Using a TV and Projector as Computer Monitors

I was mobile the past 5 years, so my consoles, TV, desktop and other home furnishings were all put into storage. After moving into a house this summer, I wanted to make use of not only the space, but the bandwidth and currents.

I hooked up my new custom-built desktop and tried the two 17- and 19-inch monitors I had available. I pulled away from the laptop a bit, but I still didn’t feel like I “unpacked” yet.

After scouring Amazon, I purchased a 2015 Samsung 32-inch TV to use as a monitor.

It’s 1080P, and has two HDMI ports (just like my desktop, which is still a graphics card away from being VR-ready) so it was a steal at under $200 with fast shipping.

I actually bought it right after being used for sex upon first moving up here by a nurse who needed healing. I wanted an attachment she didn’t, but hey, I got laid, right?

Using a TV as a Monitor

In doing some research online, I determined a non-smart TV was the best bet to use as a monitor. I haven’t tried hooking my computer up to a TV in over a decade, and it was much more difficult back then.

HDMI makes things much easier.

I also hooked up a few other TV-type things to it and can switch inputs when I get real lazy and want to curl up in bed and work on the laptop.

Being a 2015 model Samsung, it has a pretty great picture, and games like Smite can now be played in a window larger than either of my old monitors while still giving me space to watch YouTube and browse the web.

Before I show you the picture of it, I have to warn you that what you’re going to notice first isn’t the gorgeous picture of my 32-inch Samsung 1080P TV.

You’re going to more notice how great the picture actually came out on the secondary monitor I wasn’t expecting.

Working from home (aka living at work) takes a lot of work space.
Working from home (aka living at work) takes a lot of work space.

Using a Projector as a Monitor

I woke up earlier last week to a box I wasn’t expecting – an i500 LED Projector from BenQ.

BenQ 1500 Projector Review

As I explained in my vlog below, I attend quite a few trade shows, conferences, and other large-scale events, where I pass out my business card like crazy to make my presence known.

I’ve probably gone through about 1000 business cards in the past couple of years.

In exchange I’m often sent media review units to get hands-on experience with products, test, them, and post online reviews (which this particular blog is serving as for the projector).

This particular unit is a smart projector that includes a proprietary OS based on Android (Google Play doesn’t work, nor would my Galaxy S7 connect via USB).

While it sucks for basically anything else, a light bulb popped in my head when I realized I could hook it up to my desktop.

Light Bulb Light

So now at night when I’m holed up and working (which will likely happen often since it snows up where I’m staying in northern AZ and already getting cold at night), I have a much larger work space.

It took some effort to set up, much like the TV…

Benq Projector

The default Android-based menu is filled with garbageware (and the store isn’t any better).

But to the left of the screen, you’ll see the HDMI and VGA connectors on-screen, which allowed me to use it as a secondary monitor on my PC.

BenQ Menu

Which Is Better?

Both devices were very easy to hook up, and the first night I had it, I passed out with both on, running Smite on the TV and a Blu Ray on the projector.

It made me feel like a kid again, laying in my newly christened bed with the wall covered moving superheros (and cartoons) while I harnessed the powers of the gods to wreck arenas and conquest matches.

Projector Computer Monitor

Which Is Better?

Due to the 10+ ft-width of the projection screen, it wasn’t good enough to work on. Movies looked crisp, and games, while more difficult to play, looked good.

Still, the 32-inch Samsung is a much more high-definition picture, brighter screen, more vibrant colors, and is the easiest to view text.

At night, the two of these screens provide ample light to see my way around my room and multitask throughout the night.

I also tested how it looks with the Canon DSLR I used to make the vlog above, so it could be useful in providing generic special effects if I can get the lighting right for night shots.

Otherwise I suppose I can also learn a bit of video editing while I’m at it.

Bottom Line

Between the two, I obviously chose to purchase the TV and would absolutely recommend it as a primary monitor for your gaming computer setup so you don’t have to be tethered to your desk.

In fact, I’d recommend instead of using smart TV’s to hook your own custom computer to each TV in your house, but that’s just me. I have a Chromecast and about a dozen other ways to do it, but none are very effective.

As for the projector, I certainly wouldn’t buy one for the $800 they’re trying to get on Amazon.

If it were smaller, quieter, and had the same Android desktop used by mobile devices, it would be great. I’m sure it can be hacked to do so, but I don’t have time to do that.

So I’m going to enjoy another movie night tonight but will be sending this impractical projector back to BenQ Monday morning.

Brian-Penny-CES-PressBrian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work appears in High Times, Huffington Post, Fast Company, The Street, and Hardcore Droid.


Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: