Playing games has always been a matter of excitement and sometimes retreat from a stuffed day. Watching yourself lost in the virtual gaming world gives a sense of relief. However, few games when played on your PC monitor make you feel it needs a bigger screen. Played on laying down on the couch because of a tiring day. How about we play it on a larger TV? 

Why play PC games on a 4K TV?

It has been a traditional way of playing a PC game sitting at a desk with a keyboard and mouse on a tiny monitor. It is easy to play PC games on the big screen TV from the comfort of your couch.

There are many reasons why playing games on your 4K TV is worth it. You will be making use of superior resolutions. Some monitors over a certain size use similar technologies to that of 4K TVs. However, these won’t have other features of smart TVs. In many ways, it’s worth going for a 4K TV to play your PC games.

Even a budget 4K TV gives out an excellent image. It is far superior to your standard 10809 monitor screen. You get mind-blowing image quality if you can go for a more expensive TV with an OLED panel and HDR support.

1. Turn on Game Mode

It is recommended to switch to Game mode. This can decrease the input lag considerably. This ensures your controls feel fluid and lively. Each TV has a different settings option to find Game Mode. These efforts will be worth it.

Newer TVs have an option to switch into Game Mode automatically. If your PC and consoles are plugged into a receiver with dual outputs it can be plugged into TV input. If we have a universal remote like one of Logitech’s Harmony series, it is easier to switch between movie mode and game mode. 

2. Plugging in the PC directly

The easiest way to play PC games on a 4K TV is by plugging the PC directly into the TV. Attach an HDMI cable to the graphics card in your PC, and the other to the HDMI port of your TV. It is crucial to ensure it’s not connected to the integrated graphics of the motherboard as it will struggle with 4K gaming.

To check if your PC is outputting 4K images follow these steps:

  • Turn on your PC and TV, and set the TV to the correct input.
  • You should see your Windows desktop. 
  • Your PC should be outputting 4K images. If not, right-click on the desktop and select ‘Display Settings’.
  • In the window that appears click ‘Advanced display settings.
  • Make sure the resolution is 3840 x 2160. 
These instructions are for Windows 10. Other operating systems will vary slightly.

If you are planning to enjoy the game comfortably sitting on a couch you will need a wireless keyboard and mouse for some games. The Logitech Combo MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Set is an affordable choice. You may even need a wireless gamepad. The Best controller is a great choice. Most games support it natively. Further, a wireless adapter as well will be needed. It is sold separately and plugs into a USB port of your PC.

Most modern games will output to 4K. Not all of them will have assets that are native 4K. Some textures won’t look quite as good. However, some older games like Skyrim, have downloadable 4K texture packs which improve the image quality.

The PC version of the game Rise of the Tomb Raider which we have been playing looks gorgeous in 4K. Though there are other digital storefronts for buying and playing games we prefer using Stream. It provides Big Picture mode and a simpler interface to use on big screen TV.

3. The long HDMI cable method 

In case your PC is at a distance from your TV, having a really long cable to connect will do the job. 

In this case, you will face two problems to play PC games on your TV: 

  1. How long can an HDMI cable be before you encounter lag or loss of signal. 
  2. What is the range on a wireless controller?

For HDMI, ensure a cable rated to the standard you need for your TV. Assuming it is 4K60, it requires HDMI 2.0. These are easy to find and cheap. It comes with a length of up to 25 feet. Here is one from Amazon Basics. 

If your requirement is more than 25 feet, you will need an amplified cable to maintain the full 4K60 throughput. They look just like normal HDMI cables. They are unidirectional. One end will be marked as ‘Source,’ and needs to be plugged into your PC. Here’s a 50-foot model that can do 4K60, and a 100 foot model with a built-in signal booster.

If you are looking at this as a construction project, it is important to consider CL2 or CL3 rating. These ratings are classifications for quality that doesn’t catch fire in case of a voltage spike. The above-mentioned 50/100-foot cables are CL3 rated.

How do you get a signal from your controller to PC in a different room? Firstly try testing with a controller. Most PS4 and Xbox controllers have a range of about 30 feet. However, any interference like a wall may reduce that reach. There can be no better solution than this if it works.

If it doesn’t work then you will need to run another cable. A USB extension cable could get your receiver close enough to work reliably. Here’s a 30-foot cable. You can also run a USB extension over Ethernet as an alternate solution.

Using Stream link to play PC games on your TV

Having a laptop can support any controller to work with Windows. This is not the case with other devices. Other devices will be limited to ones with valves and driver support. Setting up a device like Stream link or an app built into TV is more convenient. You will need to make a few settings to get the best out of Stream in-home streaming.

  • Enabling streaming is simple: Go to Steam Settings →  In-Home Streaming” and check “Enable streaming.”
  • In Steam, go to Settings →  In-Home Streaming →  Advanced Host options and make sure “Enable hardware encoding” is checked. 
  • In case you have an Nvidia graphics card, try checking “Use NVFBC capture on the Nvidia GPU.”  It speeds up encoding, reducing latency.
  • If you have a 1440P or 4K monitor, consider checking “Change desktop resolution to match streaming client” in Advanced Host options. 
  • In games, Steam recommends disabling vsync for best results.
  • If possible use Ethernet.

 Nvidia GameStream

As long as you have an Nvidia graphics card on foot to model your PC, Nvidia has a dedicated option with the Shield TV. GameStream has its own UI. It is designed to make streaming “big” games as easy as possible. You’ll need the Nvidia GeForce Experience software on your desktop. Once you connect GameStream, it’ll scan your library for streaming “optimized” games. GeForce Experience will optimize game settings for you. If you want to stream games in your library that aren’t on this list, you can add them manually.