Yes!! New LCD!! Now what...?

I am super thrilled to announce that I have finally gone balls deep and bought myself my first HD-tv. As I mentioned earlier, this is my very first Hd-tv, and I want to utilize it to the max. Getting HD-channels won’t be a problem as it is a part of my lease. However, I want to know how I can use my new tv to watch movies that I have on my PC. I have XP Media Center edition, and I know that it’s supposed to be a “media center” for the whole home, but I, for the life of me, don’t know how to set it up. What cables do I use? HDMI? DVI? VGA?

Thought I might clarify a few things:
I’d like, if possible, to run both my current lcd-monitor and the new tv simultaneously. Obviously I don’t want to be using using my tv when I’m doing word processing, for instance, but if I want to watch movies etc. then I’d like to use the TV. I’m not really sure how to go about this.

I can’t answer all your questions, but as far as cables I just switched from composite video cables to HDMI. The picture is slightly better, the sound is much better, and it’s a much neater installation all around, so I recommend that. I bought my cables from, and after advice from some helpful dopers bought the cheapest certified cables there were, saving a lot of money. You could find the thread, it was less than a month ago. Never mind, here it is.

I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this myself right now. It would help to know what kind of video card you have.

I’ve got an 8600 with dual DVI and S-Video. Due to my resolution settings, the S-Video output shows only a section of the screen, wherever my mouse happens to be.

Instead, I’m using the second DVI port, and changing the resolution of the ‘2nd’ monitor to that of the TV. Unfortunately, I now sometimes lose windows on to the 2nd desktop. Haven’t figured anything better out yet myself.

Do you have an Xbox 360? If so, a really nice setup is:

  1. you have your Media Center PC in the den/office/wherever, and you install a TV tuner card (a piece of hardware) which lets your PC record TV shows (like a tivo). Event without the tuner card, you can try running the Media Center program to see what this is like… it’s a nice interface that takes up the whole screen and is designed to be operated from a distance (big fonts, simple remote control navigation, no need to use a mouse, etc). The only thing you won’t be able to see is the TV guide, which is a lot like TiVo’s (only it’s free).

  2. you run an ethernet cable from your xbox to your media center PC and then you go through a little sequence of steps that establishes a connection between the xbox and the PC, and then that Media Center interface from your PC is magically displayed on your TV (with all the music, tv, etc from the PC). This is a “Media Center Extender,” meaning the Media Center experience is “extended” into another room. You can connect up to 5 extenders to a single media center at once (all watching different stuff).

You may have some or all of this stuff already, but you’d need:

  1. xbox 360
  2. ethernet cable
  3. tv tuner card for your PC (only if you want to be able to record tv on the PC)
  4. ethernet hub (maybe – you may already have this built into whatever hardware you use to connect to the internet)

Optionally, you can go wireless between the two, but that involves buying much more expensive wireless networking stuff for the xbox and the PC.
Oh, I forgot to add: you can find out a lot of info and get a lot of help on the details of setting this up at It has a bunch of forums for talking about Media Center stuff.

I’m planning on buying an xbox 360 next month. I was actually going to ask how one sets up a network with the xbox a bit later on, but I’m glad somebody took it up so early on =)
I do have some questions though. Is it normal to only have one ethernet port at the back of your computer? I thought I had at least two, but it turns out they were just USB ports. My current ethernet port is being used for broadband, so what the hell do I do now? Do I have to buy a port-splitter (or something of that sort) so that I can have internet and connect the xbox? Whoooooosh… wow. I totally forgot that you mentioned that I might need an ethernet hub haha =)
Now, back to my graphics card. Unfortunately I only have an Nvidia geforce 7300 LE. It works pretty good, but it’s certainly not in the same class as the big hitters out on the market today. It will be upgraded in a few months time. I just inspected the back of the card and noticed that there were 3 different plugins. One is for the regular blue cable (VGA, I think) that we’ve all seen at one time or another. The other one (which I’m currently using) is the white cable (by blue and white I mean that the actual connectors are a certain color, not the whole cable) which I’m, again, guessing is the DVI cable. And the third plugin is the S-Video.
Since I won’t have my xbox until late next month, what would be the optimal solution for me watching TV etc from my computer? I have a TV tuner and am able to watch stuff on my 19" screen, but since I now have a 32 incher (hehe) I just want to plug and play. Since I DON’T have a HDMI input at the back of my graphics card, that would just be a waste of money. So, what, do I just buy a long DVI cable? Will that solve all my problems until I get the xbox?
Thanks for the taking the time to help out guys!!

To increase the number of ethernet ports you can either install another ethernet card into the computer or buy a dataswitch. I have a couple of the latter, one an Asus Giga-X-1008 and the other a D-Link somethingorother. Both cost around £15. There are many variations on them some costing into thousands.

D-Link Ethernet card
Cheapest solution if you only need one extra port.

Asus switches

Edit: damn stupid typo.

Is there no way to buy some external card/box that would plug in to my one available port and supply me with at least a few more ports? A “splitter” of sorts? If not, I will heed your advice and buy myself a D-link ethernet card. Thanks, Myglaren!

The switch is just that, will expand your one port to as many as you want. I have a pair of four-port devices but you can go to hundreds.

Slight correction here - I’ve shifted to another computer and see that the Asus switch is actually an eight port model. I’m sure the other is a 4 or 5 but can’t access it just now.