- What Do You Need to Connect Your Laptop to Your TV?
- HDMI: Connecting With a Cable
- Chrome-Friendly Streaming: Chromecast and Google Cast
- Wireless Windows Standard: Miracast
- Big Laptop Libraries: Plex
- Just For Games: Steam Link
- Cable-Free Cables: Wireless HDMI
- Which Solution Is Right for You?
- Further Reading
- More TV Reviews
- More TV Best Picks
- Connecting your PC to your TV
- Where do I start?
- I know what connections my computer and my TV have, what next?
- Now that I know what adapter I need for the video, what about audio?
- How to Connect Your Computer to Your TV
- Why Should You Connect Your TV to Your Computer?
- What are Your Options?
- How to Connect Your TV to Your Computer
- Mirroring With an HDMI Cable (And Possibly an Adapter)
- Chromecast Screen Casting
- AirPlay Mirroring
- Miracast Wireless Display
- PC/Laptop/Tablet to TV Connection Guide
- Are you unsure which PC to TV cables or Laptop to TV cables you need to connect your Computer/laptop/PC to your TV/HDTV?
- Here is our quick how to guide;
- Computer has VGA – TV has VGA
- Computer has VGA – TV has Component
- Computer has VGA – TV has HDMI
- Computer has VGA – TV has DVI-I or DVI-A
- Computer has DVI-I or DVI-A – TV has VGA
- Computer has DVI – TV has DVI
- Computer has HDMI – TV has DVI-D or DVI-I
- Computer has DVI-D or DVI-I – TV has HDMI
- Computer has HDMI – TV has HDMI
- Computer has HDMI (Type C Mini) – TV has HDMI
- Computer has S-Video – TV has S-Video
- Computer has S-Video – TV has Scart
- Computer has DVI-A or DVI-I – TV has Component
- Computer has DisplayPort – TV has HDMI
- Computer has DisplayPort – TV has DVI
- Computer has Mini DisplayPort – TV has HDMI
- Computer has Mini DisplayPort – TV has DVI
- Computer has USB – TV has VGA
- Computer has USB – TV has HDMI
What Do You Need to Connect Your Laptop to Your TV?
If you’re like me, you watch a lot of movies and TV shows on your computer. It’s still the ultimate media machine, capable of playing any file format and outputting to any device with the right cables. It’s also the ultimate video game system, able to play the widest library of games available with the biggest variety of controllers. There’s just one catch: Most monitors (and all laptop displays) are smaller than the average TV. So why not just connect your laptop to your TV and watch or play anything you want on a bigger screen?
You can, and there are several different ways to do it. Not every method is suitable for every situation, though. Depending on where your TV is, where your computer is, how your home is set up, and what media you plan to consume, you need to consider exactly how to connect your laptop to your TV.
Here are your options, and the benefits and drawbacks to each of them.
HDMI: Connecting With a Cable
This is the most direct and reliable way to hook up your laptop to your TV. It’s also the most limited by your home layout. It’s a simple solution: Run a physical HDMI cable between your computer and your TV and you’ll get the best performance and reliability. A wired connection means the best picture quality and lowest input lag, and it won’t be affected by the wireless network environment around your home. It’s what I use in my apartment, and it lets me play PC games on my TV. In fact, the low lag of a wired connection makes this one of the few acceptable ways to play PC games on your TV (though Steam Link has certainly proven its worth on that front, especially if you can connect it to your network over Ethernet). It also supports 4K resolution, if your laptop can handle it in the first place.
Then again, my apartment is a studio, so using an HDMI cable is easy. If you keep your computer in a separate room, running a cable isn’t the most convenient or realistic solution. If you don’t mind a little construction, you can build conduits between rooms and keep a cable in-wall to avoid clutter, but that isn’t feasible for everyone (especially renters). There’s also the distinct limitation of range. At best, you can run 50 feet of HDMI cable before losing signal quality. More realistically, you might seem some hiccups in the picture if you go past 25 feet. There are HDMI amps that can extend the reach of your cables, but that adds more cost and complication to the setup.
If you decide to go this route, make sure to read our explainer on What You Need to Know About HDMI Cables (hint: cheap ones work just fine).
Pros: Best picture quality and input lag. Most reliable connection. Supports 4K. Arguably the only method really suitable for gaming.
Cons: Physical wires can be a pain to run between rooms or across long distances. Limited range without additional equipment to boost the signal.
