When you want to watch a show or movie on Roku but don’t have access to a suitable TV set, you may wonder if you can use a computer monitor instead.
You might also have this question if someone is already watching the television or your monitor has better picture quality. Either way, it’s often possible to use a Roku box without a TV screen.
Yes, you can connect any Roku to most monitors. The setup process is easier if your computer display has built-in speakers and HDMI input jacks. However, you can use other types of monitors and separate audio equipment with the right adapters, cables and settings.
Keep reading for details on how to successfully attach a Roku box to almost any computer screen, including VGA and DVI units.
You’ll learn about the process of connecting a Roku Streaming Stick to your monitor as well. This guide also explains how to adjust the volume when you’re using a non-TV display.
Can you connect Roku to a computer monitor?
It’s possible to watch Roku on an HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, composite or VGA monitor. Some of these computer screens are more difficult to connect than others.
You may already have everything you need, but you could have to spend about $8 to $40 on converters and cords. The setup process differs depending on the type of input port your monitor uses.
How to connect Roku to a computer monitor
Basically, you’ll have to plug one end of the appropriate cable into the Roku’s HDMI port and attach the other end to the monitor or any converter unit you may need.
If you have an HDMI monitor with integrated speakers, you only have to run an HDMI cable from the Roku to the monitor’s input jack.
If your display has multiple jacks, select the correct input channel using the monitor’s controls.
Roku composite output
Does your monitor have small, round multicolored input jacks? If so, it’s probably a composite unit with RCA jacks.
Some slightly older Roku models like the Express+ 3910 have composite output jacks, so you only need RCA cables to connect them to compatible displays.
The sockets may be marked “video” and “audio” or “A/V.” If your box is a newer model without composite jacks, you’ll need to invest in an HDMI to composite converter.
Connect Roku to DVI monitor
You can attach any Roku to a DVI computer monitor by using an HDMI to DVI adapter. These adapters are relatively inexpensive and not very difficult to find.
Most DVI units don’t provide audio support, so you’ll probably need to connect the box to separate speakers or headphones if you want to hear sound. For details on the necessary steps, see the instructions for VGA (below).
Connect Roku to DisplayPort
Unlike DVI, a DisplayPort connection usually delivers both audio and video. You can attach a Roku box to a DisplayPort monitor using an HDMI to DP converter.
Many converters cost over $30, and you’ll probably have to order it online. An active converter is more likely to work correctly than a passive unit because it directly converts the HDMI signal instead of relying on the audio/video source to supply a DisplayPort signal.
Connect Roku to VGA monitor
If you have a computer screen with trapezoid-shaped connectors that have 15 pins, it’s a VGA monitor.
You’ll need an HDMI to VGA converter. Plug the display into the converter and connect the converter to your Roku box. The results will vary depending on your screen’s maximum resolution.
A VGA cable doesn’t carry audio. To hear sound, you’ll need an extractor or HDMI audio/video splitter. You can connect speakers or headphones to this device.
An alternative is to attach composite/RCA-compatible audio equipment to the Roku box if it’s an older model with this type of connection. Another option is to use your Roku’s headphone jack if it has one.
Can you plug a Roku into a monitor?
Yes, this is possible as long as you have the correct cables.
Some Express and Premiere boxes may be mounted on a monitor with adhesive strips as well. However, there are a few monitors that won’t work and cannot be converted.
You can’t buy an adapter that lets you display HDMI video on old pre-VGA monitors with 9-pin jacks. Even if you could make the connection, the maximum resolution would be far too low.
Can you plug a Roku stick into a monitor?
Unlike a set-top box, a Streaming Stick can be plugged right into a computer display with an HDMI port. You don’t need a cord.
A direct connection will only supply audio if you have a screen with built-in speakers or a stick with a headphone jack.
You could also directly connect the stick to a VGA or DVI converter while using a video cable to attach the converter to a monitor.
Can you use headphones with Roku?
If your monitor doesn’t have speakers and you want to hear audio, try connecting headphones. Some streaming sticks and certain remote controls have headphone jacks.
Both the Voice Remote Pro and Enhanced voice remote will let you attach headphones to them.
However, remote batteries will run out of energy faster if you use this feature. A major advantage of the Voice Remote Pro is that it has a rechargeable battery.
Can I project my computer onto my TV with Roku?
Yes, it’s possible to use your TV as a computer screen with the help of Roku. You’ll need a computer that runs Windows or Android.
First, open Roku’s settings menu and find the “System” category. Select “Prompt” under “Screen Mirroring.”
The next step is to activate screen mirroring on your computer. This process varies depending on your specific equipment, operating system and OS version.
In Windows, look under “Display settings” for an option that lets your computer access a “wireless display.” Android machines typically call this function “casting” and put it in a menu named “Display.”
After you trigger screen mirroring, the Roku will prompt you to approve a request for mirroring (on the TV). You can accept it and begin using your television as a monitor. Consider adjusting the screen resolution if it’s hard to see text or images.
Pros and cons of using a computer monitor with Roku
Televisions tend to have bigger screens and better speakers, but a monitor’s smaller size saves space and electricity.
If you don’t own a TV, you can use one display for computing as well as video entertainment. Computer screens are more responsive and perform better in some ways.
Depending on the model, the maximum resolution and picture quality may be higher or lower on a monitor. A downside of computer displays is that many lack built-in speakers.
How to control the volume of Roku with a computer monitor
It’s more difficult to adjust the volume when using a monitor. The best approach differs based on the specific equipment you own.
You may be able to change it in your monitor’s built-in settings menu if there are integrated speakers.
The remote volume buttons will only work if you’re using headphones connected to the remote control. You could also attach the box to speakers or headphones with their own built-in volume controls.