If you’re looking for the best way to connect your laptop to a TV, in this guide, we’ve provided five different options you have for doing so.
Do you do presentations that you need to share on a big screen TV? Do you like being able to show your family vacation footage on TV so others can see it? Whatever your reason for wanting to project your laptop on your TV, there are many ways you can achieve this.
In the past, you had to purchase a separate unit such as a PC-to-TV converter, to be able to see the output of your laptop on your screen. These units cost anywhere from $50-$100 and used a basic VGA cable.
The quality of these units was mediocre at best and lacked the high quality that more modern options can provide. Today, there are some different ways you can send your laptop’s display to a TV.
Some types of modern displays require a hard-wired connection, while others are wireless and project the screen through Bluetooth or infrared links.
5 Ways to Connect your Laptop to a TV
Below are five ways that you can connect your laptop to your TV. Read the description of each one and use the method that works best for you.
PC-to-TV Converter (Mostly Obsolete)
As mentioned before, this type of setup requires a VGA connection that runs from your computer’s VGA output to your VGA input on your TV. The problem with this kind of setup is that many newer TVs do not have a VGA input. You may be able to purchase an adapter that will turn your TV into a VGA input but this format is almost obsolete, and the quality is not desirable. So you may want to look into using HDMI Out instead if you want to hard-wire your setup.
The first method (and most common) way of outputting your laptop to your TV is to connect your laptop to your TV with an HDMI cable. You may need to go into your “Display Settings” to get your computer to recognize your TV as a monitor. Then output your laptop to your TV through the correct “input” through your remote. Usually, this is marked as “input 1, 2, 3,” or a similar setting and you will just need to find out which one works with your HDMI input.
Some of the more modern TVs allow the output of your computers or laptop devices through infrared or Bluetooth. To do this, you simply use an application to help your laptop find your TV. Some TVs have this feature built-in and others will require a third-party application.
Some examples of applications that allow this type of connection to your TV are listed below:
- Chromecast (use Google Chrome browser through wireless TV)
- Amazon Firestick (requires the HDMI stick as well)
- Roku (requires Roku HDMI stick)
- AllCast (the great app that allows you to stream from most wireless devices)
With AllCast, you can stream from cell phones and tablets as well. If you have a laptop that uses tablet technology, you can successfully output your signal using the AllCast app. Chromecast will work from any device that has wireless capabilities with the Chrome browser. There are many other apps for the iPhone, tablets, and laptop devices that you can find on the Apple Store or the Google Play Store for Android devices. When you download these apps, it will explain to you how to cast the signal from your laptop using the app.
DVI to HDMI
The great thing about cable technology is that you can send the video signal in a variety of ways. As long as you have the correct cable that carries the signal from the front end and interprets it correctly on the backend (your TV), you will be able to project what you are doing on your TV from your device.
If you have a laptop with a DVI Out port, you can output your signal to the TV from a DVI signal using a DVI to HDMI cable or DVI to DVI (if yourTV also has a DVI In port). You can also use a DVI-to-HDMI adapter and use an HDMI cable to connect your laptop to your TV.
HDMI to DisplayPort
If you have an HDMI to DisplayPort connector (see the picture in this link), you can output your computer signal to your TV using an HDMI output on the other. Just remember that, in order to achieve digital HD quality, you need to remove as many cord and cables that use analog technology as possible.
If you are using VGA, S-video, or RCA composite cords, you are not getting digital quality. It’s that simple. The new TVs all use HD quality and above, so you will want to project the image in as high quality as possible for the best results.
If you are just gaming at home by yourself, however, and you just want to be able to see the output on your screen, you do not need to worry about these requirements.
For presentations to others, however, you will want to upgrade to an HDMI or wireless connection.
How to Improve Quality in your Output
Remember that the fewer connections you make, the better. Your signal will only be as good as all of the components in your “mix” including:
- the input signal source (laptop or computer, etc.)
- Cord type and output type
- Quality of cables
- Input type involved (HDMI is best)
- Quality of your TV and technologies involved
For example, if you have a brand new UHD TV (ultra high definition TV) and you use an HDMI to HDMI cable, you are going to see the projection more clearly than if you use a VGA to VGA or a DVI to HDMI connection. Every link in the chain is essential.
In fact, in some cases, you will not be able to see the image at all if you use outdated or obsolete cords or devices. VGA is almost outdated, and DVI likely will be soon. RCA cables and S-video, also analog methods, are soon to be tossed along with their father components, the VHS and VCR devices.
This doesn’t mean that you have to have the latest equipment or keep up with every technology change that comes along. But for the best quality, you will want to have the modern standards of delivery such as the HDMI out and in capability between your computers and your TV to see the output in HD quality.
Audiences have gotten more demanding and may not tolerate a bleary screen when you are using your VGA device. Instead, you may want to opt to use your computer tablet and utilize an app such as AllCast (paid version) to project a better quality image.
There are many different ways to project your laptop or another device onto your TV these days. If you have a smart TV, it likely comes with multiple ways to do this. Download apps from the App Store or Google Play Store that allow you to project your device to your TV screen. Get an HDMI cable with standard or micro HDMI (depending upon your equipment) to output your signal via HDMI.
If you do a lot of presentations or play games often through your TV monitor, you may want to improve your setup by purchasing adapters or other devices and cables that will allow for a clearer signal all the way down the line.
Remember every link in the chain is important. The better your quality of cables and equipment, the clearer your signal will be.
If you do not have the adapters you need, you can easily find them online or in a local electronics store.
Still, it’s nice to know that there are many different ways to cast your screen to your TV or other devices so that you can enjoy whatever you do in full-screen color and sound.