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2,673 Tutorials

View PC desktop on TV via USB

How to use a TV as a monitor for an older PC

Want to put your PC or laptop's desktop on to your TV? With HDMI it is simple, but one reader wanted to know how to hook up his PC to his TV via USB. Our Helproom Expert explains how to use your TV as a large monitor for your PC or laptop. See also: How to connect a laptop to a TV.

QUESTION I have an LG 50PQ6000 TV, which has a USB input, and a Dell Dimension 2400 desktop PC with 1GB of memory and a TP-Link PCI network adaptor. Is there a USB device that can enable the PC desktop to appear on the TV? Jim Melvin

HELPROOM ANSWER There are a few ways in which you could use your TV as a large monitor for the PC, but not through its USB port. This connection is used only for reading and displaying media files from an external device, such as a USB flash drive or a hard disk.

In general, the best way to hook up a PC or laptop to a digital TV is via an HDMI cable. This connection is able to carry both HD video and audio. Unfortunately, your Dell Dimension desktop is too old to have an HDMI connection.

Your TV also has a VGA input, which you can use to hook it up via the PC’s standard monitor connector. Note that you won’t be able to use the monitor and TV simultaneously, and that VGA is unable to carry audio. It’s useful for showing static images on a larger screen, but you’ll need a separate cable for sound.

An alternative solution is to fit an HDMI connection to your PC by way of a graphics card upgrade. The Dell Dimension 2400 has only PCI expansion slots, so you’ll need to buy a suitably equipped graphics card, which are increasingly hard to find. PCI Express is today’s preferred interface, for which many low-cost upgrade options are available.

A workaround is to buy a USB-to-HDMI adaptor, such as Lindy’s £65 USB 2.0 to HDMI 1080p Adapter (tinyurl.com/caucrxr). This plugs into a spare USB 2.0 port on your PC, and you can then connect an HDMI cable to your TV.

Note that your PC is unlikely to be sufficiently powerful to play full-HD video. For this, you would need a graphics card capable of accelerating such playback. See also: How to view photos on a TV.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor for more Windows advice. Or email our Helproom Editor for bespoke advice.

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