Using a small form factor computer with your TV
Using a computer connected to a TV is a great option for a variety of reasons:
- Faster processor, more memory and much more storage
- A familiar operating system with fewer error messages
- Antivirus and spyware protection
- The ability to download files and play them later
- Built in DVD player
- The ability to run more programs than an Android device
- The ability to use a virtual private network (VPN) for privacy
- The ability to use a network printer
- The ability to share files with other computers on your network
- The ability to open multiple browser windows
This is the off-lease, refurbished Dell Optiplex 745 that I bought for $139.
About the same size as a VCR (10″ x 11″ x 4″), it connects to my 32″ Sony Bravia with a DVI to VGA adapter, a VGA cable and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo patch cord. The keyboard is a wireless Logitech K400 with built in multi-touch touchpad. WiFi is provided by a wireless N USB adapter.
$50-60 should get you all the hardware you need to connect a computer to your TV. To connect to a stereo amplifier, use a 3.5mm stereo to RCA plug cable like this one:
Computer settings and connections
For my 32″ Sony Bravia TV, I set the Dell’s screen resolution to 1920 x 1080 and the display fills the whole screen using the PC input on the Sony. I increased the size of my desktop icons by right clicking on an open space on my desktop, clicking view and selecting large icons. I frequently use the Magnifier tool to zoom in and out. Picture quality is sharp and clear. Sony, Sharp, Toshiba and Panasonic are just a few brands that have VGA inputs on their TVs.
Using a notebook computer with a TV
Most of the newer notebooks have HDMI ports. Just get an HDMI cable for $5-10 and plug it in.