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Monitors vs TVs?

2008-01-09 19:59:59.780183+00 by Dan Lyke 13 comments

As we move into the new place, we're becoming acutely aware of how many hundreds of dollars per square foot the roof over our heads is costing us. This is making us reconsider certain objects that take up unreasonable amounts of space.

The two that immediately come to mind are the 26" TV that I bought in 1990, and the component stereo stack with full-sized speakers.

I'm noticing that LCD monitors seem to be quite a bit cheaper than HD TVs of equivalent size, and given that we don't watch broadcast TV, I may see what options I can get to get a DVD signal on to one of those. I also know that speaker technology has come a long way in making small speakers that sound good, especially since I'm no longer a "listen to Pink Floyd so loud I can feel it in my stomach" sort of person, so I'm sure we could go from 19" wide and 2' deep to something small and unobtrusive.

Anyone got suggestions on either?

[ related topics: Technology and Culture Movies Television ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-09 22:48:06.33192+00 by: dexev

Radio Paradise has good things to say about the AudioEngine A2. No personal experience, and they get a kickback from sales through their site, but if I were in the market for speakers I'd give them a close look.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-09 23:08:10.309201+00 by: FnDragon

Just throwing my two cents in here about audio solutions: I found Energy Speakers line of "Take Classic" speakers to be quite good and have a small footprint. Not quite the power of the 19" wide speaker systems, but I own a set of them and am not disappointed. They also have some speakers with integrated stands, but I'm more of a fan of small, discrete units you can hide next to furniture.

I found out about that company the same way, I asked all my buddies and one of them owned a set, I went to his place, enjoyed what I heard, and ordered a set for myself.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-10 00:56:02.393869+00 by: Medley

I have no gadget advice for you, but I've found myself thinking along similar lines and often will say things like: "Am I paying a mumblety-dollar mortgage in order to act as a storage unit for this cheap PLASTIC JUNK?!?!" And then purge, purge, purge! This often happens after my grandmother sends me some totally useless and unwanted knick-knack. Sigh.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-10 01:33:18.083974+00 by: meuon

Regarding TV/Stereo.. The big deep projection 46" set in the living room was just upgraded to a 46" LCD panel 1080p w/HDMI/vga.. etc.. Sure the picture is incredible, and my mythtv box looks incredible at whatever the heck the resolution is (1920x1080)

But our living room became a LOT bigger. We can move furniture around more, play the Wii in the middle of the room without backing into the couch.. We're already using a 5.1 system that's part of the DVD system as our primary audio, the subwoofer is under and end-table and it sounds great at even loud-ish volumes, and if I need loud, I drag out the Fender PA's. :)

As for general storage, Nancy and I have both been "cleaning house" getting rid of "it might be useful someday" stuff. we seem to have the same 'start the year cleaned up' thing, or maybe mine is infectios. By general rule of thumb is $25/cubic foot. As in: If it's worth less than that, why am I storing it?

Nancy tags things with pins or signage, and if it hasn't been used in XX months, it gets donated, recycled, trashed..

The garage is going to be re-cleaned out soon. Need room to do some projects.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-10 01:43:40.464078+00 by: mvandewettering

'm noticing that LCD monitors seem to be quite a bit cheaper than HD TVs of equivalent size, and given that we don't watch broadcast TV, I may see what options I can get to get a DVD signal on to one of those.

I'm not really sure that I've seen that. Last I looked, a 26" LCD monitor was still pretty spendy, and I got a 32" LCD tv for $699 over a year ago. Granted, the TVs are mostly 720p, but it isn't hard to find one with a VGA and/or HDMI interface. The monitors which have 1920 res are mostly 24" in that price point. It all depends on what you need.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-10 13:23:58.303047+00 by: DaveP

Small speakers... if you like the "JBL sound", check out the M00s. There's a review talking about the other bits you might want with 'em.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-10 18:05:03.128983+00 by: TheSHAD0W

The smaller LCD TVs make great "executive monitors". (Ever notice that, the higher up in status in the company someone is, the lower resolution they run their monitors at?) I personally prefer very small pixels to fit as much on my screen as I can, but many people simply can't see that well. 1280x720 on a huge screen will make many people happy.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-10 18:40:11.133949+00 by: radix

The information I can't seem to find is power consumption. I would like to know this for HDTVs so I can make an informed decision when I switch. Also, apply at www.dtv2009.gov for your vouchers (set-top)!

