Choosing a PC

How to set up the ultimate home theater PC
Join , subscribers and get a daily digest of news, geek trivia, and our feature articles. Component cables are three attached cables identified with the colors red, green and blue. In this last step, you'll install the Plex Media Center on your primary HTPC, and the program will automatically detect all the media from the computers with Plex Media Server installed. If you are using a Nvidia card, click on n-View Display Settings , otherwise, whichever option shows you multiple display types. This is the most common type of input on Video cards and televisions.

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How To Connect Your Computer/PC Or Laptop To Your TV

For now, toss out the idea of a wireless video connection in favor of a very stable, high-quality hard-wired video and network connection. This section will help you decide which cables to choose, and the advantages of each connection. Video cables This part is simple, and all depends on the type of video output your PC is equipped with.

Accepted as the standard for high-definition video, HDMI-out has trickled into many Windows PCs on the market, offering high-def video- and audio-out. Even if you don't care for extras like deep color, high-speed HDMI cables are about the same price as standard, so grab one anyway. And, please, don't empty your wallet for a name-brand HDMI cable -- they're essentially all the same. It offers HD video quality up to 2,x1, pixels, and can carry audio.

For the technical folks, dual-link DVI offers a maximum resolution of 2,x1, pixels and can transfer data at up to 9. You'll need an additional audio cable check out your options below. You can transmit audio to your TV or receiver with one of three types of connections: The headphone jack is the standard across all PCs and transmits an analog signal, while coaxial and optical offer a digital connection. Ethernet Because you'll probably be streaming a lot of high-def video, it's crucial that you set up a direct Ethernet line to your HTPC.

Even if you don't plan on stationing it in your media center, have an Ethernet connection handy for your laptop. If the router is farther away and that's just not possible, don't throw in the towel -- a solid Wi-Fi network and speedy Internet connection will do. You might experience some delayed buffering here and there, but it'll still do the job. No matter which cable you choose, you'll likely have to adjust some computer settings to optimize the display.

Once a cable is hooked up to the TV, most computers will automatically start mirroring, but you might notice some weird cutting-off or a fuzzy picture. Connect your computer to your TV, then head to the display settings from the Control Panel. Only the "extend" option gives you full HD on the big screen.

Apply the changes, then drag to adjust the resolution until it best suits your TV. The best highest resolution often requires you to sacrifice some TV screen space, as the dimensions don't match perfectly, so expect to see thin black bars across the top and bottom or along the sides of your TV screen. Finally, for laptop users, adjust your PC's settings so that the computer doesn't go to sleep when the lid is closed.

Connect the video cable to your TV first, select that input source on the TV, then plug the cable into your Mac. Your computer screen should flash blue, and the desktop will display on your TV. Older machines require the use of a mini-to-RCA cable. More details in previous section of this post. Finally, for laptop users, adjust your Mac's settings so the computer doesn't go to sleep when the lid is closed.

Some Macs let you do this in the power settings, but other models don't include this option. If the option is available, enable it. Those who don't see this option will have to choose between keeping the lid open presumably to allow for air circulation , or installing a program like NoSleep , which overrides your Mac's settings and prevents the computer from going to sleep when the lid is closed.

The key to an enjoyable, ergonomic PC-to-TV experience is employing the right accessories. Once your PC is hooked up and you're seeing video, how will you control your computer from your couch?

Smaller than a remote, the keyboard includes a touch pad for an all-in-one typing and mousing experience. The keyboard even includes arrows, which as you'll find out later is ideal for navigating around your computer from the couch. Ideal for short-form typing, searching for content, basic navigation. Does the job without taking too much space on your coffee table.

Backlit keys helpful in dark settings. Compatible with OS X and Windows. Larger hands might find typing uncomfortable. Not ideal for long-form writing, and the small touch pad takes some getting used to.

Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K If you'd like the option to comfortably perform long-form typing or play PC games, this keyboard might be your best option. The keys are slightly smaller than a standard-size keyboard, but your coffee table will be thanking you for the space saved. Almost full-size keyboard gives you complete control over your PC.

Dedicated buttons make navigation snappy. No backlit keys makes navigating in the dark difficult. Smaller keys make it undesirable for transfer to regular computer setup. Keyboard in a pinch: Wi-Fi keyboard app If a new keyboard isn't in your budget, the best keyboard is the one you already own: Apps that turn your phone into a keyboard and mouse for your PC are available on all platforms, including Windows Phone.

