How To Connect A Laptop To A TV

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connect laptop to tv There are many times when I would like to share pictures, video, or games from my laptop or PC with my friends and family. The problem is that its quite hard to get everyone around a small computer screen let alone keep them interested for very long. Wouldn’t it be much better if you could connect your computer to your TV so everyone could view your media with ease and comfort?

It is indeed a much better solution and can be a lot of fun for everyone. So I will explain everything you need to do in order to connect your laptop or PC to your television.

There are a variety of different ways you can connect your computer to your TV. All will involve the use of different types of cables. Which cable you use will depend on a couple of different factors:

  1. What type of connections your laptop/PC has
  2. What type of connections your television has

The following is a list of the different types of cables/connections you will have to choose from with picture quality ranging from highest to lowest:

  1. HDMI
  2. DVI
  3. VGA
  4. S-Video
  5. Composite/RCA

connect laptop tv

1. “High Definition Multimedia Interface” or HDMI is the highest quality connection now. All HDTVs will have this connection though chances are your laptop or computer will not. If you do happen to have an HDMI connection on your computer then by all means, use this connection. If you do not have HDMI on your computer you can use an adapter to convert HDMI to DVI.

2. DVI stands for “Digital Video Interface” and has pretty much been the standard for connecting computer monitors since about 2003. Your computer will most likely have this connection. HDTVs should also have this connection. If you wish to use audio with a DVI connection you must use a seperate audio cable. A cable from phones output connected to red and white audio in on your TV will work great!

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3. VGA or “Video Graphics Array” connections are the most common video connections found on laptops and PC’s. HDTVs may have a VGA connection which means you simply need to connect the cable between your computer and televsion. However, older televisions will not have a VGA connection and will require a PC to television converter. There are USB converters that allow you to use this method. Just like DVI, VGA does not carry a audio signal. Just use the same method from above for connecting audio from your phones output.

4. S-Video or “Super Video” has been around for quite some time now. Some laptops and computer graphics cards will have a S-Video connection. Most televisions will also have a S-Video connection. This isn’t the best quality connection but its also not the lowest quality. S-video has the same audio limitation as the above two examples. Again, just use your phones output and a phones to RCA cable or adapter.

5. Composite connections, sometimes referred to as RCA connections, are the yellow, red, and white connections that most people will be familiar with. Red is right analog audio, and white is left analog audio. Yellow is composite video. This will be the lowest quality connection to use. If your computer has no RCA connections, you can use an RCA to S-Video cable.

Connecting your laptop or PC to your television is pretty simple. Just check both your computer and television to find out what connections they have in common. If by some chance you have no connections matching up, you can always buy adapters to make your connection types match.

Once you’ve passed the stage of physically connecting your computer to your television you’ll have to select the correct input on your TV. Just like when using your DVD player, select the input that your computer is connected to using your remote. This input might be called something like AV1 or AV2.  You should see this on the television screen.

If your picture seems distorted, play around with the pixel settings on your TV or change the resolution. New HDTVs will have a few different resolution settings.  Older TVs may only have one resolution setting.  In this case, adjust your computer resolution until the picture looks good.

Following the steps above will have you sharing media on your TV in no time. There’s nothing better than a 50″ plasma picture frame in the middle of your living room.

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Comments (24)
  • David

    I have a slot on my laptop that looks like the VGA but mine doesn’t have the screws on the sides of it, can you tell me if the VGA is the right wire and if not, what wire do I need :?

  • Kayleigh Charlesworth

    I have found this article through searching on google and was wondering. I had my tv and laptop hooked up perfectly, all I had to do was plug them in, but now, that won’t work. What can I do to get it to work again? I go to windows mobility center and it doesn’t even recognise that there is anything plugged in. When I plug the HDMI cable into the back of the TV, it registers, but when I plug it into the computer, it isn’t even acknowledged, no beep or anything like it used to. The HDMI cable is brand new, never been used, so ruling out it being broken. HELP ME!!!

  • SHAWN

    Where can i get these cables from and what if i dont have s-video on my compaq presario CQ60?

  • ali

    i have a laptop which has HDMI technology, i wanna connect to the TV which has the RCA connection port can any one suggest me to carry forward.

  • Alex

    You may also try this VGAtoVideo Extender Kit which provides you with the quality and results that allow you to send video farther, see images clearer and relay on our proven technology to span long distances (up to 125 feet) by connecting any video source to any screen. This is all done using regular ethernet CAT5 or CAT6 cable.

    – Entertain family and friends by connecting your PC to your big screen TV!
    – Enjoy your favorite downloaded movies
    – Show home videos and photo slide shows

    Here is a simple instructional video on how you can hook everything up:
    http://VGAtoVideo.com/instructions.html

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.