Updated January 2017
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, home computers didn’t use dedicated monitors to display operating systems, applications, and games.
In those days, things were much easier. Instead of paying extra for a monitor, most home computer and console owners were happy to use their TVs. It may seem strange now, but 30 years ago people hardly thought of ignoring TV programs to play video games.
For some, the situation has not changed much: game consoles are often connected to family television. But when it comes to computers, the dedicated monitor PC model eventually caught on. It would be unusual to see a home PC connected to a TV, even if it’s not impossible.
If you think about it, the ability to connect to different types of displays is pretty flexible. This must have been in the minds of the Raspberry Pi developers when they were deciding how their users might use the computer.
Despite its modest size, the Raspberry Pi supports 5 hardware output methods, enough to cover just about any output device you can think of.
What the creators say…
When I spoke to Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Eben Upton after the Pi launched, he explained that the stripped-down computer was built in the spirit of the 8-bit era.
«It’s a very cheap Linux PC, a 1980s-inspired device, a device that turns your TV into a computer, connects to the TV, plugs in a mouse and keyboard, gives it some power and some memory, an operating system, and you have a computer. «
Several different connections are supported from the Raspberry Pi. The original device has HDMI and RCA, while the most recent model, the Raspberry Pi 3, only has HDMI and a magical 3.5mm media port.
So how do you use these connectors to connect your Raspberry Pi to a monitor or TV?
It’s got HDMI!
One of the most interesting things about the Raspberry Pi is that every version comes with an HDMI connector, which means that anyone with an HDMI-compatible TV (which is most people in North America and Europe) can easily connect the device to their living room TV.
Unfortunately, not all TVs and monitors have HDMI connectors.