In the age of streaming, media boxes have flooded the market that promise to turn your TV into the ultimate media centre.
But what if I told you that you already have everything you need to watch your favourite series on your existing TV without the hassle, or the cost, of investing more digital equipment?
Your laptop or home PC is often more powerful and more versatile than a media box, and there are a number of very simple ways to connect it to your flat screen.
I’m talking gaming, photo display and binge watching all in one place. The possibilities are endless.
Here’s MTE with how to connect your PC to your TV:
Connecting your PC to your HDTV via an HDMI cable is hands down the easiest way to achieve big screen viewing perfection.
HDMI carries both video and audio at the same time, eliminating the need for more than one cable. In addition to less wire clutter, HDMI supports 1080p resolution, otherwise known as high definition, allowing you to take full advantage of your TV.
That’s a cable that runs from your computer and plugs into your TV. You can buy one from most hardware and computer stores.
Connect via VGA + 3.5mm Audio
Older model? Can’t connect via HDMI?
Don’t fret, you’ll still be able to connect your PC to your TV, although you’ll need to use two cables instead of just one. Before you get started (or buy the cables), check to make sure that both your PC and your TV have a VGA port.
They look like trapezoids with fifteen little holes in them. VGA ports are most commonly blue, but they can be black or grey in color. On your TV, a VGA port is sometimes labelled as “PC In.”
If you have VGA ports on your TV and computer, you’re on your way.
How to Display Your PC’s Screen on Your TV
Whichever option you choose, here’s how to get your PC screen onto your TV screen.
- Connect the HDMI cable or the VGA/3.5mm cable to your PC and your TV.
- Switch on your PC and your TV.
- Select the input (HDMI/VGA) that corresponds to your PC through your…
- TV’s AV menu.
- Your PC’s screen should now be displayed on your TV.
For those three options above, you’ll find a step-by-step guide, with pictures, here.
Most modern operating systems will be able to detect your TV as a display and automatically adjust the display settings to whatever is best for your TV.
To tweak the display settings manually, head to the “Control Panel” for Windows, “System Preferences” for Mac, or “Display Settings” for Linux.
One more option, for those with more modern, fancier TVs, is casting:
Most TVs are DLNA enabled. If you have an Android device, you should see a little cast icon in the corner of your screen when playing media. Make sure your TV and device are on the same WiFi network, click on the icon, and select your TV from the list of devices. Voila – your content will now play on your TV.
Some TVs can be recognised as a wireless monitor by Windows devices. To connect your device to your TV, press the “Windows+K” keyboard shortcut to open the Connect pane.
Find your TV in the Connect pane, which may take a few moments to appear. Tap the name of your display to connect.
Just like that, your TV and computer are connected, and you’re ready to get your binge on.
Of course, all of this is largely pointless if you don’t have a decent internet connection.
Trust me, watching something buffer on an HD big screen is even more annoying than watching it happen on your laptop.
This is why when I say ‘decent internet connection’ I mean fibre, because life is too short to be living in the dark ages of dial-up internet.
RSAWEB has a range of fibre packages to choose from, and an uncapped Starter 10 Mbps line will only set you back R469 month:
Go here to find out if your area is fibre-enabled, and to check out the range of freebies you score when signing up for your home fibre connection.
Then all that’s left to do is pick a series, click play, and enjoy.
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