How to Connect Your Laptop to Your TV

Ever wanted to sit back and watch YouTube on your tv? Its actually really simple.

Its not just YouTube you could play video games, read or even work on your TV from your laptop.

In the search for entertainment, many people have cut the cable (or satellite), preferring to get their programming off YouTube and other Internet sites for little or no cost. However people don’t always want to consume that content off the smaller screens that come with laptops and other devices. The solution? Keep that big TV working by feeding it directly from your laptop. There are several ways to do this, and it’s simpler than you might imagine.

Getting Connected

The easiest way to connect your laptop to your television is with a cable that hooks into each device. Most laptops built over the last Half-decade have an HDMI port (which stands for “High-Definition Multimedia Interface”). The HDMI port looks like a longer and thinner version of the USB port that you’ve probably used for flash drives, printers, and other devices. Most HDMI cables are inexpensive, and the port on your TV should be easy to find. Connecting the two devices is no more difficult than using an extension cord.

Set your TV to the correct input for HDMI, and the laptop should automatically configure to provide the best settings. If your laptop does not automatically output its screen to the TV, go to your Desktop, Right-click your mouse, and go to Display Settings > Display > Adjust Resolution, you can also get there by going to the Control Panel. Select the TV in the drop down box that appears. 

Connecting Older Laptops

If you’re using an older laptop that doesn’t have an HDMI port, your answer might be VGA port. No, this isn’t a professional golf organization. It’s a different kind of port that is roughly rectangular with 15 pins in three rows of five. VGA cables only provide the video output, so this method requires a second cable (what’s called a 3.5mm lead), which plugs into your TV and into your laptop’s headphone port.

Of course, your computer and TV might not have the same type of connection. For example, your TV might sport an HDMI connection, but your computer has a DisplayPort. No need to toss up your hands in frustration and settle for the radio. You simply need to buy an adapter, an inexpensive device that has a DisplayPort connection on one end, and an HDMI connection on the other end. (There are adapters for most other combinations as well.) Place the correct connection of the adapter into the cable that feeds into your laptop, and plug the other end into your TV.

Wireless Options

Another way to connect your laptop and TV is with a dedicated media stream, with the most common being Google’s Chromecast, Roku’s Streaming Stick, Amazon Fire Stick, or Apple’s TV.

These devices all work in a similar manner, so let’s look at how Chromecast operates. You plug the dongle into the HDMI port on your television, and it will act as a transmitter that connects to your laptop or other mobile device over your Wi-Fi network.

Chromecast doesn’t mirror the content on your laptop like the other methods in this list. Instead, your mobile device (smart phone or tablet running Android or iOS or your computer running the Windows or Mac OS X operating systems) acts as a remote control. It directs the dongle plugged into the TV to the Internet content you want to stream.

The setup is easy. As soon as you plug the dongle into your TV, it should recognize your laptop and walk you through the setup process.

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