There’s a good chance that some day you’ll want to connect your computer to your big-screen TV to make it easier to share either photos you’ve taken or Internet video with guests. HDMI has become the standard type of high-definition connector found on modern TV sets, and many new computers include an HDMI output. The problem is that older computers don’t feature HDMI.
If you have a desktop computer that does not have an HDMI output, you can install a new graphics card that has an HDMI output. But things will get complicated if the new graphics card doesn’t have an output that matches your monitor (presumably VGA), in which case you’ll simply be swapping one problem for another. To avoid the problem, you’ll have to find a graphics card that has both HDMI and VGA outputs, and preferably an inexpensive one. Because if you set your sights on an expensive graphics card, and if you have to pay someone to install it, you might be better off just buying a new desktop system that already has an HDMI output.
Another way to connect an older desktop computer to the HDMI input of a TV is with an adapter. If your computer has just a VGA output you’ll need a VGA-to-HDMI converter. This type of converter combines a VGA input and a stereo audio input into a single HDMI output that’s compatible with your HDTV set. To use this converter, you’ll need a male VGA to male VGA cable and an audio cable; either a male stereo mini to male RCA or a male RCA to male RCA, depending on the output of your sound card. Of course, you’ll also need an HDMI cable to connect the adapter to your HDTV. If your computer has a DVI output you’ll need a DVI-to-HDMI cable; either that or a DVI-to-HDMI adapter and a standard HDMI cable.
Your options are more limited if you have a notebook computer that doesn’t have an HDMI output because you can’t change the graphics card, and even if you could, you wouldn’t be able to add the HDMI output to the notebook’s chassis. So, your only options are to use a converter as discussed above, or to simply buy a new notebook computer.