Will your next computer monitor be a HDTV?

Instead of one giant monitor, I'd rather have multiple moderately large monitors. I'm a card-carrying member of the prestigious three monitor club. But giant monitors have their charms, too; there is something to be said for an enormous, contiguous display area.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/12/will-your-next-computer-monitor-be-a-hdtv.html

Here’s a shot of another 37" Westinghouse HDTV used as a computer monitor on a different IKEA desk:


I guess if you’re gaming a lot, than a large display like the Westinghouse is great. However, for development, I’d rather spend my $$$ on 3 20" LCD monitors. 4800x1200? Not too shabby. You’re right, though, getting them on a desk can be difficult. I use an Ergotron stand and love it. It keeps the displays at the same height and they can be adjusted simultaneously. However, I don’t use anything like the ikea desks.


Is that a Tarheel hat I see on the desk? That’s my neck of the woods!

We NC State Wolfpackers don’t get as much athletic fame as our two neighbors at UNC and Duke. :slight_smile:


Aha! I also have the IKEA Jerker desk. I’m only sporting two monitors though sadly… a 20.1" 1680x1050 viewsonic LCD and an old 1280x1024 BenQ 17".

I think the triple horizontal screens rock:

For the same price as the 30" Apple you can get a 21.3" center panel and two 17" rotated side panels. I like the bigger models myself, but they get pricey.

One thing to think about why someone would want a 30 inch with resolution that high is because they are editing 1080 video and they have it framed by their tools and still see it full scale.

“Vista is more scalable than XP, but it’s still a far cry from a vector-based, PDF style environment where everything scales perfectly to 1200 DPI or better. We still live in a bitmapped world.”

Hmmm…that should probably read “Windows still lives in a bitmapped world.”

Granted - Linux is still mostly bitmapped, but given that nearly all Linux toolkits (GTK, QT, etc…) have dynamic layout managers instead of pixel-based absolute layouts, nearly all applications will scale fine on hi-res displays.

Is this “Rappelz” you’re playing at ?

I used to be in the multi-monitor club (two 18" LCDs). I now have a single, 30" Apple Cinema display and will never go back to multimonitors (in fact, im done with desktops - i use a laptop with it).

Going to HDTV is an interesting option though…

re bitmapped world: My NeXT computer was using Display Postscript (DPS) as far back as 1992. Since OS X is a continuation of the NeXT OS I’m guessing it does something similar. In addition to scaling properly you could expect to get exactly what was on your screen when you printed something – something that was unheard of on a PC at the time.

Personally, I’m a member of the 2+2 monitor club :slight_smile: Two PCs, the first with 17" and 19" LCD monitors, and the second PC with a 20" LCD monitor and a 32" HDTV from Grundig. I use Multiplicity (http://www.stardock.com/products/multiplicity/) to turn it all into a single virtual desktop. When I bring my laptop home it’s added to the mix (for a total of five screens)…

Dude, seriously. Apple Cinema displays use the exact same panels as Dells. It’s ball/b markup. a href="http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=usl=ens=dhscs=19sku=222-0863"this dell/a is $800 cheaper then the compatible apple.

Great post.
I have a Media Center PC (NVIDIA 6600 video card) connected to an HP 37" HDTV via a high quality DVI to HDMA cable. This has been quite a learning experience to say the least. I expected out-of-the-box-with-very-little-configuration to be able to use my new HDTV and MPC as a PC (www, email, gaming, etc…) and as a television (live TV and DVDs). What I have discovered after laborious hours of trial-and-error and research is that the resolution appropriate for the television usage is not right for the PC and vice versa.
I can summarize the gory details by saying that I had to journey into the realms of video card hell where NVIDIA places behind the caveat of “changing these settings might damage your monitor or TV”. Custom resolutions, blanking, uderscan/overscan and other jargon I had to learn while my wife glared at me for spending $1500 on a new TV that I apparently couldn’t get to work as “I had advertised to her”.

All of you married IT guys know exactly what I’m talking about here.

In the end, I settled for two modes of low resolution. For the TV mode, I’m running in 480p (640x480) so that the “black bars” on both regular TV and HD are as small as possible. For the PC mode, I’m running in 720p with underscan enabled at about 5%. This was the best I could get, all things considered.

Although my wife is now happy with the quality, I find myself less than satisfied. What was considerably disappointing was the lack of information I could find to help me through this. I was all over the web. I poured through a 400+ PDF manual from NVIDIA only feeling more confused. I checked various how-to and MPC enthusiast sites, and even HP’s site in a last ditch effort. I did find a few scant posts of people asking questions similar to my own. But they either had lame unhelpful answers or none at all. It was like a big secret (either that or some elusive sites severely lacking in natural SEO).

I hope this helps some of you out there who have yet to travel this bumpy road.

I currently lease-to-own a 32" LCD that only displays at a single resolution, and I’ve got to say… I’m not impressed. But then again, I’ve got it connected to a low-tech video card (an nVidia GeForce 4000 or whatever, a 64 MB card).

One of my biggest problems is that despite using a VGA connector, there appears to be ghosting on the image. When I had it connected to my laptop with an S-Video cable, the image was blurry and unbearable. But that may have something to do with the S-Video itself.

I’m going to try hooking this directly to my laptop’s VGA port (X1400 ATI Radeon Mobile 256MB card there) and see if there’s any improvement. If there’s not, then I’m going to give up and stop leasing the TV as I have no other use for it at all.

Since OS X is a continuation of the NeXT OS I’m guessing it does something similar

You would be guessing wrong… see here:


‘Tiny’ Ikea Desks? Have you SEEN the Ikea Jerker desk? I have one - the thing is huge. At one point I had a 19-inch CRT monitor, 13-inch TV/VCR combo, PC, and two printers on mine, and still had desk space to spare. It may not be 6’x3’, but it has some decent acreage.

There’s a discussion on “The Ideal Computer Desk” here:



Interesting point on the resolution issues. This is becoming a total nightmare. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to get the resolution right for watching movies on my 1920x1200 24" monitor.

I have 3 Dell 2007FPs side-by-side and I’m sold. I don’t expect to go with any monitor that doesn’t offer vertical resolution 1200 or higher.

You guys sitting at your tiny Ikea desks, if you’re putting money into size monitors, how about spending a little on desktop space too? My work table is 6’x3’, height adjustable, solid as a rock. $150 plus shipping, easily found on the web.

Got same hell with resolutions while connecting a laptop to an Epson home cinema LCD projector. The laptop native resolution is 1280x800, the projector’s - 1280x720. It was really very unobvious, how to get it playing movies. The projector just would display a black picture instead of video! Thank God, it is all fine now, but it took me several days to understand all the details that I really didn’t want to know :slight_smile: