How to Setup Your TV as a Computer Monitor
Want to save space in your home office? Or, like me, if you like to multi-task, would you like to have the convenience of switching from TV to computer by pressing one button?
Well, it’s easier than you think.
I was recently in the market for a new flat panel monitor to replace my old large monitor for my secondary computer. I wondered if I could buy a flat panel TV around the same size and use the TV as a computer monitor. This would save me money and at the same time, save me space. I was thinking of adding a small TV to my home office anyway to catch the news or my favorite TV show once in a while, but other than mounting it on the wall, I didn’t really have a place for it. So I decided to buy a TV and put it right on the corner of my desk, so if I wasn’t using the computer at the moment, I can switch to TV mode.
What Kind of TV to Buy
I shopped around and asked a lot of questions in stores to find out what kind of TV I needed to buy. I was told that I needed a TV with HDMI connectivity. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It supports TV or video format. I was told that using that connection would provide the best quality. Later, I also figured out that I could also use the RGB port on the back of the TV and connect that to the back of my computer’s CPU (without using the HDMI connection). If I use the RGB port with a coax cable vs. the HDMI port with and HDMI cable, I might not get the same quality as I would as compared to using an HDMI cable, but it was another option. As far as a brand, I went with a reputable brand, based on user reviews and recommendation by the sales technician. My final purchase was a 19” Vizio LCD HDTV, for $178.00. Connectivity instructions are explained in more detail below.
What Kind of Cabling and Accessories Do You Need?
While still at the store, I wasn’t sure if I needed to buy an HDMI cable just yet. This was because the sales technician mentioned that an HDMI cable might be something that our cable company could provide. Plus, I knew I had the option of using the RGB port. The sales technician stated that he was able to get a free HDMI cable from his cable company. He simply called and asked for one, and since he was a loyal customer for over 20 years, they provided him with a cable. I decided to wait until I got home to check and see what cables I may already have on hand before purchasing any additional cables.
As far as additional accessories, this depends on what equipment you have, and how your equipment is setup. In my case, I already had a router and a cable modem setup in my home office, along with a splitter. The router allows wireless connectivity in our house for other computers and devices, such as laptops, portable game systems and WII game system. One end of my splitter connects to my cable port in the wall, and the other end connects to my cable modem:
Here’s how I connected my new TV to my computer, along with my existing router and cable modem:
I have high-speed internet through my cable company (Comcast). If you have FIOS or another form of internet, then unfortunately I’m not sure these instructions will work exactly the same way, but procedural it’s probably similar. Here’s how I have my cable modem connection setup:
If You Have a Router
A router is essential to have in your household if you have multiple computers which use a wireless connection for internet connectivity. Here’s how I have my router connections setup:
How to Switch Between Your Computer vs. TV
To switch between my computer and your TV, I just use either TV button, or the RGB button on my remote control to switch back and forth.
Did I leave anything out? If I did, let me know and I will try to help.
Please note: Connectivity may vary depending on the type of equipment you have, and the type of internet service you have as well.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
I went from a VGA to an HDMI adapter, and it did not work. Why is this?
After you switch from the VGA to the HDMI adapter, did you change to HDMI in the auxiliary setting? When I want to switch to the TV mode, I press my HDMI button on the remote for my Vizio TV remote and this switches it to TV mode (at that point, a message appears on my screen that I have to press MENU on my Verizon FIOS remote and then I can change the channel and watch TV). Then when I want to switch back to use my TV as a monitor, I press RGB on my Vizio TV remote; for the latter, if my computer is off or in sleep mode, it says there is no RGB signal, and the TV turns off. If you have a large smart TV, and a newer computer, you may not have an RGB option (for the computer connectivity) so the option may be different; for example, if I want to plug my laptop into my large smart TV, I would use an HDMI cable to do so and then change my source from Cable to HDMI.Helpful 1
After connecting the CPU to TV, what is next?
After connecting the CPU to your TV, the next step would be to change the source so that it recognizes your input. For example, on my remote, I have an HDMI button (I'm using an HDMI cable) and it allows me to toggle between my TV and the input from my computer.
© 2010 Amelia Griggs