In this article, we will talk in detail about several ways to connect a laptop to a TV - both using wires and wirelessly. Also, the instructions will be about how to configure the correct display on the connected TV, which of the options to connect it is better to use and about other nuances. Below are the methods of wired connection, if you are interested in wireless, read here: How to connect a laptop to a TV via Wi-Fi .
Why might this be required? - I think everything is clear: playing on a TV with a large diagonal or watching a movie is incomparably more pleasant than on a small laptop screen. The instructions will focus on laptops with Windows, as well as on the Apple Macbook Pro and Air. Among the connection methods - via HDMI and VGA, using special adapters, as well as information about the wireless connection. It may also be useful: How to fix poor image quality via HDMI .
Attention: it is better to connect cables on switched off and de-energized devices in order to avoid discharges and reduce the likelihood of failure of electronic components.
Connecting a laptop to a TV via HDMI is the best way
Almost all modern laptops have an HDMI or miniHDMI output (in this case you will need an appropriate cable), and all new (and not so) TVs have an HDMI input. In some cases, you may need adapters from HDMI to VGA or others, in the absence of one of the types of ports on a laptop or TV. Moreover, ordinary wires with two different connectors at the ends usually do not work (see below in the description of problems connecting the laptop to the TV).
Why using HDMI is the best solution for connecting a laptop to a TV. Everything is simple here:
- HDMI is a digital interface that supports high resolutions, including FullHD 1080p
- When connected via HDMI, not only image but also sound is transmitted, that is, you will hear sound through the TV speakers (of course, if this is not necessary, you can turn it off). It may be useful: What if there is no sound via HDMI from a laptop to a TV .
HDMI port on laptop
The connection itself is not particularly difficult: connect the HDMI port on the laptop cable to the HDMI input of your TV with a cable. In the TV settings, select the appropriate signal source (how to do this, depends on the specific model).
On the laptop itself (Windows 7 and 8. In Windows 10, in a slightly different way - How to change the screen resolution in Windows 10 ), right-click on an empty area of the desktop and select "Screen Resolution". In the list of displays you will see the newly connected monitor, here you can configure the following parameters:
- TV resolution (usually automatically determined optimal)
- The options for displaying an image on a TV are “Expand screens” (a different image on two screens, one is a continuation of the other), “Duplicate screens” or display the image on only one of them (the second is turned off).
In addition, when connecting a laptop to a TV via HDMI, you may also need to adjust the sound. To do this, right-click on the speaker icon in the Windows notification area and select “Playback devices”.
In the list, you will see Intel Audio for displays, NVIDIA HDMI Output, or another option that matches HDMI audio output. Set this device as the default one by right-clicking on it and selecting the appropriate item.
Many laptops also have special function keys in the top row to enable output to an external screen, in our case, a TV (if such keys do not work for you, then not all official drivers and utilities of the manufacturer are installed).
It can be Fn + F8 keys on Asus laptops, Fn + F4 on HP, Fn + F4 or F6 on Acer, also met Fn + F7. It is easy to identify the keys; they have the corresponding designation, as in the image above. In Windows 8 and Windows 10, you can also enable output to the external TV screen using the Win + P keys (works in Windows 10 and 8).
Common problems when connecting a laptop to a TV via HDMI and VGA
When you connect a laptop to a TV using wires using the HDMI or VGA ports (or a combination of them when using adapters / converters), you may encounter the fact that all this does not work as expected. Below are typical problems that may arise and how to solve them.
No signal or just a picture from a laptop on a TV
If this problem occurs, if you have Windows 10 or 8 (8.1) installed, try pressing the Windows key (with the logo) + P (Latin) and select "Extend". The image may appear.
If you have Windows 7, then right-click on the desktop and go to the screen settings and try to determine the second monitor and also set “Extend” and apply the settings. Also, for all versions of the OS, try setting the second monitor (provided that it is visible) to a resolution that it definitely supports.
When connecting a laptop to a TV via HDMI, there is no sound, but there is an image
If everything seems to work, but there is no sound, and no adapters are used, and it's just an HDMI cable, then try to check which playback device is installed by default.
Note: if you use any type of adapter, then keep in mind that sound cannot be transmitted via VGA, regardless of whether this port is located on the side of the TV or laptop. The sound output will have to be configured in some other way, for example, to the speaker system through the headphone output (in this case, do not forget to set the appropriate playback device in Windows, described in the next paragraph).
Right-click on the speaker icon in the Windows notification area, select "Playback devices." Right-click in an empty space on the list of devices and enable the display of disconnected and disconnected devices. Please note if there is an HDMI device in the list (there may be more than one). Click on the right one (if you know which one) with the right mouse button and set “Use as default”.
If all devices are disconnected or there are no HDMI devices in the list (and they are also missing in the sound adapters section of the device manager), then it’s quite possible that you do not have all the necessary drivers for the motherboard of your laptop or video card installed, you should take them from the official site of the manufacturer of the laptop (for a discrete graphics card - from the site of its manufacturer).
Problems with cables and adapters when connecting
It is also worth considering that very often problems with connecting to a TV (especially if the output and input are different) are caused by poor-quality cables or adapters. And it happens not only in quality, but in the failure to understand that a Chinese cable with different “ends” is usually an inoperable thing. Those. you need an adapter, for example this: HDMI-VGA adapter .
For example, a common option - a person buys a VGA-HDMI cable, but he does not work. In most cases, and for most laptops, such a cable will never work, you need a converter from analog to digital signal (or vice versa, depending on what you are connecting to). It is suitable only for cases when the laptop specifically supports digital output via VGA, and there are almost none.
Connect your Apple Macbook Pro and Air laptop to your TV
Mini DisplayPort Adapters at Apple Store
Apple laptops come with a Mini DisplayPort-type output. To connect to a TV, you will need to purchase the appropriate adapter, depending on what inputs are available on your TV. The following options are available on the Apple Store (available elsewhere):
- Mini DisplayPort - VGA
- Mini DisplayPort - HDMI
- Mini DisplayPort - DVI
The connection itself is intuitive. All that is required is to connect the wires and select the desired image source on the TV.
More wired options
In addition to the HDMI-HDMI interface, you can use other options for a wired connection to output images from a laptop to a TV. Depending on the configuration, these may be the following options:
- VGA - VGA. With this type of connection, you have to take care of the sound output to the TV separately.
- HDMI - VGA - if the TV has only a VGA input, then you will have to purchase the appropriate adapter for this connection.
You can assume other options for wired connection, but I have listed all the most common ones that you are most likely to encounter.
Wireless connection of laptop to TV
Update 2016: wrote a more detailed and up-to-date instruction (than what follows) on connecting a laptop to a TV via Wi-Fi, i.e. wireless: How to connect a notebook to a TV via Wi-Fi .
Modern laptops with Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors can connect to TVs and other screens wirelessly using Intel Wireless Display technology. As a rule, if you did not reinstall Windows on your laptop, all the necessary drivers for this are already there. Without wires, not only high-resolution image is transmitted, but also sound.
To connect, you will need either a special set-top box for the TV, or support for this technology by the TV receiver itself. The latter include:
- LG Smart TV (not all models)
- Samsung F-series Smart TV
- Toshiba Smart TV
- Many Sony Bravia TVs
Unfortunately, I don’t have the opportunity to test and demonstrate how this all works, but detailed instructions for using Intel WiDi to wirelessly connect a laptop and ultrabook to a TV are on the official Intel website:
I hope that the methods described above will be enough so that you can connect your devices in the right way.