Once you install a program actually, a server, but it's as easy as installing a program on your computer, your phone becomes your PC's input device. One thing to note, though, is that these Wi-Fi keyboard apps can be unstable, and you should expect some delays when typing or mousing around. These apps communicate with your computer over your local network, and even a great Wi-Fi network can't combat this issue.

Microsoft Xbox controller Xbox owners, get this: The setup is almost plug-and-play, only requiring a driver download to get things going. Note that this only works with a wired connection, so you'll need to get a comaptible USB cord that's long enough to reach your couch. But once you're set, you'll be able to use the controller as usual, including making use of the headphone jack, so that you can enjoy long game sessions without bothering others in the household.

Hogging the TV, though, is a different issue. If you don't own an Xbox, but want this setup, you can still purchase a wired Xbox controller to get the same experience. This won't be your all-in-one solution for typing and navigating, but it's a great add-on for gamers who want to punk noobs on the big screen. Set up the software that turns your computer into an easy-to-navigate set-top box.

Navigating your computer from a distance and deciphering a tiny font is hardly a way to enjoy your HTPC. What makes a PC an HTPC isn't just the hardware and accessories -- its the way you modify the interface to make your media files and streaming services easy to navigate. Otherwise, it won't look its best. After you follow the instructions for getting the TV on its stand if it isn't already , the real setup begins. There are countless settings, options and potential issues between box and beautiful picture.

If this is your first TV or first new one in a while , you may find the cables have changed a lot since the last time you hooked one up. Even if you're replacing an older TV, it's important to understand the cable of choice: HDMI cables carry high-resolution images and sound over one small cable. Expensive HDMI cables offer no benefit to the average consumer.

Check out my article on why all HDMI cables are the same for more information. If you bought HDMI cables in the last few years, chances are they'll still work. If not, you can get new cables cheap. Component cables are three attached cables identified with the colors red, green and blue.

Most are also labeled Y, Pb and Pr. These only carry video. You'll need two more cables for audio, most commonly a matched pair of red and white analog audio cables. If your gear has HDMI, use that instead, it's better and easier. The latest version of the connection is HDMI 2.

Sometimes, very rarely, spending a bit more on certain cables is a good idea. If you bought a 4K or regular Blu-ray player to go with your new TV, it will probably auto-detect what your TV wants p or p and send it that. The same is true for a newer streaming box or game console. For older devices, or a cable or satellite box, make sure that it's set for 16x9 video and set to output HD.

Just because the cable box is capable of HD doesn't mean you're getting HD. You need to pay your provider for HD channels unless they're included in your current package and you need to tune to the specific HD channels. For example, with my provider, channel 2 is SD, whereas channel is HD. This is also true for Netflix and other streaming services.

For example, with Netflix you can only get 4K if you're paying for the most expensive streaming tier. If you're curious what you need to get 4K content to your TV, check out: As I discuss in my article on whether to upgrade your home theater gear , if you have a new 4K TV, you should consider getting a 4K Blu-ray player. A good 4K Blu-ray will look better than any streaming source.

If you're trying to get sound from your TV to your soundbar or receiver, there are some specific steps you need to take. If you bought a 4K TV, you may need to get a new receiver. If you're looking to connect your 4K TV to a computer, here are some things to think about. Once you have everything plugged in see the slideshow above for images of typical inputs and outputs , take a moment to check your TV's settings.

Most modern TVs will ask upon initial startup if the TV is being used in a home or a store. Pick the one most appropriate to your environment hopefully "home"; I'm not sure why you'd be living in Best Buy.


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Apr 09,  · Watch video · At some point, you've probably considered hooking your computer up to your TV. Maybe you even purchased a video cable, only to realize that being hunched over your computer and tethered to the TV is far from the awesome setup you had in mind. Hooking up your computer to your TV can be as simple or as . Placing your TV depends on your current system setup and how much room you have, but most people probably don’t have room on their desk for a TV. In that case, mounting it to a wall near your PC is the way to go. For my setup, I have the TV mounted to the wall adjacent to my PC. Aug 31,  · On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, select Settings, select TV, select Set Up TV Signal, and then follow the steps to set up the signal. Contact your service provider to pair your CableCARD with the digital cable tuner—this will activate both so you can receive digital cable content.