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24 Days of Gadgets - Day 1

December 1, 2009 - Dave Hecei
There are ways to help you be more productive with your Mac. Of course one is to get a faster machine, but not all of us can buy a new computer every year. If you have a Mac mini or a tower based Mac (or even a MacBook or PowerBook), a bigger monitor can actually help you be more productive.

If your Mac is attached to a smaller CRT or LCD monitor then take a look at the Vizio VX240M 24-inch full HD LCD TV. While this is normally sold as an HDTV, the VX240M is actually a great computer monitor. With a street price under $300 this monitor can do double duty as a great Mac monitor and as a great HDTV.

With a native resolution of 1920 by 1080, which is considered true HD, it is a very high-resolution computer monitor. There are plenty of ports on this monitor allowing you to connect to several different sources. The ports are: 2 – HDMI, 1 – component, 1 – composite, 1 – S-Video, 1 – RF coax, and 1 – RGB computer.

The internal tuner can receive analog NTSC, digital ATSC, as well as Clear QAM. Clear QAM is the digital and HD content on cable systems that is unscrambled. Most cable system will allow you to view the major networks along with some other cable only channels (this varies wildly).

As a computer monitor the VX240M can be connected either through a standard analog 15-pin port, or digitally using HDMI. Most modern Macs have a digital monitor connection. To use it you just need to purchase a DVI to HDMI cable.

With the wide variety of ports on the VX240M, it can be connected to many different sources. This could be a DVD player, Blu-Ray player, gaming consoles (XBOX360, PS2 or PS3, Wii, etc.), or even a VCR.

The style of the VX240M is quite Mac like. While the stand is different, looking at it from a distance it really could be mistaken for a 24-inch aluminum iMac. It has that same silver casing and black bordered display.

The picture quality is excellent. While it may not be able to compete with the Apple 24-inch (LED backlit) or 30-inch LCD monitors, it also doesn’t have the outrageous price tag. The VX240M is also much more versatile, doing double or triple duty as an HDTV and/or gaming display.


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