How Do You Connect a Laptop to a TV?

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You can connect your laptop to a TV in a number of ways, depending on the connections on both devices. If your laptop and your television share the same type of connection, you need to purchase the right connecting cord, switch your television to the correct input, then configure your laptop if necessary. If your laptop and computer do not share a connection, you may be able to purchase an adapter that will allow your devices to work together.

  1. Check the ports on your laptop and television

    Look for the same type of ports on both the laptop and the television. Common ports that most modern televisions and laptops share include HDMI, VGA, DVI, Display Port and S-Video. Some laptops also have mini-HDMI, mini-DVI and mini Display Ports and will need an adapter to work with a matching port on the television.

  2. Connect the corresponding cable

    Purchase the corresponding cable, and adapter if necessary, that connects your laptop to the television. Your laptop may need to be turned off before connecting to recognize the connection. You can find all types of connection cords, including HDMI, VGA, DVI and S-Video, at most electronic stores. HDMI cords provide the highest quality video and audio. Other connections may require you to also connect audio cables that have a headphone jack on one end for the laptop and two-channel RCA connection on the other end for the television.

  3. Tune your television, and configure your laptop

    Tune your television to the correct input channel. The television should display the name of the input when you change it. Turn on your laptop if you have it turned off. Depending on the type of laptop you have, you may have to adjust your laptop's display settings to get the computer screen to display on the television. Some laptops give you the option to have the television mirror exactly what is on your laptop screen or act as an extended display so you can use it for other purposes, like viewing a movie while still using your laptop.

To change the display settings on a Windows laptop, go to the Control Panel, select Display, and click on Adjust Resolution. In the Display drop down box, select the TV. If sound does not initially play on the television, on the laptop go to Control Panel, and select Sound. Then find the television in the list of playback devices, select it, and click Set Default.

The process for connecting a laptop to a television using a media streaming device, such as a Roku or Chromecast, depends on the specific device. In general, they are plugged into the TV's HDMI port and can be accessed by laptops and other devices over Wi-Fi.