Good Questions: Can I Build My Own Flat Panel TV?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Dear AT Home Tech,
I can’t really afford a flat panel tv, but I can afford a computer monitor and this “tv box.” They seem to run under $100, and I think I can plug it into my cable box. Is there any reason not to buy one of these and an extra computer monitor instead of an extraordinarily expensive flat screen??


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We’ve done some thinking about this, and can certainly understand the temptation to want to buy one of these boxes and a nice display. We ourselves have purchased a Miglia TVMax, and turned our MacMini into part computer/part television. So, we’re not totally against it, but wonder how much money it is really saving you if you’re going to use the monitor solely as a television. For example, if you wanted to do a 20″ setup, a monitor would run you between $300-$600, depending on the manufacturer. Add that into the cost of this tuner, and you’re looking at almost the same price as this Sharp Aquos for $650. Plus there are speakers to consider. And finally, we had a really difficult time finding one of these TV boxes without major complaints about picture quality. If you’re looking for a crystal clear display, it’s not clear to us that one of these boxes is going to deliver it.

Can anyone else give Jenny some advice? We’re on the fence about this one…

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