Samsung P2370HD TV-monitor
A PC-TV display worth looking at?
Review Combo TV-monitors are not a new idea, but all too often what you get is a standard PC monitor with a TV tuner bolted on. Yet with the P2370HD, Samsung has created a fully functional 23in widescreen TV, that’s designed to work just as well as a PC monitor.
Dual purpose: Samsung's P2370HD
The monitor is comprised of a standard 16:9 display with a native resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, making it capable of full-HD playback of Blu-ray discs and games from your PC or directly using HDMI. Being a TV, it also comes with built-in stereo speakers. Indeed, the P2370HD offers the best of both worlds, bringing the design and usability of a great TV to the desktop. Moreover, it highlights just what we’ve been missing in the PC world.
Convergence of HD TV and PC peripherals has brought some really good design to desktop monitors, many of which have already started to look like TVs. Glossy, piano black bezels and gentle curves all help your monitor to look just as good in your living room or bedroom as they do in your office.
The P2370HD is no exception. Not only does it have the aforementioned TV-like looks, it also adds touch sensitive, backlit controls and an angled transparent acrylic stand which makes the display seem to almost float in mid air. The stand is also removable, allowing wall mounting with a standard VESA 75 bracket.
Samsung’s trademarked “Touch of Color” design adds an almost homeopathically diluted amount of red tint to the bezel which actually succeeds in imparting a more expensive feel to the whole display. This is complemented by a row of illuminated touch-sensitive controls, which can be optionally turned off – at which point they become entirely invisible.
VESA mounting is an option
Powering the monitor you’re greeted with an entirely unnecessary chime of a cheerful arpeggio and a short light show. Whilst being slightly annoying, it’s also somehow re-assuring. It’s a welcome that suggests you’re going to be helped through this experience rather than left to fumble on your own.
Overscan is weird in this day and age, but you can turn it off on most tellies. I've had a Samsung, Sony and Panasonic in the last 3 years, all were able to turn overscan off. (Of course, it had a different name on all of them!) So quit moaning about overscan and turn it off :)
As for TV vs monitor, there are loads of other factors, from things such as design (most TVs are not this nice looking or compact) to response rate and frequencies etc. When I was in the market, I looked at a normal 1080p screen for dual duties, but couldn't find a TV that looked as nice as the Samsungs. Also, 1080p might be fine at 32" and up for movies, but I think maybe too low res for a desktop (and too big really if you're normal PC distance away). I find 1080p @ 23" on a normal desk to be just about right in terms of text size, web etc.
What swung it for me was I wanted dual desktop, and Samsung do a TV version, and a non-TV version of their models, with the monitor only version being much lower priced. I was tempted just to use a TV card and get two cheaper monitors, but then you wouldn't have a nice remote, would need to have sound thru PC speakers etc.
Samsung seem to have this nailed...
I've been using a 46" Samsung as my PC monitor for about 18 months now, and it does look exceedingly good - and whilst it does have some odd resolution omissions. it does support pretty much everything you will need, vfrom 640, 800, 1024, 1024 and 1200. I'd recommend any Samsung telly, actually!
No, I don't work for them, why do you ask?
RE: Talking of monitors vs TVs...
BEcause for some reason the people who came up with the standards decided that no-one was interested in picture quality ! At least that's the only explanation I can come up with.
Using HDMI, the picture is automatically scaled to create overscan - so when you nice shiny hi def source feeds it a nice 1920x1080 image, it doesn't simply map those pixels onto the 1920x768 pixels of the display panel, it rescales them first to guarantee a loss of quality. On many sets, there is an option for scaling (sometimes called something like "full pixel" mode), but not on Panasonic (according to their non-help centre), and generally not on smaller sets.
It's an epic fail IMHO to designa system that's guaranteed sub-optimal quality.
I was pleasantly surprised that my Samsung LE26B350 automatically does this mode if you use the HDMI input that's labelled as HDMI/DVI - I get the impression that Samsung actually understand that you might want to use one of these as a monitor. Just a pity they don't have S-Video, only component and composite, on the SCART.
Why would I want this rather than (say) a SyncMaster T220HD 22" model, currently under £200? Think of the beer I could buy with the difference. (So what if the T220HD is obsolescent, this one already is too as it almost certainly doesn't do DVB-T2 ie Freeview HD).
And for the gentleman who asked about digital optical out - isn't it so your home cinema system can take an audio feed from the TV tuner in the monitor?
I want something like this but just slightly bigger. I've got a 26" space, but there's so little that fits the bill, without costing £600+ which is silly when a 32" TV can be had for < £300