Setup of a Conference Room LCD HDTV            1 <2>

The Final Flat Screen Setup Jan 28, 2008:  This is Part 2, in the continuation of an HDTV installation in their conference room.  We're cotinuing with the people and companies involved:

Note:  Click on the photos to see more detail.

PC Manufacturer:  In this case, we selected for a Small Form Factor Dell Desktop PC.   We chose this over a notebook for several reasons:

(a)  The Desktop PC is dual monitor capable.  Although we're driving only one large LCD monitor, could the client want to drive a second monitor - say an ancillary desktop, or even a second large LCD?

(b) The desktop PC costs less than a Notebook computer, and, in our case, came with both DVI and VGA output (through Dell's Y adapter cables).  This gives us flexibility in driving the large flat screen with the best possible signal.

Cable Vendors:  The client purchased high grade HDMI and DVI cables through the, VGA cables locally through Tanner Electronics, and various Audio/video and RF Cables through Fry's Electronics.  

Tip #5:  When buying over the Internet, 10 Meter (30' cables) were used.  However the buyer should pay close attention, most specialty cables like the 30' cables (which sell for about $80 each) are not returnable.  If they are snaked down a wall, and they don't quite reach and you pull them out, and attempt to return them, you will have a restocking fee (if they take them back at all).  If the cable jacket gets marred or scratched while being snaked down the wall, the Internet (or Local) Retailer may not take them back.  It is therefore especially important to determine the precise cable lengths needed.  Lesser, substandard HDMI and DVI cables exhibit a phenomenon known as "screen sparkles" and the temptation to buy cheap cables should be avoided.

In the client's case, the small "hutch return" was located some 15' away from the TV, but one must consider the distance for the cables going up to the ceiling, and down to the cabinet.  If your conference room allows for it, placing the PC as close to the HDTV as possible will save on cable costs and labor.

Time Warner Cable:

Not withstanding, the client also wanted Cable Television Service, so we had to coordinate with TWC on the output technology of the Cable Box.  According to the TWC business Sales rep, the Cable Box came with both DVI and HDMI outputs.  When the cable box arrived, it had only DVI outputs.  We called TWC back - we were having other issues with setup, and they decided to issue an exchange with a unit that does have HDMI output.

Tip #6:  Why is HDMI output preferred over DVI?  Though you'd be hard pressed to see the difference, HDMI output is slightly better than DVI. However, more importantly, HDMI carries the Audio as well as the video.  DVI only carries video.  If you settle with Video ONLY, then you will have to cable Audio Cables from the Audio Output of the Cable box to the Audio Inputs for HDMI input of the HDTV.  This is less of an issue in a residential setting, because some consumers may choose instead to route audio cables separately to a component home theatre audio system.  So to summarize, be sure to get a Cable Box with both outputs for maximum flexibility and expansion.   It's worth mention that the Samsung 52" HDMI Input #1 has auxillary Audio Inputs so the DVI output, along with separate Audio (RCA Style Connectors) can go into the Same channel input.  Don't assume all TV's have the audio inputs alongside an HDMI input.  Using audio inputs from a Super Video or Composite Video won't allow you to hear audio from the HDMI input, if the HDMI cable is driven from a DVI port on the Cable Box.

The Time Warner Cable Installer:

Tip #7:  It would be very helpful to hang out during the entire installation.  It took several hours to figure out what the cable installer did.   While it didn't affect our HDTV setup, the Boss wanted a cable TV drop run to his office.   It turns out the Installer left parts of cable TV run in the Ceiling, and it wasn't connected to anything.

Cabling and the PC Setup - What's wrong with this hutch?

The Computer and Cable TV Tuner Hutch - Closed Tip #8:  When selecting a cabinet to house your Cable Tuner and PC, a cabinet with a glass or smoked glass cover allows optical, infrared remote controls to function with the Cable box.  Our Logitech wireless Mouse/Keyboard (more on this later) works because their bluetooth system uses RF, which can go through wooden or particle board doors.  Depending on the installed equipment, you may need active ventilation to move warm air out of the cabinet.