Otherwise I just buy a clamp-on ammeter and take it to all the stores. (*sigh*)

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-10 18:57:43.063676+00 by: Dan Lyke

Mark (and, relatedly, Shadow), it could just be that LCD monitors are available in smaller sizes, for the same size they're close to the same price, but I can get a 20" wide screen for < $200 and can't find an HDTV that's less than 26". Sure, I might notice the smaller screen, but I grew up with Mr. Rogers, the early space shots, and Fonzi jumping the shark on a 13" B&W, and thought that a 20" color was huge when my parents finally got one, and with a friend lugged my 26" up three flights of stairs for a Super Bowl party 'cause it was the largest TV we could lay our hands on. In fact I think I even rented it out once or twice to a guy who sold A/V computer systems when he needed a display for something.

And it may be about HDMI vs DVI interfaces. I guess I have to weigh future compatibility against something that works just fine with S-Video or component out from my $40 DVD player that we use at most 20 times/year. With a 5 year depreciation period that means each $100 we spend on a TV costs us an extra buck a movie.

(Back in the day I bought that 26" TV and a high-end SVHS recorder, and I'm pretty sure it'd have been cheaper to go to the theater *and* get the big tub of popcorn... Although in those days I used to watch The Simpsons and such while I worked out. Now the biceps and the pecs are long gone.)

Lyn (and Meuon), yeah, exactly. My back issues of Cook's Illustrated[Wiki] got recycled because it was fairly easy to show that it was cheaper to buy an online subscription to the archives for the rest of our lives than to dedicate the shelf space. We're being similarly ruthless about books and [gulp] kitchen utensils. And I'm loving the idea of putting a sticker or some tape on things, removing it when we use it, and checking back after a month or three as to whether we really want to keep it.

Everyone else, thanks, keep those suggestions coming, I'll have to find a way to listen to some of these speakers and see what works for us. Some days I wish I'd just kept the great little boombox that I bought back in '88 or '89 that I gave Catherine when we broke up. Cost me a mint way back then, but it had good enough sound in a nice little form factor.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-11 01:58:20.736814+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Either kill your TV now, or wait until prices on 1080p systems drop more. It should have it's own HD tuner, and cost less per sqft of screen than your house. Your new TV set is also a computer monitor, You'll be using it for work (I do.. really..) and therefore I'd consider it a business expense. If you buy a decent one now, you may get as much life out of it as your last TV set. Comprimise, and unless you get a really great deal, and it'll just be upgrade fodder in a year.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-11 02:56:47.841372+00 by: ebradway

I've been shopping NewEgg for my next computer and am planning on a 22" flat-screen. I noticed this Westinghouse 24" with S-Video and NTSC jacks for $350 (with standard wall-mount holes). I thought it might make a replacement for our 19" tube-TV when the time comes.

I'm considering a pair of these $100 m-Audio monitors for the PC but they'd probably make decent bookshelf-speakers for a small living room. These are nice because they have an integrated amp - just hook up an audio source (like an AppleTV) and you're good-to-go. Otherwise, I'd probably go for one of the Bose systems with the tiny surround speakers.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-11 03:55:42.926459+00 by: TheSHAD0W

HDMI = DVI + digital audio. You should always be able to plug a HDMI monitor into a DVI source (and vice-versa).

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-11 06:44:02.221644+00 by: igor'

hdmi to dvi plug is under 20$ so thats not a problem. I strongly believe in quality audio, and there really is no "replacement for displacement" imho when it comes to speakers. Having said that, electrostatic/magentic speakers that sound really really good are those


if you just want small regular speakers I have those http://www.axiomaudio.com/m22ti_main.html, and the dark side of the moon still makes me quake in my boots :-)