Chrome-Friendly Streaming: Chromecast and Google Cast
If you mostly want to send streaming movies and TV shows from your laptop to your TV, the Google Chromecast is an easy way to do it wirelessly. Just plug it into the back of your TV and connect it to your network. You’ll be able to stream any Chrome tab from your notebook to it with the click of a button. That means Netflix, Hulu, and almost every other major streaming service. It also means any YouTube video, animated gif, interesting web page, or any other content you can load in Chrome.
If that isn’t compelling enough, it’s very inexpensive for a physical device, with the 1080p Chromecast available for $35 and the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra for $69. If you have an Android TV like the Sony A8G or Hisense H8F, Google Cast is built in and you can stream directly to it already.
Chromecast is very functional for computers, but it’s more designed for mobile devices that support Google Cast. If you have an Android phone or a Chromebook, you can stream the device’s full screen to a Chromecast directly without going through a Chrome tab. A wide variety of streaming apps also feature Google Cast support, so you can stream media from those apps to the Chromecast and use your phone as a remote. PC control is a bit more limited, focused mostly around the Chrome web browser as a front-end.
Pros: Inexpensive. Streams video or web browser tabs. Chromecast Ultra and some Android TV devices support 4K.
Cons: PC integration and support are limited compared with Android devices.
Wireless Windows Standard: Miracast
Intel’s WiDi wireless display technology has been discontinued, but Miracast carries on the torch, and it’s natively supported in both Windows 10 and Windows 8.1. Just click on the notification button in the system tray, expand the buttons on the menu that pops up, and click Connect. You’ll be able to mirror your screen directly to any Miracast-compatible device on your network. That includes many smart TVs and media streamers. You can also get a dedicated Miracast receiver and plug it into your TV (Microsoft makes an official receiver for $50 called the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, which will almost certainly work with your modern Windows PC). With your PC connected, the screen will show up on your TV through its Miracast-compatible screen streaming mode, or Miracast receiver.
It’s a more economical solution than using a wireless HDMI extender, and depending on your TV’s smart platform, you might already be able to use it. Like the extender, though, video resolution usually tops out at 1080p. If you have a higher-resolution monitor, the screen will probably be scaled down as it’s transmitted to the TV or adapter. Like most wireless solutions, it can also suffer from display lag, which will hurt playing games over it.
Pros: Natively supported by Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, and some smart TV platformers. Receivers are relatively inexpensive.
Cons: Doesn’t usually support 4K. Too much lag for games.
Big Laptop Libraries: Plex
If you’ve built a big media library on your computer, you can stream it easily to your TV using Plex. Plex is media server software that can catalog all of your video and audio files and stream them to any device running the Plex app. It can also act as a front-end for streaming media services, and can even record live TV with a USB tuner.
All major media streamers support Plex, along with many smart TV platforms. It can even stream to your phone, tablet, or any other compatible device outside of your house, as long as your computer is on and connected to the internet. Plex is available for free, but for more advanced features like live TV and DVR, you need to get the premium Plex Pass for $4.99 a month, $39.99 a year, or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription.
Plex is very functional for media playback and streaming, even in its free form. It doesn’t support any sort of screen mirroring, however; anything streamed to the Plex app on your TV or media streamer must be registered through the server software. That means no games. It also tops out at 1080p, so it can’t stream 4K.
Pros: Robust media format and service support. Accessible outside of the home. Free, with optional premium subscription for advanced features.
Cons: Doesn’t support 4K. Doesn’t work with games.
Just For Games: Steam Link
Valve released the a few years ago, and while it didn’t make many waves, we were impressed by its performance. It was a media streamer designed specifically for PC games. You connected it to your TV, paired a controller with it, and you could play games on your computer through it. Your PC handled all of the graphical processing, and the Steam Link managed the audio/video and input data. It was surprisingly responsive if you had a very good wireless connection, or even better, could connect at least one of the two devices in the chain to your router over Ethernet.
The Steam Link as a device has been discontinued, but Valve has released apps that do the same job with software on a variety of devices. You can install on Android TVs, Apple TVs, and Samsung TVs, or even on a Raspberry Pi if you want to build your own Steam Link box.
