How to Connect a Laptop to a TV (or External Monitor)

Connect Laptop To Monitor Tv Hero

In an age when we have big monitors and even bigger TVs that can hook up to your laptop in all kinds of ways, it seems like a waste not to use them to expand your laptop’s display. Here we show you how to connect your laptop to a TV or external monitor.

HDMI (The Obvious One)

The most common way to connect an even remotely modern laptop to an even remotely modern TV is via an HDMI cable. Don’t mess around with weird gold-plated connectors or anything like that. If you’re just looking to output in HD resolution, then any HDMI cable will do, but there are a few extra little things you can consider when looking at HDMI cables.

pc-to-tv-hdmi

Once your laptop is connected to your monitor, in Windows 10 you can use the keyboard shortcut Win + P to select your second screen.

Connect Laptop To Monitor Tv Hdr Project

On macOS, press CMD + F2 to mirror your displays. You can also press Option + F2 to bring up display options.

Connect Laptop To Monitor Tv Hdr

HDMI 2.0 and HDR

HDR, or high-dynamic-range, is a development in screen technology that offers brighter highlights, higher contrast and a wider color gamut.

If your laptop has a GPU inside it that supports HDR, and your monitor or TV supports HDR too (most 4K screens do, but 1080p ones don’t) then with an HDMI cable, you may be able to use HDR mode once your laptop is connected to your screen. However, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • Buy an HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.1 cable, which will be capable of running a 4K resolution at 60Hz with HDR enabled. Regular (HDMI 1.4) cables will only output 4K at 30Hz.
  • Make sure you plug the HDMI 2.0 cable into an HDR-compatible port on your TV. It should be labelled as such.

Once you’ve connected your laptop to your monitor or TV’s HDR-compatible HDMI port, you may need to enable the HDR signal using your TV remote and also enable HDR mode in Windows 10.

To do this, go to “Display settings -> Windows HD Color.” Select the HDR-compatible display under “Choose display,” then click “Use HDR.”

Connect Laptop To Monitor Tv Hdr Mode

Connect Laptop to Monitor or TV Wirelessly

You probably know already about the joys of streaming from your laptop to your TV, and if you don’t have a smart TV, there are several affordable devices that essentially turn your TV smart, letting you mirror your laptop display to your TV. (Read more in our Fire Stick vs. Roku Stick vs. Chromecast showdown.) In almost all cases, your laptop and TV or streaming device will need to be on the same Wi-Fi network to connect with each other.

Best Streaming Stick Chromecast

Once you’ve connected one of these devices (or if you have a TV with streaming built in, like an Android TV with integrated Chromecast), you can use a browser like Chrome or Edge to cast your browser or entire desktop.

In Chrome, click the three-dotted menu icon at the top right -> Cast, then select what you want to cast.

Connect Laptop To Monitor Tv Cast Desktop

In Edge, click the three-dotted menu icon -> More tools -> Cast media to device

Screen mirroring

Certain smart TVs will have a “screen mirroring” option you can use (which Android TVs integrate into the Google Cast options). You should be able to access this setting using your TV remote. (On Samsung Smart TVs, for instance, you’ll find it under Sources.)

Miracast

If your TV or monitor is Miracast-compatible, it should be quite easy to connect it to a laptop running Windows 10. Make sure that both your laptop and TV are switched on and connected to Wi-Fi, then click the notification button at the bottom-right corner.

Connect Laptop To Monitor Tv Hdr Wireless

After that, click “Project -> Connect to a wireless display” then wait for your Miracast-enabled display to appear as an option.

That about covers it for connecting your laptop to a monitor or TV. For more TV-related tips, see our guide on fixing overscan when using your TV as a monitor. Or if you’re pursuing more tech, see how to install Android TV on Raspberry Pi.

Related:

Robert Zak Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

Leave a Comment

Yeah! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Check out our comment policy here. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.