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A_21__LCD_TV___A_Versatile_Mid-Range_Size

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					Title:
A 21” LCD TV – A Versatile Mid-Range Size

Word Count:
790

Summary:
Some consumers consider a 21” LCD TV to be the perfect size: for TV
viewing and for use as a computer monitor. Some take it one step further:
they integrate their 21” LCD TV with a home theater PC. It’s easier than
you think, and a home theater PC setup lets you access any media files
like digital image files, audio files, and videos. You can also watch
your favorite television shows or DVDs, and you can even use the 21” LCD
TV as a computer monitor. It’s no surprise, then, t...


Keywords:
tv plasma, television, lcd, lcd television, liquid crystal display
television


Article Body:
Some consumers consider a 21” LCD TV to be the perfect size: for TV
viewing and for use as a computer monitor. Some take it one step further:
they integrate their 21” LCD TV with a home theater PC. It’s easier than
you think, and a home theater PC setup lets you access any media files
like digital image files, audio files, and videos. You can also watch
your favorite television shows or DVDs, and you can even use the 21” LCD
TV as a computer monitor. It’s no surprise, then, that some consumers
feel a 21” LCD TV is one of the most versatile screen sizes available.

If you watch digital TV on your 21” LCD TV, you could be already taking
advantage of the possibilities of Digital Video Recorders (DVR) or TiVo.
You can go one step farther; integrating your 21” LCD TV with a home
theater PC setup is the ultimate in versatility. And it’s not that hard –
here are a few ways available to you.

1. Buy a PC with the Media Center version of Windows XP and make sure it
has a TV tuner card capable of capturing digital signals from your cable
or satellite box. Once it’s installed, it works just like a DVR. You
won’t need to buy a high-end PC to integrate with your 21” LCD TV if you
just want to record and play shows and movies – if you also want to play
graphics-intensive video games, you may need a more expensive PC with
greater graphics capability. Just make sure you get plenty of memory.

2. Upgrade your PC. You can buy a copy of Microsoft’s operating system
with Media Center. Frequently it comes bundled with a TV tuner card
you’ll also need. If you have decent computer skills you can handle the
installation fairly easily and your 21” LCD TV home theater PC setup will
be running in no time.

3. If you don’t want to upgrade to a new operating system, a number of
software companies produce applications that perform the same chores as
Media Center does. A few are available as freeware, but the features they
offer tend to be limited. You’ll still need to factor in the cost of a TV
tuner card – a TV tuner card won’t be included with the freeware.

Once you’ve decided how to set up your computer, you can integrate it
into your home theater system so your 21” LCD TV can handle the video
feed you send to it. A 21” unit is ideal for this purpose; sets that are
larger sometimes deliver reduced image quality when the TV signal is sent
through the computer.

How you send the signal to your TV is the main hurdle to overcome. There
are many different audio and video options for joining the two; the
method you choose will obviously depend on the inputs and outputs
available on both your PC and your TV. Older, standard-definition LCD TVs
will have, at a minimum, a composite-video connection (a yellow video
connection that's usually accompanied by red and white stereo audio
jacks). Hopefully, it will also provide an S-Video port. Newer 21” LCD
TVs should provide component inputs, and more advanced 21” LCD TVs that
are HDTV capable will supply DVI or HDMI inputs. If you haven’t purchased
a 21” LCD TV yet, try to find a model with DVI or HDMI inputs.

Once your computer is connected to your 21” TV you can use Media Center
to keep track of your media files and handle your DVR recording needs. If
you want to record TV without using Media Center, similar products on the
market can do the job. For example, SnapStream's Beyond TV comes bundled
with many TV tuner cards, so if you're building a home theater or
upgrading a machine you already own, you might end up with a copy by
default. And you can take a further step and add the Beyond Media program
for organizing photo, music, and other media files, and it does pretty
much everything Media Center does. Beyond TV doesn't support every TV
tuner card on the market, so check the hardware specs for your 21” LCD TV
before you install it.

Even if you have no interest in recording TV programs, you can still use
programs like Windows Media Player, iTunes, and PowerDVD to manage your
preexisting media library using software you already have.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you have plenty of hard disk
space; once you start recording television programs or watching your home
videos on your 21” LCD TV, you'll find you need all the space you can
get. And due to its increased versatility, you’ll find your 21” LCD TV is
an even bigger part of your home entertainment system.

				
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