I had an old laptop sitting around, a 2.4 GHz single core with 512 MB of memory. This computer was too slow to use as a work station. I had an idea to turn it into a media center to watch internet content on the TV.
Last summer I bought my first flat screen Vizio 32 inch. The purchase made my media center creation much easier. Newer TV’s often come with multiple inputs and output. These large screen televisions are nothing more than a large computer monitor. Here is how I connected my laptop and created an awesome upgrade to my living room.
Here is the process in short and I’ll give more detail:
1. Connected laptop to TV via VGA cable
2. Change mode on TV to RGB
3. Installed Windows 7 RC1
4. Purchase wireless keyboard & mouse
Start by connecting your laptop to the TV through one of the connection types offered on the back or sides of laptops. VGA is blue and the most common type of monitor hook up. S-video is round input type or your other option is DVI. You’re going to have to look what your laptop and TV offer. For this demonstration I used a male to male VGA cable to connect the TV to the PC. You can buy a 5 foot cable for about 6 dollars at your local computer store or online.
Next change the mode on your TV to RGB. After doing step one and step two you should see the laptop on your television.
To make the experience even better I added Windows 7 RC1 which has a great built in media center for just such an occasion. When the beta runs out you can purchase it for $50 which is a great way to spruce up an old laptop. Not to mention you can easily add more RAM via a USB stick using Windows Ready boost. Ready boost is a cheap and easy way to get more speed out of that old laptop.
Next I bought a wireless keyboard and mouse to control the computer from anywhere in my living room. Be sure to check the range on the wireless components, I needed a minimum 30 meters to ensure good wireless coverage for my mouse and keyboard. One alternative to using a wireless keyboard and mouse is to control the computer remotely. If you have another computer in your living room you could install a remote product like Logmein Free edition to control your TV through your other laptop computer.
Now the kids love watching internet TV and I enjoy listening to Pandora through the television. Having the internet through the TV makes a great entertainment station!