Connecting your PC or Mac to your TV or HDTV seems like it should be an easy and great way to add a larger display for watching movies, cruising the Internet, doing Presentations or Viewing Picture Slideshows. It used to be tricky and expensive. You had to convert between different complicated video formats that were usually not compatible. Nowadays it is much easier and much less expensive. You still usually can't do it with just a cable, but the right converter box is often just a simple "Plug and Play", 5 minute job. Connect it and enjoy it!
Connect your PC/Mac Video output to your TV/HDTV
The first decision to make is Standard Def or High Def TV? With a Standard Def TV, it is pretty easy to hook up a VGA(HD-15 3 rows of 5 pins display connector) to a video converter that puts out NTSC(USA) or PAL(Europe) standards, Composite Video (yellow RCA connector) for your TV.
• Standard Def Looks Blurry?
A Standard Def TV cannot display at the same resolution as your monitor. The monitor is usually 1280x1024 or higher, while the TV likes a 640x480 resolution. That's HALF the resolution! You are going to lose resolution and Text and graphics will be less clear than on the monitor.
• An HDTV is NOT a Computer Monitor!
With a HDTV you have to deal with Video format conversion as well as possible resolution conversion. Most HDTV's accept only a few possible resolutions and refresh rates, etc. The video formats are RGB/HV and Y-Pr-Pb (Component Video) which are entirely different encoded signals which must be converted ("transcoded") - since it is changing the encoded format).
• A Computer is NOT a DVD Player!
The resolution and refresh rates, etc, are just as much of a problem, since sending a typical Computer signal to an HDTV will not give you an output. You need to have a video card that can send out an appropriate signal or a program like "Powerstrip" to customize the output signal to give your TV what it requires, or a video converting scaler to change the signal. Vista and Windows 7 have improved video resolution adjustments and Power Strip is not needed.
Video converters with scalers are hardware solutions that can adjust the resolution from a computer to match the TV input requirement using an on screen menu. This is a better solution.
With digital video connections like DVI or HDMI, you also have the resolution problem to deal with, but depending on equipment and operation system, the transcoding may not be necessary.
Video Transcoders have the same resolution signal in as they do out and only change the encoding
Video Converters can change resolutions, refresh rates, etc, but cost more than transcoders.
These connect your PC/Mac to an Antenna or Cable TV connection and act like a TV Tuner or Cable TV Set top box to give you channel selection and control, as well as recording/time shifting functions.
Many cable providers are now sending digital encoded signals and most HDTV tuner cards do not work and are obsolete.
USB tuners or HDTV tuner cards, still work for over the air digital signals and will depend on your "commitment" level to point and tune them properly.
Video Capture takes video (usually Composite video or S-video plus audio) and records the audio and video in a computer file format that your computer can use to watch, edit and burn to DVD or Video CD.
Please ask us for help if you need one!
How to connect your computer to your Television (HD or Regular)
How to connect your Home Theater