Steam Link is specifically designed for games, so you’re not going to be able to do much general media streaming or screen mirroring with it. In fact, since it depends on Steam’s Big Picture mode for an interface, you can’t actually access any content not directly available on Steam. It isn’t a solution if you just want to watch movies and TV shows (though some movies, like John Wick, are available on Steam and can be watched through Steam Link). You can work through your PC’s desktop by minimizing Big Picture mode through Steam Link, but it’s an awkward, unreliable solution.
Pros: Low latency for PC gaming.
Cons: Not suitable for streaming non-PC game content.
Cable-Free Cables: Wireless HDMI
If running a physical cable between your laptop and your TV isn’t realistic, but you don’t want to deal with streaming software, you use a wireless HDMI extender. Wireless HDMI extenders send HDMI data wirelessly between a transmitter and receiver, letting you simply connect your laptop to a nearby small box with a short HDMI cable, and your TV to another nearby small box with another nearby HDMI cable. With the paired extender devices powered and connected, they work just like an HDMI cable. Many have better range than HDMI cables alone, reaching up to 100 feet, and since they’re point-to-point they won’t be affected by traffic on your home wireless network.
The wireless connection requires some compromises, though. First, most wireless HDMI extenders top out at 1080p, so you can forget about streaming 4K HDR video directly through them. Second, they tend to be pricey, running from around $130 to over $200. Third, they tend to show significant video lag. It won’t be an issue if you’re just watching video, but it can make playing PC games feel very awkward.
Pros: The same easy, direct connection as HDMI cables. Longer range without physically running cables. Doesn’t rely on your home network.
Cons: Doesn’t usually support 4K. Too much lag for games.
Which Solution Is Right for You?
All of these methods are useful in different situations. I like the old-fashioned HDMI cable as the best short-range solution, but in a multi-room apartment, the Steam Link might be one of the best ways to play PC games over your TV. Similarly, Google Cast and Plex are excellent options for streaming media, while Miracast and wireless HDMI adapters are more functional if you specifically need to mirror your screen to your TV.
For more, check out the best cheap laptops and our favorite TVs for gaming.
- How to Calibrate Your TV
- Easy Fixes for Common TV Problems
- How to Turn Off Motion Smoothing on Your TV
- Top Cable Management Tips for Your TV and Home Theater
- More in TVs
More TV Reviews
More TV Best Picks
- The Best TVs for 2020
- The Best TVs for Gaming
- The Best Cheap TVs for 2020
- The Best Media Streaming Devices for 2020
Connecting your PC to your TV
In this article we’ll talk about why you would want to connect your PC to your TV, exactly what you need, and how it all works.
Our most common question these days is “How do I connect my PC to my TV?”. With so many different connectors, converters, cables, adapters, and who knows what else out there things very quickly get confusing. Our aim is to answer all your questions and make it easy for you to know exactly what you need to connect your PC to your TV!
If you just want to take a look at a simple chart that will show you what you need without having to read this article then then you can take a look at the Ultimate PC to TV Chart. But, if charts aren’t your thing or you’d prefer a more detailed explanation then just continue reading.
First, let’s talk about the “why?”. Why would you want to connect your PC to your TV? There are a lot of compelling reasons, believe me! I’ll make a list to give you a few ideas:
- Watch movies and TV shows off the internet
- View your family photos without having to crouch over a tiny computer monitor
- Read your e-mails from the comfort of your couch
- Work on assignments for school or job
- Play video games on the big screen (my personal favorite!)
- Anything else you can think of!
Where do I start?
Ok, to start we need to know two things. What kind of connection(s) do you have on your PC and what kind of connections do you have on your TV?
You’ll need to find out what kinds of video connections your PC has first. On a desktop computer they will be located on the back of the tower, and on a laptop they will be located on the sides or back. You might have to disconnect the monitor from the computer to get a good look at the connection. Many of these connections can be converted to other types of connections if needed, and that is noted as well. Here are the common connectors:
This is the most common monitor connection found on computers today.
This is a newer computer monitor connection than VGA. With this DVI to VGA Adapter you can convert your DVI-I output to VGA if needed. If you have a high definition TV then you can use something like this DVI to HDMI adapter to connect directly to the TV. Please note: there are several different types of DVI. We’ve pictured the two most common types, and the DVI to VGA will only work with the one labeled DVI-I (but the DVI to HDMI will work with either of them). If you have DVI-I and you get the VGA adapter then everything said in this article about VGA also applies to you.
