Using HTPC as a normal PC?

cjv998

n00b
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
52
Hi everyone, I'm contemplating building an HTPC over the summer as my next computer. I was wondering how practical it would be to use it as a normal computer as well (i.e. gaming, internet, e-mail, word processing, etc.). I'd be the only person in the house, so there wouldn't be any issues with competing over who uses the PC / TV, but I'm still unsure about it. I plan on running LinuxMCE. I'm using Ubuntu now, so I'm familiar with Linux. I suppose I could always keep my old PC around for all the mundane PC-related tasks (internet, office programs, etc.) as well.

My other concern is related to the display I'm looking at. Right now, I'm looking at 1080p plasmas (for the better black levels vs. LCD's) in the 42-50" range (specifically, Panasonic has a 42" model I really like...I may splurge and get a 50" one though, so I don't regret it later) but my concern is with image burn-in. I know the models I'm looking at do pixel-wobbling, but burn-in, especially from the standard office applications and web browsers and such, still concerns me. Any thoughts on that?
 

Yakyb

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Messages
474
thats the essential benefit of a HTPC as you can just sit down and read email/internet /do work if neccessary

re the image burn

i would run the display for a couple of months before doing any long internet browsing

also i would make sure you have
1. a screen saver running
2. diplay turn off configured after a set idle time (5- 10 mins)

just incase you stand up to get something to eat and forget about the HTPC
 

yamahaSHO

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Messages
360
I use my HTPC's for regular PC tasks quite often, however, it is not my first choice as I have two laptops too.

Personally, if you're planning on an HTPC, I would stay away from plasma.
 

Rogue71

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
1,311
plasmas still suffer the burn in problems. i would stick with lcd if youre gonna use it for htpc.
 

IDversusEGO

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
5,015
console video games with HUD are worse on a plasma that an HTPC. I know I don't leave mine sitting in the menus or guides for long periods of time. I am usually watching something. And for music I use the visualization to keep the screen from being idle. For normal functions like web browsing you would have more of a problem, I will admit. but I dont do that on my main PC, I have laptop and an office, so when I sit on the couch, I just want to watch overpaid, emotionally damaged people pretending to be someone else for my enjoyment.
 

ShagnWagn

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
1,233
Wow, are people still claiming that plasma TVs have burn-in issues? lol

I've been using a plasma TV since mid-November last year hooked up to my HTPC gaming rig. Several times I've left the screen on a still image. At least 4 times (that I can remember) I have fallen asleep watching a movie to wake up the next morning with it stuck on the menu screen. I browse the internet on a regular basis, often browsing through forums for an hour or two at a time. I've played Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2 in 4-6 hours sessions and have never even seen image retention. I have been doing all this since the day I got it.

There are two vastly different terms used - image retention and burn-in.

Image retention is temporary. On older plasmas, if you kept a still image up for long periods of time, you could see a vague ghostly image of whatever you were viewing. It only took a few minutes of full screen viewing of normal content to "wipe" away the image retention.

Screen burn-in means that no matter what you do, the image is stuck on the screen. The only screens I've seen with burn-in are the old CRT monitors that played Pac-Man 24x7.

So, go get your plasma and don't look back.

Just remember - don't keep the same colors on the screen for more than 2 seconds at a time or you'll get permanent screen burn-in. Keep a fire extinguisher handy for the first 10,000 hours of watching in case burn-in happens. :rolleyes:

I suppose I'll get flamed, but I can't go against my own personal experience. The best advice is to do some searching on the particular model you are looking to get and see if you find anybody claiming they got screen burn-in.

As far as the HTPC itself, make sure you use guides for selecting the hardware, and see what components other people are using. You will probably get flamed for trying to use it for playing games, but go reasonable on the hardware and you won't have any issues. 120mm low rpm fans will keep it whisper quiet. I built mine with a Q6600 CPU and a 8800GT video card and I can't even hear it running. :D
 

gdonovan

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
1,818
Wow, are people still claiming that plasma TVs have burn-in issues? lol

Actually I just setup a 42" plasma at the healthcare place I work at and there was a big notice in the box indicated that burn in was a issue and what to do in regards to avoiding it.

Id say since the maker of the set saw fit to include a warning in the box it isn't something to be light dismissed because of the advice of an armchair quarterback.

