Others have posted in the last couple of year about using a 19” Insignia TV from Best Buy as an inexpensive monitor for Apple II composite video output but for some reason I’ve been unable to find their posts. I want to thank them for calling this option to my attention and to add that although the posts mention an LCD TV, the current model is an LED one. I’m pleased to report that it does an excellent job of displaying 80-column text using my Apple IIe’s composite video output.
I just got my early-model Apple IIe working again after close to 40 years but no longer have a CRT monitor for it. It has a Rev. A motherboard and already had the enhanced chipset and an Apple extended 80-column 64K RAM expansion card installed at the time I acquired it.
I first tried an old 20” LG LCD TV with a composite video input as a monitor and found that it worked to a degree. The 40-column text display was pretty good but 80-column text for the Apple Pascal operating system was disappointingly blurry. Reading these forums I found out that the reason was that the Apple IIe has a non-standard NTSC composite video output which isn’t handled well by most digital TVs. My experience with the LG TV confirmed that.
However several LCD TVs and computer monitors were reported to handle the composite video output much better than others and the 19” Insignia LCD TV was on the list as in expensive option.
As mentioned above the current model carried by Best Buy has an LED display rather than an LCD one but I suspect has the much the same electronics.
When I tried this TV the 80-column text display was much better than on the LG. By making a few adjustments I was able to improve it a little more. The settings I settled on are: wide aspect ratio, game mode, brightness 28%, sharpness 100%.
This image compares the appearance of 80-column Apple Pascal text on the 20” LG LCD TV (left) and the 19” Insignia LED TV (right).