So you have a PC and you’re wondering if there’s a way to play PC games on a TV in your living room. It would definitely be nice to sit back on a couch, instead of having to sit in a chair for your gaming sessions.
I was struggling with this issue because my PC and TV are in different rooms, so after Googling and researching ideas, I found some that can work.
As it turns out, there are multiple options that might work for you, but most of them require buying additional hardware that can be expensive. The best option is a lot cheaper and simpler, but it does require certain cables…
The Best Way to Play PC Games on a TV:
The best way to play PC games on a TV is to run a 20-50 ft HDMI cable from your PC to your TV along with a USB extender for controllers, a mouse/keyboard bundle, or a Bluetooth adapter. I recommend using a USB extender because it essentially brings a USB port right next to you.
What you need:
- 20 – 50 ft HDMI Cable
- Male to Female USB Extender
- Bluetooth Adapter for PC (optional, if using a Bluetooth controller)
- A wireless keyboard and mouse bundle (optional)
(The exact lengths depend on your home’s layout, I recommend measuring the distance from your PC to TV, a little extra is always better than too little!)
Careful: When it comes to running lengthy cables around your home, make sure to properly cable manage and make sure it’s not a tripping hazard. Keep the cable nicely tucked to corners and around furniture. The good news is that long HDMI cables are very cheap!
On the subject of HDMI cables, remember that signal starts to lose quality after around 50 ft, so as long as the cable is under that, you should be good. There are ways to boost the signal too, but that’s the subject of another post.
If you’re using a Bluetooth controller, the range probably won’t be good enough to connect to your PC in the other room, so you’ll need to bring the adapter closer with the help of a USB extender.
When it comes to Bluetooth, some controllers like the PS4 controller require additional software to work, and it might be a hassle to setup. To avoid that, you can simply buy an Xbox controller as they’re natively supported on Windows.
I also suggest hooking up a keyboard and mouse bundle, to navigate and changing settings on Windows 10, such as display settings. Navigating these menus can be tricky with a controller, and a mouse makes everything a lot easier.
Your other options are to use streaming devices such as the NVIDIA Shield or connect a laptop to use game-streaming apps. The downside is the performance will depend on your router and internet connection, and there can be some crazy input delay which can be very noticeable.
1 – NVIDIA Shield
The NVIDIA Shield is an interesting media device, it can stream all kinds of media, from regular apps such as Netflix to others like NVIDIA Games. The game-streaming performance on the NVIDIA TV is decent, but for the best experience, you would need an ethernet cable.
Do also remember that this is only compatible with NVIDIA graphics cards, so if your PC has a RADEON card, it probably won’t be compatible.
There’s also the Steam Link hardware, but it’s no longer being sold in stores. However, an idea could be to buy second hand one and try it out, it’s a lot cheaper than the Shield, and it seems like the performance is decent too.
My PC Doesn’t Have Extra HDMI Ports:
If you’re PC doesn’t have extra HDMI ports, you might need to move around some display cables or invest in some adapters. Take a look at the currently available video output ports on your PC, what do you have?
1 – Buy a Video Port Adapter
If you have a graphics card, it probably has a DVI or DisplayPort. The solution here would be to buy an adapter that converts those ports into HDMI and then run an HDMI cable across your home.
You might also notice a VGA port, but I don’t recommend using that, it’s kind of outdated. What you can do is convert DVI to HDMI, there are plenty of adapters that you can use which only cost a few bucks, and the quality should be decent.
But make sure you buy the right adapter! I have a handful of the wrong ones because I didn’t take a close enough look, and I was too lazy to return them.
2 – Buy an HDMI Splitter
An HDMI splitter is a simple adapter that separates one HDMI port into two or more, so you can connect multiple displays to the same source.
Here’s an HDMI splitter you might like.
Remember, an HDMI splitter won’t extend your screen, it simply takes the signal and mirrors it to other displays, so multiple displays will show the same content. So if you play a game, the game will open on your main monitor and also your TV.
You can also look for ones that have a button to switch between displays, like the one linked above, so you can use one display at a time. Generally, these are used to connect more than one console or media device to a TV, but it can work for any HDMI project.
What If You Have a Laptop?
If you want to play games from your laptop on a TV in another room, the best approach would be to simply move your laptop to the other room, and connect it to the TV with an HDMI cable.
If that’s not an option, you could use the HDMI splitter mentioned earlier, insert one end of the lengthy HDMI cable into a free port, and run it all the way to your TV.
Gaming on a laptop is easier than on a PC, in some ways, because laptops usually have built-in Bluetooth, so you don’t need any extra adapters to connect your controllers. The USB extender we mentioned earlier won’t be needed in this scenario.
And there’s another upside, a laptop can stream games from another PC over the home network. Like with the NVIDIA Shield, an Ethernet connect is recommended. Here are some programs you can try out:
To wrap it up, while there are wireless ways to play PC games on a TV, I still recommend the lengthy HDMI with USB extender option. If you have a PC and a laptop, you could connect your laptop to the TV and stream to it from the PC, but you might encounter delays.
The use of a media console like the NVIDIA Shield TV is an option too, but you’re also prone to lags and frame rate drops. I know, the HDMI option isn’t the most elegant, still, it’s the best option at the moment.
What do you think?