How to connect your laptop to your TV wirelessly or with HDMI


David Katzmaier/CNET

Should you’re losing interest or aggravated together with your laptop computer’s tiny display screen through the coronavirus lockdown, perhaps you need to attempt utilizing your big TV as a monitor as a substitute. It is nice with the ability to sit again in your couch and surf the net, play PC games or stream video from apps not out there in your TV. Or perhaps you simply need a greater view for video chat when you’re caught at residence.

Utilizing your TV as a monitor has downsides too. Textual content is perhaps too small to see, input lag would possibly break your gaming scores, and whereas the sofa could appear comfortable, it may turn into a neck ache when put into service as an workplace chair. After which there’s the mouse, trackpad and keyboard to fret about. However going PC-to-TV works effectively in lots of conditions, and the most effective half is that it is low cost (or free) relying on what gear you have already got.

Learn extra: How to cast and mirror an Android phone screen to a TV

Mirroring vs. extending

Mirroring means placing the identical content material on each your laptop computer’s display screen and the TV. It is extra frequent and usually simpler than display screen extending — the place you see totally different content material on each, making the TV an extension of your laptop computer’s display screen. Extending is helpful for issues like having a YouTube video operating on the TV when you’re engaged on a spreadsheet in your laptop computer. It is a bit extra concerned however nonetheless attainable relying in your gear. Principally we’ll be speaking about mirroring on this article.

Learn extra: Best TV for 2020  


David Katzmaier/CNET

The simplest manner: Wired HDMI

Essentially the most fundamental PC-to-TV connection consists of operating a wire out of your pc to the HDMI enter in your TV. In case you have an older TV and an older laptop computer, there are alternatives like VGA, however that is mainly the Darkish Ages at this level.

Laptops and PCs have a bunch of various connections, so which wire or adapter you may have to run depends upon what pc you’ve. Should you’re undecided, examine the guide or Google the mannequin to find out its specs. Here is the rundown.


From high to backside: HDMI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort connectors.

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Full-sized HDMI: Should you’re fortunate, your laptop computer has a full-sized HDMI output, so you should utilize a standard HDMI cable to run to your TV. 

Mini- or micro-HDMI: These smaller versions of HDMI simply want an adapter, or a cable that has an everyday HDMI on the different finish, to attach on to your TV. 

Thunderbolt, DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort: All of those normally work with HDMI as effectively. Thunderbolt is discovered on many laptops. The primary two variations of the connector had been the identical as Mini DisplayPort, so Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI cables or adapters ought to work. Newer variations use the identical connectors as USB-C (see the following part). Full-sized DisplayPort is frequent to Home windows PCs. Once more, you may want an adapter or cable with this sort of connection on one finish and HDMI on the opposite. 

USB-C port: Many fashionable laptops have solely this type of connection. Normally you may simply want an adapter (USB-C to HDMI) and it’ll work positive, however typically it may not work in any respect. MacBooks from the last few years ought to work, as will Microsoft Surface laptops and lots of others. Word that USB-C makes use of the identical bodily connection as Apple’s Thunderbolt 3. Verify your pc’s specs to double examine what connector/adapter you would possibly want.


A USB-C-to-HDMI cable, and the varied gadgets that it is attainable to attach.

HDMI Licensing

Extra wired suggestions: There are such a lot of sorts of laptops on the market, we won’t make a blanket assertion {that a} specific adapter will work on your PC. Should you’re undecided, Google your model and mannequin before you purchase any type of adapter.

Additionally, in some circumstances the standard is perhaps diminished. You additionally will not probably get HDR or 4K decision, for instance, so if you would like the most effective picture high quality for movies, you need to use a distinct methodology to get the movies to your TV, like a Roku or Blu-ray participant.


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Wi-fi connections

There are a number of choices to skip the wires fully. Once more, it depends upon what pc you’ve, in addition to the capabilities of your TV (or the streaming device linked to your TV).

