The best way to connect a computer to your TV and share its screen is to use a standard HDMI cable, although you can also connect the computer to the TV wirelessly. Connect one end to the port on your laptop or PC and the other end to the port on the back of the TV, then switch the TV source to the appropriate HDMI channel.
Mirroring your laptop’s screen onto your TV should be just as simple – and since HDMI carries audio and video, you’ll also hear whatever’s playing streamed through the TV’s speakers.
But, as with all things in life, it doesn’t always go according to plan. We’ve outlined some common pitfalls you may encounter below and explain how to overcome them. Plus, read our tips on how to use your TV as a monitor.
My computer does not have an HDMI port
HDMI connections come in three sizes: full size (also known as Type-A), Mini, and Micro. The HDMI port on your computer or TV is likely a full-size connection, shown in red in the image below. However, not all computers have HDMI.
If you have a recent model, it may have a USB-C port instead, you can simply use a USB-C to HDMI cable to connect it to your TV.
You can also purchase adapters to convert your laptop’s full-size USB-C, USB 3.0, DVI, and DisplayPort connections to HDMI, which may be easier if you already have a standard HDMI cable. standard.
If you switched to using USB-C but only one USB-C port on your laptop is currently occupied or needed for charging, consider using a hub to add more ports – This model even adds an HDMI port.
If your laptop doesn’t have any modern connections, you’ll need to use the VGA port to connect it to the TV. Since VGA cannot transmit audio, you must choose a cable that also has a 3.5 mm audio connector, such as this one.
My TV doesn’t have a spare HDMI port
If all HDMI ports are currently in use, use the HDMI switch to turn one port into multiple. These are relatively inexpensive devices – we like this Techole HDMI switcher with its three HDMI outputs.
Connect the port labeled HDMI OUT to the TV with an HDMI cable, then use the three HDMI IN ports to attach various HDMI connected devices. You can switch between them using the top button (some HDMI switches also come with a remote).
HDMI cable is not long enough
If your TV is wall-mounted or just in an awkward place, you may need to purchase a longer HDMI cable. If it’s too tight against the wall and hard to reach, you can also buy an angled HDMI extender.
Check out other HDMI cable options.
No sound when I connect laptop to TV via HDMI
There are a number of issues that can prevent the TV from playing sound from a computer connected via HDMI. First of all, any problems with the connection itself should be ruled out, so make sure the HDMI cable is plugged in properly and maybe try using another HDMI cable or port.
You will also need to make sure your computer’s settings are configured correctly. Right-click the volume icon in the Taskbar at the bottom of your Windows desktop, then select Sound. Select the Playback tab, then make sure the Digital Output or HDMI option is selected as the default.
If you don’t see these options here, right-click that window and make sure all disconnected and disabled devices are visible. If it is still missing, update the driver for your sound card. You can do this by going directly to the sound card manufacturer’s website or using a simple application like Driver Easy.
No picture when I connect laptop to TV via HDMI
When connecting a PC to a TV, you do not need to change any settings on the PC for the picture to display on the TV. However, if it doesn’t display correctly, first check the HDMI connection itself, then try these steps:
Press Windows key + P. You will see a sidebar pop up with different display options: Notebook Screen Only; Replication; Extend; and Second screen only. We recommend using Duplicate or Second Screen Only.
If this doesn’t solve your problem, right-click on the Windows 10 desktop and select Display settings.
If you don’t see two screens (similar to the image below), your laptop has failed to recognize the TV. This could indicate a faulty HDMI connection itself, so check that it’s plugged in properly and maybe try using a different cable or port.
When you see the second screen appear in Display Settings, scroll down to Multiple Display Options. In this menu, you can choose to mirror (mirror) your laptop’s screen, extend these screens (so you can display different content on each screen), or display it only on TV (usually monitor #2).
How to wirelessly connect your laptop to your TV
Many gadgets can act as a bridge between your computer and your TV, allowing you to ‘cast’ content from one to the other. You may also hear the term ‘screen mirroring’ used, although technically the two are slightly different, with one streaming from within an app and the other copying your laptop screen.
Because there are so many technologies and terms being used out there, including Wireless Display, Wi-Fi Direct, and Miracast, that may not be supported by either one or both of your devices, you may have to pay to keep things simple.
We like the Roku Express (reviewed). It’s a cheap media player that plugs into your TV via HDMI and lets you install apps for various catch-up TV services and movie subscription services. It also lets you cast from a compatible device in much the same way as the £30 Google Chromecast, but with an extra user-friendly interface.
If you don’t need a media streaming box – you probably already have a smart TV and don’t need extra apps – there are also solutions that are no more than wireless HDMI protectors, such as this 4K dongle from Amazon. It’s no different than connecting the two with an HDMI cable, except that the cable is replaced with a wireless system.
See also: How to connect Android to TV and how to connect headphones to TV.
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