Can TV for kitchen double as computer yet?? Technology status?

celticmoonFebruary 15, 2006

Apologies in advance if this is a dumb question.

We have cable TV (non digital) and cable internet so crossing over to all digital is an option.

I have a newer Dell desktop in an adjacent study that I recall has the capacity to drive a small TV - though I did not opt for a TV tuner in my configuration on that unit.

I've researched TVs and a medium TV screen would be fine for the kitchen. 24-30 LCD with cable card would be a nice option. Or a thinner CRT if it goes in a corner and we pass on digital for now.

Questions: how close is technology to integrating the TV and computer elements of family life? Should I be looking to plan and run display screen cable from a desk area to the TV? Someone posted their new Sony had a USB port but it sounded more for viewing picture files than for internet- is USB how this will go? Or will it be wireless like the router for my laptop?

I'm not qiute getting what I need with a search here. Is there a place on the net or a magazine that can get me up to speed on what exists and what to plan for? I see plenty on explaining, say plasma vs. LCD, 1080 blah blah blah, -so I'm pretty clear on the TV issues. And then I see hyper techo geek articles which I cannot at all comprehend about AV cutting edge stuff.

I just want to understand a little better what is available now for integrating these two big areas of cords, screens and cables. I like to have a plan, buy once and ride with that for a decade or two. Thanks!

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Ooh. "Riding for a decade or two" with the pace of technology today is ... well, it's not going to leave you very happy, I don't think. 20 years ago, an IBM AT was a state of the art computer and the (commercial) Internet was a twinkling in someone's eyes.

What you're talking about can be done in a slightly different manner than you're stating. There are combination LCD monitors/TV monitors (many of which come with built-in tuners) which can be used to show TV programs on your computer screen (sometimes as picture-in-picture). I'm not aware of too many LCD TVs which advertise the ability to hook up a monitor, but I will admit to not paying much attention to that market because ... well, OK. I don't watch that much TV and my 20" Sony CRT will be here till it dies. :-)

Anyway, it is possible to do this now. One thing to think about, though, is whether your family is OK with TV use competing with computer use on the same box. If you have another computer (for the kids or whatever), it's far more do-able to combine the two. If you want to watch TV while the kids want to get info on harbor seals for a school project, well, ...

Another thing: right now wireless video is not quite there. Video (especially high-definition) takes a tremendous amount of bandwidth; if you can use it at all on your wireless network, everyone else on that network will know about it. At least for now, a wire is best.

As far as learning more, I would search for the term "convergence" along with TV or video or computer, etc.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 4:24PM
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thanks steve. I was thinking more of running the TV for a good while, the computers I am resigned to upgrading. And doing that is actually fun.

I recall my (way wealthy) sister in a rehab in 2002 had a wall TV screen somehow hooked up to her husband's computer in his study. Work at the desk, but the monitor is on the wall across the room like a large LCD. They likely paid high end money for that set up back then. Just wondered if that was filtering down to being in range for the rest of us.

I really don't know what is out there...

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 5:21PM
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Pooh Bear

You can hook up a computer to a TV.
You need a Video Out port on the computer.
A TV is a lot lower resolution than a computer monitor.
Works for watching movies, but not text applications.
Text on the TV display will be fuzzy.

I have two computers here both with S Video ports.
I plan on getting a cable tomorrow and hooking one of them up.
See if I can watch movie files on the TV instead of the computer.
There is also a VGA converter you can use.

Also you can watch TV on a computer.
You just need a TV tuner card.
I do this now with my computer.
I can record stuff from my satelite box to my computer.

Using a TV as a computer monitor will work.
Just don't expect the same sharp picture you get with a monitor.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 7:14PM
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Pooh Bear

Just an update.....
I got an S Video cable today and hooked up the laptop to the TV.
Worked great for watching videos.
Couldn't hardly make out the text on the menues for the video player.

So, the TV is good for video, but not anything with text.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 8:57AM
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Thanks Pooh bear (great name!)

Still not sure what cables should go in walls...should I run a s-video cable between desk(desktop computer) and TV?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 12:32AM
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Pooh Bear

How close is the computer to the TV.
For short distances you can use an S video cable.
Limited to however long of cable you can get.
For longer distances you can use RCA Phono cables.
I have one RCA Phono video cable that is 20 feet long.
I don't know about longer distances.

I know you can get coax cables in very long lengths.
But the picture quality suffers horribly with these type cables.
You want to use the best cables you can get.

Check out for in home video distribution hardware.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: Smart Home dot com

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 7:43PM
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OK, I got the S-video cable, the laptop and the TV but no image! Do I have to tweak something in WIN XP?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 5:33PM
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Dacor makes a kitchen media center. It has been on the market for about 2 years. The screen, speakers and controls mount under a cabinet. The screen flips up and out of sight when not in use, The capabilities are, tv, radio, internet and dvd. If you go to Dacor's website you can find it under "whats new". It is called the Kitchen Entertainment Center.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 12:28AM
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What about just using the PC as a combo TV and DVD player? We have DirecTV and Tivo and are thinking of getting a new, 3rd computer for one of the back bedrooms. The family member in that room does a lot of writing & research on the net via our wireless connection. He also watches a lot of DVD's from our large collection, and the occasional cable TV news program.

We want to dump the old Sony mega tv and huge stand that now take up most of the space in that tiny room (10x11 bedroom) and are thinking of getting one of the new HP multimedia PC's. If we do that, will we be able to run DirecTV through it? If so, how?

Thanks much.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 5:56PM
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