How Do You Connect a Computer to Your TV?

A computer can be connected to a television using a cable or via wireless technology, but the ideal method typically depends on the available connections on the television and the additional hardware available. Since TVs do not have Ethernet cable connections, they can only connect to a computer via audio-visual (AV) cables.

The most common types of AV cables include: VGA, S-Video, HDMI, DVI and HDMI to DVI. If either the computer or television does not support any of the common AV cable technologies, a scan converter can be used to convert a computer's video signal into the standard television format and vice versa. Most LCD, LED and Plasma televisions support several types of digital inputs.

Wi-Fi can also be used to connect a computer to a television. Since most TVs do not have Wi-Fi, additional hardware has to be installed. Examples of such hardware include: Digital Media Receivers and Wireless PC to TV systems. Such products typically work by connecting to the TV via an AV cable and supplying a Wi-Fi connection to the computer.

Connecting a computer to a TV allows users to experience a larger display; however, the screen resolution of some TVs is lower compared to the computer, thus lowering the quality of the display.

  1. Determine the port type

    Computers are capable of accommodating several different types of ports including HDMI, VGA, DVI, composite video and s-video. Most computers have several, if not all, of these ports. If the connecting TV is a high-definition television, it has an HDMI, VGA or DVI port. If the TV is standard, it has a composite video or s-video port.

  2. Select the cable and install it

    Select the cable based on the ports available. To install the cable, turn off the computer and TV, then plug the cable into both devices.

  3. Turn on the TV

    Turn on the television and change the input setting to match the type of port the cable is plugged into.

  4. Turn on the computer

    Turn on the computer and change the screen display to the TV. If the computer has Windows 7 installed, right-click on the desktop, select Screen Resolution, then under the display setting, select the TV. Click Apply and Ok.