At the heart of your TV, you’ll find the motherboard. This is the brain that talks to the Graphics Cards and all of the other devices on your TV.
In recent years, as we’ve moved away from that huge 120Hz and 240Hz CRT TV screens to more and more advanced DLP, LCD, and LED LCD, the amount of technology required to feed that data back to your TV has shrunk drastically.
But, with our obsession for TV resolutions pushing 4K as the current Holy Grail of the resolution, do we really need multiple 4K panels in the same room? And how does that affect signal paths? Let’s take a look at how the CPU and GPU connect to the TV.
At the end of the day, the connections on the CPU end up determining how efficient a TV connection is. For a full PC, the connections are always a little bit of a bottleneck, even if you have a processor that can handle a high resolution and frame rate.
When you have one of those handy high-definition TV adapters on hand, though, you’re able to run high-end PC games on a smaller, low-res TV with no issues.
The system is completely hooked up to the TV in the following picture. From the top left corner of the monitor, we have:
The HDMI connector
The VGA connector
The LAN port
The USB port
The power connector
The RCA audio input
Because there’s no way to connect the HDMI from the main board to the TV out, the only connection that’s going into the monitor is the HDMI from the main board and the video from the motherboard’s display ports (which I guess still counts as an input).
This means that, in theory, the amount of CPU activity necessary to supply enough data to a TV to run a game (say, at Full HD, 60 frames per second) is the same as with a monitor, but with one major difference: the CPU has to handle the video decoding.
The extra circuitry required for decoding will probably add a few extra cogs to the motherboard’s power delivery system, as well as need more room on the motherboard for a big power supply.
So, the more CPU the TV has, the more data it can deliver, right? Well, yes, but not quite.
The CPU’s performance may only be limited by how fast it can send its data to the GPU. If a game is rendering at full resolution at 720p or 1080p, it shouldn’t have a problem with a 4K TV.
It’s the CPU that may have to make the most out of the hardware it has available, especially if the TV is pushing an HD picture.
The CPU’s performance may only be limited by how much power it can deliver to the TV
What the user can control
The CPU connection is the primary one, but it doesn’t end there. There’s also the HDMI link between the CPU and monitor. This is usually very straightforward, as you can see in this diagram from SuperWiFi.
With both inputs being controlled by one remote, you’ll probably never have to worry about powering on the TV and pushing the volume on your PC.
When it comes to your TV, you can use the set-up menu to set up resolutions. As a general rule of thumb, if you have at least 1920 x 1080 resolution on your monitor, you should be good.
That’s the baseline for most modern games, as well as HDTVs. If you have a 1080p or even a 720p set, it’s not unreasonable to aim for the most common TV resolutions.
Of course, you’ll be able to make smaller adjustments here and there if you have a range of different monitors, but there’s a good chance you won’t have to make any.
There are other connections, like two USB ports, as well as audio and power (which, in my experience, are for the monitor only).
So, when it comes to the processing side of things, you won’t need to worry too much about how the monitor’s power connections work. And as long as the user doesn’t run into any issues, they should never have to touch it.
USB ports and other connections are managed by the user, not the TV
If you want to connect anything else to your monitor, though, there’s another bit of the connection puzzle.
Connecting to a Monitor
The cables that connect your TV to the rest of your PC, well, those cables should be handled by the TV. Although that seems like a bit of a blunt instrument when it comes to a PC monitor, the truth is that you could lose power and never know if it was due to the TV or the monitor is disconnected.
For example, if you have an HDMI cable from your TV to your PC, you can always simply plug the HDMI into the back of your TV, and it’ll connect perfectly without any issues.
Of course, if you had a split cable for the TV, both monitors would need their own cables. This is why the TVs that handle HDMI ports have separate cables for the two sets of inputs.
Now, before you get your huge iron wrench out and start wrenching cables out of your TV, it’s probably a good idea to do a little research and make sure that you’re not causing more problems than you’re solving.