How to connect your TV to your PC

It seems like there’s a lot of interest in how online video might kill Cable and Satellite services like DirecTV and Comcast, so I started a mini home project to see what it would be like for someone to actually try to send streaming video from a PC to a large screen TV. I know there are a lot of different ways to do this, and I figured it should be pretty easy.

I went to Fry’s – the best super-retailer for everything geek in California, expecting to see some sort of all-in-one setup for this. I can’t be the only person wanting to do this right? Anyway – after about an hour of searching I finally found what looked like it was going to work – a VGA to AV converter (with 3 different outputs) for about $39, and a separate 3.5″ mini-jack to RCA cable for the audio ($17). I would have expected a nice all-in-one setup, but alas – the video and the audio are separate beasts. My laptop has a VGA output and a 3.5″ mini headphone jack, so I was all set. (There were some other USB-based audio enhancer thingys, but these seemed like overkill.)

Now – back home to hook all this up. It seemed to be pretty straightforward, although I couldn’t get my AV receiver to display the video. There’s probably some menu setup I needed to do, but not being very patient, I finally just hooked all three outputs into the front of the VCR (yes – we still have one), and lo and behold – it actually worked!
I was a little concerned about the quality – since I figured attaching the output directly into the AV receiver would be better, but testing with Hulu and iTunes video – the results were totally acceptable. I was immersed into my shows, and not noticing anything horrible with the video or audio quality.

So anyway – this is totally doable. I will probably go back and play with the AV receiver some more, and maybe try to clean up the wires (which my wife hates). Eventually a wireless system would be ideal. But it works! And it’s awesome. The house I’m in right now has no cable, so this is a great way to get more entertainment without spending $70+/month.

Do you have any experience hooking up your TV to your PC? Please share in the comments. I suspect a lot of people are interested in this.

3 Responses to “How to connect your TV to your PC”

  1. Try recording that signal with the VCR or better yet with a DVD recorder and let us know how the quality comes out. I do realize most users are not interested in recording the signal but to watch the signal on their big tv screens. I have a talking VCR that actually talks.

  2. Anyone know how to hook up a DVI-HDMI cable to a 1080p tv? I can not get it to work. I can get my desktop on my tv. I get to my browser though, and it continues to make the font size bigger on anything in the browser(zoom in). Then when I try to scroll down it jumps back up to the top of the browser. There must be some setting that needs to be changed somewhere.

  3. I’ve been watching PC and streaming content from my PC to TV for years, wirelessly.
    At first, I used the Linksys Media Extender. It didn’t stream, but allowed me to watch content that was recorded or stored on the PC.
    Since then, I’ve bought a Roku box that lets you stream Netflix movies to your TV. Works great and is now in HD.
    I’ve also bought a Playstation 3 that replaces the Linksys Media Extender. The PS3 allows me to access all content on my PC, and in addition stream Hulu or whatever (Youtube, anything Flash, and other) to the TV.


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