And yes it was called "burn in" and damage not covered by warrentee
 

5.0_Capri

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
137
lcd for sure unless you want to be warm sitting in front of that hot plasma

It is true that plasmas put off more heat than LCDs, so keep this in consideration. If you're sitting a decent ways away (guessing you're at least 6' out seeing how you're leaning towards a 50 incher) it won't be an issue. If you're hanging it on the wall though, the heat will lead to quicker degradation of the sets components.

If you're not hanging it on the wall and simply want a flat panel because it's flat, may I make a suggestion? Go DLP! I had a 42" LCD that I loved (would still have it today if my apartment hadn't gotten robbed over Thanksgiving break...) but I never put it on the wall, simply set it on a stand. When I was looking at 46" Sharp LCDs I took this into account and opted for a WAY larger screen size, deeper blacks, and considerably smaller price tag in the form of my Mitsubishi WD-65734 1080P DLP. For $1499.99 shipped to my door I got 65" of bliss, and I don't regret it a bit.

If you are indeed hanging it, you've got a good plan for venting the heat away from the TV/wal then here's a solution to your burn in question.

It's a SVCD that goes through color bands to evenly wear the phosphorous in the set, preventing burn in.

I personally use my gaming/soon to be HTPC rig on my 65" and love it!

Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming venture into 1080P HD!
 

CubicleGeek

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
292
Wow, are people still claiming that plasma TVs have burn-in issues? lol

My understanding also was the burn-in for plasma's are the thing of the past. I thought new plasma's have some mechanism that elimates burn in. Too lazy to look it up now though.
 

Rogue71

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
1,311
yes plasma still burns in.
lcd would be best at this point.
and yes i purposely built my htpc so that i could use it for normal operations as well as htpc applications. i can record shows, watch movies (although i still use a stand alone dvd player), listen to music from the nas drive in the basement, surf the net, play guitar hero 3 etc...and i used standard sized parts so if i want to reuse them in the future i can. it is a real computer. and yes it runs silent.
 

Roberty

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 30, 2001
Messages
15,551
Wow, are people still claiming that plasma TVs have burn-in issues? lol

I've been using a plasma TV since mid-November last year hooked up to my HTPC gaming rig. Several times I've left the screen on a still image. At least 4 times (that I can remember) I have fallen asleep watching a movie to wake up the next morning with it stuck on the menu screen. I browse the internet on a regular basis, often browsing through forums for an hour or two at a time. I've played Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2 in 4-6 hours sessions and have never even seen image retention. I have been doing all this since the day I got it.

There are two vastly different terms used - image retention and burn-in.

I own both plasma and LCD TV's and I can't stand the image retention that plasma TV's all seem to have. An LCD is the only thing I would consider using with a HTPC. Period.
 

Down

n00b
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
62
Wow, are people still claiming that plasma TVs have burn-in issues? lol
.....
I suppose I'll get flamed, but I can't go against my own personal experience.

Just because you've never had an issue with your TV does not in any way "prove" that it can't still be an issue.

Personally, I've never lost data from an HDD failure, but that doesn't mean I can laugh at someone who uses a redundancy scheme.
 

Modred189

Can't Read the OP
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
15,377
I have a 42" Panasonic Plasma (720). I use it as my main home TV and my HTPC (with my DiNovo Mini)
SO far I have not had any issues with burn-in (or image retention for that matter), as it seems like I never have anything on the screen for long enough to be an issue. If I play games onit (rarely) it's only for an hour or so at a time.
Same with web browsing etc. PLUS, Windows Media center has a basic calibration wizard built in. Worked well too.
 

kent

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 8, 2001
Messages
2,603
I've never had a car wreck so I don't have car insurance. If you see me driving around crazy, swerving from lane to lane -- don't worry. I've NEVER had a car wreck. You're safe.
 

ShagnWagn

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
1,233
So the consensus here seems that all plasmas have burn-in issues and I'm just "lucky". Perhaps you should go to a website like avsforum.com. There is a section only for LCD and also one only for plasma. Many more first-hand experiences to read there.

I can claim that I would never use a LCD because it has blurring problems (latency), it has poor black levels, and costs more on average (especially 50"+). I did months of homework before I upgraded from my 11-year old 27" CRT tube. No regrets.

Guess I was completely wrong going with a plasma? I'm doomed to have burn-in issues because everybody in here says plasmas have problems? :rolleyes: Are you going to listen to LCD owner opinions, or a plasma owner about their own experience? I listened to people who actually own and use the set (and in particular the model I wanted), and I'm happy I went plasma. Again, no regrets.

