I chose Viewsonic's N2751w because it is large enough to fit on the desktop, providing an excellent widescreen display (see the Figure). It also makes a great HDTV for a small to medium size room as well. The 16:9, 27-in. HDTV screen provides a wider viewing space than the typical 4:3 LCD displays. It provides the viewing advantages of a dual monitor display without the hassles.
The N2751w has a 1366 by 768 resolution. This can handle 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i input. It accepts HDMI, S-video, composite video and VGA input. The digital input is DVI compatible with HDCP (HD content protection) support. There is a built-in HDTV and regular TV tuner with separate antenna inputs. It supports picture-in-picture and split screen display modes for any combination of inputs. This is handy for keeping track of world events while working on the latest spreadsheet.
The stylish flat panel hides a pair of 20-W stereo speaker in front. The amplifier supports Dolby Digital sound, and the overall quality is excellent. It works equally well for a desktop or as a room TV.
The N2751w uses a TFT active matrix LCD. Brightness is good at 550 cd/m2. The contrast ratio is typically 1000:1 providing good black to white range. This is handy when viewing the fine print in a spreadsheet or watching the latest DVD. It has a viewing angle of 176° in all directions. This is more important when using it as a room television. The bright backlight is rated at 50,000 hours. The front has an anti-glare and anti-reflective coating that is critical in those offices and rooms where sunlight filters in.
The unit's response time is 8 ms gray-to-gray. This is not quite as good as the 3 ms of the VX924 (Viewsonic VX924 19-inch LCD, ED Online ID 11722) used in last year's project but it seemed more than adequate for regular PC work, DVD movies and most games.
The remote control includes some nice features as well. There are two favorite-oriented buttons to add and cycle through a subset of the available channels. This is especially useful with cable, where there may be hundreds of channels. Cycling through a couple of football games or movies is now a single button away. It is sometimes slow switching between HDTV channels, but that has more to do with my outdoor antenna and the quality of the signal than the unit itself. I have had similar results with other units.
The one gripe I do have is that switching between HDTV and regular TV reception is a manual process. You cannot mix favorites between the two. Unfortunately, reception around here varies so a couple of channels are not viewable with HDTV.
On the other hand, it has a number of nice functions including a TV guide button that grabs the information from HDTV channels about current and upcoming programs.
The N2751w is priced at $746. It makes a great desktop or room display with HDTV support.