How to connect a laptop to the TV

So you want to get the media on your laptop on the big screen in your living room? It’s really quite easy to connect a laptop to the TV. ClickAway can do this for you or we’ll give you some step by step instructions. You can either do this wirelessly or you can use a cable (HDMI).

connect a laptop to the TV
How to connect a laptop to the TV 2

How do I connect a laptop to the TV with a cable?

All flat-screen TVs offer at least one HDMI port, as do practically all non-Apple laptops that have been manufactured in the last eight years. HDMI is just about the best solution at the moment to connect a laptop to the TV, as it supports both audio and video (HD and beyond). All you need, therefore, is an HDMI cable to connect the two.

You could spend a small fortune on expensive HDMI cables, but the truth of the matter is that for HD video transmitted from your laptop, any HDMI cable will do.

It’s connected, now what?

After you connect a laptop to the TV with the right cable you’re half way there. You also need to switch your TV to the correct input, plus configure your laptop or MacBook to re-route its display through the TV. This may happen automatically, but if it doesn’t – or you want to configure the display differently, continue reading.

PC laptop users should be able to cycle through the available display options using a special function key in conjunction with the [Fn] button. Keep pressing this to cycle between laptop display only, TV only, and laptop and TV together. Alternatively, right-click the desktop in Windows to select screen resolution; from here you’ll be able to manually detect and select your TV’s display.

How do I connect a MacBook to my smart TV?

The latest MacBook models require a USB Type-C adapter to connect them to your TV. Apple provides a Digital AV Multiport Adapter, but if you want a simple USB-C to HDMI connection at HD quality, you can get away with a more affordable Anker USB-C to HDMI Adapter.

MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros ship with Thunderbolt ports that double up as Mini Display Ports – this allows you to skip right past the adapter to simply having a USB-C to Display Port cable. Just make sure it supports 4K resolutions like the Cable Matters USB-C to DisplayPort. If this already sounds too confusing, give ClickAway a call and we can set this up for your quickly.

What cables do I need to connect older laptops?

If you’re not worried about streaming in HD – when connecting up to an older CRT television, for example – then the best option is to use the S-Video port. It doesn’t provide High Definition (HD) quality, and only carries the video signal, so you’ll also need to hook up a separate audio cable (typically from your laptop’s 3.5mm headphone jack) to the audio inputs on your TV.

Your TV will need one of two things: either separate S-Video and phono audio ports, usually found on the front of the TV, or a SCART socket found on the back. You’ll then need to purchase an S-Video cable of suitable length, along with a separate audio cable. If necessary, purchase a SCART adapter to connect both sets of cables to your TV.

How do I connect a laptop to the TV wirelessly?

If you don’t like the look (or hassle) of trailing cables in your home, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to connect to your TV wirelessly these days. 

For example, if your flat-screen TV is a smart model with support for DLNA media streaming, then you can send movies, photos and other media files directly from a smart device to it without the need for any additional hardware – just locate the right app on your TV to receive the content.

You’ll then need a suitable app for your laptop or mobile that allows you to send or stream content using DLNA. There are simple, relatively unsophisticated solutions such as opens in a new window AllCast for iOS and Android – this lets you display locally stored media as well as media hosted on another local DLNA server, or in the cloud via supported services (including Dropbox, Google Drive and Instagram).

If you’re serious about streaming media, then it’s worth considering using a full-blown media server solution like  opens in a new windowKodi. As an open-source player that offers basic media server capabilities and works on everything except non-jailbroken iOS devices, Kodi is compatible with almost every streaming service imaginable.

You can also use a VPN, or virtual private network, to encrypt your connection and stream content from literally anywhere in the world.  opens in a new windowExpressVPN, for instance, offers dedicated Mac, PC, and Linux apps and includes more than 140 different VPN locations.  

Categories: Computer Networks & Cables, Smart Home Service
Tags: connect a laptop to the TV, connect computer to TV, connect laptop to TV, connect MacBook to TV