Instructables

Use an LCD Monitor as a TV Without a Computer

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LCD TVs have come down in price, but not enough. If you have a cable box, than your tv tuner is in the that box, not in the tv, so then why buy a tv with a tuner you will never use? Believe it or not you can save almost $200 when you buy a computer monitor instead of a tv.
 
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Step 1: Make Sure You Have All the Necessary Things

To start, make sure that your cable or satellite provider offers a cable box with DVI or HDMI output. Next, you need speakers. Any kind will do, but it needs to accept RCA audio cables (or digital, whatever kind of sound cable your cable box uses). I used a small sony stereo with a remote. If you picked a cable box with an HDMI output you will need an HDMI to DVI Cable (If your monitor has HDMI input you don't need that, but most do not).

Step 2: Choosing a Display

Now for the most important step, choosing a display. There are a few requirements for the monitor. First, it MUST be HDCP Compliant (High Definition Content Protection, think TV DRM). Next, it must have a DVI or HDMI input. It doesn't have to, but I recommend getting a widescreen monitor. Also, make sure that it can display at Least 720p (use This image to make sure). I used a dell E207WFP which I will be using as an example for setup. It can display up to 720p and is cheap with a picture rivaling most high end HDTVs.
awilliams908 months ago
i need a simple way to use my acer x163w widescreen monitor as a tv that will connect to a DVD Player or something simple? Please can anybody help???
girishta8 months ago
Hi Atomic16,

I need to make a TV setup for using a monitor. Give me the best configurations with brands which to opt so that my purpose is met. Will the LG 3D monitor suit ? Am in India .. please share your valuable opinion.

Thanks,
Girish
girishta@gmail.com
scvetkovski19 months ago
Ok.I have this problem now.
I have a Cable box which has only SCART and Composite video outputs.It also has 2pin stereo output for the sound.I only want to get a clear picture.On my 24' lcd monitor i have 3 inputs.2 x hdmi and 1 x vga.What do you suggest for me?Can i use scart to vga cable to accomplish this or?
Thanks.
wizard3111 months ago
Would a simple Roku not be the best way?
myadav31 year ago
Hi, I am looking to turn my dell monitor into a tv.without using cpu is that possible if yes than plz tell me how....
myadav31 year ago
Hi, I am looking to turn my dell monitor into a tv.without using cpu is that possible if yes than plz tell me how....
midwesth2 years ago
Yeah but theres a common misconception. Most HDTVs arent really "HD" without "HD" channels. A monitor still gives the better edge in this regard. Btw, I found this on eBay: LG 42" LCD FHD starting at $500. Retails for $1400 brand new.

Any thoughts on this?

The link is: http://www.ebay.com/itm/110865879016?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649#ht_1979wt_1270
Ernest123 years ago
The best bet today is a HDTV with everything built in ready to go, shop around and you will be surprised at how low priced they are.
Agreed. Compare 42 inch LCD's - both monitors and HDTV's. I can buy a tv for ABOUT $2-300 cheaper.

But, for those wishing to use what they already have, understandably, the person would only need to re-read this instructable, to know what they need. Basically, it comes down to needing an HD cable box, your LCD monitor, and something to use for speakers

Cable box will have either, or most likely both, a DVI output and an HDMI output. Choose one to connect to your monitor, with the correct cable (and one that's also the correct length, of course). IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN HD CABLE BOX, you WILL need an HDTV decoder. FYI, I actually thought I'd give it a try, with my basic cable box, and ordered a component RCA-to-VGA cable. All I got was green. IN OTHER WORDS, there isn't a cable made that will convert a video signal to use with your monitor

Speaker attachment will be via the RCA outputs on the cable box. RCA cables will attach directly to the speakers (if your cable box is amplified), or more likely to a receiver of some sort, which will then be connected to your speakers. This is where I would take advantage of today's technology, and attach a 5.1 or even a 7.1 surround receiver

