Sunday, August 28, 2016

This should serve as the ultimate guide on how to connect your laptop to your TV.  This guide will actually work for hooking up any computer to any TV since we are going to go over the connections you’ll find on any PC, Laptop, TV or HDTV, and how to get them all to work together to get the most out of both the audio and video.

The easiest way to do this is wirelessly using an EZAir, or even eliminating the computer and doing it wirelessly with a streaming content box like the Roku.  However, this article is going to cover wired connections.

Digital HD Laptop to TV Connections That Carry Both Audio and Video

First, let’s start out with the source which will be either your laptop or computer.  Since this is where your signal originates, it’s important that we start here so we know what our limitations might be.  These connections carry a digital audio and video signal.  This is the ideal connection as you will get both HD video and Surround Sound audio.  These are:

  • HDMI
  • DisplayPort
  • mini DisplayPort
  • Thunderbolt

Many TVs have an HDMI input, but most don’t have DisplayPort, mini DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt inputs.  They are comptable with each other though, so you won’t need a signal converter or anything crazy.  You’ll only need an adapter if you don’t have an HDMI out on your computer.

Basically, if your laptop has HDMI and so does your TV, then you’ll only need an HDMI cable to connect them.  If your laptop has DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt, then you will need the appropriate adapter.

Side note: Some of these connections might not actually support audio out through these ports, despite the fact that the technology is technically capable of it.  If this is the case, you will have to use an alternative method to get audio to your TV as described below.

Digitally Connect Your Laptop and TV Without Audio

There are digital video outputs that do not carry audio signals.  These connections are:

  • DVI (Digital Video Interface)
  • Mini-DVI
  • Micro-DVI

with DVI being the oldest, Micro-DVI being the newest, and all of them being replaced with the above digital/audio connections.  Either way, these are still found on many laptops out there.  In order to connect these to your HDTV’s HDMI port, you’ll need the appropriate adapter.  For example, a DVI to HDMI adapter cable if you have DVI and so on.  Some older HDTVs do also have DVI inputs, but you won’t find a television with mini or micro DVI inputs.

How to Get Sound From Your Laptop To Your TV

If your digital video connection doesn’t support audio, you’re going to need to use the computer’s audio output, which is usually the same 3.5mm jack you’d plug your headphones or speakers into.  It won’t be Surround Sound, but it will still do the trick.

If your TV or receiver has a 3.5mm input, then the connection is a simple 3.5-3.5 TRS audio cable.  If your TV doesn’t have this input, then it will likely have an RCA input.  This is the yellow, red, and white connection.  You will need  a 3.5 mm to RCA cable that splits your audio into left and right (white and red) channels for your TV.

Analog PC to TV Connections

You’ll find the following connections on many computers, some of which are capable of carrying high resolution (HD) signals.  These are the least preferred way to hook your laptop up to your TV, but they’ll work just fine.  In order from highest resolution to lowest, these connections are:

  • VGA
  • Mini VGA
  • S-Video
  • RCA

These will all require that you use the audio connection method mentioned above.  These are also all compatible with each other, so in order to go from say VGA to RCA, you’d simply need a VGA to RCA adapter cable.  You can not connect these to high definition digital inputs on your TV, because the signals are incompatible.  You will have to stick with inputs in your TV that are in this analog family.

Also note that the inability to connect these analog sources to the digital sources mentioned above has nothing to do with signal quality.  They are just two different and incompatible signal types, so you can’t go the other way around by connecting a digital source to an analog input either.

That should just about cover everything you need to know about your laptop to TV connection.  Most of the time only a cable or two is required, and these cables don’t have to cost a lot.  A cheap HDMI cable is just as good as an expensive one for the purpose of connecting your laptop to your TV.

I’ve left quite a bit of very technical information out here in favor of brevity and clarity.  However, as always, if you have any questions regarding the specifics of your connection feel free to ask in the comments.

{ 0 comments }

TV Ceiling Mount – A Versatile Mounting Option

Now that TVs are light and flat, you have many more placement options, including a tv ceiling mount. Most of the time when people purchase their new flat panel television, they only consider wall-mounting as an option, but ceiling mounting is actually a more versatile option for your home theater. If you have walls that [...]

