Walt Mossberg

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Hooking up a PC to a TV


I would like to know how to hook up a desktop PC to a regular TV so that I could have a larger and better picture to watch.


This depends heavily on the video output port of your PC and the type of TV and its video input ports. If, by “regular TV,” you mean an older, analog model, you may be able to use an inexpensive cable that plugs into a standard computer video-out port, called VGA, and an older standard TV video input, which are called RCA, or composite plugs. You will also have to buy an audio cable. Another common type of video cable for older PCs and TVs is called S-Video. Newer digital TVs have standardized on a connector called HDMI, which combines high-definition video with audio so you need only one cable. Some newer PCs have HDMI ports, which easily connect to these new TVs using a common HDMI cable. Others have different types of digital outputs that require cables or adapters with a matching PC connector on one end and an HDMI plug on the other. If you’re going from an older PC with an analog port like VGA to a new HDMI-equipped TV, you’ll have to use an analog-to-digital converter box, unless your new TV has a VGA analog mode, as some do.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox and my other columns at the All Things Digital web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com. Email mossberg@wsj.com.

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