Use your TV as a desktop display: Everything you need to recognize

5 Mins read

A couple of months ago, I took a great, tough have a look at my dual-display setup and thought, hmmm, maybe I should get some other screen—a bigger display. Then, after an hour or of getting to know 27-inch video display units online, I walked into my residing room and changed into struck with a first-rate concept: Maybe, as an alternative to buying a wholly new screen, I must flow my 32-inch HDTV into my workplace and phone it an afternoon.


Bigger is better, and in this manner, I wouldn’t drop a pair of hundred bucks on a new piece of equipment. But just because HDTVs appear a heck of loads like laptop video display units doesn’t necessarily imply they can update PC video display units. Or does it? Here’s what you need to realize if you’re considering sticking an HDTV in your table.

Will it even work?

The quick solution: Yes, although you could need a unique cable relying on what form of input/output ports you’re operating with. All cutting-edge HDTVs have HDMI inputs—a few older HDTVs have DVI inputs as a substitute—and some have VGA inputs for “PC use.” If your pics card has an HDMI output, you’re precise to move: Use an HDMI cable to connect your PC to your HDTV. If your photos card most effectively has DVI outputs, I advocate snagging a cheap HDMI-to-DVI cable (like this one on Amazon) and plugging it into your HDTV’s HDMI input. Although a few HDTVs (and some photographs playing cards) have VGA inputs/outputs, this isn’t always the ideal choice—it’s an analog sign to come up with a far fuzzier, lower-decision photograph than an HDMI or DVI sign.

If you’re putting in place your HDTV as a second or 0.33 display, you could want to apply your PC’s DisplayPort output, in which case you should purchase a DisplayPort-to-HDMI converter (like this one) and plug it into your HDTV’s HDMI input. The major advantage to converting from DisplayPort is that HDMI and DisplayPort both bring sound as well as video—if you use DVI (even the digital version) or VGA, you’ll need to attach your PC’s sound to the HDTV or the external audio system one by one.


Before you begin using your HDTV as a reveal, you need to discern whether or not your pics card/included photos are capable of outputting on the resolution of the HDTV. To do that, you’ll first need to locate the decision of the HDTV using consulting the producer’s manual. Be aware that a few HDTVs have non-fashionable resolutions. Then, discover your pix card’s maximum decision with the aid of going to Control Panel > Display > Change show settings > Advanced Settings > List All Modes. Find the decision that matches your HDTV and chooses it.

Will it appear exact?

However, maybe this relies upon several things, along with what you want to use your HDTV display for. Most fairly priced HDTVs top out at 1080p or 1920×1080 resolution. On a 15.6-inch laptop display screen, the Windows computer at 1080p looks quite darn appropriate from more than one ft away. On a 32-inch HDTV display screen…no longer so much.

What’s important right here is pixel density or the range of pixels packed into one rectangular inch of the screen. A 15.6-inch laptop display has an identical range of pixels because of the 32-inch HDTV display screen, but the laptop has a miles better pixel density (141.21ppi) than HDTV (sixty-eight. 84ppi). Thus, the laptop’s display will seem clearer, sharper, and extra unique than the HDTV’s screen when considered from the same distance. The significance of pixel density decreases with viewing distance; that’s why the iPhone’s “Retina” screen has a density of 326ppi. The MacBook Pro’s “Retina” display screen has a density of simply 227ppi.

What this means for you is that a larger, however much less pixel-dense HDTV screen will show textual content, icons, and photos as blurry and hard-to-examine if you’re sitting at an everyday viewing distance—more than one foot—from your PC. If you intend on the use of your HDTV reveal to do something aside from watching Netflix or play games, you’ll need an HDTV with a better pixel density (I like to shoot for at least 80ppi, this means that no large than a 27-inch screen at 1080p) for comfy viewing. Or hang it on the wall rather than plopping it on your table.

Speaking of gaming, in case you want to use your HDTV screen to play games, there’s any other element you’ll need to think about: enter lag. Input lag is the postpone among motion you are making in your input tool (in this situation, your mouse) and what presentations to your display. While many PC video display units prioritize minimal lag times, many HDTVs do now not and prioritize (laggy) video processing instead. But the ones extra milliseconds will truely make a distinction when you’re playing a high-stakes FPS. DisplayLag has a pretty excellent database of input lag times that you may kind of display type—you need to select an HDTV with a lag time of no greater than approximately forty seconds if you run in to enter lag problems even as gaming, attempt activating your HDTV’s “Game Mode,” putting if one is to be had.


Is it really worth it?

If you’re looking to get the exceptional bang for your dollar, an HDTV isn’t always going to prevent money over a screen. In fact, in case you’re shopping for a brand new display, I suggest sticking with the attempted and-proper laptop monitor. For one factor, smaller, less expensive HDTVs are a commonly 720p decision, now not 1080p, while similarly priced video display units will almost constantly be 1080p. So in case you’re looking for something below 27 inches, an HDTV will likely be greater high-priced, and lower-decision.

If you’re seeking out something large than 27 inches, remember that pixel density decreases extensively with every few inches your advantage, and there’s a reason HDTV-makers recommend sitting numerous feet away from their shows. If you need a show to multitask as an up-near paintings/e-mail display as well as a film/entertainment display, you’ll need something with a high sufficient pixel density that textual content gained to be an ache to examine.

There is an excellent state of affairs wherein the HDTV-as-reveal shines, although.

If you need to feature a further show to a single- or multi-show setup for entertainment—say, so that you can watch Netflix or Twitter whilst you write articles, or so that you can play Skyrim on a 60-inch display—then an HDTV can be a very successful (and cool!) reveal substitute. Bonus factors if you show up to have a further HDTV mendacity around, or if you may select one up for dirt-cheap.

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