The HDTV Has HDMI, but the PC Does Not

Mikeybud wants to connect an inexpensive PC to his HDTV, but the PC lacks an HDMI port. He asked the Desktops forum for advice.

You have a number of options at your disposal. There is more than one way to stream video from a computer to an HDTV while maintaining HDMI-level quality. Unfortunately, some of them involve a considerable investment in time, money, or both. How bad an investment depends on what ports your PC already has.

If your PC has a DVI or DisplayPort port, you're in luck. An inexpensive adapter will convert

DVI
DVI
DisplayPort
DisplayPort
either of these to HDMI. (Mikeybud's PC has neither of these, but I'm including this information for the benefit of other readers.) DVI carries no audio information, so you'll have to find another way to move sound from your computer to your TV (or to a separate sound system). DisplayPort, like HDMI, carries both.

VGA Port
VGA
A PC without HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort will certainly have VGA. So does every HDTV that I have ever seen. You can therefore connect your PC to your television that way. Check your HDTV's manual for required or recommended Windows settings.

But be warned: While all HDTVs have VGA, they don't all handle it in a way that results in a satisfactory picture.

Atlona AT-AiR3
Atlona AT-AiR3
You could also buy a wireless two-piece PC-to-TV set such as Atlona's AT-AiR3 (as I write this, the cheapest price I can find is $134). You plug one piece into your PC's USB port and the other into your HDTV's HDMI port. I found the product workable when I tried it out, but the included software makes major changes to Windows' Registry and loads a program every time you boot.

Finally, if your PC is a desktop, consider a new graphics card. See How to Upgrade Your Graphics Card for advice.

Read the original forum discussion.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum. Follow Lincoln on Twitter, or subscribe to the Answer Line newsletter, e-mailed weekly.

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