You can watch a movie on your computer. How can you watch the same movie on your TV? Thanks to broadband Internet and computers that include DVD or Blu-Ray players, your computer can be as much an entertainment center as the system in your living room. The problem is connecting the computer to your TV so that you can watch the same movie from your computer on the larger screen of your television. Use the steps in this guide to use your TV like an extra computer monitor.
Check your television for available video inputs. Newer HDTVs have multiple video inputs that normally accommodate any video output a device might have. Older televisions may have only S-Video or RCA video inputs. While HDMI inputs are a single thin rectangular connector that carry both audio and video, RCA inputs are the standard circular jacks that are color coded red and white for audio and yellow for video. An S-Video connector only carries a video signal and has four tiny holes with a small slot to help orient the connector in the jack.
Determine if you have an extra video output on your computer in addition to the standard VGA connection used by your computer monitor. Depending on your computer type, laptops come with either an HDMI, S-Video, or RCA video port to connect the computer to your television. Desktop or tower workstations will locate the additional video output in the rear of the computer next to where you connect your computer monitor to the computer. Check your computer to see what kind of video output is available. You will need to match the video output of your computer with the available video inputs on your television. Select the appropriate RCA (composite), S-Video, or HDMI cable for your system and plug one end into the output of your computer video port and the other end into an available input jack on your television.
Make the audio connections. Use a mini headphone-to-RCA audio adapter cable. If the computer and television use an HDMI video port, audio and video are combined in the same cable and the audio adapter cable is not necessary. If you don't have an HDMI port, connect the mini headphone end of the cable to your computer's headphone jack. Then plug the red and white RCA ends into the audio input jacks of your television.
Use your computer to duplicate the video display on your computer to your television. Use the display properties of your computer's operating system to select the television as a secondary monitor. You will now be able to see your computer display on your television.
Open the movie player software on your computer and enter the full screen mode. Your movie should now fill the screen of your television. In full screen mode, the computer cursor will disappear after a few seconds.
Things You'll Need
RCA, S-Video, or HDMI video cable
Mini headphone-to-stereo RCA adapter cable (if video is not HDMI)
If your television only has a cable input with no additional video inputs, purchase a low cost RF signal-to-composite converter to add RCA video inputs to your television.
If your computer does not have an additional video output, you will need to purchase a VGA to composite scan converter, or upgrade your video display card to a unit that includes video outputs that match your television inputs.