We connect the TV as a second monitor to a PC and laptop

Modern TVs are perfect for the role of second monitors for PCs and laptops: they make it possible to conveniently watch movies, online videos, comfortably surf the Internet, play games and work. Let’s figure out which TV is best for tasks such as connecting it and how to adjust the picture and sound.

Which TV would be better suited for the role of a second monitor?

Since the HDMI input appeared in mainstream TV models, connecting them to a PC or laptop has become simple and convenient. The main thing is that your video card or laptop has an HDMI output.

Manufacturers sometimes mark one of the TV’s HDMI inputs as “PC” or give the option to rename the HDMI input to reduce the delay in displaying a picture, which is called Input Lag. Some TV models have Game Mode, which significantly reduces latency.

Input Lag is a very important characteristic of a TV if you are going to play on it, but the manufacturer rarely indicates this parameter in the characteristics of the device. Therefore, you will have to look for information on forums , specialized sites and owner reviews. A pretty good base for different TV models was collected on the displaylag.com website .

A delay value below 50ms is considered acceptable. If this threshold is exceeded, you will feel a lag in the picture behind your actions, and a value of 100 ms will make a comfortable game on TV almost impossible. For comparison, for mainstream LCD monitors this parameter is 15-25 ms.

Another important TV parameter that manufacturers do not write about is pulse width modulation (PWM) for adjusting the brightness of the backlight. If the PWM frequency is below 100-120 Hz, the eyes begin to get tired when watching TV for a long time, and headaches may also be added. This flickering is especially noticeable at low screen brightness. LCD monitor manufacturers take this issue more seriously and label flicker-free models as “flicker free”.

To check your TV for flickering will help “pencil test” – in front of a white-flooded screen, you need to wave a pencil. If its trail is smeared, the TV has a low level of flicker or it is absent altogether. But if the pencil trail is divided into several parts, then the TV backlight flickers noticeably.

To date, the most comfortable TVs, where PWM is practically invisible, are models from Sony. For example, Sony KD55XH8005BR with 4K UltraHD resolution.

55 “(139 cm) TV LED Sony KD55XH8005BR black 59 999 *
Or the budget Sony KDL-43WF665, with a resolution of 1920×1080. The resolution of 1920×1080 is the minimum acceptable when using the TV as a second monitor.

43 “(108 cm) TV LED Sony KDL-43WF665 black 38 999 *
You should also pay attention to the ability of the TV to work without picture enhancements, especially such as motion smoothing. Sony calls this technology MotionFlow, Samsung calls Auto Motion Plus, Panasonic calls True Cinema, Philips calls Perfect Natural Motion, and LG calls TruMotion.

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It is worth turning off local contrast enhancement and image sharpening. These functions will be very tiring on the eyes when using the TV as a monitor.

Cables and connectors
To display 4K UltraHD native resolution at 60 FPS, you need a video card with HDMI 2.0 support (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9xx, AMD RADEON RX 4xx or higher) and an HDMI 2.0 or higher compliant cable.

DEXP HDMI to HDMI connecting cable, 2 m 1 199 *
For FullHD resolution, the most inexpensive HDMI 1.4 cable is suitable. Do not chase long lengths: the shorter the length, the more chances that even an inexpensive cable will work without signal loss.

Connecting cable FinePower HDMI – HDMI, 1 m 399 *
There are situations when only the DVI connector is free on the video card and you need to connect a TV to it. In this case, an HDMI to DVI-D adapter will help you out.

The most obvious use for a TV connected to a PC or laptop is for watching movies. Even when compared to a monitor, a TV gives you much more emotion when watching movies due to the immersive effect. Laptops with small screens and modest audio capabilities especially benefit from connected TV. Looks great on TV and YouTube videos, especially in 4K resolution.

For example, when using such a bundle, it is convenient to simultaneously work on a laptop and turn on cartoons for children on the TV. And given the capabilities of Windows for independent sound output, you can provide the ability to talk through instant messengers or listen to music on headphones, while a cartoon or a children’s YouTube channel is on the TV. In our reality, when many have to work from home, this is a great opportunity.

Games look great on the big screen, from racing and shooters to the good old Heroes of Might and Magic III. For games on a TV located at a distance from the PC, a wireless keyboard and mouse are sufficient, which can duplicate existing ones.

Logitech Wireless Combo MK220 Keyboard + Mouse 1 499 *
And if you have a gamepad, a PC can easily replace a game console.

Gamepad Microsoft Xbox ONE for Windows for PC / Xbox ONE black
An additional advantage of using TV is the convenience of content management: Windows is noticeably faster and more convenient than any Smart TV version. And if you have a budget TV with or without a slow Smart TV, then the difference will be very noticeable.

