A Big Computer Monitor

As we age, it is not uncommon for our vision to deteriorate a bit.  It is why people end up wearing bifocals around age 40.  I have had to deal with low vision all of my life, but in my early thirties I find myself wishing I had a larger computer screen to look at.  As technologies have changed over the years, I’ve upgraded from 20″ CRTs to 23″ LCDs, but nothing has ever been just right.

Unlike the typical consumer, I’m not looking to buy a larger screen so I can run it at a higher resolution.  I want to run a big screen at a low resolution (so I can see it).  The problem with that plan is that most LCD screens are designed to run at a particluar resolution.  They all have a sweet spot.  You can move them away from that sweet spot, but you often sacrifice image clarity.  The move from standard format to widescreen isn’t helping either.  With widescreen monitors, you have to buy a larger screen to end up with a decent amount of vertical resolution.  So what is the answer?

Today I decided to try something new.  I went to Best Buy on a mission to purchase a Sony Bravia XBR4 40″ LCD TV.  Now if you will humor me, I’d like to share some friendly consumer advice.  The TV I was after has a list price of $2500.  I checked the Best Buy website before I went shopping and found their price at $2250.  When I arrived at the store, the TV was listed at $2500.  I told the salesperson that their website price was lower.  He immediately offered to match their website price.  So buyer beware.  The price in the store is not always the best deal they have to offer.  I saved $250 which I put toward a 4 year warranty agreement.  Anyway, I’m using the new TV right now to type this blog post.

This TV can do HD in 1080p (which translates to 1920×1080 in computer resolution speak).  In addition to 1080p, it can also do 720p.  So I am using a DVI to HDMI cable from my PC to the TV, and the resolution is set to 1280×720.  I have one MONSTER desktop monitor now!!  It looks beautiful.  I don’t think I would ever consider going larger because you would spend too much time moving your head to the left and right.  With my fonts cranked up and my browser text size set to large, I can comfortably sit in my desk chair and read the screen without having to lean forward.  The end goal is to save some of the tension I feel in my shoulders at the end of each day.  Problem is that I may have to get another one for the office.

I have to say “thank you” to two people.  Jared (a coworker of mine) did a bunch of research on all this and was kind enough to share his experiences (he bought this same TV recently).  Matt (friend and coworker) met me for lunch and drove me to the store to pick up the TV.  He even helped me carry it up the stairs and unpack it!!  I really appreciate everything you both did for me.  I’ll post some picture of the setup later.

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