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How To Connect a Computer To Your TV Overview

Many people already know that you can connect a computer to a plasma TV, but it is not as well known that you can also hook up a computer to almost any TV. The process may not be as easy and the picture not as sharp as a plasma TV or other newer kind of TV, but you may be surprised at the results that can be achieved with your existing television. There are numerous benefits and reasons why you would want to connect your computer to your TV. You can check a players' statistics online while watching a sporting event, use your favorite music program to play your favorite tunes, show all of your digital photos or videos to your family, and even show a PowerPoint presentation to coworkers. Combining the computer with your home theater allows possibilities for the easy chair, that were once limited to the office chair.

Making the Connection

Setting up a computer in your home theater is not generally as hard as some think. To get started, you need to be able to make a compatible connection from your computer to your TV. In the simplest case, your connection from the computer should match the connection on your TV. For example, if your TV has a VGA input and your computer has a VGA output, you need just a cable to connect both together. If there isn't a match of video inputs to outputs, it might still be possible to make a connection, but more about that later. Let's start with the computer connection first. Examine the back of your computer for available monitor connections. Depending on your computer's graphic capabilities, you should be able to identify one or more of the following: a 15-pin VGA output, a DVI connection, or an S-Video output. Your computer could support one, two, or all of the

connections listed. Drivers available at Intel. look for an S-Video input. Use S-Video as a last resort if you have no other choice. you will need the following:      A computer with a S-Video output. If you are unsure. Next. should have a PC compatible 15-pin VGA input. like the Kworld PC to TV signal converter. Finally. Drivers available at ATI. If you own a digital television. this kind of connection will not work. If you have a VGA or DVI match. Some computers require a separate adapter to use the S-Video capability of your graphics card. DLP. If your computer only has a VGA output. It will be either an analog or digital TV. Do not download drivers for a graphics chip different from what your computer uses Connecting With S-Video To make this connection. 15-pin VGA. such as Plasma. download and install the latest drivers for your computers video card. Sometimes. The most common graphics cards are the following:    Cards based on the nVIDIA platform. use that for the best image quality and performance. the adapter will need to be plugged in prior to making adjustments to the output settings of your graphics card. component video.com Always refer to your computer or video card manufacturer's website or before installing any software. or LCD. Using one of these greatly simplifies the setup process. If you own an analog television. and is virtually plug and play.com Cards based on the Intel Extreme Graphics platform. Before you begin. Many of the newer televisions. look for an S-Video. . In many cases. we need to find a matching connection between the two. choose those connections. or a VGA to S-Video adaptor A TV with a S-Video input A S-video cable A 1/8" to Left/Right RCA cable (for sound) A computer monitor (for setup purposes if needed) If you do not have what's listed above. drivers are available there. The newest software has options for making this project easier than it used to be. Drivers are available at nVIDIA. or are not as concerned about the video quality of your connection. If you have a component connection on your TV and a VGA output on your computer. you can still connect with S-video by purchasing a VGA to S-video adaptor. you will need to identify the type of television you have.com Cards based on the ATI platform. refer to the video section of your computer's user manual. or DVI input.

and best. If you cannot bring a computer monitor near your TV. choice for analog TVs. .Kworld PC to TV adaptor Connecting with S-Video is the easiest connection to make from your computer. and are not using a VGA to S-Video adaptor. Hookup the computer to the computer monitor at the same time. Connecting With Your Computer's SVideo Jack: 1. Connect the S-Video cable from the back of the computer to an S-Video input on the back of your television. Though it is the only. Connect the 1/8" to L/R RCA cable from the audio output on your computer to the corresponding audio jacks on your TV. S-video will yield the least desirable image quality on digital or high definition capable displays. The S-video connection will not yield computer quality image results. you will need to perform step 4 & 5 from a remote location before you attempt to hook up the computer to your TV.

