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Dragon
 
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:22 pm
Posts: 611
 Post subject: Project table question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:15 pm 
I've seen lots of the posts regarding using a projector to project down on a table. Or building a deep table and using a mirror to project the image on the "underside" of the table.

I'm wondering, what are the downsides to simply cutting a hole in a table and then mounting an LCD or Plasma flatscreen to face upwards? Then cover the screen with plexiglass so that the surface of the TV is protected from mini's, dice, etc.

Are there problems with this concept that I'm not aware of? I know you're not supposed to transport a flat screen while its lying down, but that's to prevent breakage to the screen during transport. What I'm describing, the table would be securely mounted from underneath the table, so that "shouldn't" be an issue. I just don't know if there's any long term functional issues with running a flat screen facing upwards and haven't been able to find any posts on the web regarding this.

So, any feedback/opinions on this, I'd be very curious to know. Our DM is willing to front the money for the flat screen if I will build the table/mounting system for it. I'm not concerned about the woodworking aspects of this (done way too many house projects to be concerned about a minor build like this!) but I don't have the answers regarding any technical issues for the TV itself.

Thanks!


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Giant
 
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 10:16 pm
Posts: 129
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:57 am 
The issue you are going to run into is that flatscreens are meant to be viewed from "generally head on", and that the further of an angle between you and the view-plane of the monitor, the more contrast and desaturation problems you are going to have.

I suppose you could solve this by having the monitor 'sunken' into the table a bit so the view angle for the people sitting right at the table isn't so bad. You could put a layer or two of plexiglass on top and still have a viable play surface, even if that play surface is a few inches below the "bar" where people can store dice/drinks/character sheets, etc, etc.


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Deity
 
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:40 am
Posts: 9478
Location: Netherlands
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:58 am 
this problem is solved with the new oled screens. But indeed sunken lcd has the disadvantage of 'view angle'. Im unsure about plasma though, although they generate a lot of heat and that might also be a problem.

and then there is the good ol' electron beam unit... :mrgreen: also no problems with angles, though it might be a bit... big.

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Dragon
 
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:22 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:59 am 
According to what I've read on the net, Plasmas do not suffer from the same viewing angle issues that LCDs do. I'd like to say that I knew this when I was thinking of a Plasma screen but it didn't even occur to me until Telarus brought it up. However, that doesn't look like a problem.

Yes, there is the heat issue but my thought was that the bracketing system underneath wouldn't complete enclose the TV, so it should have decent ventillation on the back and sides.


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Cave Troll
 
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:47 am
Posts: 85
Location: Oakland, CA
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:04 pm 
I would do a paper mock-up first--the case dimensions can be surprisingly deep, and if you are also sinking it to allow for safety plexi + a little view angle help, you might find you lack leg room. Or you have to make a wider frame around the screen, which could cut into your view angle again.

With the heat output, you would all have warm feet!

My guess is that it would certainly work fine, but a projector has a number of other advantages.


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Deity
 
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 7:56 pm
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Location: Middle of Nowhere, NM
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:34 pm 
I would definitely consider the cooling aspect. Go to the local Best Buy and put your hand over the top of one of these units that has been running most of the day. They are designed with that vertical orientation in mind.


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Site Admin
 
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:20 pm
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Location: Tampa, FL
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:41 am 
Phergus wrote:
They are designed with that vertical orientation in mind.

Actually, this is key.

Plasmas in the last year or so are not nearly the energy hogs nor bonfires that they used to be. Just 2-3 years ago a typical plasma was 700W and that means the equivalent of seven 100W incandescent bulbs worth of heat coming out of those things! Now they're only double the LCDs (about 250W for plasma, 120W for LCD) and the LEDs are even less.

If/when a carbon nanotube display ever comes out it will generate so little heat as to not register to human touch. ;)


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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:53 pm
Posts: 2104
Location: Melbourne, Australia
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:31 am 
As stated above Plasma's run hotter than LCD even though they are much better than they used to be but still pretty hot so ventilation will be harder. Also plasma screens will not handle the stress of lying flat as well as an LCD, this could lead to problems pretty quickly especially with cheaper plasmas. Plasmas do have a better viewing angle than LCD but if you have a half decent LCD this is not going to be an issue unless your table is shoulder level.
Projector would be best though (I am making what I believe to be the fairly safe assumption that you can not get your hands on a large number of AMOLED screens :) ).


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Dragon
 
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:22 pm
Posts: 611
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:10 pm 
thanks for all the feedback guys, really appreciate. I have no compared the price difference between a plasma and LCD, I just know that the guy fronting this cost (the DM) is trying to keep it under control.

Ventillation around the tv isn't a problem, that's easy enough to design a mounting system that leaves the sides and back almost completely "open" to air flow. My biggest concern is the possible issue with simply running the screen in an upwards facing position. Maybe I should hit up some of the audiophile websites.


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Giant
 
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:13 pm
Posts: 227
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:11 am 
If you are buying new, get the warranty and stress test it the first few weeks. (Hot environment, bumping the table, etc.) I'd also recommend running at least one wet test on the assembled enclosure before putting the very expensive bit in place... you don't ever want Mr. LCD to meet Dr. Pepper.


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Dragon
 
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:22 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:49 pm 
hahah, "wet test", I like that...but our DM is a stickler on the regular table, no drinks allowed. So I think I'm safe there!


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Giant
 
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:13 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:11 pm 
Are the kids going to put drinks on it when you aren't there?
Will it acquire a vase of flowers that happen to interest a family pet?


Not trying to be a jerk, but a big flatscreen is a non-trivial investment. If I were footing the bill, it would be drip/leak/spill proof.


Good luck with your project. Can we get pictures and a playtest report when you are finished?


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Dragon
 
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:22 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:44 pm 
Heh, I'm just the carpenter in this project, not the homeowner!! But its being designed so that that the TV can be taken out if necessary and also "dropped" an inch down so that the filler section of the table can be put back in place, allowing "normal" table usage.

Yes, once it all done (and assuming it doesn't crash spectacularly to the floor), I will post up pictures.


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Site Admin
 
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:20 pm
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Location: Tampa, FL
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:27 pm 
Do you plan to put a glass top on it? That would really be ideal as glass is the probably the best surface except... The glare could be pretty bad depending on the lighting.


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Kobold
 
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:45 pm
Posts: 13
 Post subject: Re: Project table question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:14 am 
I saw this mentioned higher up in the thread, but I think it needs to be emphasized. The screens are designed for the vertical orientation, and that includes the thermal design. If you are going change the orientation so that heat would rise into the display, then you should consider setting up a panel of fans to along the "bottom edge" of the display to carry the waste heat away from the device.


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