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Old 07-29-2012, 01:16 PM   #1
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small TV vs LCD monitor

I'm trying to decide between ordering a small (like 15") TV or just use a computer lcd monitor for my rear TV. I recently bought a Pioneer DVD head unit with rear view camera and all that, and love it. I need a bigger screen in the back though to watch movies. I've been looking around at cheap TVs and the cheap ones have lousy angle-view it seems. LCD monitors are dirt cheap in the 15-17" range and many even have the mounting holes the same as newer wall mount TVs.
Question is, what am I not thinking of here? LCD monitor will be VGA output, and I can get a VGA to RCA (composite) adapter for about $5. I don't need the sound as this will be wired through my van stereo. Also, I don't watch TV anyway or I wouldn't mind throwing more money at this, and I don't need the tuner I don't think because I would only ever watch movies. If I need news, I'll get it on the iPad or phone. It's 99% for the kids on long trips or if we have a rainy camping day. Last trip was 6k miles and I think they watched 2 movies the whole time.
Is there anything I'm not thinking of? Is the power draw from a lcd monitor going to be any different than a small tv?

thanks
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:16 PM   #2
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Re: small TV vs LCD monitor

I guess you have thought of most things except do you want 12 volt or use your inverter and 110?
I know you use your inverter(s) for everything but we almost never use ours, only for a toaster and sometimes a curling iron.
I bought a 12 volt 23 inch wide screen flip down monitor and mounted it to the roof (no cool pop top like your yet)
It is a car unit decent picture quality and we too only use it as a monitor using our Pioneer head unit to drive it via the RCA video in. It cost less than a TV or a monitor at the time we bought it a few years ago but that might not be the case today.

...Jamie
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:36 PM   #3
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Re: small TV vs LCD monitor

Thanks Jamie, I actually have two flip-down monitors, but I don't have any room for them anymore. The space where one was behind the front seats is now a hole, and it wouldn't really work to mount one 16" up on the new fiberglass roof. I think I just found the best of both worlds. I've got a 17" monitor on Craigslist found for $30, which has the VESA wall mount holes. I'm going to try this and will report back for others.
As for power consumption, my inverter is always running, and watching a movie will probably be just for when the van is moving, or a luxury we enjoy only when at a site with a hook-up. The monitor uses something like 30 watts vs 20 on a comparable TV. Also, it weighs 8 lbs. vs 7 on the TV I was looking at, no problem for a modern wall mount. I'm much more comfortable throwing less than $50 at this experiment than 2 or 3 times that amount.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:10 PM   #4
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Re: small TV vs LCD monitor

I've been going through the same thought process. I just installed a DVD head unit in the van and in the install process ran coax wire from the video out to the back of the van, with the plan to put a small TV mounted on the rear cabinet.

I picked up a 15" "Coby" LED TV really cheap (like $65) and am going to try that. I like that it has a tuner built in, since my van has the hidden TV antenna in the Penthouse (although I haven't tried to see if it works yet). The reviews of the TV that I saw did note that viewing at angles aren't that great.

I'm also reconsidering where to mount it, as it would be nice for my son to be able to occasionally watch something on long road trips from the second-row captain's seat. But, for parked watching I'd prefer it in the back. Since I'm looking at making it easy to remove, I may just put two mounts in so I can switch it back and forth.

I was looking at the 12v models out there, but they are pretty expensive. I don't think we'll use it enough to justify the extra cost. It's really just a rainy day alternative or if there is something we really want to watch on TV.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:12 PM   #5
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Re: small TV vs LCD monitor

We had a 15" flip down LCD installed with a link to the indash to play dvd's- we have used it once. If there is one thing we wouldn't have installed its that TV. We always have our ipads or imac with us and watch movies on one of them. It's more comfortable anyway in that there are more options on where to place an iPad, etc. my 2 cents
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Old 07-30-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: small TV vs LCD monitor

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomesd
We had a 15" flip down LCD installed with a link to the indash to play dvd's- we have used it once. If there is one thing we wouldn't have installed its that TV. We always have our ipads or imac with us and watch movies on one of them. It's more comfortable anyway in that there are more options on where to place an iPad, etc. my 2 cents
We hook our iPad or Android (shes Mac I'm PC) tablet to the Pioneer so we don't have to hold the tablet for a whole movie, neither of use sit still well. We only watch movies at night after get into bed so for us the drop down works great, for others it would suck. We download movies from our home server or use Netflix streaming via MiFi. We always have a few movies on one of the tablets just in case there is no internet available for streaming. We don't have a TV tuner and we rarely if ever watch regular TV mostly just movies.

TVs and entertainment like many things are quite subject to personal taste, what something is worth or costs and many other considerations. For us we love having our 23 inch roof mounted monitor even though we do not always use it, but truthfully (maybe unfortunately) we are entertainment and technology junkies.
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