Stream Media From Your PC to Your HDTV

Making the Direct Connection

Don't want to buy a Media Center Extender or other new equipment? As long as your video card has a DVI output (which most reasonably recent cards do), you can cut out the middleman and hook your existing PC directly to your HDTV with a simple DVI-HDMI adapter cable, and then play online games or view videos and photos from your computer in all their high-def glory on your big screen.

What's the catch? Not all HDTVs are suited to such uses, and you may have to do some tweaking. First, check your HDTV's manual to see if has a 1:1 pixel-mapping mode (variously termed "Dot for Dot," "Full Pixel," or "Unscaled"). If it does, it will reproduce your PC input, pixel for pixel, and you are all set. Just be sure to check which input resolutions are supported in this mode, and change your PC's video card output settings accordingly. For a 1080i/p HDTV, that will be 1920 x 1080; for a 720p set, it will be 1366 x 768; see this excellent online Wiki for more details.

Without 1:1 pixel mapping, you can still try connecting, but you may get unimpressive results, especially when viewing text, since your PC's video may be stretched or scaled, creating weird on-screen artifacts. The picture may also be cut off at the top and sides, causing overscanning. If so, find the setting on your TV to turn off overscan (or turn on underscan). A simple way to check if your PC signal is coming across correctly is to change your desktop background to the appropriate-size video test pattern found here.

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