How to Connect your Laptop to Your TV: Wired or Wirelessly

Robert_Stark
edited January 18 in PC Tech

Sometimes your laptop screen just isn't large enough. You want to show your friends those vacation pictures, stream movies or play video games on your 60-inch smart 4K TV. But how do you connect your laptop to your TV? It's easier than you think to hook them together—screen mirroring is now standard on TVs. Whether you want to connect your laptop wired with an HDMI cable or wirelessly to your TV - we'll show you in our step-by-step guide.

The best way to connect your laptop to your TV will depend on your TV model and what ports your TV and laptop have. So, let's get started.

How to connect your laptop to your TV via HDMI (Wired Method) 

An HDMI cable is the simplest way to connect your laptop to a TV. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, and nearly 10 billion HDMI devices have been sold since 2002. So, many laptops have an HDMI output port that transmits HD video and audio into your TV via the HDMI cable.

HDMI cables use mirroring technology, so your laptop's screen is automatically reflected on your TV. You can broadcast videos and games from your computer to your TV.

To connect your laptop to a TV via HDMI, follow these steps:

  1. Safely shut down your TV and Laptop. 
  2. Plug one end of the HDMI cable into your laptop's HDMI output. 
  3. Plug the other end of the cable into one of your TV's HDMI inputs. 
  4. Using the TV remote control, choose the input corresponding to where you plugged the HDMI cable in. (HDMI 1, HDMI 2, HDMI 3). 
  5. Power on both the TV and laptop to connect. 
  6. Press the Windows and P keys simultaneously on your laptop. 
  7. Select Duplicate
  8. If your output does not automatically adjust, you can troubleshoot in Windows' Control Panel. Select Control Panel > Display > Adjust Resolution > and choose TV in the Display drop-down menu. You can also make screen resolution adjustments to match your television's resolution. 

Which HDMI cable do I need? 

Laptops and phones have many different connections, so the cable you'll need to run your computer through your TV depends on your device's HDMI port or connector. If unsure, Google the model or check your manual to determine its connector specs. Here's the breakdown.

1) HDMI Type A Connector:  

The standard HDMI A connector is the most common and is found on almost every modern TV, monitor, game console, and desktop PC brand. You can run a standard HDMI cable to your TV if your laptop has a full-sized HDMI output. The bandwidth can carry HDTV, UHD, 4K, and 8K modes. 

Width: 14mm 

Height: 4.55mm 

2) Mini HDMI Type C Connector:  

Mini HDMI connectors are smaller and slimmed down compared to type A, but they have the same functionality. They are used in portable equipment, including cameras and camcorders. If need be, you can use a standard HDMI cable adapter that connects directly to your TV. Shop for Mini HDMI to HDMI Cables or Adaptors. 

Width: 10.42mm 

Height: 2.42mm 

3) Micro HDMI Type D Connector

Micro HDMI connectors are the smallest and are less than half the size of Type A - so they are often found in mobile phones. 

Width: 5.83mm 

Height: 2.20mm 

4) DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort Connectors:  

Computer graphics cards mostly use DisplayPort. Many desktop PCs have full-sized DisplayPort, and laptops often come with the Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt. All these connectors usually work well with HDMI. You'll want an adapter or cable with this connection type on one end and HDMI on the other. So – search for the following: 

  • DisplayPort to HDMI Cable 
  • Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Cable 

5) USB-C port:  

Many modern Ultrabooks only have this connection. The latest TVs may have a USB-C port – so you can connect them both directly.  

The second option is to buy either a USB-C to HDMI adapter or a USB hub with an HDMI port. 

Are all HDMI cables the same? 

