Dell 21" wide screen LCD... want to use it as a TV.. How?

In a moment of weakness, and faced with a sweet super secret Dell coupon deal. I broke down and purchased a very nice 21" LCD… I am thinking I would like to use this as a second TV. It supports up to HD resolutions and seem to have a refresh fast enough to serve well as a TV. But I am unsure how to go about it. I am far from a home theater guru.

I wonder if this is possible without some intermediary box (a receiver or Elgato eyeTV for example). I do not want the tuner functionality of a TV… just the picture. My current setup to a regular CRT TV, is to feed the video only from the cable box to the TV through my receiver. I think I can send the feed from a (soon to be acquired HD cable box) to the the monitor via DVi or one of the many component hookups on the monitor…and then feed the sound elsewhere… without the intermediary box.

any advice would be appriciated

You’re going to need a cable box with an HD output, specifically, DVI or HDMI (they made small converts to go from HDMI to DVI.)

That is the simpliest way I am aware of, since it puts the tuner funcitonality in a seperate box (which you need) and can give you an output directly suited for the input of your monitor.

Two options that immediately come to mind:

  1. There are devices that will convert a component signal to VGA in a pretty clean way. If your cable box has component output, that’s a decent option.

  2. Get a Media Center PC! Ok, this one is is quite a bit larger an investment, but it’s way cool. You plug the output of your cable box into the PC’s TV input card, then use the LCD like a regular PC monitor. It will record TV, let you watch live TV, DVD’s, look at your pictures, etc. And it’s all wrapped in a nice UI that you operate with a remote control (no bothering with a mouse and keyboard). I use this for my primary TV now and couldn’t go back.

The display itself has the input required for HD, namely the DVi and even component (I think)… but a converter (as mentioned) to make them play nice is good advice, especially if the Comcast HD cable box does not have the corresponding outputs (although I think it does (must go look that up). The stats show dual simultaneous input on the thing… that has potential too… TV and 'puter access with PiP… HMMMM

Media center PC? Nah… for that kind of cash I’d pickup a new dual core G5 tower… think of how pretty pretty WoW would be???

Not very pretty at all, at least for the price; checking Apple’s website, even the most expensive G5 tower ($3,299) only comes with a lower-midrange graphics card (6600 vanilla), which would not be enough to run WoW acceptably at decent resolutions + eye candy (Anti-Aliasing/Anistrophic filtering). Any PC at half that cost would have a video card at least twice as fast as the 6600.

Rather than shell out of a Media center PC, maybe look into picking up a TV tuner for your computer - that should be less than $100.

Meh… the graphics card in my 15" PowerBook never seems to have issues… and I have most settings pegged… I think I’d be quite happy with the vanilla solution offered in a tower system… plus as an added bonus I could always upgrade that… not so much an option for the powerbook.

I was just looking at a tuner box… although that would be going in the exact opposite direction of my original intent…

That monitor has S-Video in. That’s by far the easiest way to get a signal into it from typical stereo components – although not the best quality.

There are devices that will turn your monitor into a TV without the need for a PC. This thing plugs directly into the monitor.

Here’s a link to one on eBay: