DIY: Connect a USB Webcam to Your TV
Video chat has changed the way many people across the globe communicate. With a webcam and Internet connected computer, applications such as GTalk, Skype and Yahoo! Messenger let you engage in real-time video conferences with others. Some high-end TVs support video chat with a webcam without a computer, as do a few Internet appliances that connect to a television. However, even if your TV doesn't support direct webcam connections, you can still use your computer to stream the camera to your television.
Things You'll Need
- Web ready TV or Internet TV device
- DVI-to-VGA adapter (optional)
- DVI, HDMI or VGA monitor cable
- 3.5-mm to RCA audio adapter cable
Connect to Internet-Ready TV
Plug the USB cable into the webcam and plug the other end into an empty USB port on the TV. Alternatively, connect the webcam to a USB port on an external Web device used to connect the TV to the Internet.
Press the "Input" or "Source" button on the TV remote control until the webcam display is visible on the television screen.
Position the webcam so that you're visible on the TV screen. Use the TV remote to initiate an Internet connection. Follow the prompts to log on to the service supported by the TV or external Web device connected to it.
Stream Webcam From Computer
Turn off the power to the computer and the TV. Locate the video-out port on the computer. In most cases, the port is on the rear but may be on the side on a laptop computer with an HDMI port. Older computers usually have white VGA ports, while newer models have blue DVI ports or HDMI ports that resemble large USB ports.
Plug the DVI end of the DVI-to-VGA adapter cable into the DVI video-out port on the computer, and plug the other end into the VGA input port on the TV, if the computer video-out port doesn't match the type used for the input port on the television. Alternatively, you can convert VGA to DVI, DVI to HDMI and HDMI to DVI, depending on your computer's and TV's ports. However, you can't convert VGA to HDMI or vice versa. If the ports on the computer and TV match, plug a compatible monitor cable into the video-out port on the computer and the other end into the TV's input port.
Plug a 3.5-mm-to-RCA audio cable into the "Headphone" or "Line Out" port on the computer and the "Audio In" ports on the TV. The small end connects to the computer and the two RCA plugs to the TV. Plug the red RCA plug into the right channel, and the white plug into the left. If the computer doesn't have a port labeled "Headphone" or "Audio Out," disconnect the computer speakers and use that port.
Turn on the computer and the television. Log in to Windows and allow the computer to load all startup programs.
Right-click anywhere on the open desktop -- not an icon. Click "Screen Resolution" on the pop-up menu.
Click "Detect" in the "Screen Resolution" window, and then wait a few seconds for Windows to detect the connection to the external TV.
Use the remote control to change the "Input" option until the computer screen displays on the TV. The screen that appears on the TV screen should look identical to that on your computer monitor.
Click the monitor icon labeled "2." Click the list-box next to the "Multiple Displays" label, and then click "Extend these displays." Click "Apply," then "OK." An empty Windows desktop appears on the TV screen.
Plug the webcam into an empty USB port on the computer. Wait for Windows to detect and initialize the camera on your PC.
Open a chat program. Click "Tools" or "Settings" on the menu bar, and then click the "Webcam" or "Video Camera" link. Follow the prompts to set up the camera in the chat program.
Click and hold the title bar of the chat program window. Drag the window to the right and off the computer display. The chat program window appears on the TV screen. Use the chat program as you normally would.
References & Resources
- Sony Support: Skype Ready
- CrunchGear; Google TV's Secret Weapon: Video Calls From Your TV; John Riggs; October 2010
- MaximumPC; How to Set Up Video Chat in Your Livingroom: 3 Simple Steps; Alex Castle; December 2009
- Online Tech Tips; How to Connect Your Laptop/PC/Computer to Your TV; Assem Kishore; June 2007
- ZedoMax; HDTV Hack -- How to Connect your PC to HDTV via HDMI/DVI Cables!; David Allen; September 2008