Connect Laptop or Desktop Computer to TV with Video Cables

Suppose you wish to watch a movie or share a slide-show of pictures with your family on your PC but have a screen that leaves much to be desired. In such a situation, you can connect your computer to a television screen to allow your entire family to enjoy comfortably.

Connect Laptop Computer to Television
There are many ways in which you can connect your computer to a television. However, the overall video quality will be different for different methods. You can choose which one to use based on the quality or the availability of hardware. The first step is to know what type of ports and connections your TV and computer have. If you already know the type of ports and connections available on your hardware, you can directly jump to Step 2. If not, then the different types of ports are explained in detail below:-

Connect PC or Laptop to TV
Different types of PC to TV connection ports

1) RCA/Composite: The oldest and the lowest quality connection available. They are the Yellow, Red and White connections most of us are familiar with. Yellow is used for composite video, white for left analog audio and red for right analog audio.

2) S-Video: S-Video or Super Video offers slightly better quality than Composite connections. As it is one of the oldest type of connections available, most televisions and computers have it. There are two types of S-Video ports, one containing 4 pins and the other containing 7 pins. This type of connection is used only for video. So you will need to connect an audio cable from your computer's headphone jack to the red and white audio inputs on your TV (or to a direct audio input slot if your TV has it) if you want audio to work.

3) VGA (Video Graphics Array): Most computers and televisions have a VGA port. It offers much better quality than S-Video and should be preferred if you have a HDTV. Older CRT TVs however, will not have a VGA port and will require a PC to Television converter. Just like S-Video, VGA also does not support audio and will require an additional audio cable.

Laptop Computer to TV
Different types of connecting cables to connect computers to TVs

4) DVI: Digital Video Interface offers much better quality than VGA connections. Most laptop computers and HD TVs will have these connections. Just as the name suggest, this type of connection can be used only with digital TVs. Also like the previous two, DVI connections also require the use of an audio cable for audio to work.

5) HDMI: The highest quality connections available that carry both audio and video. Most HD TVs will have this connection, however, chances are that your computer would not. If your computer happens to have a HDMI connection port, this should be preferably used.
connect laptop to tv

Step 2: Once the type of ports on the two devices are recognized, you will need the right connector cable to physically connect them. Some different types of connector cables are pictured above. If you do not find a matching type of connection port, you will need an adapter to make the connection type match. Specific porting cables with different types of ports on two ends can also solve this issue (HDMI to VGA, HDMI to DVI etc.)

Step 3: After connecting the two devices, on your TV, select the external input with which your TV is connected to the computer. It may be HDMI1 or AV1 depending on how you have made the connection. This is much similar to how you select input from DVD players.

If you have followed the steps correctly, your TV should now be displaying your computer's screen.

Important: 1) The default option for most computers is duplicating the current display onto the external display. It means that by default, your TV should show the screen of your computer. You can, however, select from any of the supported options that are available for your computer. Options will vary from operating system to operating system.

2) If your computer is not recognizing the external display, you should try connecting the TV before starting your computer such that during booting, your TV gets recognized.

3) If the picture appears distorted, you will need to change the screen resolution of your TV by altering the display settings from your computer. Most older TVs will support only one display resolution while newer TVs will support plenty of them.

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Akhilesh Sharma maintains and writes Tweak And Trick. He is a technology enthusiast and a science student.
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