Using your computer monitor. leave the computer in a stand-by or hibernation mode when not in use. Once complete. Once you turn it on. If your software reflects this. or a wizard for setting up your graphics adapter with a television. When you boot-up your computer. Connecting With a VGA to S-Video Adaptor: 1. A setting of 640 x 480 will be much clearer. Your current settings will remain intact until the next time your computer is shut down. Although all S-Video outputs use a fixed low resolution to maintain compatibility with your TV. Locate the menu tab for engaging or disengaging the S-Video output. If there is a selection to make it your primary monitor. 5. click on properties. Adjust your resolution in the settings tab of your display properties. and the other end to the television's S-Video input. and the other end to the VGA input on the adaptor. the S-video output needs to be enabled on a per session basis. such as Fn+F8. Change the input on your television to the S-Video input you plugged the computer in to. an image will appear on the TV screen. Connect the VGA cable to the back of the PC. Use a selection no higher than 800 x 600 with 16-bit color. 4. the S-video connection should be enabled. you can disconnect your computer monitor. check to make sure that your display resolution output settings are within the capable range of the adaptor. do so. but icons and windows will appear very large. On many notebook computers. and then click on advanced. Access the graphics card setup menu. Connect the 1/8" to L/R RCA cable from the audio output on your computer to the corresponding audio jacks on your TV.2. there is often a keyboard shortcut to do this. You can usually access these menus by right clicking on the desktop. 3. it scales according to what the resolution of your computer is set to. The image on the screen has a relationship with your resolution settings. The software for every graphics card will be different. 3. Connect the S-Video Cable to the S-Video jack on the adaptor. . In some cases. Before connecting your PC to the VGA adaptor. 2. Most VGA to S-Video adaptors are not capable of scaling resolutions beyond 1280 X 1024. select the settings tab.

A setting of 640 x 480 will be much clearer. Change the input on your television to the S-Video input you plugged the S-Video cable in to. Refer to your adaptor's user manual Connecting with VGA/DVI You can make a connection with DVI by following the same basic steps below. and receiving power. input selection. 6. If you do not get an image on your TV. The image on the screen has a relationship with your resolution settings. it scales according to whatever the resolution of your computer is set at.4. You should get an image on your TV. . Turn on the computer. 5. and resolution settings using a PC monitor. but icons and windows will appear very large. Use a selection no higher than 800 x 600 with 16-bit color. double check your wiring. Also. Your adaptor may also offer additional adjustments and features. double check to make sure your adaptor is plugged in. Adjust your resolution in the settings tab of your display properties. Although all S-Video outputs use a fixed low resolution to maintain compatibility with your TV.

if needed) Some (though rare) televisions may include a 5 wire RGB input (R. you will need the following: A 15-pin VGA output on your computer (All PC's should have this)     A 15-pin VGA input on your television A 15-pin VGA cable A 1/8" to Left/Right RCA cable A computer monitor (for setup.Substitute a DVI cable in place of the 15-pin VGA cable. In order to use it with a PC VGA output. or both. or LCD television you should be able to plug it in and turn it on. B. If you are attempting to connect your computer's VGA output to an S-video connection. However. To make a connection with a 15-pin VGA cable. . The compatible PC resolution is listed next to it. refer to Page 2 . if you do this and get no picture. it must be RGB compatible. it's okay! We can still get this to work. However. Compatible resolutions could be listed as resolutions or as letters. If this is the case it will say one or a few of the following television formats.1280x720 1080i .      480i .Connecting with SVideo.not compatible with most PC graphic adapters 480p . H. If you're hooking up a Plasma. component video.1920x1080 If your input does not list any computer formats. it will say one or more of the following:         VGA = 640x480 SVGA = 800x600 XGA = 1024x768 SXGA = 1280x1024 UXGA = 1600x1200 WVGA= 858x480 WSVGA = 1280x768 or 1280x800 WUXGA = 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 Your 15-pin input might not be directly PC compatible. a chart is below to explain them. 15-pin inputs on a TV could support RGB.720x480 720p . you will need to obtain a 15-pin VGA to 5 or 3-wire RGB cable. you will need to do a little hunting in your television's display manual for compatible display and signal formats. only television formats. If your input is PC compatible. DLP.1920x1080 (interlaced) 1080p . G. You can use this input to make a connection. V) or 3 wire RGB (RGB with syncs on green). Do not mistake a 3 wire RGB input for component video. If you've identified a 15-pin VGA input on your television. use a separate computer monitor to adjust settings before plugging the cable into the TV.