It is enough to connect an additional inexpensive wireless mouse to your PC or laptop, and you will be able to control the content without leaving the couch.

Compact wireless mouse Logitech M170 gray [910-004642] 850 *
You can use the On-Screen Keyboard from Windows Accessibility as a keyboard.

How to set up a TV in Windows
Windows will independently determine the TV connection via HDMI. You only need to select the mode in which the TV will work. To do this, right-click on “Desktop” and go to “Display Settings”.

You can select the duplication mode – the simplest and most convenient for one user. And in order for the TV to work as an independent monitor, you need to select the “Expand these screens” mode.

Now you can drag and drop your browser or media player onto your TV.

But it is even more convenient to use the key combination “Win + P” to switch modes. This keyboard shortcut comes in handy if you accidentally unplug your monitor or TV in settings. Just press “Win + P” several times, the operating modes will switch cyclically.

If you have an NVIDIA graphics card, then for a sharper and brighter picture, it does not hurt to enable full dynamic range in the NVIDIA control panel. To do this, enable NVIDIA Control Panel by right-clicking on Desktop and selecting it from the menu.

Next, go to the “Display” section, select “Change Resolution” and set the “Output Dynamic Range” to “Full” mode.

How to output sound to speakers / headphones and TV
A TV connected via HDMI will be recognized in your OS as an independent audio device. You can output sound from a media player or browser to it.

The easiest way to do this is in Windows 10: by clicking on the sound icon on the taskbar, you will bring up a menu from which you can select a sound playback device.

Right-clicking on the sound icon and selecting Open Sound Settings – Device and App Volume Settings will take you to a menu where you can assign a sound device to each application.

It is convenient to immediately assign sound playback on TV to a media player or browser that will be used by children. Then, when you start a children’s YouTube channel, the sound will automatically go to TV.

If you often use the section “Device settings and application volume”, it is more convenient to create a shortcut for it by writing ms-settings: apps-volume in the shortcut URL.

Windows 7 does not have such a wide range of options for customizing audio output, but fast switching of the playback device can be implemented using a simple open source AudioSwitch utility.

Now, by clicking on the utility icon in the taskbar, you can select the playback device, and the sound adjustment process will be displayed on the OSD panel.

As you can see, connecting a TV to a PC or laptop is very simple and they complement each other perfectly. The PC and laptop get the ability to display movies, online videos and games on the big screen. And the TV, even the most budget one, gets a convenient and quick replacement for Smart TV.Modern TVs are perfect for the role of second monitors for PCs and laptops: they make it possible to conveniently watch movies, online videos, comfortably surf the Internet, play games and work. Let’s figure out which TV is best for tasks such as connecting it and how to adjust the picture and sound.

Which TV would be better suited for the role of a second monitor?

Since the HDMI input appeared in mainstream TV models, connecting them to a PC or laptop has become simple and convenient. The main thing is that your video card or laptop has an HDMI output.

Manufacturers sometimes mark one of the TV’s HDMI inputs as “PC” or give the option to rename the HDMI input to reduce the delay in displaying a picture, which is called Input Lag. Some TV models have Game Mode, which significantly reduces latency.

Input Lag is a very important characteristic of a TV if you are going to play on it, but the manufacturer rarely indicates this parameter in the characteristics of the device. Therefore, you will have to look for information on forums , specialized sites and owner reviews. A pretty good base for different TV models was collected on the displaylag.com website .

A delay value below 50ms is considered acceptable. If this threshold is exceeded, you will feel a lag in the picture behind your actions, and a value of 100 ms will make a comfortable game on TV almost impossible. For comparison, for mainstream LCD monitors this parameter is 15-25 ms.

Another important TV parameter that manufacturers do not write about is pulse width modulation (PWM) for adjusting the brightness of the backlight. If the PWM frequency is below 100-120 Hz, the eyes begin to get tired when watching TV for a long time, and headaches may also be added. This flickering is especially noticeable at low screen brightness. LCD monitor manufacturers take this issue more seriously and label flicker-free models as “flicker free”.

To check your TV for flickering will help “pencil test” – in front of a white-flooded screen, you need to wave a pencil. If its trail is smeared, the TV has a low level of flicker or it is absent altogether. But if the pencil trail is divided into several parts, then the TV backlight flickers noticeably.

You should also pay attention to the ability of the TV to work without picture enhancements, especially such as motion smoothing. Sony calls this technology MotionFlow, Samsung calls Auto Motion Plus, Panasonic calls True Cinema, Philips calls Perfect Natural Motion, and LG calls TruMotion.

It is worth turning off local contrast enhancement and image sharpening. These functions will be very tiring on the eyes when using the TV as a monitor.

