Puzzling issue connecting TV to PC

Kanzan

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I want to mirror my PC monitor on my Samsung F series plasma TV. If I connect the PC VGA monitor output thru a VGA to HDMI converter and run HDMI cable to the TV, the PC mirrors perfectly on the TV. Ditto if I connect one leg of a passive Y-splitter cable between the PC VGA output and the TV. But as soon as I connect the PC monitor to the other leg of the Y-splitter (so I can control the PC), TV gives a No Source message. PC monitor has max. 1360x768 resolution, TV is 1920x1080. I've been told computer is seeing the PC monitor and sending same low res to TV, which is why it doesn't work with both connected. Or that Intel G45/G43 onboard chipset isn't powerful enough to power both displays. Anybody had this problem?
 

chrisbphoenix

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Glad I could help.
The pick as solution button will mark a particular post as the "Answer".

Cheers,
Chris
 

chrisbphoenix

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Welcome to the forum!

It sound's like you are correct about the two displays mixing up the resolution information.
Unfortunately, unlike speaker wire, you can't just plug things that fit together and have everything work.

The issue is that the display talks back to the computer to tell it what it expects to be sent. Your TV and monitor aren't expecting the same thing. So a problem arises.

There are plenty of solutions to this problem.

You may be in luck if your computer already has more than one display connector on the back, you just need to plug the various screens into separate ports.

If you don't, you'll need to know a thing or two about computers to make sure you get the right part for your computer.

I'll spare you the lecture, until I know more about your situation.
I'll need to know what display connections you have on your monitor, and it's resolution.
The model of your TV would be helpful.
What sort of PC are you using? (How old-ish, and if you know, what hardware's in it?)

There's always a solution.

Cheers,
Chris
 

Kanzan

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Dell Vostro 220s PC, 7 years old, with Intel G45/G43 onboard chipset for video, one VGA connector for monitor, Windows 10.

Dell monitor E1910HC, 1360x768 with VGA connector. When this monitor is connected to the PC, available display resolution options go up to 1920x1080, but only 1360x768 options are accepted.

I also have access to a Dell monitor 1908 FA, 1280x1024 with VGA connector. When I connect this monitor to computer, highest available option shown on PC is 1280x1024.

Samsung PN51F5300AF XZA plasma TV, 3 years old, 1920x1080 resolution, with two HDMI conncections; HDMI IN 1 (STB) that I have connected to DVD player; HDMI IN 2 (DVI) that I have been using to try and connect to the TV.

I have a SYBA SY-ADA31025 VGA to HDMI convertor with USB power plug and audio plug that connect to PC, and a passive VGA Y-splitter cable, and 25 ft long HDMI cable for connection between convertor and TV.

When I thought the problem might be insufficient VGA signal I looked at 2-port powered VGA amplifiers, but I was told the units would "see" the lowest resolution monitor and match that resolution, so a too low resolution would be sent to my TV and it wouldn't work. I have not found a 1920x1024 PC monitor I can borrow yet to see if that alone would solve the problem with my existing hardware by matching the TV resolution.

I look forward to any ideas you have. I'm not very smart on all this (yeah, I thought this would a simple connection), so you cannot possibly over explain :).
 

chrisbphoenix

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Alright, I think I see the issue with your original setup.
The VGA port on your PC isn't designed to use a passive Y cable. (as in, no guarantees about what will happen if you try it)
It's only designed to drive a single display.

It's sounding like the solution will be to grab a graphics card for your computer.
Where a PC may only have one display connector by itself, a graphics card can add many, and can thus separately address and drive multiple displays.
These can range from basic cards that are fairly cheap, all the way up to the stratosphere where they're insanely expensive. (but you won't need much for this)

There may be a snag here though, if you set Windows to Clone display (where every display shows the same thing) it has to pick a resolution that all screens can accept.
If all the screens are the same resolution, it won't be a problem, because they'll all just run at the same thing.
For your setup though, you don't have two displays with the same resolution, so best case scenario would have your Dell monitor running at 1360x768 and your TV also running at 1360x768. (it might be able to do this, it's not an uncommon resolution)
Worst case for this would be that all displays fall back to 1024x768 (which is pretty widely supported) if they can even agree on a resolution at all.

I suppose the next step would be to ask what the goal of this setup is.
It sounds like you're repurposing an old computer as a home-theater-pc. (which is awesome, of course)
If that's so, there may be yet another option that isn't nearly as complicated.

Cheers,
Chris
 

Kanzan

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Kanzan

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Yes, I'd like to be able to view on my TV things like Youtube videos, my pictures, and movies that are online. So I'm open to your suggestions. Remembering of course that I need to have a PC monitor display so I can control what I see on the TV. And how do I get both displays if I have only one VGA port and a Y-splitter doesn't work? And how do I determine if my TV will in fact display on something other than 1920x1024? Thanks.
 

chrisbphoenix

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Neat.
Figuring out what your TV can display shouldn't be difficult. I've never tried it through a VGA to HDMI converter, but in theory if you were to connect your computer to just the TV (which you had working before, I believe) you can cycle through different resolutions to see which ones work and which ones don't.
Don't worry if you pick one that doesn't work, just wait about 15-20 seconds and windows will revert to the previous settings automatically. (it's a safety feature)

Before we get to the rest, I'd like to propose a possible alternative. (or a supplemental bonus to couch-bound PC activities) I use a really helpful wireless Keyboard+Touchpad combo unit to control my home-theater PC. My thinking for your application would be to forego the extra monitor entirely, and just control the action from the couch using the TV as the only monitor.
Here's a link to the one I have: AMAZON
(It's only available as a Refurb now, but there are other models out there)

