Connecting your Computer to a TV #1

Connecting a computer to your TV is an extremely simple process, it is therefore surprising that so few people have taken the plunge.The most obvious use in my mind would be if you downloaded a film off of the Internet then rather than having to burn it to disc to play in your DVD player, you could play it directly from the computer however.There is also the added advantage that now most TV’s support high resolutions (a measure of how many pixels the screen can display) you could use it in place of a conventional monitor; your favourite game and even the Internet would look much better on a 42” widescreen!

There are a number of ways to connect a TV and computer and below are the three most popular:

S-Video (Separate Video)
This standard is supported primarily by older, non HD compliant TV’s which don’t display the kind of resolutions required of a conventional computer screen; whilst a low resolution screen is fine for TV and film pictures it is unable to provide the kind of clarity needed for operating a computer.As such, this option should only be used if you have an older TV and certainly only for watching movies.

You need to look out for a small, round, yellow socket on the back of your TV and computer.Providing you have both it’s simply a case of purchasing a standard S-Video cable (which we sell at Refresh Cartridges for £2.99) although if the socket is absent from your machine you will require an expensive signal converter box.

SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array)

Practically every computer has a standard monitor connection, as does practically every LCD or Plasma screen so this method is certainly the most popular.An SVGA socket is 15-pin, ‘D’ shaped and blue in colour and once you have confirmed they are present on both your PC and TV it is simply a case of buying a standard monitor cable which again, is available through us for £2.99.

The ease of use of this connection type varies depending on your computer; if you have a laptop then you will be able to display an image on your TV at the same time as using the inbuilt screen but unless your conventional PC includes two SVGA connectors then for the period it is connected you will be using the TV as your main monitor.

DVI (Digital Visual Interface)

This would be your ideal method of connected your PC to the TV as the DVI standard relies on a digital signal rather than the older SVGA which is an analogue system. This should result in an increase in quality as you remove the need for the PC to convert its digital signal to analogue before transmitting down the cable, just to have the TV switch it back to digital again on receipt.

As this is a fairly new standard, whether your PC will be equipped or not is dubious; you are looking for a long, white connection with 24-pins (3 up and 8 across).Provided this is present then your choice of cable will be influenced by your TV set; you will need either a DVI to DVI cable or DVI to HDMI (a small ‘D’ shaped, colourless socket approximately 14mm x 4.5mm) cable.If the Herald Express will allow me another shameless plug then I will mention that we sell either for £6.99.

Today we have only covered connecting the video signal so next week we will introduce connecting the sound output from your computer and will hopefully have time to touch on how best to set up your graphics card for displaying on a television screen.


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.