Nothing is better than a big TV screen while watching a movie or a TV show, it even beats the small screen size of our laptops, and for this, you need to know how to connect a computer to a TV.
It is a great feeling to sit comfortably on your big cushy sofa, enjoy your favorite movie on a big screen, surf the web, play games, or stream videos from apps that are not available on your TV. Going from computer to TV is very cheap or, at times, free depending upon the type of gear you already have.
TVs are bigger screens and generally farther away from your face than monitors. Still, you can easily toss a few Chrome tabs with Slack, your email client, and any useful information or messaging services up there so you can see if you need to respond to anything at a glance. Keep in mind a second-screen system only works with a few of the methods listed below, though.
There are several different ways to do it. Not every method is suitable for every situation, though. Depending on where your TV is, where your computer is, how your home is set up, and what media you plan to use your TV screen for, you need to consider exactly how to connect your laptop to your TV.
Before we discuss the best ways of how to connect a computer to a TV, we should know the difference between mirroring and extending.
Mirroring Vs. Extending
Mirroring means having the same content on both your Computer screen and your TV. This process is easy and simply achievable. It is a more common process.
Whereas extending means having the leisure of playing two different content on both your computer and TV. This means you can have the freedom to enjoy a YouTube video on your TV and work on your documents on your computer screen. This is a bit more complicated process; however, it can be achieved.
Now let us discuss the ways of how to connect a computer to a TV.
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1. Using HDMI
This is the most direct and reliable way to hook up your computer to a TV. It is also the most limited in function according to your home layout. Before we dive into the understanding of the process, let’s first understand what exactly is HDMI.
What is HDMI?
It’s a single, relatively thin cable that doesn’t get tangled as easily as previous standards and has full support for high-definition images. As well, it has been designed to be bi-directional, meaning the display will talk to your device or computer and tell it what resolutions it can support, what color depth is provided, and a myriad of other features your device can use.
HDMI provides a way for both audio and video to be sent by one cable, greatly simplifying the home theater equipment setup. When you want to connect your computer to your Television to watch a streaming movie, show family snapshots, or show a work presentation.
Let’s move on to the steps of how to connect a computer to a TV via HDMI,
- The HDMI port on the computer and the HDMI port on the TV will be the same, and the HDMI cable should have the same connector on both ends. If the TV has more than one HDMI port, make a note of the port number you plug it into.
- Using the buttons on the TV or using the TV remote, press the Input button to change the input of the TV to HDMI.
- Right-click on the desktop and select Display Settings. This will open the display settings menu. Click Detect. This tells the computer to look for the TV you connected.
- Click the “Multiple displays” drop-down box and select an option. This will give you a few options for how you want to show your computer on your TV.
- Click Apply. This will change the display settings and apply them to your computer monitor and TV.
You have completed the process of how to connect a computer to a TV via HDMI.
Working with HDMI gives the best picture quality, is most reliable, supports 4K, and is arguably the only method that supports gaming.
2. Using DVI or VGA
What is DVI?
One of the first digital formats available to computers to talk to monitors. Rare on laptops but somewhat prevalent on desktops. Easily adapted to HDMI, either through an adapter or a cable.
What is VGA?
VGA is not a digital format; it’s analog. You will need a special converter box to use it.
Let’s move on to the steps of how to connect a computer to a TV via DVI or VGA,
- Connect your computer to the TV with a male-to-male DVI or VGA or cable. Both the DVI and VGA port on the computer and the TV should be the same, and the cable should have the same connector on both ends.
- Connect your computer to the TV with a male-to-male audio cable. This is a 3.5mm stereo audio cable, similar to the end of a headphone plug. Plug one end of the cable into the headphone jack on your computer, typically a green port. Then plug the other end into the audio-in port on the TV.
- Change the input of the TV. Using the buttons on the TV or using the TV remote, press the Input button to change the input of the TV to DVI or VGA. Right-click on the desktop and select Display Settings. This will open the display settings menu.
- Repeat all the steps as before in how to connect a computer to a TV via HDMI.
You have completed the process of how to connect a computer to a TV via DVI or VGA.
3. Wireless Connections
If running a physical cable between your laptop and your TV isn’t realistic, but you don’t want to deal with streaming software, you use a wireless HDMI extender. Wireless HDMI extenders send HDMI data wirelessly between a transmitter and receiver, letting you connect your laptop to a nearby small box with a short HDMI cable and your TV to another nearby small box with another nearby HDMI cable. With the paired extender devices powered and connected, they work just like an HDMI cable.
Follow the given steps for how to connect a computer to a TV via wireless connections,
- Turn on the TV and Computer. The TV menu enables the Wi-Fi mode. Select the Wi-Fi input on the TV as you would Video 1, DVR, etc.
- On the PC, you should be prompted to select the Wi-Fi connection to the TV.
- Follow the TV manufacturer’s instructions on how to link the TV with your Wi-Fi network. It may be necessary to enter the security key or password to allow your network to recognize the TV as an access point. The TV may display a four-digit passcode for you to enter on the PC. The PC should then recognize the TV as a device connection.
- Even with the correct input selected on the TV, you may not see a picture. If so, go to the PC’s Control Panel and select “Adjust screen resolution.” You will see images for two different displays. Click on display number 2. Now choose “Extend the desktop onto this monitor” and click “Apply.”
- The HDTV screen should now show the Windows desktop photo. If prompted, click “Keep display settings.” You may need to adjust the resolution to get a larger image on the TV. Open windows on the PC screen may need to be dragged to the TV.
You have completed the steps of how to connect a computer to a TV wirelessly.
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These are the best possible ways of how to connect a computer to a TV. All of these methods let you stream media to your TV, so if you have lots of videos on your hard drive or only visible through a web app, you can send them to your TV. You can also use Plex to share your entire local media library, along with a slew of online services, directly to your TV with a simple menu interface.
Good luck, and if you have any favorite Computer-to-TV tips, let us know in the comments.
I hope this helps!