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How To Watch TV on a Computer Monitor

Watching On A Laptop

Most computer monitors are merely just screens that display what it’s fed. In comparison, a TV is a bit more complex featuring a tuner, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc. Hence, a monitor does not have the necessary technology to watch TV by itself. So, how do you watch TV on a computer monitor? 

Quick Answer

To watch TV on a computer monitor, you must plug a cable box, TV tuner, or smart TV device into the monitor. However, not all monitors are made equally, so you may need other components to adjust the setup in some cases. 

Converting your computer monitor to a TV is relatively simple if it has all the right features. The computer monitor must have an audio/video input port; otherwise, you’d need to get a special adapter to convert it. Find out more about how to use a computer monitor as a screen. 

How To Convert a Computer Monitor to a TV

Different methods exist to turn a regular computer monitor into a TV to watch your favorite channels. Turning your monitor is much easier if it has an HDMI port. Most monitors come with a VGA connector or DisplayPort connection which is great if you are connecting to a PC but not quite if you’re trying to turn the monitor to a TV. 

Whatever the case, all hopes are not lost as you can always get other accessories to convert whatever port is on your computer monitor to what’s ideal, preferably to an HDMI port. Below are three easy ways to turn a computer monitor into a TV. 

Method #1: Cable Box 

A cable box converts or transposes channels to analog RF signals from a cable television service. And it often does this to a single channel on VHF 3 or 4. Or sometimes, it converts it to an HDMI output. Essentially, this device allows a TV or, in this case, a monitor to receive cable channels even though it does not come with a standard built-in converter. 

Here’s how to connect a cable box to a computer monitor.

  1. If your monitor has an HDMI port, connect the cable box to your monitor via an HDMI cable
  2. If your monitor comes with a VGA port, get a VGA to HDMI converter to connect the monitor to the converter and then the converter to the cable box.
  3. If your monitor does not have a speaker, you’d need an HDMI audio extractor to plug the audio from the cable box into an external speaker. 
  4. When successfully connected, turn the setup on and search for channels

Method #2: TV Tuner 

Another excellent way to turn your monitor into a TV is with a TV tuner. A TV tuner can be a bit more complex than a cable box. For this to work, you’d need to connect an antenna to your monitor, as most monitors don’t come with a built-in antenna. So what you need for this method are a TV antenna and an OTA converter box; then, follow the steps below. 

Here’s how to use a TV tuner to convert a computer monitor to a TV.

  1. Use an HDMI cable to connect the TV tuner to your monitor. 
  2. You may need an HDMI audio extractor to get the audio out of the TV tuner if your monitor does not have a speaker.
  3. If your monitor doesn’t have an HDMI port, use an AV cable to connect to the video port of your monitor and the audio port to an external speaker.
  4. Use a coaxial cable to connect the TV antenna to the RF input of the TV tuner. 
  5. Turn on the setup and search for channels
Quick Tip

You may need to place the antenna high or be exposed to clear skies and point to where you’d receive the most signal.

Method #3: Smart TV Setup 

Finally, you can use a smart TV setup to turn your monitor into not just an ordinary TV but a smart TV. With that smart TV device, you can watch YouTube videos and other streaming services like Netflix. You can buy several streaming devices like the Amazon Stick, Apple TV, Roku Streaming Stick+, etc.

Here’s how to use a smart TV setup to convert a computer monitor to a TV.

  1. Get the device and connect it to your monitor via an HDMI cable
  2. If your monitor does not come with an HDMI cable, use the VGA to HDMI adapter to convert it.
  3. Turn on the setup, connect to the internet, and stream your favorite shows. 


Using a computer monitor as a TV screen can help you save some money and space. Whether you want to repurpose an existing monitor you are not using or purchase a new one for dual functions, this article has already discussed everything you need to know about watching TV on a computer monitor. 

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