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Best option for using old TV as an alternative monitor.


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#1 Jay_is_bored

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 03:29 AM

I would like to hook my computer up to my tv, so the tv would be the monitor and speakers at times (unless I could have two monitors, with one being the tv. But I think my computer is too old for that.)

 

My computer ports are Firewire, USB (not sure what versions), VGA, and digital audio out.

My TV input ports are S-Video, old vhf/uhf coax connector, and a lot of RCA connectors.

 

So I was wondering what the best set of cables and/or converter would be. I don't care much about video quality. 1080 is just fine with me. I'm more concerned with price. And a little concerned about whatever method is used being able to hopefully work on a more modern computer if I bought one.

 

Buying a new computer is just not an option right now though.

 

Interested in your thoughts, and thanks for reading.



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#2 Platypus

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 07:58 AM

If the TV doesn't have VGA or higher input (i.e. DVI, HDMI), it's not going to be any practical use as a computer monitor.
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#3 smax013

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 09:23 AM

I would like to hook my computer up to my tv, so the tv would be the monitor and speakers at times (unless I could have two monitors, with one being the tv. But I think my computer is too old for that.)
 
My computer ports are Firewire, USB (not sure what versions), VGA, and digital audio out.
My TV input ports are S-Video, old vhf/uhf coax connector, and a lot of RCA connectors.
 
So I was wondering what the best set of cables and/or converter would be. I don't care much about video quality. 1080 is just fine with me. I'm more concerned with price. And a little concerned about whatever method is used being able to hopefully work on a more modern computer if I bought one.
 
Buying a new computer is just not an option right now though.
 
Interested in your thoughts, and thanks for reading.


If the TV only has an S-Video input, coax input, and RCA input, then it will likely get no where near a resolution of "1080" (aka 1080i or 1080p in TV terms or 1920x1080 in computer terms). You are likely looking at 480i (nominally 720/640x480 in computer terms, except it will be interlaced rather than progressive) with maybe the possibility of 576i (nominally about 768x476 or 1024x576 in computer terms depending on the aspect ratio of the TV...i.e. either 4:3 or 16:9...and again interlaced not progressive) using the S-Video port (assuming the actual screen would support 576 lines of vertical resolution). If memory serves, you need some sort of digital connection to a progressive signal (i.e. either 480p or 576p).

The end result is that your TV will not likely do well as an external monitor, as noted by Platypus.

#4 Jay_is_bored

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 11:36 AM

Oh, darn. Ok, thank you though. I was hoping to use it to occasionally play low graphics games, and watch movies. I don't need high quality video, but really crappy video for movies wouldn't even be worth buying a converter. Are there any CRT televisions that were made that do have a digital input that would work ok enough? Or would I have to upgrade to a flat panel tv? I was hoping to stick with CRTs, since everyone gives them away for free.



#5 smax013

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 11:46 AM

Oh, darn. Ok, thank you though. I was hoping to use it to occasionally play low graphics games, and watch movies. I don't need high quality video, but really crappy video for movies wouldn't even be worth buying a converter. Are there any CRT televisions that were made that do have a digital input that would work ok enough? Or would I have to upgrade to a flat panel tv? I was hoping to stick with CRTs, since everyone gives them away for free.


If you are going to just watch video or maybe play some low graphics games, then you likely will be OK. Basically, watching videos will be like watching a DVD on your current TV.

It is more if you want to do traditional "computer things" (i.e. word processing, etc) on the computer. Those will not look so great as you will have to sit pretty close to the TV to be able to read anything...and then the low resolution will really be apparent.

There were some CRT TVs that supported 720p either by way of a digital HDMI connection or analog component connections (I had forgot about them when I did my previous post). My first HDTV was a 30" 16:9 Sony CRT that could do 720p. It weighed a ton. Having said that, HD CRTs were kind of fleeting and rare. Generally, if memory serves, most early HDTVs were rear projection TVs...and then they transitioned into flat panel plasma screens. Obviously, the most prevalent HDTVs eventually became flat panel LCDs.




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