The Computer and Cable TV Tuner Hutch - Open Bonus! Tip #9:  We realize the Cable TV Box is not in the most ideal location.  If somebody sits in front of the hutch, then you can't shoot the remote through the person (let alone the closed cabinet door), because the remote is Infrared, not RF.  The customer's priority was to make the installation completely hidden.  They desired to place the Cable box hidden in the Ceiling, but that brings some unique challenges.
(1) Getting equipment to extend the remote so the remote signal reaches it like an extender, (2) What would we have to do in case we needed to reboot or reprogram the unit (it would be real inconvenient getting a ladder and popping a ceiling tile to unplug/reprogram the unit) - your building superintendent may not like this idea, (3) Heat buildup and electrical code compliance in mounting a device in the ceiling.  If your office is in a single story building, you may have significant heat buildup, hot enough to burn up a Cable TV box, along with fiberglass insulation.  (4) Some platform to construct, to secure and anchor the unit down is a concern because gravity mounting the cable box above the ceiling is a very bad idea.

Wireless Mouse/Keyboard:  

We settled on the Logitech MX5000 Keyboard/Mouse combo, with the rechargeable mouse.  It works, even with the hutch closed, and the alkaline batteries in the wireless keyboard last a very long time.  The mouse operates smoothly even on a marble conference room table which has differing patterns of colors (see the top picture).  Oh, and one more note regarding this wireless keyboard/mouse set - The Logitech drivers, despite what Logitech states, are NOT required for this keyboard/mouse to function properly.  You will lose minor functionality, such as custom data on the keyboard's LCD, and some special mouse functionality, however the keyboard will be much more stable and reliable.  The drivers on the CD and on the web are notoriously buggy and destabilizing on the PC.  The keyboard worked fine without the drivers, on a Dell with Windows XP Professional.  When you first power up the PC, it takes 20 seconds for the wireless keyboard and mouse to start functioning.  Your immediate reaction may be in trying to re-pair the devices, but don't do this!  We're assuming this is because the bluetooth USB service has to come up and pair with the devices at power up, which is normal.

Samsung TV Comments and Performance

Since the predominate use of this TV is for a computer monitor, I'm reporting on the capabilities of the TV as a Computer Monitor.  The Samsung LN-T5265F has excellent computer display characteristics, whether it be 800 x 600 lines, up to its maximum 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution.  We found 1920 x 1080 to be rather tiny, and we settled on 1024 x 768 (the resolution shot in the photos).  We did not see any graininess or fuzziness that you might see on a typical LCD desktop or Laptop flatscreen, when you reduce resolution settings.   When Time Warner Cable brought out a DVI Only Cable Box, we had to use the VGA 15 pin output, for a VGA to VGA connection (the Samsung has a VGA input).   It looked perfectly acceptable, even through 40 feet (9.144 meters) of cable (though spliced 25 foot and 15 foot VGA extensions), but Windows XP did not recognize the monitor, and it did not offer the extended resolutions the Samsung offered.  When Time Warner replaced the box, that freed up the DVI connection.  When we moved over to the DVI Computer Output to the HDMI input on the TV, then the PC recognized the monitor, and the extended resolutions (1920 x 1080) pixels became available options in Windows Display Settings.  Samsung, on their web site, states there are no INF downloads necessary for this Monitor, as it is Plug and Play.

sidebar - how much resolution do I need to watch high def (1080p) movies on my personal computer screen?

Answer: You need a minimum 1920 x 1200 pixels of resolution (WUXGA), DVI or HDMI inputs, and the monitor needs to have the specification HDCP , or equivalent to a Dell 2407 (24") wide screen monitor.  You need an HDCP, or High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection, compliant video card such as the ATI Radeon HD 2600 or the NVidia GeForce 8800GS.  You can use lower res monitors, such as a the Samsung T220 22" wide screen. This monitor has a chip which will scale the picture accordingly.  Remember, you need a standalone Blu-Ray player, or a blu-ray drive in your PC, such as the LiteOn LH-2B1S.

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