Connect an old game console to your PC

Can your computer screen double as a TV monitor for aging game consoles?

Reader Keith wants to squeeze some extra life from his old PlayStation and PlayStation 2 systems, noting that many of his games "don't have comparable versions for PCs." His desktop has a Hauppauge TV tuner card, so he wants to know if he can connect either console and "play these games on my computer."

Very interesting question, Keith! My initial reaction is to wonder why you don't just plug the consoles into your TV like you did back in the day. That's certainly the most straightforward solution.

In any case, let's address your specific question. Although it's possible to connect a game console to a PC, you wouldn't actually be playing the games "on your computer." Rather, you'd simply be routing the console's video output to your monitor, effectively using the latter in place of a TV.

There are a few potential obstacles here. The good news is that your particular TV tuner can accommodate your consoles' composite audio/video connections, which is half the battle.

However, those consoles were designed to pair with CRT televisions, which offered a maximum output resolution of 640 by 480. Your monitor undoubtedly runs at a much higher resolution. It's hard to know how your games will end up looking, but I'll bet my lunch they won't run at a satisfactory size or aspect ratio.

There might also be some lag between controller actions and what you see on the screen. And let's not forget the audio, which poses its own set of potential problems.

Bottom line: computers--and especially computer monitors--aren't a good match for older game consoles. Newer consoles with HDMI outputs pair pretty well with newer monitors (those that have HDMI inputs and built-in speakers), but even then you're bypassing the PC entirely.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags playstationGame platformsgaminghardware systemsgames

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?