Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hooking up your PS3 to your PC Monitor

The PC monitor can be a good alternative HD display for those who already own a large LCD monitor but not a HDTV or have no room for a HDTV. This article explains some of the technical issues connecting your PS3 to a LCD monitor.

1. Monitor Size
The size of your monitor usually determines the resolution it can output. The maximum resolution of the monitor is important as it determines the HD output it can support. The monitor must be able to display a resolution of at least 1280x720 for 720p output and at least a resolution of 1920x1080 for 1080p output. This usually means that 19"-22" widescreen monitors can support up to 720p output while those 24" and above can support up to 1080p.

One thing to note is that most PC monitors are 16:10 aspect ratio while HD output resolutions are 16:9 aspect ratio. This slight difference results in the picture being stretched slightly vertically to fill the entire screen. Some monitors have settings to correct this such as 1:1 pixel mapping or aspect mode, allowing the picture to be displayed in 16:9 aspect ratio with two small black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

HDCP must be supported by your monitor in order for it to output video from the PS3. This is more of an issue with older monitors as most new monitors out there support HDCP.

3. Monitor Inputs
Most monitors have both a VGA and DVI input, with more and more models supporting HDMI input. VGA cable output is not officially supported on the PS3, so the use of third party VGA cables is not recommended and can be costly. For connecting to the PS3, HDMI is the preferred mode of connection as all you need is a simple HDMI cable. Monitors without HDMI input will need a HDMI to DVI cable. DVI input is basically similar to HDMI, but without the sound signal.

Some higher end models support component input, but since those models also have HDMI and DVI inputs, they should be preferred over component as the image quality is better. If you are looking for cables, Play-Asia has a decent HDMI cable here and HDMI to DVI cable here.

4. Sound
Because most monitors do not have speakers, you'll need a way to connect your speakers for sound. This is one of the main issues when hooking up your PS3 to your PC monitor. If you have a receiver, you can hook it up with a HDMI or optical cable for sound. Some higher end speakers support optical input as well. You can get a cheap optical cable here. For most people however, the easiest way is to use the RCA cables that came with the PS3 to connect your speakers. You may need a 3.5mm to RCA F adapter cable to connect those cables to 3.5mm audio jack input speakers.

Finally, when everything is connected. You'll need to configure your PS3 to output video and sound on the correct cables. The configuration settings can be found under System Settings, one for Video and another for Audio. The process should be self explanatory.

Is Buying a HDTV Better?
Hooking up your PS3 to your PC monitor is slightly more difficult than hooking it up to a TV because of the separate video and sound signals, so it is not recommended for everyone. Monitors are also smaller than TVs and may not be suitable for playing at a distance. It is more suited for people who already own a large monitor and want it to double up as a PS3 display instead of buying a HDTV. In those cases, the investment of a few cheap cables make it worthwhile.

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