PC Gaming on TV

Since I was out of a PC monitor for several days, I had to use something to at least use my PC with. It was a good thing that my video card had a TV out. So I tried it out, testing it how it goes and performs. Before I started hooking my system up I had to make sure that I had everything. My TV-out uses a S-VIDEO out connection but most TV’s in our country use a coaxial cable, it was good that an adapter was included with the video card. So video was not a problem and now audio. There are 2 ways to connect it, using S/PDIF or using the standard audio out of the soundcard. Using S/PDIF is better if you have the cable to connect it to. It can support 4.1, 5.1 and 6.1 outputs as long as you have the hardware to support it with the amplifier, speakers and soundcard. Using the standard audio out is the easier way, just use a regular PC/CD-player stereo cable which can be bought in some hardware and stereo equipment stores; not computer shops. Now if you have all that, you’re all set to go.

I placed my PC on the family TV which was the biggest in the entire house and it was in front of the couch. And the first time I hooked it up and tried it I said “COOL!” it was my first experience using that special feature that I had for a long time that I didn’t take advantage until now.

Now, that my PC is setup on the TV, for temporary uses only. I find that it seems more welcoming now than it was on the desk. I know the text wasn’t readable but it was in front of the couch and I can play with friends around. When you think about it, it is a great idea. In parties you can play your MP3’s on the TV while it’s hooked up to your stereo component. In gaming you could get 2 or more USB game pads and hook it up with a USB hub, and there you can play any multiplayer game that can be played in one screen like some racing games or basketball or anything else.

Now my reactions to it, I know it was great having a 27″ TV for a view screen but the text wasn’t readable. I know the resolution of the TV can’t compete with a real monitor since a TV out can only supports an 800×600 resolution. I researched more on this and I realized that there are other televisions that can support good quality computer displays. Currently I know that a Sony WEGA supports this. With that type of monitor text display is clear and sometimes even better than using a real monitor, but it is limited to a maximum 800×600 resolution only. I didn’t buy a new TV during this time, but it was good to know.

There are games that didn’t work so well when you try to view them on TV, though this may not be the same case always, you should remember that PC games were designed to be viewed on a monitor and not on the television screen. Here is a list of games/software that I tried playing:

  • Homeworld
  • Homeworld: Cataclysm
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
  • Alice
  • SimGolf
  • Comanche 4
  • Battle Realms
  • 3DMark2001
  • Serious Sam: First Encounter
  • Serious Sam: Second Encounter
  • Unreal Tournament
  • Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Homeworld, Cataclysm, Comanche 4 and Battle Realms had different problems and had different results. Homeworld and Cataclysm had a problem running their 3D engine while using 3D. Battle Realms and Comanche 4 didn’t run at all, just an error message on the screen. While other games and 3DMark worked great and looked amazing, just make sure that all games are set to 800×600 or lesser before trying it out, or you may just get an error message, or it may reset the video settings for safety. And if your video card can take advantage of anti-aliasing it would be better so it would smoothen out the graphics visually but it may slow down game frame rates. Looking at 800×600 at a television is not visually pleasing but when anti-alias is on, 3D games would be looking great.

Even though 800×600 is the resolution that can be used by a television I really don’t recommend it. 640×480 is perfect for gaming. Maybe that’s why Dreamcast, X-box and Playstation 2 maintain the same resolution. There is no need for 800×600 unless you’re playing on high end televisions or HDTV. Playing at that resolution is already perfect with any game on TV.

Experience is overwhelming when playing on the big screen. It nice and it feels great with most games but not all. The television is welcoming rather than using a PC monitor when you have guests who want to play your games. At parties I find my PC perfect in beside a television. And when there is no occasion at all, the PC monitor will always have its partner since it has a better advantage of outstanding quality.

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