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How to connect your laptop to your TV wirelessly or with HDMI



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David Katzmaier / CNET

If you get bored or annoyed by the small screen of your laptop while locking coronavirus you may need to use your big big TV as a monitor. It's great to sit back on your couch and surf the web, play PC games, or stream video from apps not available on your TV. Or maybe you just want a larger view for video chat while at home.

Using your TV as a monitor also has drawbacks. The text may be too small to see, input lag can disrupt your game scores, and while the couch seems comfortable it can turn into neck pain when put into service as an office chair. And then there are the mouse, trackpad and keyboard to worry about. But going to PC to TV works well in many situations, and the best part is that it's cheap (or free) depending on the equipment you already have.

Read more: Casting and mirroring an Android phone screen to a TV

Mirroring versus expanding

Mirroring means putting the same content on both your laptop screen and TV. It's more common and generally simpler than screen extension ̵

1; where you see different content on both, making the TV an extension of your laptop's screen. Expanding is useful for things like running a YouTube video on the TV while working on a spreadsheet on your laptop. It's a bit more complicated, but still possible depending on your equipment. We will usually talk about mirroring in this article.

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David Katzmaier / CNET

The Easiest Way: Wired HDMI

The simplest PC-to-TV connection consists of connecting a cable from your computer to the HDMI input on your TV. If you have an older TV and an older laptop, there are options like VGA, but those are basically the dark ages.

Laptops and PCs have a lot of different connections, so which cable or adapter do you need? run depends on which computer you have. If you are unsure, consult the manual or Google model to determine the specifications. Here is the overview.

  hdmi displayport and mini displayport connectors "data-original =" https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/36m3Zbeau8BSuJEviialhgWUpRg=/2019/03/13/f5ae689c-54f3-42b6 -bf6f-f097705eb6fa / hdmi displayport-and-mini-displayport-connectors.jpg

From top to bottom: HDMI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort connectors. [19659018] Sarah Tew / CNET

Full-size HDMI: If you're lucky, your laptop has a full-size HDMI output, so you can use a standard HDMI cable to run to your TV.

Mini or Micro HDMI : These smaller versions of HDMI only need an adapter or a cable with a regular HDMI on the other side to connect directly to your TV.

Thunderbolt, DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort: All of these usually also work with HDMI. Thunderbolt can be found on many laptops. The first two versions of the connector were the same as Mini DisplayPort, so Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cables or adapters should work. Newer versions use the same connectors as USB-C (see the next section). Full-size DisplayPort is common for Windows PCs. Again, you will need an adapter or cable with this type of connection on one side and HDMI on the other.

USB-C Port: Many modern laptops only have these types of connections. Usually you just need an adapter (USB-C to HDMI) and it works fine, but sometimes it doesn't work at all. MacBooks from the past few years should work just like Microsoft Surface laptops and many others. Note that USB-C uses the same physical connection as Apple's Thunderbolt 3 . Check your computer's specifications to determine which connector / adapter you need.

  usb-c-to-hdmi "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/QHXg51hLQL_q3SPwodDNu2hjti8=/2020/04/ 01 / 41e60331-0653-40aa-bb09-b8b07918f26a / usb-c -to-hdmi.jpg

A USB-C to HDMI cable and various devices it is possible to connect


HDMI license

More Wired Tips: There are so many different types of laptops that we cannot make a general statement that a particular adapter works for your PC. If you're not sure, Google your make and model before purchasing an adapter.

Also, the quality may decrease in some cases. For example, you probably don't get HDR or 4K resolution either, so if you want the best picture quality for videos, you have to use another method to get the videos to your TV, like a Roku or Blu-ray player. [19659029] http://www.cnet.com/ "height =" 110 "width =" 196 “/>


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Wireless Connections

There are a few options for skipping the wires completely. Again, it depends on what computer you have, and the capabilities of your TV (or the streaming device connected to your TV).

