Article ID : 00032284 / Last Modified : 02/02/2018

General information about connecting a TV to a computer for use as a monitor.

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IMPORTANT: This article applies only to specific products and/or operating systems. Check the Applicable Products and Categories section of this article before starting these steps.

This page describes how to connect via cable. To connect wirelessly, refer to the appropriate connection method listed below:

Depending on the ports available on your TV and computer, it may be possible to use the TV as a computer monitor. First, we examine the types of video ports you should be looking for:

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IMPORTANT: When connecting a laptop computer you may need to press a function key combination (such as FN+F7 or something else) for the computer to output the video signal. Check the instruction manual of your computer if necessary.

NOTE: For model-specific information regarding the use of a Sony® TV or VAIO® computer, refer to the operating instructions supplied with the product. Manuals are posted on your model support page.

If your TV and computer both have a matching video port, you can simply connect both devices by using the proper cable type. For example, if the computer uses a DVI port to output the video signal and the TV has a DVI port for receiving the video signal, then all you need to do is connect a DVI cable to both of the DVI ports; the same applies to the other types of ports.

One important thing to know is that the video quality displayed on the TV will be determined by the method used to connect the computer. For the best video quality, try using a VGA, DVI, HDMI® cable, or component video connection. S-Video and composite video can be used, but do not provide as high of a resolution. Your connection options may be limited by the types of ports available on both devices.

The computer and TV may not have any matching ports. If this is the case, you will need to do one of the following:

  1. Install a video card in the computer that has a matching port like the one found on the TV.

    NOTE: If using an Apple® iMac® computer, a Thunderbolt adapter may be required to output an HDMI or DVI connection. Visit the Apple website or contact Apple support for further assistance if needed.

  2. Purchase a video converter from a local or online computer retailer.

    NOTE: A DVI-to-HDMI cable or a DVI-to-HDMI converter is not supported or guaranteed when attempting to connect a computer with a DVI OUT to a TV with an HDMI IN.

Although both options are fine, rather than installing a new video card in the computer, it may be easier to simply connect a video converter. Since most computers use a VGA/RGB port to output the video signal, you will probably need a VGA converter to pass the signal to the TV. Use one of the following types of converters depending on the video input on your TV:

  • VGA-to-DVI
  • VGA-to-HDMI
  • VGA-to-Component Video
  • VGA-to-S-Video
  • VGA-to-Composite Video

Whether installing a different video card or using a video converter, it is important to make sure the computer can output the video resolution properly. You should check the instruction manual of your TV to determine what resolution is supported and then configure the computer accordingly in the Display Properties found in the Control Panel of the operating system. Some of the more commonly-used resolutions for TVs are 640x480 and 800x600.

NOTE: Although the computer may be capable of outputting higher resolutions, the television may not be able to handle it. This can result in overscan which causes some of the screen information to be cut off or missing. On the other hand, for a widescreen or High-Definition TV (HDTV), it may be necessary to install software on the computer that supports higher resolutions.

In addition to the resolution, the computer must also use a scan frequency (also known as refresh rate) that is compatible with the TV. Common scan frequencies are 50Hz, 60Hz and sometimes 75Hz. You should check the instruction manual of your TV for this information.

WARNING: There is a risk of hardware damage. Using a scan frequency that is not supported can cause damage to the TV or computer.

Now let's talk about connections for sound. If the computer does not have any speakers connected you will need to connect an audio cable, unless you are using an HDMI-to-HDMI connection. There are two types of audio ports we need to look for: a miniplug or composite audio jack.

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  • If the computer has a line out miniplug and the TV has composite audio input jacks, use a miniplug-to-composite audio cable.

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  • If the computer has composite audio output jacks and TV has composite audio input jacks, use a standard composite audio cable.

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  • If the computer has a 3.5 mm line-out miniplug and the TV has a 3.5 mm line-in miniplug, use a miniplug-to-miniplug audio cable.

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NOTE: The audio cables can provide stereo sound (left and right channel audio) to the TV and are available from most local and online computer or electronics retailers.