T Nation

Tech Question: HDTV With My Computer


#1

Despite my love of all things gadgety and computer-oriented, it's been a super long time since I bought a new computer. Since my dinosaur at home was clearly coming close to a full-on crash, I decided to pick up a new computer from our good friends at Dell (yes, I know there are plenty of people hating Dell, but I get a good deal through my company's employee purchase program, especially with an extended warranty).

Anyhoo, I decided to go all out and picked up their 24" widescreen LCD (2405FPW) since the reviews I have read on it have consistently been stellar. The computer itself is a Windows Media Center computer as well.

So here is my question: Anyone have any tips on the best means to use this snazzy new monitor as a HDTV? I have a HDTV cable box from my cable company, but did not know what other equipment (besides the requisite cables) I would need to get this all set up properly (i.e. do I need to run this through my CPU and use some kind of TV tuner card or not).

Ideally, I want to:

1) watch the majority of my TV on this LCD;
2) hook my XBox up to the LCD; and
3) use it as my computer monitor.

I'm pretty good at working this kind of thing since I like fiddling with my computer, but just wanted to see what I might be getting myself into prior to starting.

I seem to see a lot of good feedback on technical questions from the T-Nation community, so I figured this was as good of a place as any to start.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Kuz


#2

http://www.avsforum.com

If the monitor has inputs that are compatible with the cable box outputs, just hook them up, w/o the computer.

Best connections in descending order;
HDMI
DVI/HDCP
DVI
analogue component
vga
RCA

DVI and HDMI can use adapters for each other. HDMI would deliver sund to monitor speakers.


#3

That is a sweet looking monitor you got there. In terms of using it as a TV that will depend on the outputs from your cable box. Ideally the box will have some sort of DVI input that will be compatible with your monitor's. Some HD cable boxes, such as my own, have DVI inputs that are not activated or are a different type than that featured on your monitor. If this is the case a nice set of component cables is your best bet, and should still look damn good. Same thing goes for your xbox - component will be your best choice but s video or compsite would work in a pinch. In terms of using it for these purposes, make sure you take sound into consideration. Do you want to use computer speakers or some sort of home theater setup?

Another option which could be attractive is purchasing a tv tuner card for your pc. This way only your PC would connect to the monitor and the other boxes would connect to the PC. You could use your PC speakers for all the sound functions and record TV shows to your PC like with Tivo. Anyway definitely hit up AVSforums those dudes know their stuff and feel free to post any more questions - i have a TV tuner card in my PC right now that I like a lot.


#4

Ahhhh. Very helpful. Thanks! I will be sure to pick up those very cables (my monitor does not have speakers, so the DVI/HDCP might be the right way to go).

Is there any value in hooking the cable in through my computer? Or is that really going to be more of a limiter?


#5

Also, try looking at the ATI HDTV Wonder card. It's a PCI card that you connect your cable box to. It also allows recording (DVR capabilities) among other things.


#6

Thanks, vinsanity. Very helpful stuff for a HD newbie like myself. I am thinking (for now at least) to use my cable company provided box (which is HDTV and has a DVR built-in) for a while until I get a little more familiar with using the Windows Media Center functions of my new PC. For now, a direct hook up to the LCD monitor should do the trick.

All I know is I am chomping at the bit for all of this to arrive tomorrow and beginning tinkering away...

The AVSForum.com folks seem to know their stuff inside and out, but it might take me a little while to get up to speed with all of the terminology and acronyms. Yowza.


#7

DVD's? They will soon be HD, you know


#8

I doubt the DVI input on the monitor will work with your cable box. Cable companies tend to use copy protection on their DVI ports (HDCP I think?) so that they only work with compatible devices, of which this monitor is not. With that in mind, this is what I'd do...

Computer: use DVI connection
Cable Box: use component connection
X-Box: use whatever's left over (S-Video?)

Have fun man, from what I hear that monitor is awesome :slight_smile:

-Daniele