Many newer laptops are including this connection. Desktop computers don’t often come with this connection currently but you can check just in case.
This connection is getting less and less common, but formerly was very frequently found on laptops. Sometimes it’s easy to miss so you might want to double check to see if your computer has one. Please note: don’t confuse this connector with the purple and green keyboard and mouse connectors. Although they look similar they are completely different connections.
This connection is found on many Apple laptops. If needed you can convert this connection to VGA, DVI, or HDMI (<– click on the links to see the adapter).
This is another connection found on many Apple laptops. You can also convert this connection to VGA, DVI, or HDMI (<– click on the links to see the adapter).
Now that you know what kind of connection is on your computer, it’s time to take a look at your TV. These connections will be located on the back of the TV (although some of these can often be found on the front as well). Here are the common connections:
This is found on newer HDTVs and is used for connecting high definition sources such as Blu-ray players, newer DVD players, and computers.
This is often found on older HDTVs that came out before HDMI was standardized, but can still be seen on some newer HDTVs.
Many newer HDTVs have this connection on them, and can be used to connect the PC directly to the TV.
Component is found on both HDTVs and standard definition TVs, but can support different resolutions depending on the TV. If you have an HD-Ready TV that doesn’t have HDMI, but does have component then you’ll want to see what resolutions are supported over component (most likely 480p or 720p).
This has been the standard video input for a long time and is found on almost all TVs
This is the connection typically used with cable or an antenna and some older TVs may only have this connection. If that is the case you’ll need an RF Modulator, which will convert the coaxial connection to the standard composite video and audio (the yellow, white, and red connections pictured above). With an RF Modulator anything said about composite video also applies to you.
I know what connections my computer and my TV have, what next?
First, let’s get the easy ones out of the way. If you’re lucky enough to have the same connector on both your computer and your TV (either directly or through an adapter) then all you need is a cable to make the connection! Here are some quick links to cables by type: HDMI, DVI, VGA, S-Video. If the connections are different (as they likely are) then you’ll need to read the next part to see what solution is available for your specific set-up.
This is where things can get a little complicated. For that reason we’re going to divide this section into two parts. First we’ll talk about standard definition TVs and then we’ll talk about high-definition TVs. You’ll need to know if your TV is standard definition or high-definition and if it is high-definition you’ll also want to know what resolution it’s capable of displaying: 720p or 1080p.
Standard Definition TVs (SDTVs)
Converters for standard definition TVs are best for watching videos or viewing photos. The reason for this is that standard definition TVs just aren’t capable of displaying high resolution content like your computer monitor is, so when you’re converting from the PC to the TV small text will appear fuzzy.
| PC to TV Converter
|If your computer has a VGA output then you’ll almost definitely want our standard PC to TV converter. This is our most popular converter by far. You connect to your TV either through the yellow composite video output or the S-video output, whichever your TV has. This converter includes a VGA passthrough, so you can have your monitor AND the TV connected at the same time if you’re using a desktop computer that only has a single output.|
| VGA to Component Video Converter
|If you have a VGA output and only have component inputs on your TV, or prefer using the component input, you should take a look at this converter. I’ve used both converters and I find the quality of this converter to be just a little bit higher than the standard PC to TV converter. It also includes a splitter cable to connect both your computer monitor and your TV at the same time.|
| Wireless PC to TV
|If you have VGA output on your computer and composite or S-video inputs on your TV and prefer using a wireless adapter then this is the one to use.|
High Definition TVs (HDTVs)
High definition TVs work great as an alternative to a regular monitor or as a secondary monitor because they are capable of displaying nice crisp images. You’ll be able to do things like e-mail, internet, and word processing as well as watching movies or viewing photos. Let’s take a look at the high definition PC to TV converters that we offer.
| VGA to HDMI Converter with Scaler
VGA to HDMI at 720p
If your computer has a VGA output and and your TV has an HDMI input then you’ll probably want our most popular VGA to HDMI converter. It will give you a nice, crisp, 720p picture on your TV and works great for browsing the internet, reading e-mails, and more. This unit will also pass the audio over the HDMI, meaning you only need to run a single cable to your TV to get both picture and sound. This comes with everything needed except for the HDMI cable.
