How to stream from PC to TV

Your TV may be ‘smart’ and come with fancy features, but it may not do everything your PC can. Here’s how to cast from PC to TV.

An example of why you might want to do this is when your TV doesn’t offer the catch-up service you want to use. Or, you might want to display holiday photos on the big screen, but they’re stored on your laptop’s hard drive. You might even want to play PC games on your TV, but you don’t want a big and noisy PC in the room.

There are several ways to connect a PC to a TV, but the best way will depend on whether you need to play HD videos or games.

How to cast from PC to TV with cable

If you don’t mind placing your laptop or PC right next to your TV, the easiest option is to connect the two together with a cable. Most modern TVs and PCs will come with an HDMI port, and chances are you already have an HDMI cable ready to use. We’ve got a comprehensive guide on how to connect a laptop (or PC) to a TV.

How to stream wirelessly from PC to TV

If you want to skip the wires, another way to stream content from your PC is to use Google Chromecast. This little gadget costs £30 but you can usually find it cheaper if you search online. Make sure you read our Chromecast review before you buy.

Google Chromecast

Chromecast can plug directly into the HDMI port, but it needs power from the mains or the USB port on your TV. See how to set up and use Google Chromecast in the UK for more.

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Once set up, you can stream or ‘cast’ content from devices in your home. Chromecast works with various iOS and Android apps, but you can play almost anything you want from your PC using the Chrome web browser. see more: What can you watch on Google Chromecast in the UK?

Make sure your PC is connected to the same network as the Chromecast, otherwise this won’t work. Now, open Google Chrome browser (28 and up) and install the Google Cast Extension. Now click on the Google Cast button on the top right (the rectangle with the Wi-Fi type logo in the corner).

Select your Chromecast from the pop-out box and your TV will now display whatever is displayed in your Chrome browser. Select ‘cast this tab’ to select the Chrome tab you want to cast to the TV. If you want to stream locally stored video, just drag and drop it into Chrome.

“Much of web content can be transmitted. However, sites that use plug-ins like Silverlight, Quicktime & VLC are not supported and may result in missing images or sounds,” warns Google.

How to cast from PC to TV to play games

Game streaming is the most challenging because you not only need high resolution, high frame rate video, but also very little lag. There’s no point in cracking the first problem just for the video to arrive with a lag time: you’ll quickly lose any multiplayer game.

How to cast PC to TV

One solution is NZXT’s brand new Doko. It’s a £99 box that uses a wired network connection (through your router) to stream your PC’s desktop to your TV. You plug a keyboard, mouse, and game controller into Doko and install a piece of software on your PC. See our full Doko review for more.

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