Anyone know more than I do about monitors and TVs?

Up until I got my new Thinkpad laptop at work, probably about 4 years ago, I thought laptops could only drive the built in LCD display and one external monitor or 2 external monitors without the built in LCD. I found that that machine would allow 3 displays (built in LCD and two external monitors). Some time after that, I purchased a 55" 4K TV for our livingroom. I found the new Thinkpad would display 4K on our TV. This prompted me to purchase a 4K monitor to use at work. When I tried it, I found that it would drive the built in LCD and the 4K monitor. So, I tried to add a third 1K display, and it seemed like it worked, but the machine was not stable with those three displays. If I went back to the 4K and LCD, it seemed to be happy. I talked with our IT support guy and he did not have any clues as to how to improve things, that I had not already tried.

When I retired, I brought my 4K monitor home, but I did not have a machine to take advantage of its capabilities. A couple of years ago, I purchased a pretty good ASUS laptop and I found that it would handle LCD, 4K monitor and 1K monitor all at the same time.

I’m wondering if I got a second 4K monitor, if I could use the LCD and two 4K monitors with it. I guess i could connect it to the 4K TV and see what happens. I’ve not gotten that eager to spend more money or even enough energy to perform the experiment. That’s definitely on the someday maybe list.

As I described in a previous message, I have 5 monitors on my computer desk. They range from 24" to 32" in size and when they are arranged in a semicircle, they cover pretty much of my field of vision. I have a nice swivel chair, so it is pretty easy to spin a quarter of a turn left or right to be able to read what’s on the end monitors.

I’ve noticed that 4K TV prices continue to decrease. I’ve wondered if 3 - 55" or 40" TV’s would be a better setup.

I wear tri-focal glasses and they work pretty well with 24" monitors. I’m wondering if 40 - 65" displays would require too much head motion to see small text on a larger display. I also wonder how well an inexpensive TV would do with text display, compared to a monitor.

One of my bosses suggested a projector (like he has in his media room), but I doubt that would do small print well.

Just tossing it out there to see if someone has any thoughts about any changes that I could make to improve the experience. I’m hoping to spend an increasing amount of time at the computer, as I get further into retirement. I’d like to optimize the environment as much as possible, of course, without spending too much time or money in the process.

Looking forward to any feedback.

1 Like

How many displays and of what resolution a given machine can “drive” depends in good part on 1: the available graphics hardware, 2: the bandwidth/version of the ports and how many/of what type they are. So it’s hard to say what your ASUS laptop could do without knowing the specific model number. But given that info you should be able to easily determine how many displays it supports and at what resolution. If the info doesn’t seem easy to find I may be able to help if you can provide that model #.

TVs are good for less critical content, but because they’re designed to be used at larger viewing distances, they seldom have the precision, refresh rates, color performance, and other factors which are often desirable for computer displays. So as a 2nd monitor (or 3rd, 5th, 8th, whatever :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:), they can work well. But I wouldn’t want one as my primary 4k display that I look at all day. Input lag and other factors can actually cause subtle frustration or fatigue that compounds with daily use for long periods of time. So you might not even initially notice any differences or downsides of the TV, but it may still be disadvantageous. This is a pretty good primer on some of the specifics:

As for using such large TVs as displays, I think this really must be an individual preference thing to some degree. I cannot imagine a scenario (i.e. a desk environment) where anything beyond a 40" TV would be very nice to have within 25" of my face (current distance from my 32" monitor, and the maximum distance my current desk allows without it falling off the edge), especially if there are multiple of them.

Thanks for confirming my reservations. Sometimes you get what you pay for, I guess.

1 Like