go to step 5. An image should appear on your PC screen. . Go to step 7.1. 5. If so. Turn on the computer. Some TV's (particularly older sets) are only compatible at 640x480 or 800x600. If your TV is not compatible go to step 6. Connect the VGA cable from the back of the computer to the computer monitor. 1024x768 is a common choice. Click "yes" when it asks you to keep this setting. Hit advanced. If your television is PC compatible. Click on the tab that says settings. If your TV is PC compatible. 60 Hertz from the list of valid modes. but today's newer 720p and 1080p flat panels should support their PC signals in their native resolutions. 4. 3. 2. and select the adapter tab. High Color (16 bit). Change the TV input to the appropriate selection to engage the 15-pin VGA input. move the resolution slider to a compatible selection. Right click on the desktop and select properties. Make your choice and hit apply. Press "list all modes" and select 640x480. it may not be listed on the slider.

" Once complete. If you made the proper selections. nVidia. If the image does not return. Go to the adapter tab and select "list all modes. If your TV was PC compatible. TIP: you can make more choices appear under "list all modes" by going to the monitor tab and deselecting the box that says "Hide modes that this monitor can't display. High Color (16 bit). check for additional software from the graphics chip maker that may offer more control options. then check the tabs at the top for additonal software from ATI. For example. The computer will keep your current settings unless you physically change them. From the Display properties settings screen. Do nothing and it should switch back to the last setting after 15 seconds. Unplug the cable from the back of the monitor and plug it in to the TV. Click "yes" if it asks you to keep this setting. you do not need to take any additional steps. If your TV was not PC compatible. you can remove the computer monitor. here's a screenshot of the nVidia Control Panel. Within the settings tab. Connect the 1/8" to L/R RCA cable from the audio output on your computer to the corresponding audio jacks on your TV. or use the stand by and hibernation modes. 7. you can try to find different resolutions that are compatible with your TV. 8. Go to step 7. or Intel depending on the graphics chip manufacturer. the screen will blank out. click advanced." Select 720x480. It's likely that the icons are very big.6. you found an incompatible display format. you should have an image on your TV screen. . If your TV is not PC compatible. Using the chart above and the "list all modes" selection. 60 Hertz from the list. you should have an image on the screen. If you're having trouble finding a compatible resolution using the Windows Display Manager. You will be able to shut down the computer when not in use. click on advanced. or install new drivers for your graphics card. When selecting resolution. you will need to select a format that is compatible with your TV.

you do not need a VGA transcoder (skip to Section 2). and also more flexible and with better quality.Connecting With Component Video To make this connection possible. Look for an alternate . This will be significantly less expensive than buying a transcoder. but know that your graphics card supports component video output. your card maker may sell the necessary cable or kit to hook up your computer to an HDTV set separately. you must have the following:        A digital TV with a component video input A 15-pin VGA output on your computer A high resolution capable VGA to component video transcoder or bundled component video accessory cable (A transcoder is a device that transforms RGB signals into component video signals) A 15-pin VGA cable A component video cable A 1/8" to L/R RCA cable A computer monitor (for setup) If you have a computer with a component video capable graphics card. you may have received a component video cable in the box. If you didn't receive a cable in the box. If so.

there's a significant difference in the signal format. Avoiding the "VGA to Component Video Cable" Many online discount stores sell an accessory cable that looks like it will connect a VGA input to a component video input. These projectors often sport VGA (DB-15) inputs that support both RGB and component video signals. even though this accessory cable will allow you to match the physical connections for your VGA output and component video input. and is often priced under $20. This accessory cable ends up delivering RGB with syncs on green to the connected display. you will need to purchase a high resolution capable VGA to component video transcoder or replace the graphics board with one that is component video capable (recommended). Since there are few consumer grade TVs ever produced with this ability. I know. Well. It's nothing more than a cable. this cable will not work for the majority of users. . If your card is not component video capable. "Why not?" you ask. which nearly all televisions will not accept.(typically round) connector next to the standard VGA or DVI output. which is not the same as component video.. If you see one. refer to your owners guide or card maker's website for details on what it is capable of outputting.. So what is this cable for? This cable is most often used to connect component video sources (like a DVD player) to a digital projector. Computers output RGB+HV signals. the connectors look like component video. but it's not. It's important to note that this type of accessory cable will not allow you to connect a computer to a TVs component video input unless the TV's component input is also RGB capable.

