How to Hook Up Cable TV to a Computer Monitor
By Anthony Oster
There are several methods of watching TV on a computer monitor, from streaming video via the Internet to connecting a TV tuner card to your PC. An external TV-to-PC tuner can turn any spare monitor into a functional TV, without being connected to a computer. Because many cable boxes utilize the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) scheme to prevent piracy, your monitor must also be HDCP-compliant to function as a TV monitor.
Connect your cable source to the "Audio In" and "Video In" ports on the TV-to-PC tuner. Some digital cable boxes can act as such a tuner, provided that they have either an HDMI, DVI or VGA outgoing port. The cable source can come directly from the coaxial cable connection, or you can connect the tuner to your cable box's "Video Out" ports. Select the highest-quality video source that your devices support, starting with HDMI, followed by component cable, then S-Video, then composite cable or coaxial cable as a last resort.
Connect the "Video Out" component of your TV-to-PC tuner to your monitor using the appropriate video cable, again selecting the highest-quality cable connection supported by your monitor and tuner box. The most common tuner to monitor connections include HDMI, DVI and VGA.
Connect the "Audio Out" component of your TV-to-PC tuner to your monitor using the appropriate audio cable types. Because HDMI connections transmit both audio and video signals, if your monitor has built in speakers, you do not need separate audio cables when connecting the tuner to your monitor. If your monitor does not have built-in speakers, connect your external speakers to the "Audio Out" port on your tuner using the appropriate audio cables supported by your external speakers.
Turn on your monitor, cable box and tuner, then toggle your monitor's input source to select the connection port connected to your tuner. If your monitor only has one input source, you do not need to select the input source.
- Due to the fact that many cable and satellite companies broadcast channels digitally, a digital TV-to-PC tuner is recommended to take advantage of the full range of channels available from your cable provider.
- Because many digital cable boxes act as a digital tuner, inspect your cable box for the appropriate outbound connections and connect them to your monitor to determine if you need to purchase a separate TV-to-PC tuner.
- You must change channels from the TV-to-PC tuner due to the fact that computer monitors do not have channel or volume controls.
- Some monitors include a built-in TV tuner. Consult your monitor's user manual to determine if your monitor supports this feature.
- Analog TV tuners cannot display channels broadcast through your provider's digital feed, limiting the available channels at your disposal.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.