How to Play PC Games on Your HDTV

Posted on July 22, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

With the right equipment, playing computer games on your PC can be marvelous. Gaming computers have developed to produce some of the top gaming graphics out of any system in the world. When playing computer games with friends, whether you are playing on a split screen or not, sometimes the screen on your PC just isn’t big enough to allow you all to fully experience the game. This article is going to teach you how you can avoid that problem by hooking up your computer to your HDTV and using it as your monitor.

The Basics

The first thing you are going to need to do is establish a connection between your PC and HDTV. If your TV has a HDMI port, you are in luck as it will be very easy to connect it to your PC. If your TV does not have an HDMI port, you will have to buy an adapter cable either online or from your local electronics store that will allow for you to make the connection. If you do have an HDMI port on your TV, simply put one end of the cord into the port on your TV and the other end of the cord into the HDMI port on your laptop’s graphic card.

Also Read: Finding The Right HDMI Adaptor For Your Computer

Connecting Computer to TV

Setting Up Your HDTV as a Monitor
  • Once you have connected your computer to your TV and turned both of the devices on, you are ready to continue.
  • On the home screen of your computer, right click on whatever it is you use for a mouse and then click on screen resolution.
  • You will see a list of the monitors you normally use and your HDTV will now be one of these monitors as well (the name differs but if that is the only additional display to your main one then it will be the number 2).
  • First, select your HDTV as the monitor to use.
  • If the TV is not detected on the PC, then your might have to configure the TV for HDMI-out or PC-out mode.
  • After you do that, go to the multiple displays settings, click on the drop-down list, and select extend desktop to this display.

You can now use your HDTV as a monitor to play PC games on, but if you want to be playing at the highest resolution, you are not done yet. Set your TV to the highest resolution possible. This will likely either be 720p or 1080p. Even if you are playing an older game that was released long before screen resolutions were made this high, you still do not want to skip this step. Your TV was designed to run on its highest setting and it will be able to accommodate for your older game much better on its highest setting then it will be able to on a lower setting.


The ‘Make this my main display‘ option – you might have to enable that when you try to run some console emulators in full screen on your PC because they will function only on the primary display. Making your HDTV your primary display can be a nuisance, but you got to manage.

Adjusting Emulator Settings

The next step is to modify the video settings and changes the screen resolution settings. This is not a complicated process. You need to have an emulator for this using an emulator in which you have to edit the emulator’s configuration file and change it according to the resolution you prefer.

We will be using the Neo-Geo emulation – WinKawaks to run at 1280×720 resolution.

Now edit the WinKawaks.ini file. You will find the following lines:


Just change the values from 640 to 1280 and 480 to 720 and save the file.

Winkawaks file config

Now that everything falls into place, you should be able to see your desktop on your television. You might have to tweak about a few more options to obtain the best results on the TV. The problem is that that all games and emulators do not have these options hence you will get good results by making the below mentioned changes.

1)Your primary objective should be to find the ‘Maintain aspect ratio‘ setting. Select it. Else you might end up with old games configured for a 4:3-aspect-ratio screen and they will look nasty.

2)Enable ‘Stretch image‘ option if possible because all of the old consoles do not give a  4:3 resolution output.

Finally, determine whether your game of choice supports bilinear filtering. Turn it on in your older PC games, and they will look much better on your big screen. Your emulator may also support bilinear filtering, but be cautious: Image filtering is, to put it mildly, a contentious issue when it comes to emulator fidelity. Some emulators have a TV-mode function that you might want to try, but they are inconsistent and most of them don’t emulate the appearance of classic games very well; instead, enable bilinear filtering to slightly smooth the picture on your big screen without detracting too much from the overall classic-gaming experience.

The last thing you need to do is go back into the screen resolution settings on your computer and check off the box that makes your HDTV your main display option. This will make sure that no matter what game you are playing, your TV will be able to display the game in full-screen mode. If you are playing a game while using your HDTV as a monitor and notice that the screen does not appear the same way that it appears when playing on your computer, this is the most likely cause for it.

You are now ready to invite some friends over and play your PC games on your nice, big, and high-definition TV.

Do refer to this video to guide you in the process:

About the Author: Quatrix Antennas is a TV antenna installation specialist and they operate in the Sydney area in Australia.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.


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