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How to Connect your PC to a TV



The consumer faces a bewildering range of cable options when trying to connect their PC to their TV. They may wonder which cables give them the best sound and picture quality, and may also want to know the various options they have to connect their television and computer together. HDMI cables are by far the most popular cable of choice nowadays, but consumers are ill-informed that they have other options of connecting their television to their computer.

So, what are the ‘other options’ of connecting PC to TV?

If your computer, or PC, has a USB port or ‘socket’, there are many products available from numerous online retailers which will allow you to stream both audio and visual content wirelessly from your PC, provided that your Television has a HDMI port or socket (same thing). Fortunately, nearly all HD Televisions on sale in the UK are equipped with a HDMI socket, and every new 3D television is equipped with a HDMI port.

Connecting mini USB and micro USB PC to TV wirelessly

Some Laptops, Desktops, Tablet PCs and even Smartphones have mini USB or micro USB ports, and so to stream audio and visual content wirelessly from one of these devices, you would need a micro USB to USB (Type A) adapter, or mini USB to USB (Type A) adapter to use a Wireless PC to TV streamer.

Connecting iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to an HD Television screen with a HDMI cable.

If you want to connect your Apple iPad or iPhone to your Television screen, you can do this by using an Apple 30-Pin Dock connector to HDMI (Type A) adapter in conjunction with a HDMI (Type A) 1.4 cable. This combination of adapter and cable can also be used with the iPhone and iPod touch.

There is a staggering variety of HDMI cables available to the consumer at present, which can only be a good thing for the consumer. Due to massive competition, consumers have the power to demand ever-increasing levels of durability and transmission quality, at prices as low as 46p for a HDMI cable. It would be best to recommend any form of HDMI 1.4 cable from a trusted online retailer.

Is it worth investing big bucks into a snazzy HDMI cable?

If you have just spent your hard-earned cash on a 42″ HD Television, you may think that spending 40 on a “top-of-the-range” HDMI cable will ensure better image quality, but it is widely regarded that around 9.99 is a sensible amount to spend on a HDMI cable (to strike a good compromise between value and quality), unless you require a cable of more than 3 metres. Lengthier HDMI cables tend to cost more than 10, but are surely a cost-effective alternative to connecting PC to TV wirelessly.

If you don’t know your PC or TV connection type, use an online configurator to search for a PC and TV connection by Make and Model. If you don’t know the Make and Model of the PC and TV you want to connect, you can also search by cable connection type.

If your laptop lacks a HDMI input, but has a VGA socket, you have two options:

Option one: Buy a VGA (Male) to VGA (Male) cable, a VGA to HDMI converter box, a HDMI (Male) to HDMI (Male) cable, and a 3.5mm Mini Jack to RCA cable

Option two: If your PC also has a USB socket, use that instead and buy a Wireless PC to TV Streamer

Option one will cost you nearly the same as the wireless PC to TV streamer, because the VGA to HDMI converter box will set you back at least 39.99.

Most wireless PC to TV streamer devices are rated to work from a distance of up to 30 feet, so if you are planning to connect PC to TV wirelessly from a large distance, you will be better off using high quality HDMI cable, VGA cable and HDMI to VGA converter box, along with a 3.5mm Mini Jack to RCA cable.

You will need a 3.5mm Mini Jack to RCA cable when connecting using VGA because VGA does not carry audio signal. VGA ports must be used in conjunction with a 3.5mm Mini Jack to RCA cable when connecting PC to TV.

If you have a recent Apple laptop or PC, you are likely to have either a Mini DisplayPort socket or Apple Thunderbolt socket. Most new Mini DisplayPort adapters and cables are compatible with Apple Thunderbolt for connecting PC to TV, so if you are planning to connect your Mini Displayport or Thunderbolt equipped Apple device to your Apple LED Monitor, you can use a Thunderbolt cable. Like HDMI cables, Thunderbolt also carries audio signal.

If you want to connect your Apple Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort PC, Desktop, Laptop, Netbook or Tablet to your HDMI High Definition Television, you can use a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, or Apple Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter.

Some new televisions come equipped with a DVI port (either a DVI-Integrated, DVI-Analogue, or DVI-Digital). DVI cables do not carry audio signal, so need to be used in conjunction with a 3.5mm Mini Jack to RCA cable.

By Simon Wright, Technology Graduate at Princeton University.

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