How To Use a TV as a Computer Monitor

With a TV tuner card installed on your computer, you can watch television right from your own computer monitor. The same function can also be performed by a video card with TV capability. However, you will run into quite a challenge if you want to use your TV as display screen for your computer, although it is definitely possible with additional hardware. This problem would be nonexistent if your TV is the digital type, especially the more recent models.

In this article, you will learn some of the ways to enable you to use your television set--both analog and digital kinds--as a monitor for your personal computer.

  • If you have an older television set, it will most likely be the one with analog signals. At the back of your analog TV will be several ports or connectors. These connectors are what you use for signal input from other devices such as VCR players, DVD players, audio players, and the like. So that you can use this kind of television set with your computer, both the television and the computer must have compatible connectors. Thus, if your TV has S-Video Composite input and your computer has S-Video output, then you have a perfect match. Similarly, if your TV has RCA jacks for input and your computer has them, too, for output, then you can use those jacks for connecting the two. Or, if your computer only has S-Video output and your TV only has RCA input jacks, then you will need a special cable for the connection. The kind of cable that you need would have an S-Video Composite output on one end and an RCA input on the other end.
  • Take note, though, that not all computers have video cards that have S-Video or RCA outputs. In most cases, video cards usually have only VGA ports for video output. If such is the case, you will need to buy what is known as a VGA converter cable, or an analog converter cable. Such a cable usually has a VGA jack on one end and either an S-Video jack or RCA jacks on the other end. What this cable does is to convert your video card's digital signal into an analog signal that your television set can understand.
  • If you have a more recent digital television set, it will most likely have lots of input connectors that are compatible with your computer's video output. All you need to do is to find out what connectors are there and whether your TV or your computer has the right cables for connecting them. For example, if your computer only has a VGA port, and your digital TV also has a VGA port, then the only cable you need is a VGA-to-VGA cable, the kind that you also use to connect your computer to an LCD projector.

The last thing you need to do after connecting the wires is to set up your television to use the appropriate input. Your TV's remote control will usually have the buttons for switching among the various input signals that your TV is capable of. You may need to consult your TV's manual for the correct procedure for doing this.


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