Both your HDTV and computer have many available inputs and outputs that
can be used to connect them together.
You can use any connection cable that is common to both of them
and even calibrate all of them in turn with DisplayMate.
Most newer HDTVs accept computer VGA in addition to digital DVI or HDMI,
and analog Component Video, S-Video and Composite Video.
Most newer computers have digital DVI or HDMI connectors
in addition to analog VGA,
and some have analog Component Video, S-Video, and Composite Video outputs,
but you will probably need an adapter cable or dongle from the
manufacturer to access them.
Start with the Best Connection:
You can use any combination of connections from your PC that will show your
Windows desktop on the HDTV and
you can calibrate each of them in turn with DisplayMate.
Digital DVI or HDMI produces the highest quality connection.
Next best is analog VGA, which is found on virtually all PCs and many HDTVs.
Next best is analog Component Video. S-Video and Composite Video also work,
but they are Standard Definition rather than High Definition,
so the picture quality is not as good.
Digital DVI and HDMI Connections:
All digital connections are interchangeable, meaning if you calibrate an
HDTV DVI or HDMI input using DisplayMate then the same calibration settings
will apply to every digital component that is connected to that same input.
Note that HDMI fully supports DVI, so you can connect a PC with a
DVI output to an HDTV with HDMI inputs.
In that case, you just need an HDMI to DVI adapter cable.
Otherwise, buying an inexpensive graphics board for your computer
may be the best way to go.
Every analog signal source is a bit different,
but high quality components will always be very similar.
So if you use DisplayMate to calibrate an analog signal input
with a computer that has a high quality graphics/video card,
then you are unlikely to need additional tweaking when you connect
a different component to that input.
Plug and Play:
If you have a recent model computer and a recent model HDTV then
Windows Plug and Play should automatically set up and activate the
video output at the proper resolution and refresh rate.
With some older computers the HDTV may need to be already connected
when the computer is powered up.
In other cases you may need to adjust the display output manually using
Windows Display Properties or Advanced Display Properties, or if provided,
a custom Control Panel supplied by the manufacturer of the graphics/video card.
For Laptops you will need to use one of the External Display or
Video Output connectors.
Most newer Laptops have digital DVI or HDMI outputs in addition to an
analog VGA output.
As described above Windows Plug and Play should take care of
everything automatically when you plug in an external display or HDTV.
In some cases you may need
to press a special Function Key to manually activate the external display.
Frequently there are many different possible output combinations so you many
have to press the Function Key several times to obtain the outputs you want.
While most Laptops will simultaneously support both the
internal LCD display and an external display, if the Laptop screen has a
resolution lower than your HDTV it will probably limit the output resolution.
In that case, you will need to make the HDTV the primary display
or the only active display
by cyclically pressing the Function Key until you get the combination you want.