Not all PC to TV solutions are equal

Our basic PC to TV converter is well suited to display pictures, video files, PowerPoint presentations etc., but it is not recommended for text based applications. Fine lines and small text will be blurred. In order for text to be easily legible, it is recommended that you use at least a 14 point font or higher.

One of the biggest limitations is the connection type. Composite or S-Video just will not support a very high resolution. If you want to use your TV for normal text based applications, like email, web browsing, spreadsheets etc, you will need a better video connection, like component, and probably need an HDTV. Standard TV's will not support much better resolution than you can get out of the basic adapters.

An HDTV adapter will allow you to use text and pictures in much higher detail and clarity. Text will be clear down to 10 or even 8 point font (depending on the TV) HDTVs will still probably not be as clear as a monitor, and if you are using text, use a progressive resolution. (Interlaced text will appear to 'shake') For example, if your TV supports 720p and 1080i set the resoltion close 1280 x 720 rather than the full possible resolution of 1920 x 1080.

In an effort to illustrate the differences, I used a couple of PC to TV solutions with our HDTV. This is not going to be great... I'm using a digital camera to take a picture of a TV. Everything will look better when you are sitting in front of it, but it serves to show a reference.

I used our popular, inexpensive PC to TV converter, our PC to HDTV converter, and a direct VGA connection. Straight VGA should be the best, because it does not require any signal modification or external conversion.

You can see from the table below (click for a hi-res image) that the pictures are all comperable. The PC to TV is not as bright, or as crisp as the HD and VGA solutions, but it is clear what the picture is.

The text on the other hand will show that there is a significant improvement from the standard PC to TV, and the PC to HDTV. The high quality adapter is legible down to 8 point font, and clear at 10. A significant improvement. VGA is better, but only slightly.

VGA to Composite

Text with PC to TV
Picture with PC to TV
SW-22050 Basic PC to TV, SW-4262 Basic PC to TV, and SW-20460 Basic PC to TV through S-Video

VGA to Component

Text with PC to HDTV
Picture with PC to HDTV
SW-4280 PC to HDTV through Component (RGB) Video

VGA only

Text with PC through VGA
Picture with PC through VGA
Straight VGA from PC to TV with a SW-2403-03 Sewell VGA Cable