Cables and connectors
To display 4K UltraHD native resolution at 60 FPS, you need a video card with HDMI 2.0 support (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9xx, AMD RADEON RX 4xx or higher) and an HDMI 2.0 or higher compliant cable.

DEXP HDMI to HDMI connecting cable, 2 m 1 199 *
For FullHD resolution, the most inexpensive HDMI 1.4 cable is suitable. Do not chase long lengths: the shorter the length, the more chances that even an inexpensive cable will work without signal loss.

Connecting cable FinePower HDMI – HDMI, 1 m 399 *
There are situations when only the DVI connector is free on the video card and you need to connect a TV to it. In this case, an HDMI to DVI-D adapter will help you out.

DEXP HDMI to DVI-D 499 adapter *
Or HDMI to DVI-D cable. But note that a DVI-D connection will only work fine with a FullHD TV.

Connecting cable FinePower HDMI – DVI-D, 1.5 m 480 *
Possibilities of a TV connected as a second monitor

The most obvious use for a TV connected to a PC or laptop is for watching movies. Even when compared to a monitor, a TV gives you much more emotion when watching movies due to the immersive effect. Laptops with small screens and modest audio capabilities especially benefit from connected TV. Looks great on TV and YouTube videos, especially in 4K resolution.

 

For example, when using such a bundle, it is convenient to simultaneously work on a laptop and turn on cartoons for children on the TV. And given the capabilities of Windows for independent sound output, you can provide the ability to talk through instant messengers or listen to music on headphones, while a cartoon or a children’s YouTube channel is on the TV. In our reality, when many have to work from home, this is a great opportunity.

 

Games look great on the big screen, from racing and shooters to the good old Heroes of Might and Magic III. For games on a TV located at a distance from the PC, a wireless keyboard and mouse are sufficient, which can duplicate existing ones.

Logitech Wireless Combo MK220 Keyboard + Mouse 1 499 *
And if you have a gamepad, a PC can easily replace a game console.

Gamepad Microsoft Xbox ONE for Windows for PC / Xbox ONE black
An additional advantage of using TV is the convenience of content management: Windows is noticeably faster and more convenient than any Smart TV version. And if you have a budget TV with or without a slow Smart TV, then the difference will be very noticeable.

It is enough to connect an additional inexpensive wireless mouse to your PC or laptop, and you will be able to control the content without leaving the couch.

Compact wireless mouse Logitech M170 gray [910-004642] 850 *
You can use the On-Screen Keyboard from Windows Accessibility as a keyboard.

 

How to set up a TV in Windows
Windows will independently determine the TV connection via HDMI. You only need to select the mode in which the TV will work. To do this, right-click on “Desktop” and go to “Display Settings”.

 

You can select the duplication mode – the simplest and most convenient for one user. And in order for the TV to work as an independent monitor, you need to select the “Expand these screens” mode.

 

Now you can drag and drop your browser or media player onto your TV.

But it is even more convenient to use the key combination “Win + P” to switch modes. This keyboard shortcut comes in handy if you accidentally unplug your monitor or TV in settings. Just press “Win + P” several times, the operating modes will switch cyclically.

 

If you have an NVIDIA graphics card, then for a sharper and brighter picture, it does not hurt to enable full dynamic range in the NVIDIA control panel. To do this, enable NVIDIA Control Panel by right-clicking on Desktop and selecting it from the menu.

Next, go to the “Display” section, select “Change Resolution” and set the “Output Dynamic Range” to “Full” mode.

 

How to output sound to speakers / headphones and TV
A TV connected via HDMI will be recognized in your OS as an independent audio device. You can output sound from a media player or browser to it.

 

The easiest way to do this is in Windows 10: by clicking on the sound icon on the taskbar, you will bring up a menu from which you can select a sound playback device.

 

Right-clicking on the sound icon and selecting Open Sound Settings – Device and App Volume Settings will take you to a menu where you can assign a sound device to each application.

 

It is convenient to immediately assign sound playback on TV to a media player or browser that will be used by children. Then, when you start a children’s YouTube channel, the sound will automatically go to TV.

If you often use the section “Device settings and application volume”, it is more convenient to create a shortcut for it by writing ms-settings: apps-volume in the shortcut URL.

 

Windows 7 does not have such a wide range of options for customizing audio output, but fast switching of the playback device can be implemented using a simple open source AudioSwitch utility.

 

Now, by clicking on the utility icon in the taskbar, you can select the playback device, and the sound adjustment process will be displayed on the OSD panel.

 

As you can see, connecting a TV to a PC or laptop is very simple and they complement each other perfectly. The PC and laptop get the ability to display movies, online videos and games on the big screen. And the TV, even the most budget one, gets a convenient and quick replacement for Smart TV.