If you have an Apple computer: The easiest way is to use AirPlay . But you need a device that supports it, namely:

If you have a Windows PC: There is something called Miracast, although it is not as widespread as "all recent Apple products" like AirPlay. Your Windows 10 laptop must have the built-in technology. On the TV side, devices that support Miracast include:

  microsoft wireless display adapter "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/m5TBxskLwAZ2KzIoheg3ZMLANI4=/2020/04/01/ec8b7ec2- b0fb-440d-ac94-b91fed426196 / microsoft-wireless-display-adapter.jpg

The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter looks like just a cable, but has the wireless receiver in it, powered through the USB port of your TV.


Microsoft

If you have a Chromebook: computers with Google's Chrome OS can also send content wirelessly to a TV. To use it you need the following:

Casting from a Chrome browser: If you don't have a TV device with AirPlay or Miracast compatibility, you can still mirror your screen from the Chrome browser on any laptop. It works with any of the devices from the above Chromebook list. Only content in the browser is visible and certain websites do not work.

You can also "cast" content from various mobile apps, such as Netflix or YouTube, to most smart TVs. This is not screen mirroring, but if you just want to get some content from your phone to a bigger screen, this is an easy way to do it.

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If you intend to play games, the delay of a wireless connection is likely to prohibit all enjoyment of games that require fast and accurate clicks, such as in first-person shooters and racing games.

Accessories

If you want to improve your game a little, consider some optional accessories. With a wireless keyboard or mouse, you can make your PC-to-TV experience easier. Here are a few inexpensive options.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Put your laptop somewhere to charge, and just keep a small, light keyboard on lap. We love the Bluetooth Logitech K380, not least for its long battery life, but also for the ability to switch between devices, such as from your laptop to your tablet.

Logitech

There are many wireless mouse options, but I like this one because it is comfortable, and more importantly is silent. Instead of click-click-clicks, it sounds more like a light tap on a table.

Tips for Settings

Your TV and your laptop screen probably have different resolutions. In theory, this won't be a problem, but if you find text difficult to read or if the image looks poor, make sure the laptop's output matches the resolution of your TV.

It is easy to do on both Windows and Mac. If you're also trying to send audio, that may also need to be enabled either by clicking the speaker button in the bottom right of Windows, or in System Preferences on Mac.

On the TV side, make sure to disable the overscan of your TV . It can be turned off automatically, but if the edges of your desktop are cut off, dig deep into your TV's menus for something like "size" or "zoom". If you are gaming, also check if your TV has a game mode . This should help reduce the input delay, the delay between pressing a button and that on-screen action. It is also a good idea to decrease the sharpness control . I mean, in general this is a good idea, but here it should specifically help to better distinguish fine details like text.

  sharpness-control-intro.jpg "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/uRPFXxO9flAPxEQpeZkAwsB2xSg=/2015/08/11/20550779-7ae7-448a-9c00-d568930c7683/sharpness-control -intro.jpg

The sharpness setting of a TV usually only increases artificial edge enhancement, masking fine details and adding noise. Note the "halo" around the objects in the version on the right.


Geoffrey Morrison / CNET

Speaking of text, if you're trying to work from the comfort of your home, chances are that despite the extra screen size, text is still too small. If so, you can adjust the text size on Windows and Mac. You can also use the zoom controls in certain apps, such as Chrome browsers.

If you don't get any screen image at all, try unplugging the HDMI and plugging it back in (with the TV on), and if that doesn't work, leave everything plugged in, but put turn the TV off and on again. This is banal advice for a reason: it solves so many problems.

Good luck, and if you have any favorite PC to TV tips, let us know in the comments.


Do you have a question for Geoff? First, check out all the other articles he wrote on topics like why you shouldn't buy expensive HDMI cables, TV resolutions explained, how HDR works, and more.

Do you still have a question? Tweet to him @TechWriterGeoff and view his travel photography on Instagram. He also believes you should check out his best-selling sci-fi novel and its sequel.


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