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Convert Computer Monitor to TV (Should You? How?)

As a tech enthusiast, I’ve often considered the possibility of converting a computer monitor into a TV. After all, why buy a new TV when you can upgrade the one you already own? But is it really possible to do this? And if so, how?

In this blog post, I’ll go over my experience with converting a computer monitor into a TV, the research I did, and what I discovered along the way. I’ll also cover the pros and cons of making this conversion and provide other solutions you could consider if you’re looking to upgrade your TV.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, but as long as your computer monitor has HDMI or VGA ports, you can use it as a TV screen. The possible routes to take include using a cable box or an antenna.

FixtureComputer monitors may not come with wall brackets, making it inconvenient for living room setupsPlan logistics beforehand and consider using a table or desk for close-range viewing
PortsMonitors with HDMI ports are ideal; older monitors with VGA ports will require a compatible adapterUse an HDMI cable or a VGA-to-HDMI converter
ResolutionMonitors should support at least 720p for a reliable TV experienceBe prepared to settle for black bands on the side to make up for the difference in aspect ratio
AudioMonitors may not have an audio output on their ownUse external speakers and an audio extractor
Connecting a Cable BoxRequires an HDMI cable to connect the media source to the monitor’s HDMI input portUse an HDMI cable
Hooking a TV AntennaMonitors do not include built-in tuners, requiring an external tuner for signal decodingConnect the coaxial cable from the TV antenna to the RF input on the tuner, then connect the HDMI cable to the monitor
Setting Audio OutputMonitors may require external speakersConnect an HDMI audio extractor to the cable box or TV tuner, then hook the audio output cable to the speaker set

Should You Convert a Computer Monitor to a TV Screen?

The answer depends on the type of monitor you’re using. Some monitors may not have what it takes to be converted to a TV — at least not without additional gadgets.

When considering this conversion, keep in mind that computer monitors are different from traditional TVs in some features.

For one, you’ll need to consider the resolution, audio output, and connectivity options.


While a lot of TV screens come with wall brackets, that’s not always the case with monitors. If you’re using a table or desk for close-range viewing, that won’t be a problem, but it’s not always convenient for a living room.

So, it’s crucial to figure out the logistics beforehand.


An HDMI cable is the easiest way to connect a PC screen to a media source. However, older computers might only have VGA ports. In this case, you would need a compatible adapter.


A typical computer screen wouldn’t always be compatible with the visual output for TV setups. As a general rule, you’d need a monitor that supports 720p as a bare minimum for it to be reliable.

Plus, you might have to settle for black bands on the side to make up for the difference in the aspect ratio.


Sometimes, computer monitors don’t have an audio output on their own. However, there’s no need to let that stop you.

A set of external speakers and a simple audio extractor can get the job done, but we’ll get to that in a minute!

How to Convert a Computer Monitor to a TV Screen?

There are two types of media sources that you can use to replace a TV with a computer monitor, either a cable box or a TV antenna. Each one might work for different setups, depending on your monitor specifications.

So, take your pick and check out the steps here:

Connect a Cable Box

The simplest solution to connect the media source to the monitor is to use a cable box. You’ll just need an HDMI cable that’s inserted into the box output and runs into the computer monitor’s HDMI input port.

If that works out for you, skip ahead to set the audio output.

Hook a TV Antenna

Alternatively, you can opt to use a TV antenna instead, and it doesn’t need cable boxes or even WIFI. However, there’s a small hiccup along the way.

With almost all TV, a tuner comes built in with the set. This internal tuner works to decode the incoming signal from the media source and convert it to audio and video output.

That’s not the case with computers. As monitors don’t include those tuners by default, you would need to have an external tuner.

So, once you have that on hand, you can move on to these steps to connect your TV antenna to your monitor:

  • Connect the coaxial cable from the TV antenna to the RF input on the tuner.
  • Connect the HDMI cable from your monitor to your tuner.
  • Connect your AV cables from your tuner to your monitor (if there are AV inputs in your monitor).

Set the Audio Output

As we’ve mentioned, most monitors require external speakers to be able to function as TV screens. So, make sure to get yourself an HDMI audio extractor if your monitor doesn’t have direct audio output ports.

Then, you can connect an HDMI cable from your cable box or TV tuner to the audio extractor. Once that is done, hook the audio output cable from your extractor to your speaker set.

This should complete the setup!

The Takeaway

So, should you convert computer monitor to TV setups, and how can you do it?

It could be a very convenient setup if you have a monitor lying around. Or even if you’re thinking of cutting down the cost and using multi-purpose devices.

However, the answer to the second part of the question lies in the monitor’s features. Is its visual output compatible? Does it have an HDMI port and direct audio output? If yes, then you have a straightforward journey ahead!

Even if the monitor doesn’t have an HDMI port or audio jacks, you can still get around it with a VGA to HDMI converter, an audio extractor, and external speakers.

Read more: Do bigger TVs use more electricity?