How to Use your TV as a Computer Monitor

As technology continues to improve more and more consumers are beginning to be aware of the advantages of having a HTPC (home theatre PC) based entertainment system. While there are plenty of good alternatives to using a PC, the Roku Streaming Player and Apple TV come to mind, none of them give you the total flexibility that a PC can give. To accommodate the  increased demand for HTPC manufacturer’s have released HTPC cases with remotes that make it easier than ever to control your computer from the comfort of your couch.

Whether you want to setup a HTPC or just want to be able to hook your laptop or gaming PC into your television there are several easy ways to do this. Here’s a few steps you can take to make use of your TV as a monitor.

Can Your TV be Used as a Monitor?

The first thing to figure out is whether your TV can be used as a monitor. In order to do this simply turn the monitor around and look at the available connectors. While there are ways to connect through Component, or even composite cables from your PC to your TV, the picture for these types of screens is usually substandard. We’ll focus on looking for an HDMI, DVI, or VGA output on your TV. Most newer HDTV or flatscreen TVs come with one of these 3 ports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you need an Adapter?

Once you figure out whether or not your TV does have these type of connectors look at the back of your PC to see what type of video/audio outputs that your computer has. HDMI to DVI adapters and others are available. For VGA: Make sure to do your research before converting an analog signal to a DVI and vice versa.

What do you need for Audio?

If you have an HDMI connection on your PC and on your TV, then an audio signal is already carried through the HDMI cable. For other types of connections you most likely need one of two things; a mini to an RCA stereo adapter to use your audio out on the PC and the stereo connection in your TV, or a mini to mini plug for those of you who have a mini plug on your TV.

Summary:

While it’s easy to connect your PC into your TV remember that your TV is not a monitor and does not have the same types of specifications or durability that your monitor has. Make sure to setup a screen saver that is quick to act when you’re not using your TV set. Accidentally leaving your computer on all day can easily burn the image into an LCD display. If you have a question, need help with compatibility, or would like to add to this post, then please leave a comment below.