HDTV: frequently asked questions


If you have a high-definition television (HDTV), you can connect your computer to it for better monitor display quality.

For more information, see Connect your computer to a TV.

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What do I need to connect my computer to an HDTV?

That depends on your television and the types of video cables that can be connected to it. Just about every computer has a VGA output. If your HDTV has a VGA input, you can use a VGA cable to connect the computer to the TV. If your HDTV doesn't have a VGA input, you might be able to use a different kind of cable to connect your computer to your HDTV. For example, if your computer has an HDMI, DVI, or component video output and your HDTV has a corresponding input, you'll probably be able to connect the two.

Illustration of VGA, DVI, HDMI, and component video connections

If your computer does not have any of these video outputs, you might be able to replace the video card in your computer with a newer, HDTV-compatible video card.

Why can't I hear audio when I connect my computer to an HDTV?

VGA, DVI, and component video cables do not support audio signals. HDMI cables do support audio signals, but not all HDMI-enabled video cards support audio. If your HDTV has an audio input, you might be able to connect a separate audio cable from your computer's sound card directly to the TV. Otherwise, you'll need to connect the audio signal to a different output device, such as external computer speakers or your home stereo system. For more information about sound cards, see Sound cards: frequently asked questions.

After connecting my computer to an HDTV, the picture on my TV is stretched. How can I fix it?

You need to change the screen resolution settings in Windows.

For more information, see Getting the best display on your monitor.

  1. Open Screen Resolution by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and then, under Appearance and Personalization, clicking Adjust screen resolution.

  2. Click the Resolution drop-down list, and move the slider to choose a different resolution.

    Most HDTV sets use the 16:9 widescreen format, so you'll want to choose a screen resolution where the shape of the picture matches the wide format of your HDTV.

  3. When you find a screen resolution that looks right, click Apply.

  4. If the new screen resolution looks correct, click Keep changes, and then click OK.

Note

  • If your computer's video card has been designed to work well with HDTV, it might come with its own software for setting screen resolution to match the 16:9 format.

Can I connect a computer to both a monitor and an HDTV at the same time?

Yes. If your computer's video card is HDTV-compatible, it will probably have two or more video outputs. Connect one to your computer monitor and another to your HDTV. Both of them should automatically display what's on your computer.

After connecting my computer to an HDTV, why can't I see certain windows on my computer monitor anymore?

This is normal. Certain kinds of computer information, such as games and video, will only appear on the HDTV. You will see a blank screen or a blank window on the computer monitor. To see this information on the computer monitor, you must temporarily disconnect the HDTV.

Article ID: MSW700022



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