How to Connect Computer to TV

There are several ways to connect a computer to your television: S-Video, VGA, and DVI are a few of the older cables you can use. For the sake of this blog I will cover the newest and easiest - connecting via an HDMI cable.

But before I dive into this easy process, let’s discuss some of the benefits of transforming your TV into a monitor. The most obvious: you can save $$$ by dropping your cable provider and viewing all of your entertainment programming via the Internet. I personally will save $50-75 a month. There are free online sites that offer quality interactive entertainment, like the now famous Gaming is also a powerful excuse! My personal motivation is being a grad student taking online courses I wanted to have a great multimedia experience since I will spend several hours a week watching web lectures.

Ok now for the How To…

I started with my relatively new HP Pavilion 1231 tx and my relatively new RCA 40″ Full HD 1080p LCD HDTV. My HDTV has 3 different HDMI ports whereas my laptop has one. Make sure you check your laptop has this port! An HDMI port resembles a USB one - except it’s slightly wider and flatter. If your computer only has a DVI port you may be in luck because lots of HDTVs have HDMI/DVI combined ports. The process of hooking this up is pretty much the same, except you use an HDMI/DVI cable instead (I’m a GENIUS!).

I purchased a 6′ Sony HDMI cable for Rs-1950/- and a Logitech USB cable keyboard and mouse for Rs-2000/- (includes speakers too). So I have my cable and my wireless keyboard and mouse for only 80 bucks. If you’re a smart shopper you will find these items online and probably save 50% of what I spent, but I’m impatient and wanted to do this tonight. Of course these components are not required if you have a laptop and a long enough cable chord. But to me that defeats the purpose - I want to get away from my computer and pretend like I’m just interacting with my TV while a lightweight ‘remote’ rests on my lap (keyboard) and a pointer on my couch arm (mouse). The ultimate Captain Chair :).

Select output on your TV remote control and select which HDMI port you plan to use (1,2, or 3). Connect cable to TV and computer. Within a few minutes computer should automatically detect the cable and give you screen options. I chose the Mirror option because sometimes the wireless mouse gets stuck and so I have to walk over to my computer and use the touchpad instead. This way I have the mirror image on both screens if I want to use one over the other.

Then, if the computer doesn’t automatically output to your TV screen select FN+F8 or FN+F11. FN+F8 worked for me.

Next you may need to experiment with your TV screen format. I had to use the “No Overscan” format view because it’s the only setting that displays the complete screen; others truncate the top and bottom. You may also need to experiment with the screen resolution on your computer.

Finally if you do decide to use a wireless keyboard, you’ll want to encrypt your key strokes. You can do this by installing the software that came with your hardware. After installation, the settings should provide a security option that takes you through a series of steps to make sure no one else can record or monitor your strokes. Once you complete this wizard you should be good to go.

The only performance issue I found was with the cheap keyboard and mouse. Sometimes the computer doesn’t detect their signals. I have to be within 6-8 feet of my computer for these devices to work correctly. Umm… with a 40″ screen you really don’t want to be that close! I even had to scoot my couch up a foot to prevent keystroke delays and stubborn mousing. It’s pretty frustrating actually, so I will most likely invest in more complimentary components and I would advise others to do the same

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