If you want to know how to connect your laptop or desktop PC to your LCD TV, I’ve got you covered with what you need and how to do it. Let’s get started!
The other day I was considering buying a new LCD monitor to use with my laptop. At the time, I was using an older, clunkier LCD monitor (that I bought only 3 years ago!) and I was tired of it.
On the way out the door, I noticed my incredible Samsung 55″ QLED 4k LCD TV and thought, “Why can I not just hook up my laptop PC to the big screen LCD TV?”
After all, I was only going to buy a new 22″ LCD monitor and here, in my living room, I have a brand new 2020 55″ Samsung LCD TV– well 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 Samsung QLED TV were many 3 HDMI ports, which resemble the photo below:
On my Samsung, they are snuggled in there vertically to allow for the narrow profile of the LCD TV.
My laptop also has HDMI so all I needed was an HDMI cable to hook up my laptop to the TV. I happened to have one handy but, if you do not, here is the HDMI cable that you want because it is equipped to solidly deliver a 4k streaming experience and handle all the new devices that you may want to connect.
After you have connected one end of the HDMI to your laptop computer and the other end to your LCD TV, all you need to do is hit the input button on your TV and, perhaps on your laptop–some laptops have automatic detection.
For example, on my Dell Inpiron 13,3, I have one HDMI port and, once connected, I saw the contents of my laptop on my LCD.
On a Dell to switch back and forth between your laptop, LCD, or extended (when you use your LCD as an extension of your laptop screen) mode, you hit the function key [Fn] and hold the F8 key. After hitting these keys, you’ll see the photo below to make your appropriate choice.
As you see in the photo above, I normally operate in “Extended” mode so I can work on both monitors at one time. And then, if I am watching a movie or YouTube TV, I go into “Second screen only” mode so that I am only viewing the contents on my LCD TV.
I literally love my setup!
Oh, and one other thing I do that you would probably enjoy as well.
I use an app on my Android phone called Unified Remote to remotely control my computer.
Why is this so cool?
Well, imagine that you’re sitting on your bed watching a movie and you want to pause the movie to make a phone call. Do you want to have to get up and walk over to your computer to hit the pause button?
You want to use this app as a remote control for your computer so that you can stay put in your comfy bed.
And you will be very content. I promise!
But, now we have the next dreaded question…”what if I don’t have HDMI on my computer or LCD?”
How to Connect Your Computer to Your TV without HDMI
Nearly every LCD has an HDMI port but, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for laptops and desktops.
Certainly, many old laptops do not have HDMI ports and, even some newer sleek models do not have HDMI on them (I always recommend getting a laptop with HDMI!).
But, what if you don’t have HDMI? What are your alternatives?
Connect Your Laptop to Your TV with VGA
Before HDMI, a VGA port was typically what you used to connect your computer monitor. These ports come in two varieties: Male and Female. This is for obvious reasons. Take a look below:
Obvious no? Now, these are 15-pin VGA cables, called so because…yes, they have 15 pins. The female, the receiver, 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, I have seen situations where a laptop had a female 15-pin connector AND the 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 using a VGA connection. 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.
If for some reason you do not want to buy 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.
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. As I mentioned above, 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. There are also some incredibly cool things you can do with this setup, like watch all the movies you have you on computer on the big screen, have an amazing photo viewing experience, and–what I’ve been doing a lot lately–watching YouTube TV!
Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
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