Jump to content

Connecting a TV Signal through your Notebook PC

  • PrintPrint
This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows Vista.

Understanding the PC to TV connection

Connecting the notebook PC to a TV provides the ability to watch live TV programs or to watch recorded programs saved to the PC's hard disk drive on an external TV monitor.
Unfortunately, because there are so many different manufactures and technologies, it can be difficult to setup or troubleshoot a problem. In this document, we suggest that you start by connecting the equipment in a very simple configuration to verify that all the audio and video components work properly. Then, you can try more sophisticated configurations.
For instance, do you want to connect the PC so it acts as an extra TV monitor. Or, do you want to use the PC's TV Tuner to control the TV. Or, do you want to use the PC's TV Tuner to control the set-top box. You should try the following configurations, which are arranged from simple to complex.

Connect the notebook PC to a TV without using a set-top box

Prior to connecting the notebook PC to a TV, test the functionality of the TV tuner on the PC to ensure that the tuner is working correctly. See Set Up the HP ExpressCard TV Tuner to Watch TV for additional details.
The most basic way to configure the PC and the TV is by connecting the PC TV Tuner directly to a cable source or an antenna without sending the signal through a set-top box. Basic cable TV channels (analog signal) can be received without a set-top box. A set-top box is required with satellite services or pay-per-view and other premium channels (digital signal).
The goal of this configuration, which bypasses the set-top box, is to verify that the components work properly. Once the connection from the TV tuner card is set-up and configured to view TV images you can use a more complex configuration to get the maximum resolution and performance from your audio / video components.
NOTE:The HP ExpressCard TV tuner must be inserted into the express card slot and all appropriate cables should be assembled prior to connecting the PC to a TV.
The required parts are identified in the following steps.
Figure 1: Components needed when not using a set-top box
Illustration of components needed when connecting PC to TV without using a set-top box
To use the TV tuner card to display a video program on both a notebook PC and an external TV monitor without using the set-top box (cable tuner or satellite tuner box), connect the equipment as follows.
  1. Verify that the HP ExpressCard analog TV tuner card (1) is installed in the PC and can display a video image on the PC, before connecting the PC to an external TV.
  2. Verify the video source from the cable or satellite service is connected to the TV tuner card using the RF coaxial cable adapter connector (2a) and a coaxial cable (2b).
  3. Determine the types of connectors available on both of the ports on the PC and the external TV, and decide which connection type will be used.
    • S-Video cable (3a)
    • Composite Audio / Video (3b)
  4. Connect the composite audio / video cable - or the s-video cable connector (4a) - from the PC port (4b) to the video input on the TV (4c).
  5. Use the remote control (5) for the PC TV tuner card to change channels for the display on both the PC and the TV.
This equipment setup verifies the operation of components to display an image from a cable or satellite source. It can also display an image from a videotape or DVD source using a coaxial connection from the video player device to the TV tuner card.
NOTE:Because there are so many variations in entertainment components, please view the audio / video manufacturer's documentation for other configurations.

Connect the notebook PC to a TV using a set-top box

To use the TV tuner card to display a video program on both a notebook PC and an external TV monitor using the set-top box (cable tuner or satellite tuner box), connect the equipment as follows. In this configuration, the video source cable is connected to the set-top box and from the set-top box to the TV tuner card. This configuration allows the computer to control the channel selection on the set-top box.
The required parts are identified in the following steps.
Figure 2: Components needed when using a set-top box
Illustration of components needed when connecting PC to TV using a set-top box.
  1. Verify that the HP ExpressCard analog TV tuner card (1) is inserted into the express card slot.
  2. Attach the video source coaxial cable to the input on the set-top box (2).
  3. Attach the coaxial cable connector from the output on the set-top box to the input on the TV tuner card connector (3). Push the input connector onto the TV tuner card until it clicks into place.
  4. Determine the types of connectors available on both the set-top box and the external TV, and decide which connection type will be used.
    • S-Video cable (4a)
    • Composite Audio / Video cable (4b)
    • Coaxial cable (4c)
  5. Connect the appropriate audio / video cable from the set-top box to the input on the TV (5).
With this configuration, a video image can be displayed on both the computer and the TV. The set-top box controller controls the channel selection.
To configure the system to use the computer's remote control to control the set-top box, see the Control set-top box with computer's remote control section of this document.

Use IFR transmitter to control set-top box with computer's remote control

When connecting a TV to a PC with a TV tuner card, the remote control for the PC can be used to control the set-top box (cable tuner or satellite tuner box). The IFR transmitter is not available on all models with a TV Tuner.
Using the following configuration, the remote control for the computer will send the control signal through the HP Remote Sensor to the IR sensor on the set-top box. Once the IR emitter from the computer is attached, the hand-held remote control for the set-top box will not control the channel selection.
The required parts are identified in the following steps.
Figure 3: Components needed to control a set-top box with IFR transmitter
Illustration of components needed to control a set-top box from the PC's TV Tuner remote control.
  1. Attach the USB connector (1) for the HP Remote Sensor to a USB port on the computer.
  2. Insert the mini jack (2) on the IR emitter cable to port 1 on the back of the HP Remote Sensor.
  3. Attach the other end of the IR emitter cable (3) to the cover on the IR sensor on the set-top box.
    • Remove the backing paper from the IR emitter to expose the adhesive tape.
    • Press the adhesive side of the IR emitter onto the infrared (IR) lens on the front of the set-top box.
    • Remove the protective film from the front of the remote sensor if necessary.
    • To help locate the IR lens, shine a flashlight on the front of the set-top box. The IR lens is usually a small, dark red window.
  4. Now the video on both the TV and on the PC can be controlled with the PC TV tuner hand-held remote control.

Tips for getting the best video and audio quality

To get the best video and audio quality, you should determine which types of video-out ports are available on both the PC and the TV. After you know what video-out ports are available on the PC and on the TV, use the following guidelines to determine which type of connection will provide you with the best video and audio quality.
The following connections are listed in order of highest to lowest quality. Some newer PC models are equipped with HDMI or DVI connections. These connectors provide improved video and or audio quality.
QualityVideoAudio
BestHDMIincluded
GoodDVIseparate connection required
GoodVGAseparate connection required
GoodCompositeincluded
GoodS-Videoseparate connection required
Adapters may be available to accommodate different video / audio connections. See manufacturer's documentation for details.