Use an LCD Monitor As a TV Without a Computer

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Introduction: Use an LCD Monitor As a TV Without a Computer

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.

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.

Step 3: Setting It All Up

The exact cable setup will be different for everyone, but the diagram below is the basic idea

Now the setup. If you don't see a picture on your display do not panic! Your cable box is probably trying to display a resolution which your monitor can not display. Find out how to enter HD setup mode, or change the maximum resolution (for Explorer cable boxes turn off the box and hold guide and info at the same time). After you find the instructions, Follow the them to change the maximum resolution to the resolution of your monitor (most likely 720p). Also, if the cable box says your monitor is not HDCP compliant, either you bought the wrong kind of monitor, or it is like my setup which flashes that message everytime I turn on the monitor, but only for half a second or so.

Step 4: Other Things

You can wall mount your monitor, tiger direct has a good mount, but it doesn't swivel. I got it, and it was easy to setup and install. Also you can connect your computer to the monitor for an extra usage. I also chose to connect the power cable of my monitor to my cable box so I could turn it off and on by turning my cable box off and on via remote. This may not be a feature on all cable boxes. My monitor also happens to return to its last state when it is plugged in (So if I turn the cable box off when it was on, when I turn the cable box on again, the monitor will turn on). This also may not be true of your monitor, but it is easy to test. Just leave your monitor on and unplug it, if it turns back on when you plug it in, then this trick will work.

Step 5: Downsides and Conclusion

So far there are only two downsides. One, you are limited to the consoles you can attach, but a switch or a cable box with inputs will fix that. So far, the combination of my cable box and computer have allowed me to watch pretty much anything on my display.

Also, you can not turn the TV on and off with a remote unless your cable box features a built in plug (or you buy a remote control surge protector, I think Belkin makes one). Everything else (volume, channel, etc) is on the remote which controls my cable box.

So, if you want an LCD TV without the price, and can deal with some minor inconveniences, this is a great option but if you want a lot of inputs, 1080p and a huge 50" TV this is probably not for you.

Check me out on flickr if you liked the project!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85421776@N00/

2 People Made This Project!

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222 Comments

0
JenniferM7
JenniferM7

6 years ago on Introduction

Dumb question here - can a DVD player be hooked up? Is Blue Ray an issue?

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joshs8
joshs8

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Yes a DVD player can be hooked up...Dvd players are usually set one way and only have video/audio out, in which you can hook it up to any display that recognizes Conponent or Digital

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Dr TCH
Dr TCH

Reply 3 months ago

But WAIT!! My DVR has many outputs, but none that would seem to match my monitor DVI input (nor HDMI). How would I connect the two?

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DanielD4
DanielD4

4 years ago

If you don't have cable and want to get OTA signals through an antenna, you can get a DTV converter box. Be sure to get one that has HDMI output, and then you can connect that to your monitor. (You might need an adapter if your monitor only has DVI or VGA inputs. DVI > VGA...HDMI = DVI plus audio.)

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Dr TCH
Dr TCH

Reply 3 months ago

Daniel...but is this assuming one has satellite HD service? As I've been told my DVR MIGHT not be compatible with it, I've hesitated to "go that route."..and, until my CRT set went out...things have worked SPLENDIDLY. It feels like I'm "stuck between a rock and a hard place!!!"

BTW, my cable box has an HDMI output and my monitor has a DVI input. Is this a total waste--if and until--I switch to HD service?

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Dr TCH
Dr TCH

Question 3 months ago on Introduction

1. OK, my CRT TV, which has been great, just died. I've been wondering if I might use my back-up PC monitor as a TV set. Now, this monitor has a DVI input (and the satellite box has a HDMI output...so, apparently, MINIMUM, I'd need an adapter cord...but I'm not viewing TV content in HD mode...so, would I get ANY picture...or is this a TOTAL waste of time?

2. I've hesitated to "move up" to satellite HD...a) because the CRT set could not match it (in terms of picture resolution...and b) increased cost, but mostly...c) I've been told that my Magnavox DVR (which stands between my satellite box and TV set) might not be compatible..so I MIGHT not be able to record any more TV content (and I even wonder if I'd be able to play my DVD movies with the monitor (or "Flat Panel" TV). HELP!!!

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remopsjr
remopsjr

1 year ago

Will a portable monitor with hdmi work with a FireTV stick?

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PeteD46
PeteD46

Question 2 years ago

My moniter doesn’t have a HDMI only a VGA plug how can I use this or set up for a tv

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PeteD46
PeteD46

Answer 2 years ago

I’m going to hook up a roku unit to it ?

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Jazz sheepyhead
Jazz sheepyhead

Question 3 years ago on Step 5

My family just bought a huge mistake it or to use as a TV screen. We set it up, ok, I think k and added speakers, etc... However, the picture remains a small screen within the larger available monitor screen space! How can we change the t.v. picture screen to enlarge into the available monitor screen space? We have direct t.v.satelite system. Please help!?

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Andrea LynnA
Andrea LynnA

Answer 2 years ago

Aspect ratio

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DivyJ
DivyJ

4 years ago

My old monitor is HDMI supported, doesn't have inbuilt speakers but I want to use it as a TV for my old PS-2. What should I do??

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GoldStarGamer
GoldStarGamer

Reply 2 years ago

Buy some speakers and connect them to monitor

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DineshV22
DineshV22

3 years ago on Step 2

my Monitor doesn't support HDCP. does tv tuner help this issue and am i able to watch setup box content /channels on my monitor?

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ChristianM276
ChristianM276

3 years ago

As a movie enthusiast, I would choose a big screen TV with a built-in USB player and surround system. But if I'am only a TV enthusiast, I'm willing to choose a PC monitor with speakers over small TVs. This idea is perfect for those who can't afford flat screen TVs, just to save energy or want a TV just to watch TV shows using external TV tuner, but its more complicated to set up. Converters or adapters made PC monitors usable as TVs and old TVs as PC monitor.

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185Patel
185Patel

3 years ago

I have LCD moniter with VGA, DC, AUDIO port only how can convert into tv plz reply soon

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JaviS54
JaviS54

4 years ago

I have a monitor with only one HDMI input, I have all inputs connected through a receiver and output to the monitor, no issues.