How to Setup Your TV as a Computer Monitor


I was recently in the market for a new flat panel monitor to replace my old large monitor for my secondary computer. I wondered if I could buy a flat panel TV around the same size and use the TV as a computer monitor. This would save me money and at the same time, save me space. I was thinking of adding a small TV to my home office anyway to catch the news or my favorite TV show once in awhile, but other than mounting it on the wall, I didn’t really have a place for it. So I decided to buy a TV and put it right on the corner of my desk, so if I wasn’t using the computer at the moment, I can switch to TV mode.

What Kind of TV to Buy

I shopped around and asked a lot of questions in stores to find out what kind of TV I needed to buy. I was told that I needed a TV with HDMI connectivity. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It supports TV or video format. I was told that using that connection would provide the best quality. Later, I also figured out that I could also use the RGB port on the back of the TV and connect that to the back of my computer’s CPU (without using the HDMI connection). If I use the RGB port with a coax cable vs. the HDMI port with and HDMI cable, I might not get the same quality as I would as compared to using an HDMI cable, but it was another option. As far as a brand, I went with a reputable brand, based on user reviews and recommendation by the sales technician. My final purchase was a 19” Vizio LCD HDTV, for $178.00. Connectivity instructions are explained in more detail below.

What Kind of Cabling and Accessories Do You Need?

While still at the store, I wasn’t sure if I needed to buy an HDMI cable just yet. This was because the sales technician mentioned that an HDMI cable might be something that our cable company could provide. Plus, I knew I had the option of using the RGB port. The sales technician stated that he was able to get a free HDMI cable from his cable company. He simply called and asked for one, and since he was a loyal customer for over 20 years, they provided him with a cable. I decided to wait until I got home to check and see what cables I may already have on hand before purchasing any additional cables.

As far as additional accessories, this depends on what equipment you have, and how your equipment is setup. In my case, I already had a router and a cable modem setup in my home office, along with a splitter. The router allows wireless connectivity in our house for other computers and devices, such as laptops, portable game systems and WII game system. One end of my splitter connects to my cable port in the wall, and the other end connects to my cable modem:

Connectivity Instructions

Here’s how I connected my new TV to my computer, along with my existing router and cable modem:

Cable Modem:

I have high-speed internet through my cable company (Comcast). If you have FIOS or another form of internet, then unfortunately I’m not sure these instructions will work exactly the same way, but procedural it’s probably similar. Here’s how I have my cable modem connection setup:

If You Have a Router

A router is essential to have in your household if you have multiple computers which use a wireless connection for internet connectivity. Here’s how I have my router connections setup:

How to Switch Between Your Computer vs. TV

To switch between my computer and your TV, I just use either TV button, or the RGB button on my remote control to switch back and forth.

Did I leave anything out? If I did, let me know and I will try to help.

Please note: Connectivity may vary depending on the type of equipment you have, and the type of internet service you have as well.


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