| VGA TO HDMI CONVERTER/SCALER
VGA to HDMI at 1080p
If your computer has VGA and your TV has HDMI and supports 1080p we recommend that you consider this converter. It works very well and will give you the highest possible quality on your HDTV. This unit also passes sound over the HDMI, so you don’t have to worry about any extra audio cables. Although it is more expensive than the previous converter, if you are looking for the most flexible and powerful converter this is the one you want!
| HDMI to DVI Cable, 6 ft
DVI to HDMI
If your computer has a DVI output and your TV has HDMI then you can actually get a simple DVI to HDMI cable to connect directly to your TV. You can see a list of DVI to HDMI cables here: DVI to HDMI Cables.
| PC to HDTV Converter
VGA to Component
If you have VGA and your HDTV only has component inputs then this is the converter you’ll need. It converts the image to 720p. You could also use the VGA to Component adapter mentioned in the standard TV section, but it would only give give you a standard definition picture.
| InternetVue PC to HDTV Converter
InternetVue PC to HDTV
If you have component inputs on your TV and prefer a wireless solution then you should take a look at this InternetVue PC to HDTV converter. This unit works over a wireless network so you’ll have to have a wireless router or a computer with a wireless card to be able to use it. It converts up to 720p in “Photo” mode and 480p in “Video” mode and also has both composite and S-video outputs, making it compatible with just about any TV. The great thing about this one is that you don’t need anything connected to your computer for it to work. You just have to install the included software on your computer and then connect the receiver to your TV and you’re all set.
Now that I know what adapter I need for the video, what about audio?
You’ll need one other cable to connect the audio from your computer to your TV, unless you’re planning on using on of the converters shown above that mentions supporting sound. There are two cables that are most common for this:
|Most people will need this standard Mini Stereo to RCA cable, which converts a headphone style plug to the standard red and white RCA() audio plugs.|
| 3.5mm Male to Male Stereo Cable, 6ft
|The other common cable is a standard 3.5mm Mini Stereo cable.|
Well that wraps up the Ultimate PC to TV guide. If you have any questions that weren’t covered in this article feel free to give us a call at 801-356-3823 (Mon-Fri 8am-5pm Mountain Time).
How to Connect Your Computer to Your TV
This episode comes courtesy of a question from one of the Tech Talker Facebook fans. Michael wrote in asking how he could connect his computer to his television. It’s a great question and today I’ll tackle some of the popular ways to hook up your TV to your computer and why you would want to do this.>
Why Should You Connect Your TV to Your Computer?
First of all, why would you want to do this? Well, for starters, you might want to play a video game with your friends on a larger screen. Or maybe you downloaded a movie to your laptop that you’d like to share with a group of your friends, but you’d rather not crowd around your tiny laptop screen. Or if you have an old PC, you might think about turning it into a (HTPC) or home theater PC. These are some of the big reasons you might want to connect your TV and computer. Other reasons might include viewing vacation pictures with the whole family, making a slideshow for a party, or even streaming movies to various TVs around the house. Anyways, you get the idea!
What are Your Options?
Before you can connect anything, let’s go over the types of TVs on the market today. If you purchased a TV in the last few years, you probably have a Plasma or an LCD flat screen. These are generally easier to hook up because they have all of the digital inputs built in and require no extra hardware to get the picture from your computer to your TV. If you have an older TV, like my parents do, there is a little converter box that works beautifully. It is something you have to invest in, but it’s only about $20 on Amazon. I actually own this little box, and it works wonders. I recommend this one highly because there are many others out there that are cheaper but tend to perform very poorly.
The last thing is the types of connections available. I find that this is what frustrates most people. The outputs on a laptop are VGA, DVI, and HDMI. Here’s what they mean:
VGA is blue connector and can also be called RGB.
DVI is a white connector that is a bit newer then VGA but the quality difference won’t be noticeable at all.
HDMI is the newest of the connectors out there and is great because it includes audio in the connection, unlike VGA and DVI.
Now, I’ll probably get a few angry emails for saying this, but in all honesty, these connectors will provide you with similarly fine quality for almost all sizes of TV. The only way you’d notice some quality difference is if you use these connections for super-sized screens that you probably won’t encounter in your average home. And as for really expensive gold-plated cables you might see out there, don’t even bother! They are no better than a cheap $5 cable bought online.
If you have an older TV that uses the standard yellow, red, and white RCA connections, then you will probably need that converter box I mentioned previously. And to touch on audio, all you really need is a standard speaker extender that can go in the back of your computer or the headphone jack of a laptop.
