Connect Laptop Computer to Digital/LCD TV

How to Connect Your Laptop or Desktop PC to Your Digital/LCD TV

how to connect laptop to tvThe other day I was considering buying a new LCD monitor to use with my laptop.  At the time, I would either use my laptop monitor or connect my existing monitor, one of those old clunkers with the big huge back on it (that I bought only 3 years ago!).  I was tired of this old monitor.  It took up too much space and it just wasn’t cool anymore.  So, I did some research and decided what I was going to buy.

On the way out the door, I noticed my 46 ” LCD TV and thought, “Why can I not just hook up my laptop PC to the my big screen LCD TV?”  After all, I was only going to buy 22″ LCD monitor and here, in my living room, I have a relatively new 46″ Toshiba LCD TV–over twice the size of the monitor that I am going to buy.

How difficult could it be to connect my PC to the digital/LCD TV?  It turns out that it is not difficult at all to learn to connect computer to TV.  You only need one thing to connect your laptop or desktop PC to your LCD high definition television.  Yep.  That’s it.  Just one thing.  And with this one thing, you turn your TV into your PC monitor.

And it looks fantastic!  So what’s the one thing?

The One Thing You Need to Connect Your Computer to Your TV

So, on that day, when I had the revelation of using my LCD TV as my computer monitor, I looked on the back of my TV.  I could have consulted the manual, but I don’t like to RTFM (Read The F*&cking Manual) .  It’s kind of like asking for directions.

There on the back of my TV was something that looked just liked a VGA port.  A VGA port is typically what you use to connect your computer monitor.  These ports come in two varieties:  Male and Female.  This is for obvious reasons.  Take a look below:

cable to connect your pc to tvhook up your pc to your tv using a vga cord

Obvious no? Now, these are 15-pin VGA cables, called so because…yes, they have 15 pins. The female, the reciever, has open spaces for the 15-pin male. Normally, your standard computer monitor has a 15-pin male VGA connection, which fits snugly into the 15-pin female connector on your laptop or PC.However, in this situation, my laptop had a female 15-pin connector AND my LCD TV also had a female 15-pin connector. What do these two female receptacles need? You guessed it–they need males, two to be exact. Two strong 15-pin male connectors to fill their holes.

This got me wondering…Which cables do i need to connect my PC to a TV? And so…here is what you need to buy to connect your Laptop or Desktop PC to Your Digital/LCD TV, hopefully big screen TV.  One VGA (also sometimes called SVGA) cable with male 15-pin connectors on both sides.

What, you say, where the heck do I get that? How am I suppose to know?  You’re not.  That is why I am going to tell you. You can buy this VGA cable here. Did you click the link or pass right by it?  OK one more time: Buy the Belkin F3H982-25 Pro Series High-Integrity VGA/SVGA Monitor Replacement Cable (25 ft.) here.

I don’t know how, but Amazon currently offers this for $9.89, which is a savings of $35. However they do it, I like it!I bought my mine at the local store because I was so excited to test it.  I went to several places to find it:  Office Depot, Office Max and none of them had it.  Do you know who had it?  WalMart.  Yep.  I was surprised…they actually have a lot of technical stuff.  Go Sam, no wonder you’re worth billions!  And it was pretty cheap there too, but not as good of a deal as on  I suppose I should have bought mine online. If you go to the store, you are looking for a Belkin HDDB15 Male/HDDB15 Male SVGA Monitor cable.  It’s part #F3H982A06.

For more information on cables, including finding the best HDMI cable if you want to go with an advanced connection, please see the article Connect TV to PC for graphical illustrations.

(POST UPDATE: Since writing this original post, I have updated my laptop to the new ASUS 14-Inch Laptop which I love not only because it has over 10 hours of battery life, but because it has HDMI. Now, I connect pc to TV with HDMI, which carries both video and sound on a much smaller cable! I love it.)

After you get the cable, connect your laptop or desktop to the LCD TV with this cable, hit the INPUT button on your LCD TV and choose computer, and then find out how to switch your computer over to the LCD high-def big screen TV.  On my Dell and almost all Dell laptops, you hold down the FN (function) key and press F8 a couple of times. For a desktop, you’ll probably have to go into the display card settings by right-clicking on your desktop. We also have how to videos on this topic in this post: How To Connect Computer To TV.

You’re off and running now. Enjoy the experience of using your LCD TV as your PC computer monitor.  You may also want to get TV Anywhere, which enables you to watch TV on your PC.  I did this, then canceled cable TV, and saved $900.  Plus, if you read my blog, you know I like to travel.  Now I can watch TV anywhere!

Readers who enjoyed this post also are reading copy DVD to hard drive and How Do I Save YouTube Videos On My Computer so they can put all of their entertainment on their laptop 🙂

Richard CummingsConnect Laptop Computer to Digital/LCD TV