In case you have an Apple pc: The easiest way is to make use of AirPlay. However you may want a tool that helps it, particularly:

In case you have a Home windows PC: There’s one thing known as Miracast, although it isn’t as widespread as “all latest Apple merchandise” like AirPlay. Your Home windows 10 laptop computer should have the tech built-in. On the TV facet, gadgets that help Miracast embrace:


The Microsoft Wi-fi Show Adapter seems like only a cable, however has the wi-fi receiver inside, powered by your TV’s USB port.


In case you have a Chromebook: Computer systems that run Google’s Chrome OS can send content to a TV wirelessly too. To make use of it you may want:

Casting from a Chrome browser: If you do not have a TV gadget with AirPlay or Miracast compatibility you possibly can nonetheless mirror your display screen from the Chrome browser on any laptop. It really works with any of the gadgets from the Chromebook listing above. Solely content material on the browser shall be seen, and sure web sites will not work.

It’s also possible to “cast” content from a variety of mobile apps, like Netflix or YouTube, to most good TVs. This is not display screen mirroring, however should you’re simply trying to get some content material out of your telephone to an even bigger display screen, that is a straightforward option to do it.


Google Chromecast enables you to mirror your Chrome browser web page on any TV for $35.

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In case your intention is to play video games, the lag from a wi-fi connection might be going to ban any enjoyable with video games that require quick and correct clicking, like with first-person shooters and racing video games.


If you wish to up your recreation a bit, take into account a number of non-compulsory equipment. A wi-fi keyboard or mouse can go a great distance towards making your PC-on-TV expertise simpler. Here is a pair cheap choices.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Put your laptop computer someplace to cost, and simply maintain a small, mild keyboard in your lap. We just like the Bluetooth Logitech K380 not least for its lengthy battery life, but additionally its skill to toggle between gadgets, like out of your laptop computer to your pill.


There are a whole lot of wi-fi mouse choices, however I like this one as a result of it is snug, and extra importantly, quiet. As an alternative of click-click-click, it sounds extra like a lightweight tapping on a desk. 

Settings suggestions

Your TV and your laptop computer’s display screen are in all probability totally different resolutions. In idea this may not be a problem, however should you’re discovering textual content exhausting to learn, or total the picture seems poor, ensure that the laptop computer’s output matches your TV’s decision. 

It is simple to do on each Windows and Mac. Should you’re additionally attempting to ship audio, that may should be switched on as effectively, both by clicking the speaker button within the decrease proper on Home windows, or in System Preferences on Mac.

On the TV facet, ensure you disable your TV’s overscan. It is perhaps disabled robotically, but when the perimeters of your desktop are cutoff, dig deep into your TV’s menus for one thing like “dimension” or “zoom.” Should you’re gaming, additionally see in case your TV has a game mode. This could assist cut back enter lag, the delay between you urgent a button and that motion exhibiting up on display screen. It is also a good suggestion to lower the sharpness control. I imply, normally it is a good thought, however right here particularly it ought to aid you make out positive particulars higher, like textual content.


A TV’s sharpness management normally simply will increase synthetic edge enhancement, masking positive particulars and including noise. Word the “halo” across the objects within the model on the correct.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Talking of textual content, should you’re attempting to work out of your sofa it is probably that regardless of the additional display screen dimension, textual content remains to be too small. If that is the case, you possibly can modify textual content dimension on Windows and Mac. It’s also possible to use the zoom controls in sure apps, like Chrome browsers.

Should you’re not getting a picture on display screen in any respect, attempt unplugging the HDMI and plugging it again in (with the TV on), and if that would not work, depart all of it plugged in however flip the TV off then on. This is trite advice for a cause: it solves so many points.

Good luck, and if in case you have any favourite PC-to-TV suggestions, tell us within the feedback.

Received a query for Geoff? First, try all the other articles he’s written on subjects similar to why you shouldn’t buy expensive HDMI cablesTV resolutions explainedhow HDR works and extra.

Nonetheless have a query? Tweet at him @TechWriterGeoff, then try his journey adventures as a digital nomad on Instagram and YouTube. He additionally thinks you need to try his best-selling sci-fi novel about city-sized submarines and its sequel | Find out how to join your laptop computer to your TV wirelessly or with HDMI


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