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Car PC Hacks by Damien Stolarz

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Hack #24. Choose Your Screens

Choosing the right screen or screens for your vehicle depends on the available space in the vehicle and the intended applications.

There are a variety of screens that can be installed in your vehicle. In a large RV or a boat, you can get away with just installing a cheap, small television set. But in a car, you are usually limited to flat screens. There are also many places to install screens in a vehicle, and once you start installing them you may not be able to stop.

In-car flat screens vary widely in quality. Based on LCD (liquid crystal display) and the better TFT (thin film transistor) technologies, these screens can cost from less than $100 to over $1,000, depending on size and viewing angle (that is, how good the picture looks when viewed from above or from the side).

Both wide screens and conventional screens are available for the car. Wide screens usually have an aspect ratio (i.e., horizontal to vertical ratio) of around 16:9, and just like wide-screen high-definition televisions (HDTVs), they are designed to show movies. As a result, the common 7" touchscreens have an oddball resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. Conventional screens have a 4:3 aspect ratio, like traditional televisions, computer monitors, and video game consoles. Most video games will look a bit stretched on a 16:9 screen. You should choose a screen based on what you will use it for the most—if it's for DVD or computer use, go ahead and get a wide screen. If it's for older console ...

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