A good read - http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/254084-Connect-LCD-monitor-to-Digital-HD-Cable-box
"FYI, I actually thought I'd give it a try, with my basic cable box, and ordered a component RCA-to-VGA cable. All I got was green. IN OTHER WORDS, there isn't a cable made that will convert a video signal to use with your monitor"

I bought a YPbPr - Composite video cable to VGA and hooked up my cable box and LCD monitor together and got the green screen you spoke of but then I went into the monitor settings and changed the color format option to YPbPr and the colors then displayed the way it should. So far my LCD monitor has been working with my cable box this way for a couple of months.
Only thing is your monitor has to have that option in the color format section for YPbPr, I know some monitors do not have that feature.
This is the cable I bought:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/6FT-1-5m-HD15-VGA-3-RCA-COMPONENT-CABLE-HDTV-B91-/320682187186?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aaa25d9b2
It cost me $1.00
aman81 adavila32 years ago
hi
i bought same cable but i can not got display on my lcd moniter.please tell me how to set resolutions.do i need to attach a computer.please.thanks
bitterfame4 years ago
Hey guys, I'd really love to work out this set up! I'm considering buying a Dell 1800fp Ultrasharp monitor (specs here: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/monitors/1800FP/English/specs.htm) to use with my Sony SVR-3000 Tivo. The tivo box has S-video input, as well as A/V jacks. There is a usb port on the back of the tivo box but i can't seem to find anywhere what the usb actually does!

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated! Please let me know if this monitor will work and anything you might know about the connection and USB stuff!

K
atomic16 (author)  bitterfame4 years ago
USB is most likely for storage or Service, nothing to do with output. This seems to have only analog outputs, which does not really work for these purposes, a TV may work better.
Dear Atomic16,

Please i have DELL E207WFP LCD 19" Monitor (just exactly the one above). It has a HDMI and DV... ports but i cant convert it to a TV. I have this Coaxial cable drawn from a friend's decoder which i would like to use with my Dell Monitor but am anxious to know the correct setup that will turn it into a TV. Please help!
The usb port on the tivo box is so you can update your tv guide through your wireless internet connection
niner1233 years ago
How to Use Your CPU monitor as a TV?


I have a second cable outlet I want to use to watch CABLE on.
The OUTLET from the CABLE is a screw in cord (not an HDMI).

Whereas the back of my computer screen only has an HDMI hookup. (newer computer)

How can I make this work?
Sandra883 years ago
Great concept!
khenry913 years ago
Also, I don't know if this would help at all but i have a dvd player with this... someone said you could use this as a tuner or something?
130117.jpg
khenry913 years ago
Hi, I am looking to turn my dell monitor into a tv. I am a college student living in a dorm so i don't have a cable box...just a rf-coaxial cable connecting to the wall. Is there a way i can still make this work? I've heard something about needing a tv tuner but im not sure if that is correct or not. My monitor supports vga and dvi cables. Also, im not sure how i would connect speakers?

Thanks, i appreciate any help you can offer. :)
nabil qazi3 years ago
Hello, I have a Samsung SyncMaster LCD monitor, with great quality, however im not much fond with LCD's but is there any chance i can use this monitor to watch tv without my connecting my laptop or computer? If so how would i be able to do it?

thanks.
I connect my laptop to internet via wireless router and then I connect my laptop to 42 inch LCD TV with HDMI cable. That way I can watch in high definition (HDTV) anything from my laptop on TV. HDMI cable connects both video and audio signals so practically I need just one cable. Since my laptop is connected to internet through wireless router I can place my laptop close to TV and use short HDMI cable to connect it to TV and watch television on PC.
leaside3 years ago
I have a Samsung T220 monitor with no RCA ports. Is there any to convert it?
nbagf leaside3 years ago
your moniter doesnt need rca it only needs dvi or hdmi. The cable box is what delivers the sound to the speakers. the moniter doesnt need sound
supergg2k3 years ago
This is a great post. I'm using a monitor for games but I didn't think I could use it as a full fledged TV with a proper cable box.

