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How to Connect a Laptop to a TV?

by Edwin Liu | May 7, 2013 18:25 PM
Follow @edwinliu999

It is many people’s expectation to enjoy video games, web content, and photos on a bigger screen TV other than the small laptop monitor. To achieve this goal, you should connect your laptop to your television. Problem is that many people totally have no idea about how to do that and are afraid the process is too difficult to operate. In fact, it is very easy to hook a laptop to TV. This article will show you a detailed guide and don’t hesitate to give it a try.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a Mac or PC, but you should figure out the exact ports or jacks on your TV and laptop because different models have different type of ports. Basically, there are five types of jacks including S-Video, RCA, VGA, DVI and HDMI. We will discuss all of them respectively:

Step one: connect laptop to TV with cables

  • Type1. Laptop and TV have the same ports or jacks
    1. Connect laptop to TV with S-video
    2. S-Video also called Super-Video is often found on most laptop and older TV set. If you happen to have S-Video port both on you laptop and TV, you can simply use an S-Video cable to connect the two devices together. But S-Video only carries the video signal, so if you want to acquire better audio quality, you have to hook up a separate audio cable to the audio inputs on your TV. S-Video usually has four or seven pins and pinholes, make sure the ports of your TV and laptop match.

    3. Connect laptop to TV with RCA
    4. RCA port exists on the old TVs and laptops. RCA connector features three round sockets: composite video is yellow, left audio is white, right audio is red. Easily connect the laptop and TV with a three-prong cable. Remember to plug the cable into the right sockets on TV.

    5. Connect PC to TV with VGA
    6. VGA is a trapezoid-shaped connector with 15 pins, which is commonly used on older HDTV and many laptops. To connect them, you should first turn off your laptop and TV and then connect laptop and TV with the VGA cable. When they are connected, turn on all the devices. Here you need additional audio cables to obtain better audio.

    7. Connect laptop to television with DVI
    8. DVI means digital video interface, which is designed for high-definition connection and it is rectangular with 24 pins. The newer HDTV sets and laptops have DVI ports. You can connect you laptop to TV with a DVI cable and the connect process is the same with VGA connection. Also you need hook up audio RCA to obtain sound.

    9. Connect laptop to TV with HDMI
    10. HDMI stands for high-definition multimedia interface. It is also rectangular but with 19 pins and it carries both video and audio signals in one single cable, so a TV with HDMI jacks are the only one that doesn’t require extra audio cables. If both your laptop and TV have the HDMI ports, you can conveniently connect them with HDMI cable.

    Note: To connect audio cable for sound, you need a 3.5mm Mini Plug to RCA Cable to connect the audio line out from laptop to your TV. The red cable connector goes into the red socket of your TV, white connector into the white socket and the black connector goes into the 3.5mm headphone jack of your computer.

  • Type2. Laptop and TV have different ports or jacks
  • In this case, you will need an adapter or special cables to connect laptop to your TV. For example, if your HDTV has the HDMI port and don’t have a DVI port, but you laptop have the DVI port and don’t have a HDMI port, you can use a HDMI-to-DVI cable or use an adapter of both DVI port and HDMI port on it to connect them.

Step Two. Adjust display settings

You will get distorted image if the screen resolution and aspect ratio of your laptop and TV are not the same. To solve the problem, you can go to the Display Settings on your Windows computer to change the screen resolution and aspect ratio. Mac computer should automatically adjust settings for screen resolution, aspect ratio.

Step Three. Play laptop on your TV

Pick up your TV remote and click “Input” or “TV/Video” until your laptop comes up on TV. Or in the Display Setting, you can make settings to double play on both your laptop and TV set. Mac will automatically adjust the setting for double play.

To sum up, if the ports of your laptop and TV are the same, you can direct connect them with the adaptable cable. If they are different, you can use some adapter or special cable to hook laptop to TV. Then plug the audio cable to obtain sound if necessary and adjust the display setting to achieve better video image. At last, play laptop on TV with some settings. Easy, isn’t it?


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