How to connect your Laptop/Computer to your TV?

There are a variety of different ways you can connect your computer to your TV. All will involve the use of different types of cables. Which cable you use will depend on a couple of different factors:
  1. What type of connections your laptop/PC has
  2. What type of connections your television has 
The following is a list of the different types of cables/connections you will have to choose from with picture quality ranging from highest to lowest:
  1. HDMI
  2. DVI
  3. VGA
  4. S-Video
  5. Composite/RCA 
  6. Scan Converter Box
connect laptop tv

Here’s a graphic I created with some pictures of the various cables:

1. HDMI : “High Definition Multimedia Interface” or HDMI is the highest quality connection now. All HDTVs will have this connection though chances are your laptop or computer will not. If you do happen to have an HDMI connection on your computer then by all means, use this connection. If you do not have HDMI on your computer you can use an adapter to convert HDMI to DVI.

2. DVI : DVI stands for “Digital Video Interface” and has pretty much been the standard for connecting computer monitors since about 2003. Your computer will most likely have this connection. HDTVs should also have this connection. If you wish to use audio with a DVI connection you must use a seperate audio cable. A cable from phones output connected to red and white audio in on your TV will work great!

3. VGA : VGA or “Video Graphics Array” connections are the most common video connections found on laptops and PC’s. HDTVs may have a VGA connection which means you simply need to connect the cable between your computer and televsion. However, older televisions will not have a VGA connection and will require a PC to television converter. There are USB converters that allow you to use this method. Just like DVI, VGA does not carry a audio signal. Just use the same method from above for connecting audio from your phones output.

4. S-Video : S-Video or “Super Video” has been around for quite some time now. Some laptops and computer graphics cards will have a S-Video connection. Most televisions will also have a S-Video connection. This isn’t the best quality connection but its also not the lowest quality. S-video has the same audio limitation as the above two examples. Again, just use your phones output and a phones to RCA cable or adapter.

5. RCA : Composite connections, sometimes referred to as RCA connections, are the yellow, red, and white connections that most people will be familiar with. Red is right analog audio, and white is left analog audio. Yellow is composite video. This will be the lowest quality connection to use. If your computer has no RCA connections, you can use an RCA to S-Video cable.

6. Scan Converter Box : This is the last method that I could think of and it involves using a scan converter box, which takes a VGA signal and converts it into S-Video or component video.

Connecting your laptop or PC to your television is pretty simple. Just check both your computer and television to find out what connections they have in common. If by some chance you have no connections matching up, you can always buy adapters to make your connection types match.

Once you’ve passed the stage of physically connecting your computer to your television you’ll have to select the correct input on your TV. Just like when using your DVD player, select the input that your computer is connected to using your remote. This input might be called something like AV1 or AV2.  You should see this on the television screen.

If your picture seems distorted, play around with the pixel settings on your TV or change the resolution. New HDTVs will have a few different resolution settings.  Older TVs may only have one resolution setting.  In this case, adjust your computer resolution until the picture looks good.

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