The VGA to HDMI Converter

There are a number of reasons why people would be interested in using a VGA to HDMI converter, including cost savings (from switching to updated media), keeping old gaming systems, and using a television screen to project images from a laptop or PC. However, because VGA operates on an analog signal and HDMI from an [...]

The VGA to HDMI Cable – It Won’t Work

The VGA to HDMI cable is one that is out of date and does not give consumers the best possible picture, not to mention that in 99% of situations, it’s not even going to work. With television technology constantly improving and gaming and multimedia technology being more prevalent, consumers want to make sure that they [...]

Wireless Spy Camera

Whereas home cinema is a matter of entertainment and pleasure, home surveillance is a matter of safety and security.  One useful device you can employ for home security is the wireless spy camera.  Wireless cameras offer some advantages over wired systems which are pretty obvious, but there are also some drawbacks and we’re going to [...]

Should You Get a Separate TV Projector?

If you’re looking for a TV projector, there a couple of requirements you’re going to want to look at beyond choosing a typical home theater projector.  If you use your projector only for movies, or other special events, then obviously it isn’t going to be used very often.  People watch television much more frequently than [...]

Screen Goo – Is It Worth It?

When it comes to making a diy projector screen, nothing is easier than simply painting a wall with Screen Goo.  The problem with standard paints is that they are not quite the right texture or color, but Screen Goo paint comes in several different hues, and is specially formulated to give you a perfect viewing [...]

Is it Possible to Convert VGA to HDMI?

We’ve talked about the differences between VGA vs HDMI, but we didn’t really get into converting VGA to HDMI.  A lot of people wonder if this is even possible, and if so, how you might go about doing it. Switching from VGA to HDMI is problematic because VGA is an analog signal, while HDMI is [...]

VGA vs HDMI

Thumbnail image for VGA vs HDMI

Which is better; VGA or HDMI?  My friend posed this question last night, and before I had a chance to answer, another friend answered that VGA was better.  I considered correcting him, but I was curious to listen to his explanation as to why he thought this.  His main point was that your computer can [...]

TV and Projector Ceiling Mounts

When you’re coming up with a design for your home cinema, there are many options as far as where everything is going to go.  One viable option for equipment placement is the ceiling.  You can use your ceiling to mount your television, or your projector.  All you need is a sturdy ceiling mount that is [...]

What Exactly is a 1080p Projector?

When it comes to buying a projector for your home cinema, you’re probably going to go with HD, or high definition, and there are a couple choices available.  One of the most popular HD formats that people go with is the 1080p projector.  This is the best HD standard available these days, and will give [...]

Mini Projectors

Mini projectors are a new technology that is gaining ground in the world of handheld electronic devices.  These projectors are also known as pico projectors, or pocket projectors, and they really are small enough to fit into your pocket.  They are no larger than most cell phones, or small digital cameras.  With these pico projectors, [...]

Electric Projector Screen

One of the ultimate accessories in your home cinema pursuits is the electric projector screen.  This allows you to comfortably sit back in your home theater seating, punch a remote control button, and down comes your projector screen. These projector screens come in a variety of sizes, starting as small as 25″ (what’s the point, [...]

Is a Blu-Ray Burner Practical?

A popular way to protect your original DVDs is to burn copies, and keep the originals safely tucked away.  Blu-Ray is the new HD media standard, and I’m wondering if it’s practical to continue this practice. In order to do this you’re going to need a blu-ray burner.  Blu-Ray is not incredibly new, as far [...]

Home Theater Seating

When designing a home cinema, it’s important to take into account the comfort of you, your family, and guests.  You want to have a sufficient amount of comfortable home theater seating for everyone, and you want this furniture to fit in with the design of the room too. If your home theater doubles as your [...]

Wireless Home Theater System

Sometimes people just don’t like the look of all that speaker wire hanging around their home cinema.  You have the option of pinning it to the molding, to make it inconspicuous, or you could drill holes in your walls and ceiling, and string it through that way, but the simplest way to avoid seeing those [...]

Projector Screen Material

Whether you plan on making a projector screen yourself, or you’re simply going to purchase one, it’s important to have some information on the best projector screen material so you know what you’re looking for.  You want to make an informed decision when it comes to outfitting your home cinema with a screen. If you’re [...]