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I recently found out there are such things as PC monitors with TV capabilities (or TVs that can be PC monitors), and the idea kind of tickles my fancy. I'm thinking of getting one of these gadgets, and if I do, I will connect it to my PC via HDMI (my graphics card has builtin HDMI), so that I also get sound to the TV. The reason for this is because I have a 2.1 sound system which I want to use both on the PC and the TV. Basically, I want the configuration to look like this:

Cable --------> TV --> 2.1 Sound System
PC    --HDMI--> TV --> 2.1 Sound System

My question is: can I use a setup like this? Can I not have a classic VGA monitor? Will I be able to see non-graphical interfaces (such as the BIOS, GRUB, a Linux terminal, ...) through HDMI on the TV?

I use Windows 7 and Ubuntu.

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@Felix: If nhinkle answered your question, please mark his answer as the correct one. – kbyrd Apr 7 '10 at 21:25
@kbyrd I know, I'm on SO, too. It's just that less than 5 minutes since I had asked my question had passed and I couldn't accept it at the time. I accepted it now (and hey, look, because I dragged my feet it got more upvotes! :) – Felix Apr 8 '10 at 11:18
up vote 6 down vote accepted

As long as you have an HDMI port, which you say you do, it will work just fine like any regular monitor. HDMI has the same pinout as DVI, plus audio, so it will work just the same as any regular digital display. There's no need for a VGA connection, in fact, you get a better signal with a digital cable like HDMI than with VGA, which is analog.

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Thank you! Yes, my graphics card (HIS Radeon HD 4670 / 1GB DDR3) has native HDMI and, what's very cool about this card, is that it has a builtin soundcard, so you don't need to connect it internally to a separate soundcard or to the motherboard, you just pick its soundcard in the configuration of your OS. – Felix Apr 7 '10 at 20:22

If you want to watch TV, you can get more capabilities (such as recording and pausing live TV) and spend less money by buying a TV tuner for your computer rather than a new monitor/TV. I highly recommend a digital tuner if digital TV is broadcast in your area. (it doesn't have to be digitized / compressed by the computer, just recorded as-is)

The only slight downside is if your monitor refresh rate isn't exactly (a multiple of) the TV broadcast field rate (50 Hz here; 60 in the US), there will be some jerkiness - mostly noticeable when watching news / sports / shows recorded on interlaced-video (rather than at 24/25/30 FPS).

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+1 for the idea, I'll think about it – Felix Apr 8 '10 at 11:17

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