If you buy a used bottom-tier showroom model that is a few years old running CNN with the stock ticker 24x7, then I'm sure it would. :eek:

Anyhow, either take my personal experience or don't. My advice would be to do a little more research from a few different places before you plop down the cash.

p.s. if you are looking for the ultimate black levels, check out the Pioneer Kuro line :D buy from an on-line retailer to save a lot of money
 

Verge

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 27, 2001
Messages
7,137
Wow, are people still claiming that plasma TVs have burn-in issues? lol

I've been using a plasma TV since mid-November last year hooked up to my HTPC gaming rig. Several times I've left the screen on a still image. At least 4 times (that I can remember) I have fallen asleep watching a movie to wake up the next morning with it stuck on the menu screen. I browse the internet on a regular basis, often browsing through forums for an hour or two at a time. I've played Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2 in 4-6 hours sessions and have never even seen image retention. I have been doing all this since the day I got it.

There are two vastly different terms used - image retention and burn-in.

Image retention is temporary. On older plasmas, if you kept a still image up for long periods of time, you could see a vague ghostly image of whatever you were viewing. It only took a few minutes of full screen viewing of normal content to "wipe" away the image retention.

Screen burn-in means that no matter what you do, the image is stuck on the screen. The only screens I've seen with burn-in are the old CRT monitors that played Pac-Man 24x7.

So, go get your plasma and don't look back.

Just remember - don't keep the same colors on the screen for more than 2 seconds at a time or you'll get permanent screen burn-in. Keep a fire extinguisher handy for the first 10,000 hours of watching in case burn-in happens. :rolleyes:

I suppose I'll get flamed, but I can't go against my own personal experience. The best advice is to do some searching on the particular model you are looking to get and see if you find anybody claiming they got screen burn-in.

As far as the HTPC itself, make sure you use guides for selecting the hardware, and see what components other people are using. You will probably get flamed for trying to use it for playing games, but go reasonable on the hardware and you won't have any issues. 120mm low rpm fans will keep it whisper quiet. I built mine with a Q6600 CPU and a 8800GT video card and I can't even hear it running. :D


So you have been using a plasma for a whopping 5 months, and suddenly they are immune to image burn.... negative

Plasma's use phosphor the same way CRT's do... they will burn in, in theory this should take a good amount of time.. but if you leave static images up there for long periods, it will happen.
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Messages
677
plasmas still suffer the burn in problems. i would stick with lcd if youre gonna use it for htpc.

Many plasmas have pixel shift, so it won't happen as fast as you think, plus LCD's burn in too. I can depend on your contrast ration also, backlighting intensity.

Also, the interwebs at 1080p (1920x1080) at 10 feet sucks.
 

chaarlieee

n00b
Joined
Feb 8, 2008
Messages
56
So the consensus here seems that all plasmas have burn-in issues and I'm just "lucky". Perhaps you should go to a website like avsforum.com. There is a section only for LCD and also one only for plasma. Many more first-hand experiences to read there.

I can claim that I would never use a LCD because it has blurring problems (latency), it has poor black levels, and costs more on average (especially 50"+). I did months of homework before I upgraded from my 11-year old 27" CRT tube. No regrets.

Guess I was completely wrong going with a plasma? I'm doomed to have burn-in issues because everybody in here says plasmas have problems? :rolleyes: Are you going to listen to LCD owner opinions, or a plasma owner about their own experience? I listened to people who actually own and use the set (and in particular the model I wanted), and I'm happy I went plasma. Again, no regrets.

If you buy a used bottom-tier showroom model that is a few years old running CNN with the stock ticker 24x7, then I'm sure it would. :eek:

Anyhow, either take my personal experience or don't. My advice would be to do a little more research from a few different places before you plop down the cash.

p.s. if you are looking for the ultimate black levels, check out the Pioneer Kuro line :D buy from an on-line retailer to save a lot of money
Plasma's still have burn-in problems.. it's just that the newer ones are less prone to burn-in than the older generations of plasmas because of newer technology.
 

cjv998

n00b
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
52
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm pretty set on a plasma at this point...low-level contrast and black levels are really important to me, and I've yet to find an LCD/DLP that can come close to a good plasma's black levels. I actually did look the the Kuro line, but in the end, the Panasonic 700 series/line of plasmas seemed almost as good, for far less cash (to me, their 750 line is a little too pricey). I'll have to head over to AVSforum for some more input on the matter though, I forget about that site a lot. I still have a 19" widescreen LCD I could use as an additional monitor, if need be.
 
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