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Recommended HDTV/Monitor?

  • I've decided to put getting RetroPie working on a CRT on the back-burner and will just go for an extra HDMI/DVI monitor or HDTV. High resolution with shaders does a good enough job of emulating that phosphor feel (for the time being, at least.)

    Are there any recommendations for one with excellent input lag? Should I look at HDTVs or monitors?

    Just to make it more interesting: Any ideas on a 4:3 or 5:4 solution? Maybe compromise on VGA with a CRT? This'll be dedicated to the RetroPie so going 16:9 or 16:10 seems a waste (although it may end up being more cost efficient.)

    (Now that I have a van, I'm actively keeping an eye out for used Trinitrons in the area and once I get one of those, I'll resume my CRT angle.)

  • @tonytoon I went with a 19" LCD, 1280x1024. This is a 5:4 but can be leveraged to just 960 if you want to be a stickler about 4:3 rendering. Many emulators will do that automatically, but I don't mind the minimal distortion, especially if I am running a curvature shader. That said, 1024 is just under HD vertical resolution anyway, so shaders look really nice and performance is great since CRT-PI and vfast are optimized for HD res anyway.

    The best opportunity for these displays is in the second hand market, I think. I picked up a gorgeous Sony LCD many years ago via the Best Buy auction website, but a couple years ago I picked up a Dell which looks just as good at an estate sale. I see these all the time at Goodwill for $10 or so. Nobody wants these for computers anymore, but they are perfect for retro gaming systems. If my wife was not watching, I would probably grab them everywhere I see them.

    1024x768 might be a good option if you are getting down into the 17 or 15" range, although this would start to affect the shader quality if you like scanline effects. If you can get a demo or you are looking at specs, obviously, the higher the contrast ratio the better, and you want as wide of a viewing angle as possible. These displays usually fall into a range where viewing angles were improving, but you still find some that are dim and hard to see from the side. Depending on your project, this might be a problem. For example, I built a four player cocktail style cabinet around my Sony 19" LCD. In order for it to work, I had to mount it upside down. As a computer monitor, the viewing angle is optimized for looking down at it from an angle. So, mounted the right way made it look dim on a flat tabletop design, but mounted upside down takes advantage of the existing design and it looks much better from the horizontal side this way.

    If you opt for an HDTV, you will probably enjoy better viewing angles all around and possibly newer, brighter contrast, but the additional space does get wasted--UNLESS you are into the awesome overlays that have been built.

  • @tonytoon I forgot to mention that the displays I have found are typically VGA, but many of them also have DVI ports. I found a cheap HDMI-to-DVI adapter which is the way to go. DVI cables are bulky, so this little adapter basically upgrades the display to HDMI.

    Also, I un-shell them and discard the plastic bezel. This sometimes requires me to relocate adjustment buttons which has not been a problem. You end up with a screw-mountable steel bracket reinforced screen with the driver board/power intact, just not all of the branded plastic.

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