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How can I connect my computer to a TV or television screen?

Answer: In order to connect your computer to a television set, you need the correct video output hardware on your computer. This can be composite video (a yellow RCA jack), S-video (a black 4-pin connection), or on newer models, a DVI port. These connections are usually found on the video card on the back of the computer, though some multimedia PCs have the ports on the front. If your computer does not have any of these ports, you will not be able to connect your computer to your TV unless you buy a multimedia video card.

If you do have a composite, S-video, or DVI connection on your computer, you are in luck. Most TVs have composite input, which uses a yellow connection for video, and a white and red connection for the left and right audio signal. Just connect the three cables from the computer to the TV, and you are set to go. S-video works the same way, but takes the place of the yellow cable in a composite connection. DVI is the highest quality connection, but will only work if your TV has a DVI input. Like S-video, you will need to connect the red and white audio cables as well if you want audio to come from the television.

Once you have connected your PC to the TV, you can use the Display Control Panel in Windows to activate the output to the television. You can either "mirror" the display of the computer on the TV, or you can "extend the desktop" onto the television and have two separate displays. If you are using a Macintosh, open the Displays System Preference for the same options.

For more information about setting up and configuring multiple displays with your computer, view this Help Center article.

Published: April 27, 2005   —   Updated: November 22, 2010 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center