As TVs evolve from HD to 4K to 8k, you might wonder which HDMI cable is best to buy. To support 8K, you'd ideally have HDMI 2.1 with a maximum bandwidth of 48Gbps. HDMI cables have unique certifications that indicate performance and how much data they can transfer:

  • Standard HDMI: Up to 1080i or 720p resolution at a 30Hz refresh rate. 
  • High Speed HDMI: Up to 4K resolution at 30Hz refresh rate. 10.2Gbps bandwidth. 
  • Premium High Speed HDMI: Up to 4K with high dynamic range (HDR) at 60Hz refresh rate. 18Gbps bandwidth. 
  • Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable: Supports 8k at 60Hz refresh rate and 4K at 120Hz refresh rate. 48Gbps bandwidth.

A standard HDMI cable is fine for most cases. They may be able to support higher 4K resolution, but it's not guaranteed. However, if you'd like to play AAA games or mirror your display onto an 8K, you should consider upgrading your HDMI cable. 

Are shorter HDMI cables better? 

You'll need a long enough cable to connect the two devices; luckily, wired connections come in different lengths. Extra cord length is an excellent way to minimize tripping hazard risks. However, cords longer than 25 feet can cause a loss in audio and visual quality. 

Wirelessly connect your laptop to your TV. 

There are a few options to connect wirelessly, but this depends on your laptop, your TV, or if you have a streaming device connected to your TV. The two main ways are:

  • Miracast 
  • Google Chromecast

What is Miracast? 

With Miracast, you can wirelessly mirror your laptop to any Miracast-capable TV. Miracast is like a wireless HDMI, reflecting everything from one screen to another. Roku Ultra and the Amazon Fire Stick both support Miracast.

Built on Wi-Fi Direct®, all modern Windows laptops have this tech built in, and many Android devices with version 4.2 and later. Miracast creates a closed Wi-Fi connection between the two devices, which means it can work offline.

The catch is your TV must also support Miracast, and the list is short. If your TV doesn't support Miracast natively, you'll need to purchase a Miracast dongle that plugs into your TV's HDMI port.

Microsoft's Wireless Display Adapter can make your TV capable with up to a 23-foot range. However, there are many less expensive brands. So, Google: HDMI Miracast Dongle.

How to set up Miracast wireless displays 

  1. Turn on your TV. If using a Miracast dongle, verify it's plugged into the display. 
  2. On your PC, ensure your Wi-Fi is on. 
  3. On your Window's right-hand taskbar, click the Network icon > Cast, then choose your display or wireless adapter. 
  4. Follow any additional instructions on the screen. Otherwise, you're complete.

What is Google Chromecast? 

With Google's Chromecast, you can wirelessly mirror any Chrome browser tab or desktop up to 4K. It is a technology that lets you stream from your phone, which acts as your remote. You can also cast content to most Chromecast TVs with over 1,000 mobile apps, including:

  • Netflix 
  • YouTube 
  • Spotify 
  • Showtime

Like Miracast, you'll need a Chromecast or a Chromecast built-in TV. The Chromecast dongle comes in 2 models: 

  • HD Version: Up to 1080p HDR 
  • 4K Version: Up to 4K HDR with Dolby Vision

How to set up Chromecast wireless displays 

Your Chromecast and the Google Home app will outline the steps to set up your Chromecast.

  1. Turn on your TV. 
  2. Plug the Chromecast into the HDMI input on your TV. 
  3. Switch your TV to that HDMI input. 
  4. Wait for them to pair.

For more detailed advice and troubleshooting, follow Google's guide

Cast a tab from Chrome 

  1. Open your Chrome browser. 
  2. Select the three-dot menu icon at the top right of your screen. Choose Cast
  3. Select the Chromecast device that you want to watch the content on. 
  4. When you have finished watching, click the Cast icon > Stop casting on the right of the address bar.

Before you decide on the best way to connect your laptop or computer to your TV, assess your requirements. Do you prefer a wired or wireless connection? If you go with wired, ensure you have enough bandwidth and cable length to sync your devices seamlessly. If you prefer a wireless connection, check your TV and OS to see which approach is best for you. Good luck!

*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.

About Robert Stark: Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech. 


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