I wish I had learned this when I bought the monitor!
scott12023 years ago
I agree at the sizes your talking about, this was only a good option for a smaller set, and like you said, a couple of years ago. Now its probably a lot easier just to go for the TV, but at the time, they were much more expensive. Car dvd players
xXRKellyXx13 years ago
Can anyone help me I have cox communications and an old Dell LCD monitor how can I hook my cable line up to it? Help please!!!
For anyone that wants to use a monitor with analog TV, or that needs RCA inputs, there's tuner/adaptor boxes.  Search eBay for LCD monitor tuner; you'll find some from about $30 including shipping.  Some use VGA, which means you can use older LCD monitors that lack DVI, or even old CRT monitors.  These boxes often have VGA pass-through, so you can still use the monitor with a computer, and maybe even display the TV in a PIP window.

And as for whether any of this makes sense, big old (but still perfectly good) CRT monitors are free.  Broken LCD monitors can be quite easy to fix, so you may be able to acquire extra monitors at very low cost.  Even smaller ones (15") would be useful as extra TVs in the kitchen, bathroom, kids' or spare bedrooms.  Or, since the tuner boxes have RCA and SVHS video inputs, use them with vintage gaming consoles or emulators.
SHAKESMP4 years ago
I have a plasma monitor and want to connect it to the decoder. It does not have the RCA inputs to connect to the decoder. Which cables can i use for this purpose? 
Hi
I have old laptop,  How can I connect DVD player to the LCD of my laptop?
There are some good tips about using home server at 42 lcd tv.
my cable box is not giving any picture on my monitor when I connected through a DVI and RCA cable. one end goes to monitor and another goes to receiver.
lucek4 years ago
well T.V.s and monitors are comparable in price at the low end a 20" rates about $100-$220 depending on quality dirt cheep monitor $140 T.V. $200. on the high end the largest. Monitor I found was 47" and it cost $1880 with a $100 sale bringing it to 1780, and the TV was $1200 with a $424 dollar sale bring it to $776. LG T.V. VS. HP monitor. next size down 30" $1200 moniter $300-$500 T.V. this time same brand the LG monitor $1160 after $100 off T.V. $480 after $120 off.
frankly at the 26-27 mark it's just no longer even practicable to use a monitor as a T.V. in fact at that point it becomes better to use a T.V. as a monitor.
all prices off newegg.
tandem25 lucek4 years ago
Right you are.  But if you've already used your tv as a monitor you now have an unused monitor.  You can then set up a cheap flat screen for one of your kids.  So, in fact it's still a very viable option.  I've done it and saved money.  Some instructables are cost effective for you but not me and vice versa.

Thanks for the instructable!
lucek tandem254 years ago
that logic seems a bit round. if you buy a TV as a moniter then why do you have a monitor for a tv. for one thing, and this just may be me, I'm not getting a new monitor till the ballets goes or the screen starts running.
lucek lucek4 years ago
Just saw when this was posted. my point still stands just now instead of this being pointless it's only outlived it's usefulness.
atomic16 (author)  lucek4 years ago
 I agree at the sizes your talking about, this was only a good option for a smaller set, and like you said, a couple of years ago. Now its probably a lot easier just to go for the TV, but at the time, they were much more expensive. Now I think this is just useful since people are now going on to their 2nd or 3rd LCD, so this is a nice reuse project. 
splitefire4 years ago
hi,
I have a LCD monitor with an analog input and an USB analog TV stick...is it possible if i want to turn the monitor into a tv??..i mean it does not have to be a HDMI tv...
atomic16 (author)  splitefire4 years ago
 Yes, if you use your computer in the middle, aka tv goes into computer, computer outputs to monitor. 
The volume control and sound issue is huge.  For one thing, most monitors have lousy speakers.  And unless you're hooking the monitor up to a stereo (i.e. NOT using PC speakers) and/or your cable/satellite box has a built-in volume control (many do not) you have no way to control the volume with a remote.
He's using a stereo with a remote.
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