what kind of monitor to get

I am going to be moving into a new apartment and was looking into a new tv for my room.

I was thinking that I could get a monitor and also get some sort of tv cable card so that it could double as a tv.

I was thinking a 19" monitor would be too small, but don't want to get too big that I can't do normal compute work
from a few feet away.

Can anyone give me some advice based on personal experience as to what size and type of monitor to get
so that it could primarily be a monitor and also function as a tv?

Price is somewhat of an issue, I would like to keep it below $600.

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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
Depending on how "techie" you are.

You can just get a normal monitor and route the tv through the computer, instead of using a tv tuner in monitor.  You also need a video card that has components out(rgb er kind of) and  tv with components in.  Also keep in mind that the DVI on most tv's is different then pc world, also resolutions can give you headache.  Most modern video cards can produce the wide array of sizes, along with the tv's.  Just doublecheck before you make a decision.

I personally like tv's that will do pc native resolutions ie:  800x600,1024x768, etc not 720x600 or whatever wierd sizes there using.  

built in free dvr(like tivo)
bragging rights :P

not fun :P
good dvr cards.

good lcd

Video card, any of the ati's all in wonder series(although the prices are a bit of a rip off).  There are a couple of cheaper geforce ones kicking around, just something you have to dig around for.

Also keep in mind that a "tv" is not desgined for extended viewing at 1 foot away, :)  (i am of course speaking from personal experince)  A lcd at 900:1 with 600+ cdm, will do some serious damage to your eyeballs. :)
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jackjohnson44Author Commented:
what does this mean?
"A lcd at 900:1 with 600+ cdm"

what should I get?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
I bought my wife one of these for her study/sewing room -- it works great as a TV (since it IS a TV, it doesn't require the computer for this purpose) and as a monitor.   If you want DVR functionality, then you may want to use a TV tuner card in the PC;  but if you just want a simple combo monitor/TV this is a great choice -- as long as 17" is large enough:

(We like it well enough I bought two more for our guest bedrooms)

jackjohnson44Author Commented:
does analog matter?

what about brightness?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... does analog matter? " ==>  That's a matter of opinion.  A DVI interface IS technically a more stable signal, and doesn't have anything to align;  but folks have been using VGA (which is analog) interfaces for a LONG time and they work just fine.  I've tried using the same monitor with both VGA and DVI inputs, and personally I cannot tell the difference (on a 21" display).   So in my opinion, it doesn't matter ==> but from a techology perspective DVI is "better."

"... what about brightness? " ==>  Anything that has over 250 cd/m2 will be more than bright enough.   A more important spec is the contrast -- be sure to get at least 450:1.   There are displays that will get a lot brighter -- but you'll never turn them up that high (and would get severe headaches if you did).   The best test is to simply watch the display you're considering;  if it's satisfactory, don't worry about the specs.

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jackjohnson44Author Commented:
thanks for the advice, but I was planning on buying over the internet.
Maybe I should go to a store first.

so is 250 acceptable for brightness, or should I go higher?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
I've got monitors rated at 260, 270, 300, and 500 -- and ALL are plenty bright.   I think 250 is very acceptable for a brightness spec.
> I was thinking a 19" monitor would be too small, but don't want to get too big that I can't do normal compute work from a few feet away.

It can never be too big! Why would a larger monitor make it such that you can't do normal computing work from a few feet away?

With $600, I would get a 21" LCD monitor and a TV tuner card.
I've seen many monitors that are cable ready and HD for $600.00.  My friend bought one off ebay brand new for $650.00 3 years ago and absolutely loves it.  Watching sports highlights is a treat.  

something to this effect.

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
I've got monitors from 15" to 60" (an HDTV).   While 15" is too small, I find there's not a lot of perceptual difference between 17" and 19" (my dual display desktop has one of each - the 19" is clearly larger; but the 17" is "large enough").   For a modest space in an apartment, I think either 17" or 19" is fine.   Just because one CAN spend $600 doesn't mean you HAVE to :-)
(I COULD spend a LOT more than I do on computer gear -- but I do try to limit my splurges !!)

... I think the little Samsung monitor/TV is a real gem for under $300 (that's why I bought a couple of extras).
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... you can also find some nice HD TV/monitor combos for not much more than that.  In fact, I brought one home for my wife's study originally (I forget the exact make/model -- but it was about $450).   She didn't like the aspect ratio for the computer;  and almost all of the TV she watches is 4:3, so I returned it and bought the Samsung.   It's been a GREAT choice -- works very well as a monitor, and it's a nice TV as well (has a nice little credit-card-size remote).
250 is "ok", as long as there is no ambient light in room (ie: the sun),  I wouldnt go below 400cdm with at least 450:1 contrast ratio, although i've already burned my retinas out =p(too much doom on plasma).    

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