1280x1024 i believe.
posted by flyby22 at 6:29 PM on September 26, 2005

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