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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags playstationgaminghardware systemsgamesGame platforms

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

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?