How to connect a laptop to a TV

In this article we will talk in detail about several ways to connect a laptop to the TV — both through wires and wirelessly. Also the instructions will be about how to configure the correct display on the connected TV, which one to connect it better to use and about other aspects. Following methods a wired connection, if you are interested in wireless, read here: How to connect a laptop to a TV via Wi-Fi.

This is why you may need? — I think everything is clear: play on the TV with wide screen or watching a movie is incomparably better than on a small laptop screen. The instructions will be on laptops with Windows and Apple Macbook Pro and Air. Credit way to connect is via HDMI and VGA port, with special adapters, as well as information about the wireless connection.

Connecting laptop to TV via HDMI is the best way

The inputs on the TV

Almost all modern laptops have a HDMI or miniHDMI output (in this case, you will need the appropriate cable) and all new (and not) TV — HDMI input. In some cases you may need an adapter from HDMI to VGA or other, in the absence of one of the types of ports on the laptop or TV. With a normal wire with two different connectors on the ends usually don’t work (see below in the description of the problem connect the laptop to the TV).

Why using HDMI — optimal solution to connect the laptop to the TV. It’s simple:

  • HDMI is a digital interface that supports high resolution, including FullHD 1080p
  • When connected via HDMI, is transmitted not only image but also sound, i.e. the sound you will hear through the TV speakers (of course, if it’s not necessary, you can disable).

The HDMI port on the laptop

The connection itself does not represent special difficulties: connect a cable from the HDMI port on the laptop with the HDMI input on your TV. In the TV settings select the appropriate signal source (how to do this depends on the specific model).

In laptop (Windows 7 and 8. Windows 10 is a bit different — How to change the screen resolution in Windows 10), just right click on the empty space of the desktop and select «screen Resolution». In the list of the displays you will see the newly connected monitor, you can configure the following settings:

  • The resolution of the TV (usually automatically determined optimal)
  • Parameters for image display on the TV to «Expand screens» (different images on two screens, one is a continuation of the other), «Duplicate the screens», or display an image only on one of them (the second is disabled).

In addition, when you connect the laptop to the TV via HDMI, you may need to adjust the sound. To do this, just right click on the speaker icon in the Windows notification area and select «playback Devices».

In the list you will see Audio for Intel displays, NVIDIA HDMI Output or another option corresponding to the sound output over HDMI. Assign this device the default, right-clicking and selecting the appropriate item.

On many laptops there are also special function keys in the top row to enable output to an external screen, in our case a TV set (if such keys are not working, then installed all the official drivers, and utilities from the manufacturer).

It may be Fn+F8 on laptops Asus, Fn+F4 for HP, Fn+F4 or F6 on the Acer, also met Fn+F7. To identify keys easily, they have a corresponding symbol, as pictured above. In Windows 8 and Windows 10 enable output to the external TV screen can also the keys Win+P (works in Windows 10 and 8).

A typical problem when connecting laptop to TV via HDMI and VGA

When you connect the laptop to the TV using cables, using HDMI or VGA (or set of them, when using adapters/converters) you can deal with the fact that all this does not work as expected. Below are typical problems that can occur and their solutions.

No signal or just image from laptop to TV

When this problem occurs, if you have 10 or Windows 8 (8.1), try pressing the Windows key (logo) + P (Latin) and select «Expand». Perhaps the picture will appear.

If you have Windows 7, after right click on desktop go to display settings and try to detect second monitor and also set to «Expand» and apply the settings. Also, for all OS versions, try setting the second monitor (provided that it is visible) such a permission that they just supported.

When connecting laptop to TV via HDMI no sound but have picture

If everything seems to be working, but no sound, any adapters are not used, and it’s just a HDMI cable, try to check what device of playback by default.

Note: if you are using any variant of the adapter, keep in mind that on VGA the sound cannot be transmitted, regardless of whether that port from your TV or laptop. The sound output will have to set up some other way, for example, on a speaker system through the headphone output (don’t forget to set the appropriate playback device in Windows as described in the next paragraph).

Just right click on the speaker icon in the Windows notification area, select «playback Devices». Just right-click an empty space on the device list and show disabled and disconnected devices. Note if the device list, HDMI (can be more than one). Click what you want (if you know what it is) right click and select «make default».

If all the devices are disconnected or not on the list HDMI devices (under sound adapters in device Manager, they are also absent), it is quite possible that you have not installed all the necessary drivers for the motherboard of your laptop or graphics card, should take them from official website of laptop manufacturer (for discrete graphics cards — from the website of its manufacturer).

Problems with cables and adapters when connecting

Also consider that very often problems connecting to the TV (especially if the output and input are different) caused by poor quality cables or adapters. And it happens not only in quality, but in not understanding what Chinese cable with different «ends» — usually an unhealthy thing. I.e. exactly the desired adapter, for example like this: HDMI-VGA adapter.

For example, a frequent option — I buy a cable VGA-HDMI, but it does not work. In most cases and for most laptops this cable will never work, you need a Converter from analog to a digital signal (or Vice versa, depending on what is connected). It is suitable only for cases where a laptop specifically supports digital output via the VGA, and such almost never happens.

Connecting Apple laptop Macbook Pro Air to TV

The adapters Mini DisplayPort in the Apple store

Apple laptops are equipped with output type Mini DisplayPort. To connect to the TV, you will need to purchase the appropriate adapter, depending on the inputs available on your TV. On sale at the Apple Store (can be found in other places) you have the following options:

  • Mini DisplayPort to VGA
  • Mini DisplayPort to HDMI
  • Mini DisplayPort to DVI

The connection intuitively. All that is required is to connect the wires and to select the image source on the TV.

More wiring variations

In addition to the HDMI-HDMI you can use other options wired connection for video output from laptop to TV. Depending on configuration, this may include the following options:

  • VGA — VGA. In this type of connection you have to separately attend to the audio output on the TV.
  • HDMI to VGA — if your TV has only VGA input, then you have to purchase the adapter for this connection.

It is possible to assume and other wiring variations, but all of the most common that you are likely to encounter, I have listed.

Wireless connection laptop to TV

2016 update: wrote a more detailed and relevant instruction (than the following) for connecting laptop to TV via Wi-Fi, i.e. without wires: How to connect notebook to TV via Wi-Fi.

Modern laptops with Intel processors Core i3, i5 and i7 processors can be connected to TVs and other screens wirelessly using Intel Wireless Display. Generally, if you did not reinstall Windows on my laptop, all necessary drivers for this are already there. Wirelessly transmitted image in high resolution, but also the sound.

The author recommends reading:

  • Computer slows down — what to do and why this is happening?
  • The best free apps every day
  • How to connect a laptop to a TV (for watching videos and games)
  • How to distribute the Internet on Wi-Fi with laptop
  • How to watch TV online for free

To connect you will either need a special attachment to the TV, or support the technology themselves TV receiver. The latter include:

  • LG Smart TV (not all models)
  • Samsung F-series Smart TV
  • Toshiba Smart TV
  • Many televisions Sony Bravia

Unfortunately, I have no way to test and to demonstrate how it all works, but detailed instructions on how to use Intel WiDi to wirelessly connect laptop and ultrabook to the TV on the official website of Intel:

I hope the above will be enough for you to be able to connect your devices as needed.

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