If the computer has an HDMI output and the TV an HDMI input, your first choice should be an HDMI cable for delivering picture and sound. Computers with a DVI output can be accommodated using a DVI to HDMI cable, though DVI supplies only the picture.
(Some DVI to HDMI adapters can also accept the digital audio signal from the computer so that the HDMI output carries the video and audio.) If your TV has a VGA input (also referred to as a PC input) and your computer has a VGA output, connect a VGA cable for picture. If you want the sound to come from the TV (rather than from the computer’s internal speakers) connect a mini to stereo cable.
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Some newer computers incorporate a DisplayPort, a digital display interface that includes digital audio. While some newer computer monitors support DisplayPort, the interface has yet to show up on TV sets, since it provides the same functionality as HDMI. Cables are available that let you link the computer’s DisplayPort output to the HDMI or VGA input on a TV.
Long-length cables (10 feet or greater) enable you to control the notebook from your seat. (Be sure to warn viewers not to trip over the wires.) Shorter-length cables could force you to stand over the computer when you’d rather be ensconced on the sofa.
Alternatively, there are wireless ways to control a computer attached to a TV. One example is a Bluetooth remote keypad such as the Logitech diNovo Mini Palm-Sized Wireless Keyboard. It comes with a Bluetooth receiver that plugs into the computer.
Some newer notebooks may enable you to wirelessly link to a special receiver on the TV. For Windows users, you can get a computer embedded with Intel’s WiDi (wireless display) technology. On the TV you’ll need to attach the Push2TV TV Adapter for Intel Wireless Display from Netgear.
If you already own a Windows computer that doesn’t contain WiDi technology, you can hook up a device such as the InternetVue 2020 Wireless PC2TV Receiver, TV Edition to the composite video or component video inputs on your TV.
If you’re using an iPad or a late model iPhone or iPod Touch in a Wi-Fi-enabled home with an Apple TV attached to your TV, you’ll be able to stream content stored on one of the portable devices wirelessly to the TV, using Apple’s AirPlay feature.
If you have an Apple TV or other media receiver connected to your TV and you’ve set up your computer (Mac or Windows) anywhere in your house to share its music, photos and video folders over your home network, there may be little reason to hook up a computer directly to your TV. The main justifications for connecting the computer directly is that you don’t have a home network, or only the computer is capable of playing particular file formats or browsing the Internet in general.