Monitor controls are often notoriously fiddly and often quite frustrating to use. With a TV, you simply can’t get away with this sort of thing – it has to be quick and it has to be easy. What’s more, it has to be readable from the other side of the room. That’s why the menus on the P2370HD are massive, making whole experience of setting up the display so much more user-friendly than on any standard PC display we’ve seen.
Interfacing includes digital audio
The P2370HD comes with a good selection of inputs and outputs. The usual VGA and DVI inputs provide the standard PC monitor connections, but we also get HDMI, Scart and component video, plus the ability to input both digital and analogue audio. An optical digital audio out port allows you to connect an external amplifier and speakers.
The built-in tuner is an analogue/digital hybrid, although Samsung was unable to confirm support for the DVB-T2 protocol required for Freeview HD, although we rather doubt this unit will support the feature.
The P3270HD also supports cable channels and pay TV from a CI card slot. The automatic tuning system is very simple to activate and you can choose to include or exclude the analogue channels, as well as maintain your own selection of favourites.
Watching SD content on an HD display is always going to be a little disappointing close up, and the P2370HD doesn’t do the best job of scaling, as there’s still some pixellation visible. However, the colour reproduction is very good and the numerous adjustments available make it easy to get a picture that looks great from more normal TV-viewing distances.
What telly would be complete without a remote?
Testing the display’s performance with a Spyder 3 Elite calibrator revealed a colour gamut that’s better than average by about one or two per cent. This is perfect for a display like this because – while wider colour gamuts are great for Photo editing in colour-controlled environments – this is a TV, so we want the display colours to look natural without the need for any adjustments.
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.