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How to Connect Your Home Theater to Your PC. Having your own home theater means you’ve got a great display and audio set up going on with your media. If you play games, stream movies, or listen to music on your PC, then connecting your computer to your home theater is highly encouraged. You’ll be able to access media content on your computer, but experience that content on a big screen with awesome sound.
The easiest way to integrate your PC with a home theater is by connecting it to your TV. You can even connect a Surface tablet to your television. With today’s HD and 4K Ultra HD TVs, the display resolution and overall image quality may be just as good as many PC monitors.
To do this, check your TV for a VGA (PC monitor) input connection. If not, you can purchase a VGA-to-HDMI or USB-to-HDMI converter.
If your PC has a DVI output, you can use a DVI-to-HDMI adapter to connect your PC to the TV as well.
If your PC has an HDMI output (most newer ones do), this eliminates the need for an additional adapter. You can connect the HDMI output of your PC directly to an HDMI input on the TV.
For gamers, some HD and Ultra HD TVs support 1080p 120Hz frame rate input signals. If you are considering using your TV as part of your PC gaming experience, check both your PC and prospective TV for this capability.
Home Theater Control
Another way that a PC can be a useful tool is by using it as the control hub for your home theater system. If your key components (such as your TV and Home Theater Receiver) and your PC has RS232, Ethernet ports, and, in some cases, Wi-Fi, using Internet Protocol, you can link them so the PC can control functions and settings. Also, in some cases, your PC can control the room lighting, temperature or ventilation, and for video projection systems, control motorized screens.
The Bottom Line
There are several ways you can use a PC (or Mac) as part of your home theater system.
Although you can integrate just about any PC into a home theater setup on some level, you might consider buying or building your own Home Theater PC (HTPC). Doing so ensures total compatibility with your TV, home theater audio system, gaming, and streaming needs.
TVs are also becoming more sophisticated and are encroaching on some PC functions, including built-in web browsing, streaming, and essential home automation control, such as lights, environmental, and security systems.
Combine that with the capabilities of smartphones and tablets, which can also stream content to PC and home theater components directly or through a network, as well as perform home theater control functions via compatible apps. It becomes evident that there is no Home theater-only, PC-only, or mobile world anymore – it all blends together as one all-encompassing Digital Lifestyle.
How to Connect Your Home Theater to Your PC Using an HDMI Cable
- Procure an HDMI cable. Make sure that it is long enough; 4.5 meters (14.8 ft) should be good.
- Connect the cable to the computer. You will find the HDMI port behind the CPU, for desktops; for laptops, it’s usually located around the sides of the unit.
- Connect the cable to the TV. The HDMI port should be in the rear of the TV. Plug it into the first HDMI port.
- Make sure everything is on, and switch the TV channel to HDMI. Your TV should then display the computer’s desktop, and you’ll be able to use it as a monitor for watching movies and videos.
How to Connect Your Home Theater to Your PC Using a WHDI Kit
- Purchase a WHDI kit. This will enable wireless display streaming between your PC and TV at 1080p resolution.
- Connect the transmitter to your PC. Plug the HDMI cable into your PC, and plug the other end into the transmitter.
- Some kits just have a USB dongle as a transmitter. Some have small boxes that require additional power.
- Plug in the power adapter. Plug one end into the transmitter, and the other end into a wall socket (the end that fits into the wall socket).
- Do the same for the receiver. This time, connect the HDMI cable to the back of your TV.
- Turn all the devices on. Switch the source of the TV to the HDMI channel.
- Test out the connection. Load and view movies and videos through your TV with your PC.