How to Connect Your TV to Your Computer
Now that you’re armed with all of the information you need for your TV-computer hook-up. Here comes the fun part. If you have a relatively new flat screen TV, just plug in the cable to each respective spot, and then change the input to reflect what spot it is on your TV. For example, if you were changing the input from live TV to a DVD, you’d have to select another option on your screen. Well, when you connect your computer to your TV, another input option will appear. The names of these options are different for almost every TV, but your TV’s manual will help, as will a quick Google search!
Earlier I mentioned that you can hook up an old computer to your TV and use it as a home theatre. This is easy to set up and even some of the oldest computers can handle playing a video no problem. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, check out XBMC. They make free software that looks and works incredible!
Here are your 4 Quick and Dirty Tips for connecting your computer to your TV:
Check your TV’s manual for the available “inputs”
See what type of output your computer has (it can be DVI, VGA, HDMI, or one of the Apple ports)
Determine what type of cable you will need, or possibly a converter box if you’re going between two different connectors
Don’t overspend on any cables!
Do you have nagging tech questions? Post them to the Tech Talker Facebook wall and I will be happy to answer them. I’m going to be dedicating an entire episode to listener questions soon, so make sure to let me know what you want me to tackle in the future.
Have a question about anything in this episode? Or a suggestion for a future podcast? Send me an email at [email protected] or post it on the Tech Talker Facebook wall.
Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!
Connector image from
Mirroring your PC’s display on your TV is actually pretty simple. There are several ways to get it done—both wired and wireless—and which you choose just depends on your situation.
The wired methods of mirroring your display are the most reliable, although you’ll need an HDMI cable and possibly an adapter for your computer. Wireless methods can work well, too—they just aren’t perfect. You may notice a bit of lag and sometimes a less-than-perfectly-crisp display.
Mirroring With an HDMI Cable (And Possibly an Adapter)
RELATED: Why You Should Connect a PC to Your TV (Don’t Worry; It’s Easy!)
A standard HDMI cable is still the best way to get your PC’s screen onto a TV. This is true whether that computer is a living room PC using a TV as it’s only video output, or PC with its own monitor that’s mirroring the contents of the primary display to the TV.
Getting this solution hooked up is pretty simple. You probably already have an HDMI cable. If you don’t, you can buy a cheap cable like this one ($7) and skip the unnecessary expensive cables. Plug one end into an HDMI port on the back of your TV and the other into the HDMI port on your laptop or desktop. Switch the TV to the necessary input and you’re done! You can also use the display options on your PC to configure how the display works—whether the TV mirrors your main display or functions as a secondary desktop.
RELATED: Do You Really Need to Buy Expensive Cables?
RELATED: Beginner Geek: How to Connect a Laptop to a Television
That’s the theory. In practice, many modern laptops don’t ship with a built-in HDMI port—at least, not a full-sized one. Modern, super-thin laptops just don’t have space for those large ports. You can still connect your laptop to a TV with an HDMI cable, though—you’ll just need the necessary adapter for the port your laptop does include.
Some laptops include a Mini HDMI port instead of the full sized one. If you already have an HDMI cable, you can purchase a Mini HDMI to HDMI adapter like this one from Monoprice ($3.50). If you prefer, you can also buy an inexpensive Mini HDMI to HDMI cable like this one from Amazon ($5.30). When you’re comparison shopping, just be sure not to confuse Mini HDMI with the even smaller Micro HDMI that you find on some tablets and smartphones.
Other laptops—especially newer ones from Apple’s MacBooks to Microsoft’s Surface Pro convertibles—have a Mini DisplayPort instead of an HDMI port. If you already have an HDMI cable, you can purchase a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter like this cheap one from Amazon ($9). If you prefer, you can also buy an inexpensive Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable like this one from Amazon ($9).
Be sure to check exactly what type of port your laptop has before purchasing such an adapter.
You can also run into problems on the other end of the connection. Older TVs (or older computers) may not have HDMI support and may require other cables like a DVI or VGA cable. However, modern TVs and computers should support HDMI, and you should use that if possible.
Chromecast Screen Casting
Google’s inexpensive Chromecast offers an easy way to get your computer’s display onto your TV without any cables. While Chromecast is generally used to “cast” content from a specific app or web page to your TV, you can also cast a specific browser tab. Not only that, but the Chromecast browser extension also lets you cast your computer’s entire desktop to your Chromecast, and thus view it on your TV.
