which HD TFT/LCD screen to get?
April 14, 2007 5:04 PM   Subscribe

which HD TFT/LCD monitor to get?

Im after a 30" HD monitor for my PC to watch movies on.

I don't really know the difference between TFT and LCD im not sure its even an issue, all I want is it to be able to play HD movies.

But all the monitors ive looked at only say "HD ready" ready? ready? what the does that mean? can they play HD movies or not..

obviously i know the output will only be HD if the movie is HD source, everyone knows that so im guessing they just can't be trying to cover themselves there.

If a monitor say its output is VGA (HD-15) does that mean its HD?

posted by complience to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
HD ready means you need to add an HD tuner, and then your screen will be able to display HD-quality signal.

In HD-15, the HD stands for "high density" and has nothing to do with the display. It indicates a 15-pin high density connector at the end of the cable.

Almost all LCD's use TFT.
posted by phaedon at 5:10 PM on April 14, 2007

I have something like this and highly recommend it.

Keep an eye out to make sure your HDTV is not simply "HD Ready", and depending on your budget, that it achieves full "1080p" or 1080i" resolution, as opposed to simply "720p".

as for "movie sources" being HD, well yes, thats somewhat of a problem. currently, unless you having Blu-Ray or whats-it-called, your movies will be compressed, low-quality. and few US channels offer HD alternatives.
posted by phaedon at 5:18 PM on April 14, 2007

HD Ready on Wikipedia. You state that you're buying an HD monitor, not an HDTV; by definition all HD monitors are only labelled as HD Ready, because none of them have the HD-capable ATSC tuner required to pick up high-definition broadcast signals. You only need such a tuner if you want to pick up HD television channels without a digital cable box; if you're just viewing movies on your computer then all that matters is that the movies themselves be HD. The reason why the HD Ready nomenclature was introduced was to differentiate between HD screens that could pick up digital broadcast television channels and HD screens that required a cable box to pick up HD television; otherwise there's no functional difference.

Something to note here is that there's a sort of collision between television/home electronics vocabulary and computer vocabulary. 720p, 1080i and 1080p all refer to specific video resolutions; all 1080p really means is that the video source has a max resolution of 1920x1080 at 24fps or more (the p stands for Progressive Scan, but all you really need to know about that is it provides more visual detail than i, or Interlaced Scan). So any computer monitor with a max resolution of at least 1920x1080 is capable of displaying HD material (all computer screens these days are progressive scan). In fact, anyone with a relatively recent 19" LCD monitor or a WXGA laptop screen can already view 720p material just fine, so long as the CPU's up to spec.
posted by chrominance at 5:40 PM on April 14, 2007

Oh, a couple more small details: if you're plugging it into your computer you'll want a monitor with DVI input first (which the Flatron you lined has). If a monitor only has VGA it's not worth getting (but then anything advertised as an HD monitor probably comes with either HDMI or DVI anyways). HDMI is only necessary if you plan to plug in other devices like a Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player or a digital cable box. The "HD-15" terminology has nothing to do with high definition; it's just a reference to how many physical pins the connector has. For all intents and purposes you can pretend the HD-15 text was never there.

TFT technology is a subset of LCDs. You'll often see flat screens referred to as TFT LCDs, and again you can basically forget the TFT part because nearly all LCD screens sold today are TFT LCDs.

Finally, to answer the implicit question of "what does the Flatron get me": yes, it will play HD movies from your computer just fine, but only 720p or 1080i movies. 1080p movies will be too big, as the Flatron has a max resolution of only 1366x768. Whether you need a display that can do 1080p or not is a matter of taste, but as more and more displays these days throw in 1080p support, it makes less and less sense to buy a monitor that doesn't have 1080p support.
posted by chrominance at 5:48 PM on April 14, 2007

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