60 Hertz from the list. In the "list all modes" selection. 1280x720. Hook up the component video cables from the transcoder to the component video input on the back of your TV. It is common to find that many CRT based TVs. 8. or 1920 x 1080 (interlaced). An image should appear on your PC screen. 4. If you chose a compatible selection. such as direct-view tubes and CRT rear-projection displays. High Color (16 bit). 7. 2. If the image does not return. you can try to find different resolutions that are compatible with your TV. Depending on the display format chosen. NOTE: 1920x1080 (interlaced) is a very high resolution. 6. Change the TV input to the appropriate selection to engage the component video input. Click on the 'Settings' tab. Click "yes" if it asks you to keep this setting. The possible formats are usually 480p. Right click on the desktop and select properties." Select 720x480.Section 1: Connecting with a Component Video Transcoder 1. don't support 720p. click on advanced. Since the component video input on your TV is not PC compatible. the screen will blank out. and 1080i. you will need to select a format that is compatible with your TV. 720p. Connect the 1/8" to L/R RCA cable from the audio output on your computer to the corresponding audio jacks on your TV. which will make desktop items and text difficult to see. . Go to the adapter tab and select "list all modes. you should have an image on your TV screen. you might want to try different choices to maximize image quality. Within the settings tab. 5. 3. When selecting resolution. Turn on the computer. Hookup the VGA cable from the back of the computer to the computer monitor. Identify the compatible scan formats for your component video input. Unplug the computer from the back of the monitor and plug it in to the transcoder. you found an incompatible display format.

I highly recommend locating and installing the latest drivers for your graphics card. Since the component video input on your TV is not PC compatible. Before you begin. Right click on the desktop and select properties. Change the TV input to the appropriate selection to engage the component video input. Locate the graphics card managment software provided by your card maker. You should see a checkbox for enabling the component video output or a . such as direct-view tubes and CRT rear-projection displays. locate the area for managing displays. 1. and look for an option to "connect to TV" or "Connect to HDTV". It is common to find that many CRT based TVs. Sometimes it's an icon in the task tray. 7. Turn on the computer. don't support 720p or 1080p. and 1080p. you will need to select a format that is compatible with your TV. sometimes it's a tab in the 'advanced' area of the display manager. Connect a regular computer monitor to the VGA or DVI output temporarily. and the other end to the TV. Identify the compatible scan formats for your component video input. In the graphics card manager. 6. Hookup the accessory cable to the back of the computer. 1080i. 2. your card maker will have simpler methods of making an HDTV connection (compared to the Windows Display Manager) in their latest software driver packages. 720p. 5. The possible formats are usually 480p. 4." Section 2: Connecting with a bundled component video accessory cable If you have an accessory cable. An image should appear on your PC screen. TIP: you can make more choices appear under "list all modes" by going to the monitor tab and deselecting the box that says "Hide modes that this monitor can't display.Do nothing and it should switch back to the last setting after 15 seconds. 3. Click on the 'Settings' tab.

you should not need the regular computer monitor. Once your component video connection is complete and working. If you're not sure. Unplug the computer from the back of the regular monitor. Connect the 1/8" to L/R RCA cable from the audio output on your computer to the corresponding audio jacks on your TV. 8. Choose the best format compatible with your television. The computer will keep your current settings unless you physically change them or install new drivers for your graphics card.wizard for setting up your graphics card to connect to a TV. You should be able to shut down the computer when not in use. try the different modes until you find one that looks best. . and should also find a variety of options to select the type and/or resolution of the display. or use the stand by and hibernation modes.