RELATED: HTG Reviews the Google Chromecast: Stream Video to Your TV
How well this works depends on a few factors: how powerful your PC is, how strong a Wi-Fi signal you get, and how reliable that Wi-Fi signal is. Casting your screen over Wi-Fi won’t work as perfectly as an HDMI cable, but it’s probably the easiest way to do wireless mirroring from any nearby laptop or desktop computer.
Apple’s homegrown solution—AirPlay Mirroring—requires that you have an Apple TV box hooked up to your TV. If you do, you can use Apple’s AirPlay to wirelessly mirror the contents of a Mac, iPhone, or iPad’s display to your TV.
RELATED: Wireless Display Standards Explained: AirPlay, Miracast, WiDi, Chromecast, and DLNA
Unlike other wireless display options, using AirPlay Mirroring requires that you go all-in on Apple’s device ecosystem. However, if you do use Apple devices and have an Apple TV, AirPlay Mirroring works quite well.
Miracast Wireless Display
Miracast is supposed to be an open alternative to Apple’s AirPlay, allowing you to “cast” an Android or Windows device’s display wirelessly to a TV or set-top box. Support for casting is built into the latest versions of Android, Windows, and Windows Phone. Your TV may or may not include Miracast, although it’s appearing on more streaming boxes like the Roku.
RELATED: What is Miracast and Why Should I Care?
Unfortunately, we’ve found that Miracast is a bit hit-or-miss. Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn’t. And it isn’t always easy to track down the reason it might not be working. We’ve had difficulty getting it going on devices that we knew supported Miracast.
For those reasons, we recommend you try Miracast last. If you have hardware that supports Miracast, feel free to give it a shot, of course. But don’t go out of your way to buy Miracast-enabled hardware, as there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed with the experience. Miracast clearly needs more time in the oven before it can hope to become the easy-to-use, interoperable standard it’s supposed to be.
RELATED: How to Play PC Games on Your TV
There are other ways to get stuff onto your TV, of course. If you’re into PC gaming, you may want to try getting a living room box that can stream games from your gaming PC and display them on your TV. However, you’ll still get better results with a long HDMI cable that connects that gaming PC directly to your TV. When it comes to getting the contents of your computer’s display on your TV, the wired HDMI cable is still king.
Image Credit: @Daman on Flickr, rodtuk on Flickr, AurelianS on Flickr, Kai Hendry on Flickr
PC/Laptop/Tablet to TV Connection Guide
Are you unsure which PC to TV cables or Laptop to TV cables you need to connect your Computer/laptop/PC to your TV/HDTV?
We stock a full range of cables to enable our customers to connect their laptops and PCs to their TVs. To select the correct cable to hook up your PC or laptop to your TV/HDTV, you will need to look at your connections on both your devices. Directly below this paragraph are the connections you may have on your equipment.
The various connections explained…
Unless both your computer and TV have a HDMI connection, you will require a separate audio cable for sound. However, if you just require a picture/video with no sound, only buy a video cable.
Here is our quick how to guide;
1) Select video connections that both your computer and TV have. Compatible options are below. Select audio connections that both your computer and TV have. The audio sockets on your TV that you plan to use must be the ones that are meant for use with the video input. They will usually be called ‘PC audio in’, ‘VGA audio in’, ‘HDMI audio in’, ‘DVI audio in’ or if you are using the s-video to scart kit, the audio cable will plug straight into that.
Computer has VGA – TV has VGA
Purchase VGA Cable. If you require audio as well, you would usually need to purchase a kit that includes the cable on the previous link and an audio cable; VGA Cable Kit 1 or VGA Cable Kit 2.
Computer has VGA – TV has Component
Check your graphics card on your computer can output in component or the cable we recommend will not work. This information will be available in your instruction manual or on the internet. You would require a VGA to Component Cable. If you require audio as well, you would usually purchase a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable or a 3.5mm Plug to Plug Cable.
Computer has VGA – TV has HDMI
Purchase a VGA to HDMI converter. If you simply want to find a way to connect your PC or laptop to a TV, this may not be the cheapest option so we would recommend checking the other outputs and inputs on your equipment first. If you require audio as well, you would usually purchase a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable to run to the converter. You will also require a VGA Cable and an HDMI cable to run to your TV.
