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As traditional TVs fall out of use, you may be wondering whether you can use a computer monitor to watch your Apple TV instead of a television. You can use an Apple TV with a computer monitor, but it will only work perfectly with some, be functional using workarounds with others, and not work at all with the remaining portion.

In the rest of the article, we are going to learn about how you can use your Apple TV with a computer monitor, including how to make it work when it is not strictly designed to do so with your existing hardware.

How Do You Use an Apple TV With a Computer Monitor?

If you have a computer monitor with built-in speakers, an HDMI port, and that is HDCP-compliant, you can connect your Apple TV to it with an HDMI cable.

The most common problem you can run into is not having speakers built into your monitor. If this is the case, you will need to connect speakers separately. How you do this will depend on what type of Apple TV you have.

4K Apple TVs of any generation can connect audio wirelessly using Bluetooth or AirPlay. If you have one of the older models that does not support 4K, you can connect speakers using the optical port.

Can Apple TVs Be Connected Directly Without HDMI?

1st generation Apple TVs have component video to connect to screens in addition to HDMI. This generation of Apple TVs has been discontinued since 2010, and computer monitors that take component video input are even more outdated.

One useful way to use a 1st generation Apple TV’s component video ports with a computer monitor is to connect the two using a component-to-VGA adapter for monitors with that type of port. The reason this works well is that both component video and VGA are analog signals. That said, component video can be connected to any modern computer monitor port using the appropriate adapter.

How Do I Use a Newer Apple TV Without an HDMI Cable?

If you have any model of Apple TV that is newer than the 1st generation, you can still connect it to a computer monitor without an HDMI cable, but you will have to use some additional equipment.

You will need an adapter with or without an audio extractor, and you may need speakers if these are not built into your computer monitor. You may also need an optical audio cable.

Using Optical Audio on Older Models

If you use an adapter to convert the Apple TV’s signal away from HDMI, it will no longer carry audio data. If you have an Apple TV that does not support 4K, it will have an optical audio port which you can use to connect to your speakers or audio-able computer monitor directly.

Using Wireless Audio on Newer Models

If you have a 4K-capable Apple TV, it will not have an optical audio port. These newer models do, however, allow you to connect to speakers wirelessly using Bluetooth or AirPlay.

Although the 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs did have Bluetooth before they were upgraded to support 4K, this early integration of Bluetooth was designed to only support keyboards rather than speakers.

AdobeStock_359370644 Closeup of connectors HDMI and DVI. Front view. Selective focus.

Using an Adapter

If your computer monitor does not have an HDMI port, you can use an adapter to convert the signal to whatever port your monitor does have. For example, and HDMI-to-DVI adapter can be used to connect your Apple TV to a computer monitor that does not take HDMI input but does take DVI.

To use an adapter, you simply plug one side of your HDMI cable into your Apple TV and the other side into the adapter’s input slot. You then plug one side of your DVI (for example) cable into the adapter’s output slot and the other side into your computer monitor’s video input port.

Extracting Audio From HDMI

One final way to make sure that you have audio when you are using your Apple TV with a computer monitor that does not support HDMI is to use an audio extractor. There are two types that you could use for this purpose.

The first type of audio extractor simply splits the audio off into a separate output. You will need to first connect your Apple TV to this extractor with one HDMI cable. It will give you an audio output to plug into your speakers and an HDMI output to connect to your adapter with another HDMI cable.

The other type of audio extractor is an integrated part of the adapter. If you have this type of device, you can connect your Apple TV to it with an HDMI cable, giving you a video output of the desired type and a separate audio output.

Will Using an Apple TV With a Computer Monitor Create a Conflict With HDCP?

HDCP is a type of copy protection that prevents the transmission of signal to devices that do not support it and can therefore be used to pirate material. Most modern computer monitors do support HDCP, and if you connect your Apple TV directly with an HDMI cable, you should have no conflicts with HDCP.

If you are using one of the workarounds discussed above, you will get unpredictable results because past the 1st generation of Apple TVs, HDMI is the only supported method of transmission.

You may also be unable to stream in 4K if your devices do not support HDCP 2.2. In these cases, any 4K content will stream in 1080p instead.

Final Thoughts

The best way to use an Apple TV with a computer monitor is to connect the two directly with an HDMI cable. Most suitable monitors should be HDCP-compliant, and if they have built-in speakers, they will function just like any television would in their place.

We learned a number of workarounds for connecting your Apple TV to a computer monitor that is not designed to work with it, but these can be difficult and do not guarantee results due to the fluid nature of HDCP.