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How to Connect Your Laptop to a TV

Updated on December 29, 2016
Max Dalton profile image

Max holds a BS in Mass Communications from SIU and an MA in Communication from U of I, and is pursuing an MBA from Webster University.

Windows 7

  1. Plug one end of either the VGA or HDMI cable that you're using in to the corresponding output port on the Windows 7 laptop. HDMI output ports are typically labelled "HDMI" and VGA output ports typically have an icon that looks like a TV monitor.
  2. Turn your laptop on if it isn't turned on already.
  3. Check the owner's manual that came with your TV for a list of PC output resolutions that are supported by the TV and change the output resolution on your laptop to one of these supported resolutions. Resolutions that are commonly supported include 800 by 600 and 1024 by 768. You can change Windows 7 display resolution relatively quickly by right-clicking an open area on the Windows 7 desktop and then clicking "Screen Resolution." Click the drop-down arrow to the right of Resolution and change drag the slider to change the resolution.
  4. Connect the other end of the video cable you connected to the laptop to the corresponding input jack on the TV. For example, if you connected an HDMI cable to your computer, connect the other end of the HDMI cable in to an available HDMI input jack.HDMI inputs are typically labelled "HDMI 1," "HDMI 2" and so on. However, VGA inputs are often labelled either "VGA," "PC Input," "RGB" or something similar. Check your TV's owner's manual if you're unclear where the input jack you're looking for is located.
  5. Turn on the TV if it's not turned on already.
  6. Press the "Windows" and "P" buttons simultaneously on your Windows 7 laptop. This brings up the external monitor dialog box that displays the following options: Computer Only, Duplicate, Extend or Projector Only
  7. Select "Computer Only" whenever you don't want to display what's on your laptop's display on the TV; select "Duplicate" if you want to show your laptop's display on both screens; select "Extend" if you want to extend your Windows 7 work area onto the TV, which lets you move items between the two screens; and select "Projector Only" show your computer's display on the TV only. You can change your external monitor mode at any time by pressing the "Windows" and "P" buttons at the same time and selecting a different mode.
  • If you connected your Windows 7 laptop to your TV using an HDMI cable, you can also output your laptop's audio through the TV's built-in speakers by clicking the "Windows" icon on the home screen and then selecting "Control Panel." Click "Hardware and Sound" and then select "Manage Audio Devices" in the Sound section. Select the Playback tab and then select "HDMI." If you connected your laptop to your TV using a VGA cable, you'll need to connect a 1/8mm audio cable to the audio output jack on your laptop and then connect the other end of that cable to a 1/8mm audio cable input associated with the VGA input on your TV, if there is one. Most TV's don't make an audio input available that corresponds with the PC input, but some do.

Connecting your laptop to your TV makes it easier to share what's on your screen with a large group of people.
Connecting your laptop to your TV makes it easier to share what's on your screen with a large group of people. | Source

Windows Vista

  1. Plug one end of either the VGA or HDMI cable that you're using in to the corresponding output port on the Windows Vista laptop. HDMI output ports are typically labelled "HDMI" and VGA output ports typically have an icon that looks like a TV monitor.
  2. Turn your laptop on if it isn't turned on already.
  3. Check the owner's manual that came with your TV for a list of PC output resolutions that are supported by the TV and change the output resolution on your laptop to one of these supported resolutions. Resolutions that are commonly supported include 800 by 600 and 1024 by 768. You can change the Windows Vista resolution by clicking "Start," "Control Panel" and then "Appearance and Personalization." Click "Personalization," then click "Display Settings." Move the slider beneath Resolution to the appropriate resolution.
  4. Connect the other end of the video cable you connected to the laptop to the corresponding input jack on the TV. For example, if you connected an HDMI cable to your computer, connect the other end of the HDMI cable in to an available HDMI input jack. HDMI inputs are typically labelled "HDMI 1," "HDMI 2" and so on. However, VGA inputs are often labelled either "VGA," "PC Input," "RGB" or something similar. Check your TV's owner's manual if you're unclear where the input jack you're looking for is located.
  5. Turn on the TV if it's not turned on already.
  6. Click "Start" and then "Control Panel" on your Windows Vista laptop.
  7. Click "Mobile PC" and then click "Windows Mobility Center. In the External Display section, click "Connect Display." This opens the New Display Detected dialog box. In this dialog box you can elect to duplicate or extend your display, or view it on your external monitor only.
  8. Select "Apply" and then "OK" after making your selection. Your Windows Vista laptop's display appears on your TV per your selections.
  9. If you connected your laptop to your TV using an HDMI cable, you can also output your laptop's audio through the TV's built-in speakers by right-clicking the Sound icon in the Notification Area and then selecting "Playback Devices." Select "HDMI." If you connected your laptop to your TV using a VGA cable, you'll need to connect a 1/8mm audio cable to the audio output jack on your Windows Vista laptop and then connect the other end of that cable to a 1/8mm audio cable input associated with the VGA input on your TV, if there is one. Most TV's don't make an audio input available that corresponds with the PC input, but some do.

How to Connect Laptop to TV

Windows 10

  1. Connect either an HDMI or VGA cable to your laptop, and then connect the other end of the cable you connected to the corresponding input on the TV you want to connect to.
  2. Set the TV up to display the input the cable running from the laptop is connected to.
  3. Press the "Windows" and "P" buttons at the same time on your laptop to bring up the Project screen. From there you can choose to extend your laptop screen to the TV, show the output on one screen, or mirror the output on both screens.

© 2011 Max Dalton

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    • deepateresa profile image

      DEEPA JOHN 5 years ago from Trivandrum, Kerala,India

      Great piece of Info

      Thanks

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 5 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi PostMaster,

      Thanks for the details. I've played this game before, lol. First, if you don't care whether or not the audio is played through the built-in speakers, check your TV's audio settings and see if there's an option to output all of the audio through the external sound system. That may work. The option I had to use was to get an external sound card with non-conventional PC audio outputs such as standard red and white, and optical outs. You can then run these cables to your sound system.

      Regarding how to get the audio to play through both the TV's speakers and the sound system if it doesn't right now, that's a mystery. I'd think if it's playing through the TV's speakers that it should play through the external sound system.

      I hope that helps. I wrote it in a hurry, so let me know if you have any more questions.

      Best,

      Max.

    • profile image

      PostMaster 5 years ago

      Hi Max Dalton, im running a telefunken ledtv and redirecting its sound to my samsung 5.1 home theatre system , this is working fine with TV , DVD , USB etc . When i plug in my windows 7 laptop via hdmi cable into THE TV , audio and video are both present , However audio is only being relayed through the tv's built-in speakers . How can i relay the laptops sound via the TV to my sound system ?

      Thanks

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 5 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Alocsin,

      Thanks for the comment. To answer your question: No. The USB ports on TVs are primarily used for firmware updates, but some also recognize connected devices, such as iPods.

      Best,

      Max.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Excellent how-to. Do the TVs with USB ports allow connections to laptops with USB ports? Voting this Up and Useful.