Computer has VGA – TV has DVI-I or DVI-A
Purchase a VGA Cable + purchase a DVI-A Male to VGA Female Adapter. If you require audio as well you would usually need to purchase VGA Cable Kit 1 or VGA Cable Kit 2 as well as the adapter.
Computer has DVI-I or DVI-A – TV has VGA
Purchase a VGA Cable + Purchase a DVI-A Male to VGA Female Adapter. If you require audio as well you would usually need to purchase VGA Cable Kit 1 or VGA Cable Kit 2 as well as the adapter.
Computer has DVI – TV has DVI
Purchase a DVI Cable – be careful to choose the correct one as there are different types. If you require audio as well, you would usually purchase a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable or a 3.5mm Plug to Plug Cable.
Computer has HDMI – TV has DVI-D or DVI-I
Purchase an HDMI to DVI-D Cable. If you require audio as well, you usually need to purchase a HD Cable Kit 1 or HD Cable Kit 2.
Computer has DVI-D or DVI-I – TV has HDMI
Purchase an HDMI to DVI-D Cable. If you require audio as well, you would usually need to purchase the cable on the previous link and an audio cable, we have kits ready made up; HD Cable Kit 1 or HD Cable Kit 2. If your TV does not have any audio ports associated with the HDMI port then you are likely to require an DVI to HDMI Converter.
Computer has HDMI – TV has HDMI
Purchase an HDMI Cable
Computer has HDMI (Type C Mini) – TV has HDMI
Purchase an HDMI Type A-C Cable
Computer has S-Video – TV has S-Video
Purchase an S-Video Cable. If you require audio as well, you would usually purchase a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable or a 3.5mm Plug to Plug Cable.
Computer has S-Video – TV has Scart
Purchase an S-Video Cable + purchase a Scart adapter. If you require an audio cable as well, buy the S-video to Scart kit. You will need to check that the settings on your scart input on your TV can be changed to S-Video or this kit will not work.
Computer has DVI-A or DVI-I – TV has Component
Check your graphics card on your computer can output in component or the cable we recommend will not work. This information will be available in your instruction manual or on the internet. You will require a DVI-A to Component Cable . If you require audio as well, you would usually purchase a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable or a 3.5mm Plug to Plug Cable.
Computer has DisplayPort – TV has HDMI
Purchase a DisplayPort Male to HDMI Female Adapter and if you don’t already have one, an HDMI cable. If you require audio as well, you will need to check that your TV has audio ports associated with the HDMI port. If it does, you are likely to require a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable or a 3.5mm Plug to Plug Cable. If it does not and you have a DVI port on your TV, one of these kits may be suitable instead; HD Cable Kit 1 or HD Cable Kit 2.
Computer has DisplayPort – TV has DVI
Purchase a DisplayPort Male to DVI-I Female Adapter and if you don’t already have one, a DVI Cable (be careful to choose the correct one, email us if you require help or look at our connections explained page). If you require audio as well, you would usually purchase a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable or a 3.5mm Plug to Plug Cable.
Computer has Mini DisplayPort – TV has HDMI
Purchase a Mini DisplayPort Male to HDMI Female Adapter and if you don’t already have one, an HDMI cable.
Computer has Mini DisplayPort – TV has DVI
Purchase a Mini DisplayPort Male to DVI-I Female Adapter and if you don’t already have one, a DVI Cable (be careful to choose the correct one, email us if you require help or look at our connections explained page). If you require audio as well, you would usually purchase a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable or a 3.5mm Plug to Plug Cable.
Computer has USB – TV has VGA
If you computer has no video outputs, purchase a USB to VGA (SVGA) Converter to make one. If you require audio as well, you would usually purchase a 3.5mm plug to 2 RCA Cable or a 3.5mm Plug to Plug Cable . You will also require a VGA Cable to use with this device. If you require both the VGA and audio cable, purchase one of our kits: VGA Cable Kit 1 or VGA Cable Kit 2.
Computer has USB – TV has HDMI
If your computer has no video outputs or you simply want the best quality connection and only want to run an HDMI cable to your TV, purchase a USB to HDMI converter to make make a high quality 720P HDMI output. You will also require an HDMI cable to use with this device.
We hope we have helped you to better understand which PC to TV cables you require, or, if you are connecting a laptop, we hope we have helped you select the correct laptop to TV cables!