Category Archives: Monitors

Use your TV as a computer monitor

I have three monitors but one of them went on the blink. They aren’t made any more so I decided to replace them all (Don’t worry, they went to good homes).

Maybe one of those fashionable wide monitors could replace all three? It would be an elegant option, but looking at the cost made it very unattractive and I would still be stuck with a limited vertical height (which isn’t so good when running simulations).

Three monitors would be cheaper but what else could I do? I’ve had a 55” 4K television for a few years and plugged my laptop into it as a test. Incredible! Nice and crisp text when up close and so immersive. Now your computer may not be capable of 4K or UHD resolution (3840*2160) so do check what display resolution you are getting.

You could just stop at this point and use the TV as an occasional monitor but my main computer is in the office and I needed one there. So I did some measuring up and saw that I could fit a 43” 4K TV onto my desk.

Next stage, look at prices to find they are much better value than monitors. Measured where the screen would be relative to me sitting down both vertically and horizontally, then down to the TV shop to see which suited me best. I got some odd looks with my tape measure out but I needed to be sure.

You need to check that the TV will take a 4K HDMI input (HDMI 2.0 or higher) and that it actually does have a 4K display. Then see if it has a gaming preset that will speed things up. Finally to make things crisp, turn the TV’s ‘sharpening’ to zero, which is a bit counter-intuitive.

So now I have a massive screen where I use four windows for general work or a big single one for video editing, etc. Oh, yes, I bought a Hisense 43A7GQTUK.

Happy days!

Is your screen showing the right colour?

More and more people are selling and buying over the web, so the image people see is increasingly important. Actually it is still important for print material: have you ever designed a flyer and had a box of oddly-coloured leaflets delivered? This is because printers have accurately profiled devices and you don’t.
Given that the colour accuracy of most mobiles, tablets and monitors is sadly lacking (image impact is more important than accuracy), then we need to start from an accurate base to have even a faint hope of the customer seeing the image that we want.
Luckily there is hope. At the basic level, Windows 10 has a calibration tool built in. Go to settings-display and then select ‘advanced display settings’. You will see ‘colour calibration’. Use this to get a basic correction for your screen.
As Apple sells its own hardware, Macs tend to be more accurate when new, but do try the ‘display calibration assistant’
If you want to get it even more accurate, there are various pieces of hardware that you can buy for under £100 from Xrite and Datacolor. I have a Pantone Huey Pro (now under £40 used on eBay) and the free DisplayCal software which works on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s far better than the Pantone stuff.
The calibration takes about 15 minutes per display (I have three). So my screens all look the same and are accurate for printing
If you are a professional graphics person, there are devices that will calibrate scanners and printers, but that’s for the people who earn money from graphics.
So even if you do nothing else, use the basic built-in tools to give you a fighting chance of letting people see your products a bit closer to reality. And do it again every few months.