My Computer Won't Recognize My TV

by David Casselbury

Whether you are a gamer, media editor, or simply want to display a presentation, connecting your computer to a TV enhances the viewing experience. TVs, however, are more complex than computer monitors and can be more difficult to mesh properly with your computer. Be sure to restart both devices while they are connected and select the correct input channel on your TV before continuing with more in-depth troubleshooting.

Output Signal Keys

Depending on the computer or laptop that you are using, the video output component (or port) may not constantly broadcast an output signal. Many computers have a function key or a key combination that enables the video to be sent to an external display. Check in your computer’s manual to see if this is the case. If this is a laptop, verify that the computer recognizes the TV and it is the selected monitor by checking the display properties in Control Panel.

Incorrect Driver or Resolution

There is a big difference in the refresh rate and resolution of your computer monitor compared to your TV. For the output signal to communicate with your TV, the graphics processor has to adapt the signal from your computer. Your graphics processor may need a driver update to properly adjust this output signal for proper display. Check the manufacturer’s website to verify that your drivers and software are up to date.

Bad Video Cable

Depending on your available input/output ports, there are several different types of cables that you might use to connect these devices, such as HDMI, S-Video and Component cables. These cables vary in quality and can short through frequent use, especially when used while travelling. Check to verify your current cable is working by using it in another video setup. If possible, replace this cable with a known working cable and test your setup again.

Bad Video Component

Once you know the cable is not problematic, check the video ports. With heavy use, video ports can become separated from the video boards. To verify your PC output is working properly, test with a standard monitor. Should the signal not come through this display, you may need to install an alternative video card, or take it for repair. To test the TV, try an alternate device, such as a DVD player or alternate computer, on the same port. If the signal does not come through, try a different type of input port using different cables or cable adapters.

About the Author

David Casselbury received a degree in general electronics in 2001 and currently serves as the IT supervisor for a large regional library system. He is A+, N+ and Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support-certified.

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