How to Hook up Your Computer to Your TV and Use It as a Second Monitor

by Richard Kalinowski

Television and computer screens used to be almost mutually exclusive. As technology advanced, crossing between these electronic devices became easier. Many televisions feature VGA and DVI inputs designed for PCs, and many computers also feature S-Video or HDMI outputs specifically for TV compatibility. With built-in Windows software, its easy for even a novice user to take full advantage of these connectivity options. In just a few minutes, almost anybody can hook up a TV to their computer.


Turn off your computer, original monitor and TV. You should not connect new hardware while the system is still running.


Connect a cable running from your computer to the TV. Depending on your computer's output ports, the cable could be an S-Video, A/V or HDMI cable. Some computers even feature coaxial cable output for older analog televisions. If you only notice one monitor output port, then your computer's current graphics card may not be capable of dual monitor display. Take your unit into an electronics store to discuss upgrading options with a service technician.


Turn on your TV and the original monitor.


Turn on your computer after the TV and monitor have both finished powering up. When your computer finishes booting up, it should detect the new monitor automatically. You are presented with a pop-up window asking about your display preferences.


Click on the “Multiple Displays” drop-down box.


Click to indicate whether you want to extend your desktop across both displays or if you want the second monitor to duplicate the original.


Click and drag the monitor icon labeled with the number two. This second monitor represents your TV. By default, Windows assumes that you set up your TV to the left of the original monitor. You can drag the monitor to any position on the diagram. This is useful if you are choosing to extend your display across both monitors. When you move your mouse off the edge of the original monitor, it will move smoothly onto the second monitor if you have indicated its position on the diagram.


Click “OK.” Your PC's display should now appear on both the original monitor and the television screen.


  • check After the initial setup, you can quickly adjust the basic display options later on. Press and hold the “Windows” key, then press the “P” key. This shortcut brings up options for duplicating the display, extending the display, or turning off one of the two monitors in favor of the other.

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About the Author

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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