How to Connect a Laptop to a TV

The best way to connect a computer to your TV and share its screen is using a standard HDMI cable, though you can also connect a computer to a TV wirelessly. Connect one end to the port on your laptop or PC, and the other to the port on the back of your TV, then switch the TV source to the appropriate HDMI channel. 

It should be this simple to mirror your laptop screen on a TV – and because HDMI carries sound and video, you will also hear whatever\’s playing streamed through your TV\’s speakers.

But, as with all things in life, it won\’t always go to plan. We\’ve outlined some common pitfalls you may encounter below, and explained how to get round them. Also read our tips on using a TV as a monitor.

My computer doesn\’t have an HDMI port

HDMI connections come in three sizes: full-size (also known as Type-A), Mini and Micro. The HDMI port on either your computer or your TV is likely to be a full-size connection, shown in red in the image below. Not all computers feature HDMI, however.

How to connect a laptop to TV

How to connect your laptop to a TV wirelessly

Plenty of gadgets are able to act as a bridge between your computer and your TV, allowing you to \’cast\’ content from one to the other. You may also hear the term \’screen mirroring\’ used, though technically the two are slightly different, with one streaming content from within an app and the other replicating your laptop\’s screen.

Because there are so many technologies and terminologies in use out there, including Wireless Display, Wi-Fi Direct and Miracast, which may be supported by none, one or both of your devices, it may pay to keep things simple.

We like the Roku Express (reviewed). It\’s a cheap media streamer that plugs into your TV over HDMI and allows you to install apps for various catch-up TV services and movie-subscription services. It also allows you to cast from a compatible device in much the same way as the £30 Google Chromecast, but with the addition of a user-friendly interface.

If you don\’t need a media streaming box – perhaps you already have a smart TV and don\’t need to add apps – there are also solutions that are no more than wireless HDMI dongles, such as this 4K dongle from Amazon. It\’s no different to connecting the two using an HDMI cable, except that the cable is replaced with a wireless system.

Also see: How to connect Android to TV and how to connect headphones to a TV. 

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