Using Televisions as Laptop Monitors: Computer to TV Connection

Learn How To Make a Laptop to TV Connection and Share Photos with a Roomful of People

Using remote control

You may have once seen a seemingly tech-savvy friend hook a laptop up to their television in order to share digital pictures. Most likely, you were impressed and thought it would require a good deal of technical knowledge. Not so! Read on to learn how to quickly and easily link your laptop and television.

The benefits of connecting your laptop and television are worth the effort. When company is over, you can share pictures of your latest vacation without making every hunch of your small laptop screen - just hook it up to the big screen, sit back, and enjoy! You can also use this setup to enjoy the flexibility of more screen space. Working on a document that requires a full screen but doesn't need your full attention? Play a DVD or YouTube video on the television, while remaining on your laptop to do your work. The possibilities are endless! Follow these directions for how to use your television as a laptop monitor:

  1. You'll need a few basic components in order to set up the computer to TV connection. First, check your laptop for an S-video out jack. (The symbol next to this jack will be a rectangular box with an S and an arrow coming out of it). An S-video cord can be purchased for $20-$50 (depending on length and quality) online or at any big box electronics retailer (e.g. Best Buy or Circuit City). Be sure to purchase a long enough cord, as there's nothing worse than hooking up your laptop and realizing that you have to stay right next to the television with it!
  2. Physically hooking this up is very easy - just plug one end of the S-video into your laptop, and the other into your television. However, the software setup can be a bit confusing. Once the cord is plugged in, turn on your television and switch the input to be from the S-video slot (normally accomplished by pressing either the "input" or "TV/Video" buttons on your remote). Your laptop may automatically detect the television and pop a screen to give you the choice begin broadcasting, but not always. If it doesn't identify the extra screen, open the Windows Mobility Center (found in the quick start menu on your Windows Vista taskbar) and select connect display.
  3. Once your television is identified, you have the option to duplicate your laptop's monitor on both screens (useful for presentations with a wired mouse), extend your laptop's monitor onto the new screen so that you have double the screen space (useful when you want to watch a video while simultaneously working on your laptop), or view content only on the television screen (useful for presentations with a wireless mouse). Select the appropriate option, and select the resolution that matches your television.
  4. If you want to connect the sound to your computer, all it takes is one additional component that only costs a few dollars ($5-$10). Called an RCA cable, one side will have just one plug that goes into your headphone jack, while the other side splits into two plugs that will go into the left and right audio jacks on your television. There is no setup needed for this final laptop to TV connection - just plug in and enjoy!


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