My PC on my HDTV ASAP

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Question:

The IT Guy says:
If my new HDTV is digital, and my PC monitor is digital, shouldn't I be able to hook up my PC to my HDTV?

That is indeed the case. And let me tell you, there's nothing like a computer screen the size of a small billboard! How easy this is to do, however, depends on the HDTV you have purchased.

Most but not all new HDTVs come with an input that will either be labeled "PC" or "VGA." To hook up to that port, you will need to use a standard VGA monitor cable. If you go to your local electronics supplier, you can buy cables up to 25 feet in length. Depending on how large your screen is, you want to be able to sit back far enough that you don't feel like you're in the front row of a movie theater.

Assuming you're connecting a laptop, plug the cable into the monitor port, the one with fifteen little holes in it, on your computer and plug the other end of the cable into the PC/VGA port on the back of your HDTV. Set your TV's input to PC/VGA. This will vary from one set to another—look for the Input button on your remote. Then you will need to press the Secret Key Combination on your laptop to tell it to connect to the TV—on my PC, it's the function—Fn—key and F5. Look for a little picture on your function keys that looks like a computer and monitor next to each other. On a Mac, go to System Preferences and Displays. You may have to select Detect Displays in order for the system to "see" the TV.

If your laptop display appears on the television but is distorted in some way, you will need to adjust the pixel dimensions of your computer to match the screen. If you're organized and methodical, you will get your television manual out and look for this figure. If you're like me, you'll experiment until it works. Either way, to adjust this on a PC, right-click on the desktop and select Properties. Click on the tab that says Settings and try adjusting your screen resolution to get the best appearance—probably either 1280x720 or 1920x1280, if they're available. If your computer is older or has a low-powered video card, the one or both of these numbers may not be available. You may also find that your computer can either display on the laptop screen or the HDTV, but not both, and some videos may or may not play well. On a Mac, use the same Displays system preference panel described above to adjust your resolution.

Keep in mind this is just the video from your computer, not the audio. To connect the audio you will need an adaptor that connects your headphone jack to the two stereo inputs on your TV. You'll need to purchase a 3.5mm stereo to RCA cable in order to do this. If your dealer isn't into metrics, it will be a 1/8 inch stereo to RCA cable.

If your computer doesn't have the PC/VGA connector, then you have a different issue, and I am going to cop out with "it's too complicated to get into here." Check your manual for more information on how what kind of converter to use. It's not only a bit more complicated, with some older sets you can actually damage the television by hooking things up the wrong way, and I don't want to give you incomplete information that potentially leads to a dead tv!

Next Tip: TBA

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