Using my TV as a monitor
June 16, 2007 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Can I use my TV as a monitor for my laptop while doing other work on the laptop?

I have an S connector for my laptop. I would like to watch ITunes movies on my TV while doing email, etc. on my laptop. Is that possible?
posted by Juicylicious to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I'm guessing it has to do with whatever your video card supports. I would mess around in your video cards control panel and see if it has some options for multiple screens.
posted by parallax7d at 7:12 AM on June 16, 2007

I would recommend looking for the newest video drivers as well, multi-monitor support on this Dell was much better with the latest ATI drivers, not the default Dell install. YMMV, laptop video drivers are often a bit finicky, but what you're looking for is to extend the desktop onto the second monitor, and NOT clone. Using an S-Video connector you may have to restart the machine with the TV connected for it to be recognized as a video source. Windows 'autodetects' attached display devices at startup, provided the TV is attached, on, and the S-vid input is selected. You may have an option to 'detect devices' in the control panel, but in my experience this is iffy.

As for watching iTunes movies while doing other work, unless you ahve a fairly hefty laptop with a good video card, you may have performance issues.
posted by pupdog at 7:51 AM on June 16, 2007

Most laptops have a special key combination to cycle through single monitor/multi monitor-clone/multi-monitor. On mine it's Fn-F8. It's a lot easier than going into the display settings each time you want to add a monitor.
posted by zixyer at 8:02 AM on June 16, 2007

I use a MacBook (not pro). I use monitor spanning via minidvi->dvi->HDMI on my TV to show fullscreen movies via VLC on the TV while I browse the web on the laptop. It's nice as I can get higher res. on the TV than on the laptop screen itself. There are no performance issues unless I try to open something like NeoOffice at the same time, which causes a little hiccup. It works really well except for having to either hook up the laptop to external speakers or listen to shows through the MacBook, as DVI has no sound output. I'm sure performance would be just as good with dvi->S-video.
posted by monkeymadness at 8:52 AM on June 16, 2007

On my fujitsu laptop running XP, the S-video out ONLY works as a second monitor. The way to get this to work is:

right click on the desktop -> properties -> settings -> select the 2nd display from "display" -> check "extend my windows desktop onto this monitor"

Then you should have your normal laptop screen with your normal work on it and the TV with whatever you drag over on to it. The only caveat is that depending upon where you orient the screen, it might fuck up your normal mouse usage for closing windows or getting to the scrollbar.
posted by beerbajay at 7:41 PM on June 16, 2007

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