Free guide to connecting your laptop to a TV
Fortunately, you do not need to be well-versed in electronics to be able to tinker with your laptop and television connections.
First thing you need to do is to check the available connections found at the back of your television and laptop. Essentially, you have an option of five ports to which to make your TV and laptop connection.
1 S-Video Connection
Most television sets have an S-Video port. Fortunately, an S-video cable could be easily had and is also cheap. Before connecting your laptop to your TV through S-Video, check if your laptop possesses this port. Numerous laptops have a 7-pin port. If your laptop has 4 ports, unfortunately, you will not be able to connect your laptop to your TV via S-video.
S-Video Connection is the most common way of establishing a TV to laptop connection – despite the picture quality being not quite good.
2 VGA Connection
Video Graphics Array or VGA is the perfect connection if you have HDTV. Also, it offers better quality. Plus, the cable for a VGA connection is not at all expensive. Do note that regular TV sets do not have a VGA port.
A VGA connector consists of 15 pins and is usually found in laptops. If you are to use this port, you simply must have a PC-to-TV Convertor in order to make a laptop to TV connection.
All you have to do is plug the VGA cable to the convertor from the source. Then, utilize an S-Video or an RCA cable out to the television.
Since the converter is powered by a USB, no external power adapter is necessary.
3 HDMI Connection
This connection is the highest quality you can have. If your laptop possesses an HDMI port, expect to have the best quality connection.
If your laptop only has a DVI port, you can still connect via HDMI with the use of an HDMI to DVI adapter or converter.
An HDMI Port is half the size of a DVI port and is rectangular in size and carries 19 pins. It offers digital audio despite its diminutive size. Usually, HDMI ports could be seen on HDTVs.
4 DVI Connection
Digital Video Interface or DVI is another way to establish a connection between your laptop and TV. Note that if you also want audio with your DVI connection, you need to have a separate cable for audio. You can utilize a cable from the output of your phone and then connect it to the white and red audio.
A port for a Digital Video Interface consists of 24 pins neatly arranged in 3 horizontal rows of 8 pins. Macintosh laptops usually carry DVI ports.
NOTE: There are TV sets which have a single digital HDMI/DVI port and need a single cable when the source is an additional HDMI component. However, when the source is a DVI laptop, you have to have a DVI-to-HDMI cable and RCA analog stereo cables.
5 RCA Connection
Using an RCA connection is another way to connect a laptop to TV. An RCA has three cables. The cables colored red and white represent the right and left analog audio. Meanwhile, the yellow colored socket represents composite video. Essentially, these jacks are standard in old laptops and TVs.
The instance you have determined the type of connection compatible with your TV and computer, you then need to choose the appropriate input on your television. This is similar to when you modify your TV to be able to play DVD videos and could be done from your TV remote. Meanwhile, a yellow cable is utilized for composite video. Do note that it is highly likely for your laptop to not have an RCA connection. What you can do is use an RCA to S-video converter to be able to get an RCA connecter to connect with your computer.
To adjust the settings in your computer – if you are using Windows – open “display settings” and activate output to the television screen.
You can reflect the content of your computer onto the television as well as extend the display similar to a dual screen monitor.
On your TV remote, go to the menu and switch to “External Inputs.” You then have to modify the default “Video 1” to another selection which could either be “HDMI 1” or “Video 2.” This would basically depend on how the connection was made.
NOTE: It is important to connect the cable onto the television prior to powering on the computer as there may be instances where the connection may not recognize the external display.
You also have to modify the screen resolution of your television via the Display settings found on your Control Panel. Doing so is critical in order to avoid distorted images.
If you are still unable to get an output from your television screen despite any of these connections, you can reduce the resolution of your laptop screen.