Home Office Solutions: How to Use Your TV as a Computer Monitor
Aug 18, 2017
Whether you work from home or only use your home office sporadically, efficiency counts and you want it to look nice. With the right set-up, you can be more comfortable and more productive. So let’s look at some home office solutions that will help you achieve that ideal set-up.
Solution #1: Use Your TV as a Computer Monitor
This is a great way to streamline space allocation. Your TV can become a second monitor, or give you a much larger working area. Using your TV as a computer monitor also gives you a multi-purpose viewing screen in your office.
There are a couple of things to consider, however. First, doubling your screen size sounds good, but you still want a clear picture, especially since your work probably involves reading text, viewing images, and other detailed documents like spreadsheets.
The picture that appears sharply detailed on your 15.6-inch laptop is likely to fuzz out on your 32-inch TV screen. That’s because they both have the same pixel density, despite their different sizes. For the best close-up viewing, experts advise a maximum 27-inch screen, with 1920x1080 resolution, and 80ppi pixel density.
If you are a creative like a graphic designer or video producer, you may gain better functionality from your software by blowing it up on a bigger screen. On the other hand, if you’re adding that TV as a second monitor so you can also keep one eye on the ballgame or watch YouTube videos, your typical HDTV picture will be fine (and then, the bigger the better).
You can connect the TV to your computer using an HDMI cable, as long as your graphics card has an HDMI output. You’ll also need an adapter if your computer doesn’t have an HDMI port. An inexpensive HDMI-to-DVI cable will work if your graphics card only supports DVI output (more likely on older TVs). However, if your TV only has VGA input/output, there is a chance you won't get the best quality or responsiveness from an adapter.
If your laptop is over 4-5 years old, it's likely that it too will have a VGA input/output. Converters are available for VGA to HDMI. When connected, your settings should be automatically configured, if not, you may need to adjust the resolution which can be found in the control settings on your television.
Solution #2: Go Wireless with Your Computer Screen
Everything else in your home is going wireless, so why not your TV-as-computer-monitor? Today's routers should be able to support your streaming desires, so it’s definitely worth considering using Google Chromecast or Apple’s AirPlay Mirroring. Just make sure that the whole family isn't on the network streaming at the same time – or things might slow down significantly!
Solution #3: Mount That TV on the Wall
Viewing quality may depend on compatibility between your computer and TV, but distance matters, too. Remember that pixel density we mentioned above? If your TV is farther away, that density isn’t such a big deal. Mounting your TV on the wall is the smart solution, plus you can place the TV for best-possible viewing from anywhere in your office, not just your desk.
With a tilting or full-motion mount, you’ll really be in business. Some full-motion mounts even allow you to rotate your screen from vertical to horizontal furthering increasing the versatility of your viewing experience. And you can easily hide your power, HDMI, or adapter cords in a tidy tunnel.
Tip: If you choose a full-motion mount, you'll want to choose longer HDMI cables to ensure they have enough length to go from the TV, along the mount arm, through the cable tunnel to the source.
Solution #4: Create a Stylish, Inviting Space
One of the benefits of using a TV as an extra monitor is that is increases the functionality of the space. You may not have a room that can be dedicated solely to use as a home office, but you can add an office area to an existing space. Mounting your TV will allowing you the ease of turning that TV to wherever you are in the room, whether working at a desk or lounging on the couch. Sit in the best place that gets those creative juices flowing in that moment. Hello productivity!