Thursday, July 10, 2008

Using a HDTV as a computer monitor, dual monitor

No need to buy an extra computer monitor if you already have an HDTV. You can use it as a second monitor or as your main computer monitor.

What you'll need:

1. HDMI Cable
Amazon Basics

2. A Computer with HDMI or DVI output. (Most newer computers have this slot)

3. A TV with HDMI inputs - (Most newer flat screen TVs)

Does your computer have a slot for one of these instead?:
DVI Cable

look at the slot that's usually right next to where you plug your regular monitor.
If you don't have an output like that you could always upgrade your graphics card (scroll down for more info on graphic cards)


On Mac.

Once you have the TV hooked up through a HDMI cable, go to Preferences, Displays, and click detect display.
Then under "arrangement" you can arrange the screen location by dragging the blue squares, to correspond to where the TV is standing next to your main monitor.

For example, I use my laptop and my HDTV is standing above my laptop screen, so I'll drag the one blue square so it's above the other. You'll know which screen you are dragging on as the sides of your monitor turn red.

Now I can move the mouse upward from my main screen (laptop) and it glides into the second screen (my hdtv). I can also bring the browser windows, computer programs or anything I want upwards to my TV screen for better viewing (then when I click full screen on a youtube video (or any video), it will open in full screen on my TV too.

On Windows

Look for the Display Settings in Control Panel, or search for Connect to External Display, from the start meny. 

Or Right click an empty spot on your screen, click on personalize and go to Display. Click on "Connect to External Display"
Click on the second blue square (the one with number 2), and then check the option that says "extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor.
"
Then click Apply

Here you can also arrange the screen location by dragging the blue squares, to correspond to where the TV is standing next to your main monitor.

For example, I use my laptop and my HDTV is standing above my laptop screen, so I'll drag the second blue square (number 2) so it's above the other. You'll know which screen you are dragging on as the sides of your monitor turn red.

Now I can move the mouse upward from my main screen (laptop) and it glides into the second screen (my hdtv). I can also drag browser windows and programs or anything I want upwards to my HDTV screen for better viewing (when you click full screen on a youtube video (or any video), it will open in full screen on your TV!

It's pretty awesome.




If you figured out that you'll need a new graphic card I could write a whole guide about that altogether, including how to install it etc.
maybe I'll link to a guide like that later, but for now I'll just give you some good tips:
The main point is to have an HD output.
and also look for a 256mb graphic card or better if you're into gaming or editing etc.
256 mb is equal to the graphic depth/memory used in PS3 and xbox 360.

If all the HDMI ports on your TV are used, and/or you don't want to unplug anyhing you can get a switch like this:

to plug more HDMI devices into your T.V. at the same time.

I hope this helps, good luck.