Use an LCD Monitor As a TV Without a Computer





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.

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213 Discussions

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?

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!?

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.

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

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

I only have a router and modem for wifi, no cable box. will I still need a stereo? my monitor has built in speakers.


1 year ago

Hi, i have philips led monitor but it has on 2 cable outlets .. 1 is power and another for VGA cable .. how should i convert it into tv..

1 reply

did you get it to work i have the same problem

hi i have a philips pc monitor with VGA cable i want to buy the V88 tv box the v88 has a hdmi and usb ports where to find vga to hdmi 10 meter cable or should i use vga to usb cable for the ports thanks


I just got a new box with HDMI out and a new LG monitor with HDMI in. When I hook it up the video comes in great but I can't get the volume to work. I tried plugging the box into another tv and the volume works fine. I tried changing the HDMI cable still with no luck. I know that HDMI should work for video and volume but doesn't in this case - any thoughts?

5 replies

Check whether your monitor has build in stereo speakers. If it doesnt, even if the hdmi carries sound, the monitor will not play it

Get some external speakers. Your video source might have audio output jacks.

Or it might not. If you're using something like a Roku stick or a Chromecast, you will first have to plug it into an HDMI audio extractor. and then connect the audio output from that to your external speakers.

What to do if my Samsung 933 LCD (HDMI only) has no built in speakers? I don't even have a separate audio jack in my PS-2 to play audio through it ;__;


1 year 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??


1 year ago

No audio
I have a hp 2009m monitor,i have connected it to directtv cable box without computer GREAT PICTURE ,but no audio..Is it possible use built in speakers? and if so how do i do that. ?

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.)

I have a Samsung monitor and want to use it as only TV.... I have a tv card and other necessary things...but I have not UPS...In this case UPS is necessary or not??? Ans me plz...


2 years ago

I have a Samsung LCD monitor, and it's very basic, it has Display, power port and it has tv port on the back side of this monitor but when I connect cable to this monitor -doesn't work. I would like to convert into a TV. Please suggest me how do I convert along with what are the requirement's need to have.?