If you're still adamant on having a second screen in the mix I think the best thing would be to add a graphics card to your PC. The Dell Vostro 220s uses what's known as a slim or low-profile case, which means that it's card slots are smaller than it's larger PC tower variants. This won't be much of a hindrance (these things are standardized), but it is important to keep in mind when selecting a graphics card because not just anything will physically fit.
You'll need something more like:THIS
As opposed to something like: THAT

Now it doesn't sound like you're planning on playing video games on this PC, so you don't need anything too fancy, which is good, because fancy costs extra. (and no one likes overspending) not to mention that a 7yr old PC isn't exactly going to be mincing the latest games. I would aim for no more than $50 for whatever you decide to pick up, more than that would be paying for horsepower you're not likely to use.

You're looking for a Low-profile graphics card, with a PCIe (aka PCI Express) connector. Your computer has a PCIe x16 slot in it. (according to the documentation I've found for it) [Note that PCIe and PCI are not the same thing and cannot be interchanged]
For your application, the specifications will be arbitrary, what you'll want to look for is the types of display connectors it provides you and of course, what the reviewers on the product page think of it.

I actually have used exactly THESE cards in the past, and they work VERY WELL for home theater use. Although I'm not certain if they come with the low-profile adapter plates, THOSE can be bought separately for a few bucks if they aren't included.
The bonus with these sorts of cards is you can connect the HDMI directly to the card (no adapters) and it can even carry sound to the TV over the HDMI port. (less cables). It can also drive multiple displays, so you can connect your monitor and TV at the same time without a cable octopus.
And since you're running Windows 10, your computer should automatically install the drivers for it, (but it may display at a funny resolution until they finish installing, make sure you have an internet connection to let it find them)

Cheers,
Chris
 

Kanzan

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Whoa! Let's talk about the wireless Keyboard/Touchpad. This sounds like the perfect solution. I have a router on my PC so I'm already Wi-Fi functional, but do I understand that I don't even need a router for this device? And the direct connection from PC VGA output to Convertor to HDMI cable to TV does in fact provide a perfect picture. So I guess this means I can use this wireless keyboard and don't need to be able to see my PC monitor - I just control the computer from this keyboard as I watch the TV in the next room. The only reason I wanted the PC monitor at same time as TV was because I had to be able to sit at my PC keyboard and see what was on the TV screen. And when I want to use my PC as a PC (it's the only PC I have) I just plug my PC monitor into the computer instead of the Convertor. Am I understanding this correctly?
 

chrisbphoenix

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I'm glad I asked.
So the keyboard is wireless, but not the same kind as Wi-Fi, it uses a little USB fob to communicate with the computer with a radio signal. (Just like most other wireless keyboards or mice) and you are correct, it does not use the internet or Wi-Fi to do its thing.
The adapter looks like THIS and it comes with the keyboard. (mine has a little storage clip in the battery compartment to stow the fob when it's not in use)
Logitech devices are usually plug and play, no fancy drivers needed.

The range for the connection for these is usually pretty good, so you may be able to just plug in the fob and be off to the races. But if you find the response a little shoddy (like the keyboard misses keystrokes or the mouse moves erratically) you may want to use a cheap USB extender cable like THESE to bring the fob into the same room as your TV.

Now you are correct, you can absolutely just switch the display cables around when you need to do one thing or the other. (it's certainly the least expensive option, which is A-ok in my book) but I might suggest, for convenience's sake you have a look at something like THIS which will let you switch between the two screens at the touch of a button. It only lets you pick one or the other, not both simultaneously, but it'd be far more convenient than swapping cables all the time.

In case you were wondering, yes, you can have multiple keyboards and mice attached at the same time, so you can just add the wireless keyboard to your current mix of peripherals. Just note that there's still only one cursor, there'll just be two mice that can move it or two keyboards that can type with it. (Like having two steering wheels for one car.... if that makes any sense.)

Oh, and as a bonus, at least the keyboard I have has an On/Off switch so you don't have to worry about accidental keystrokes coming from the other room. (I have a cat, with no respect for walking on whatever she pleases....)

One last thing, what are you doing for sound? I'm just curious because it wasn't really mentioned, and some monitor switches also include an audio switch so you can send the sound to the same room as the display signal.
More like THIS
Many of these switches are Bi-Directional, which means that you could connect a single screen and switch between multiple computers, or more like what you're doing, use a single computer and switch monitors. (Just reverse the IN/OUT connections on the box.)

Cheers,
Chris

P.S. Don't forget to mark a post here as "Answered" when you're ready, it helps us help others better when they can find solutions to similar problems more easily.
 

Kanzan

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The SYBA VGA Convertor that I've been using has both a USB plug for power and an audio plug. So I remove my PC speaker plug and replace with the Convertor audio plug and I get sound on my TV along with video. So yes, I have sound. However, your proposed audio switcher is nifty, as are your other hardware suggestions. I'm going to get the wireless keyboard and go from there. I am extremely grateful for all your help!!! I could never have figured this out. Please send me one more message and I'll acknowledge "Answered." Do I select the "Pick as the solution" button" or is there supposed to be an actual Answered button somewhere that I don't see?
 

chrisbphoenix

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Glad I could help.
The pick as solution button will mark a particular post as the "Answer".

Cheers,
Chris
 
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