Watching movies and videos online has become quite a normal activity. Most people watch it on their laptops or desktops. Here we will see how you can connect laptop to TV to enjoy the bigger screen.
Cables that connect laptop to TV
Before we discuss how to connect laptop to TV it is necessary to understand the various connectors used to connect them and how these connectors are different from each other. This has been discussed at HDMI Vs DVI Vs Component Video Vs S-Video Vs Composite video. Out of these connectors, ones relevant to us are HDMI,VGA, S-Video and component video.
Connect Video cables between laptop and TV
In most of the TVs you will find component video or HDMI while on most laptops you will find a VGA or S-video connector. However if your TV set has same connectors as your laptop you are all set, just connect the two with common cable. If you do not have a common cable to connect laptop to TV then there are a number of cheap converters available in market (Try eBay first). For example I bought a S-Video to Component video converter for $5. Here is a picture of it.
Similarly you can get a VGA to component adapter to connect laptop to tv via VGA. It looks like this.
These adapters should cover most basic scenarios to let you connect laptop to TV. It is a highly unlikely case where a TV does not have a component video and just an HDMI port. Therefore we will not worry about that.
Connect Audio cables between laptop and TV
Once you have made proper video connections to connect laptop to tv it is time for audio connections. Most basic option would be to use external speakers with your laptop so that you can have higher volume with external amplifier built into speakers. However if your television has an audio input jack connection then you are in luck as you can connect audio output of your laptop to audio input of your TV. That connector would have jacks that are exactly similar to your normal headset or earphone jack. This way you can connect laptop to tv audio connection.
Configuring Laptop and TV
After all your connections are complete turn on your TV and select correct input mode on it. Select the mode based on the connector used to connect laptop to TV. If it is component then pick that or if it is HDMI then pick that.
Laptops should be smart enough to identify a second monitor (in this case your television) automatically. If not then go to desktop screen and right click it to get to properties. Then pick settings -> Advanced -> Graphic Properties (This might be hidden in one of the tabs). Here select your primary and secondary display. Now your TV will be one display while laptop screen would be another. You can simply drag and drop windows from one screen to another. You can now run any process on either of the windows, this includes any videos.
Options without having to connect laptop to TV
Now that you know how to connect laptop to TV, let’s introduce a concept of Home Theater Personal Computer or HTPC. The idea behind HTPC is quite simple – a gadget that works as computer and allows you to run multimedia applications on the TV.
HTPC gives you the convenience of using wireless keyboard, mouse as well as TV remote. HTPC’s are becoming quite popular. XBOX which allows you to stream movies from Netflix is an example of that. But there are some very generic HTPC’s available in market also, for example Xtreamer.
So next time if you are trying to look for options to connect laptop to TV, give HTPC a thought.