One of the great things about today's computers is their multimedia capabilities. You can easily stream and download movies from a number of legal websites, or pop in a Blu-ray or DVD and snuggle up on the sofa for a great night in.

While a laptop makes all your digital entertainment nice and portable, the screen size can leave a little to be desired. It's not so much fun to huddle around a tiny monitor, so the good news is connecting your computer to a TV can be so quick and easy it won't eat into any of your viewing time.

The Knowhow

Many modern laptops and televisions are easy to connect together. The leads you need will vary according to the sockets on your computer and TV.

These are some of the most common:

digital hdmi digital dvi analog vga

HDMI is often seen as being the standard connection for high-definition devices these days. It's found on many devices and is easy to use and set up.

There are other types of connection that your television may have. One of the most common is component cables, also known as RCA, YPbPr or RGB. These look almost like audio cables and are plugged into several sockets on the TV.

scart cables for tv

It's possible to get cables that are component at one end and another format at the other, for example VGA or SCART.

Once the cables are connected, Windows should automatically detect the new display and provide you with a list of options.

  • Choose Use the external display as your main display

If the option doesn't appear:

  • Click the Start button
  • Type Connect to an external display into the search box
  • A list of results will appear. Select Connect to an external display
  • Use the menus to select your television
  • Adjust any settings you need to so they match your TV


If you have any display issues once connected, try the following steps:

  • Use the laptop's display settings to lower the resolution
  • One of the function keys (F1 - F12) should have a picture of a screen on it. Hold down the Fn key and press it
  • Check the TV is in the right input mode. For example, if you are connected by HMDI, select the HDMI input using your remote.
  • Restarting your computer can often help it automatically detect the external display

Updated On:

Aug 01, 2012

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