Adding an HDTV to an older computer system for streaming video?

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Old 01-25-11, 07:55 AM
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Adding an HDTV to an older computer system for streaming video?

First, a little background....

I am preparing to cut the Time Warner Cable cord in a few days, and planning to replace it with OTA antenna TV plus Hulu/Netflix/Amazon VOD. This is going to save me around $1000 a year, and I was planning on using some of this savings to get a better setup for our 2nd TV so it could handle the streaming video. I was thinking about something like a Roku box or a Vizio with VIA. However, I now see that some of the TV shows we would want to watch are not available on Hulu Plus for whatever reason, even though they are available on regular Hulu. Since you can't get regular Hulu on your TV without a computer, I need to rethink my setup plans. Also, there will be times I need ESPN3, which isn't available on anything other that a computer, that I know of.

I currently have an older computer that, at the time, was pretty nice. It has an ATI All-in-Wonder 9000. Obviously, it can't compete with current configurations, but I wonder if it is good enough for my needs?

Would I be able to replace the current monitor with an HDTV (or bigger monitor) and everything work ok? ATI says "the max WUXGA resolution is (1920x1200) and Integrated TV-Out support up to 1024x768 resolution". That is obviously not HD resolution, but what is the max resolution coming from these internet streamers?

I realize my desktop PC would not make a good HTPC, but I was wondering if it would work for my purposes. Instead of bringing the HTPC to the TV, I wonder if it would be just as good to bring the TV to the computer room.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 01-25-11, 12:27 PM
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If the PC can handle those internet streams at the moment then it will be fine for what you are asking. Internet streams rarely go above regular HD, which is much lower than a regular monitor of even 5 years ago, so your system would handle that completely fine. The downside is that anything else you do on the PC (email for example) will look poor compared to a modern monitor, but if you use it solely for internet tv then it would be fine.
 
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Old 01-25-11, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by txrxio View Post
...The downside is that anything else you do on the PC (email for example) will look poor compared to a modern monitor, but if you use it solely for internet tv then it would be fine.
Thanks for the reply. In that case, I need to go a different route. I would still need to use the computer for normal use, so if regular text would not look right, this would not be a good option.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 11:53 PM
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If your existing machine has a DVI monitor output, you're good to go. DVI is basically HDMI without the audio signal (can run that separately). If your computer only has S-Video out, or one of those yellow RCA connectors, the HD signal isn't going to be so hot. Full HD resolution is 1920X1080, so the video card won't have any trouble with the sheer size, just a question of connector type and quality.

I hook my laptop up to the HDTV using a DVI to HDMI cable and a headphone to dual-RCA cable. My TV set has one set of inputs specifically for this setup. The only weird part was that I had to monkey around in the settings to turn off overscan so I could see the whole screen. Depending on what outputs your old computer has, you may have to do something more complex/lower quality.

Incidentally, pretty much any streaming "HD" looks like garbage compared to real HD. It's compressed to almost absurd levels. You could hook your computer up to a regular TV and it wouldn't be much different. Now if you download high quality HD sources (like over a gigabyte an hour, preferably much higher), then you really want DVI to an HDTV.
 
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