In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to connect a laptop to a TV so you can watch Netflix, photos of your vacation, and other content on the big screen. There are several ways to do this, but we’ll focus only on the simplest and most widely used methods.
The method that works for you will depend on two different things, including the outlets on your TV and laptop. Let’s start.
Connecting your laptop or PC to your TV should be simple, provided they both have a backup HDMI port that you can use to physically connect them via an HDMI cable. The opposite of what appears on your computer screen is the case of choosing the appropriate input on the TV, and the sound must flow through the TV speakers.
But, of course, things are not always as simple as we hope. Your laptop may not have an HDMI port, or the TV may not have any additional HDMI slots. Probably no place close to the TV to put a laptop – there is a high possibility if it is installed on the wall.
In this article, we will explain step by step exactly what you need to connect a laptop to TV, as well as some solutions to some common problems.
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Why use your TV as a second screen?
The most obvious feature, especially if you work from home, is to set up your TV as a second screen. It’s bigger screens and generally far away, but you can easily throw a few Chrome tabs with Slack, email client, and any useful info or messaging services so you can see if you need to respond to anything at a glance.
This only works with a few of the methods mentioned below. A direct HDMI cable, an HDMI wireless connection, or a Miracast / WiDi connection will display the TV as a second show on your computer. Other calling options are more limited (although Google Cast allows you to stream Chrome tabs easily, even if it doesn’t work just like the second monitor).
All of these methods allow you to broadcast media to your TV, so if you have a lot of videos on your hard drive or are only visible through a web app, you can send them to the TV. You can also use Plex to share the entire local media library, along with a large number of online services, directly to your TV with a simple menu interface.
How to Connect a Laptop to TV with an HDMI cable
This is the simplest and easiest way to connect your laptop to a TV. The HDMI cable can handle both high-definition audio and video, so it’s great for streaming your favorite TV shows.
To make this work, both your laptop and TV must have an HDMI port. If they are not very old (or very new on this matter), there is a good chance they are on board. Connect them using an HDMI cable. Then just select the correct HDMI input on your TV with the help of the remote control, and you will be fine.
Keep in mind that some laptops have a mini HDMI port or a mini HDMI port, so you’ll need a different cable – you can get it via the buttons below.
How to Wirelessly Connect your Laptop to a TV
If your TV is wall-mounted, physically connecting your laptop may be difficult. But even if your TV set is on a desk, less crowded gravity might prefer to get rid of wires.
There are lots of tools available that can act as a bridge between your laptop and your TV, allowing you to “send” content from one to another. You’ll also hear the term screen mirroring used, although slightly different techniques, with one content streaming from within an app and the other simply copying the laptop screen.
Since there are many technologies and terminology used there, including dated solutions such as wireless display, Wi-Fi Direct, and Miracast that may be supported by any of your devices, one or both, we usually find it useful to keep things just simple.
We love Roku Express (review). It is a £ 29.99 media stream that connects to your TV via HDMI and allows you to install apps for different TV and movie subscription services. It also allows you to cast from a compatible device just like Google Chromecast £ 30, but with the addition of an intuitive interface.
If you don’t need a media streaming box – maybe you already have a smart TV and don’t need to add apps – there are also solutions of no more than a wireless HDMI dongle, like this £ 24.99 dongle from Amazon. It is just like connecting the two with an HDMI cable, except that the cable itself has been replaced by a special wireless system.
Google’s inexpensive Chromecast provides an easy way to insert your computer screen into your TV without any cables. While Chromecast is generally used to “send” content from a specific application or webpage to a TV, you can also send a specific browser tab. Not only that, but adding the Chromecast browser also allows you to send your entire computer desktop to Chromecast, and thus display it on TV.
How successful this is will depend on several factors: how strong your computer is, how strong your Wi-Fi signal is, and how reliable the Wi-Fi signal is. Sending your screen over Wi-Fi won’t work just like an HDMI cable, but it’s probably the easiest way to do wireless mirroring from any laptop or desktop computer nearby.
Apple local solution – AirPlay Mirroring – requires that you have an Apple TV connected to your TV. If you do, you can use Apple AirPlay to wirelessly display the contents of your Mac, iPhone, or iPad on your TV.
Unlike other wireless display options, using AirPlay Mirroring requires the use of Apple’s comprehensive ecosystem. However, if you are using Apple devices and you have Apple TV, AirPlay Mirroring works well.
Miracast Wireless Display
Miracast is supposed to be an open alternative to Apple’s AirPlay, allowing you to wirelessly “send” the screen of an Android or Windows device to a TV or set-top box. Support for sending is included in the latest versions of Android, Windows, and Windows Phone. Your TV may or may not have Miracast, although it appears on more streamers such as Roku.
Unfortunately, we found that Miracast is a hit or a little miss. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes it doesn’t. It is not always easy to track the cause of its failure. We had a hard time playing it on devices that we knew supported Miracast.
For these reasons, we recommend that you finally try Miracast. If you have devices that support Miracast, feel free to give it a screenshot, of course. But don’t stay away from your way to purchase devices that support Miracast, there is a good chance that you will be disappointed by the experience. Miracast obviously needs more time in the oven before hoping that the standard will become easy to use and the interface supposed to be.