How to connect a computer to a TV


Sometimes you’ll have something on your computer that you’d like to play on your television. Maybe you’ve downloaded a film or you’ve been sent a video showing members of your family that you’d like to watch on a bigger screen, perhaps with others.
A modern television can now be connected to a desktop or laptop computer. That way, your computer becomes a playback device, with the TV acting as a monitor. Using an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) cable is the easiest way to do this.
Note: These cables range hugely in price. However, experts agree that there’s nothing to be gained by buying a more expensive ‘designer’ cable – a relatively cheap one should do the job adequately.
You’ll need:
  • a  computer with an HDMI ‘out’ socket, a sound card and a video card
  • a TV with an HDMI input socket
  • an HDMI cable to connect the two.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to connect your computer to your television
This article assumes that you’re using a PC running Windows 7.
Step 1: Place your laptop near the television or ensure that your desktop computer is located close enough to reach it via the HDMI cable. Make sure that both your computer and your TV are turned off.
HDMI socketStep 2: At the back of your computer is an HDMI socket (see right). It looks a bit like a USB socket but isn’t rectangular. It will be labelled ‘HDMI’.
HDMI cableThe HDMI cable is the same at each end (see left). It doesn’t matter which end you plug into your computer. Plug one end in now.
Step 3: There’s a flap on the front or side of your TV or on the back near the power cable. Under it, you’ll find all sorts of buttons and input sockets. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the TV via the HDMI socket you’ll find under the flap.
Step 4: Turn on your TV. Use the ‘AV’ button on the remote control to select the AV input ‘PC’.
Step 5: Turn on your computer. It will now carry out a ‘handshake protocol’ with your TV. Your TV will feed information to the computer about the format it needs in order to accept video. You should see the information from your computer appearing on your TV screen. You may need to agree a couple of changes on your computer. Use your mouse or touchpad to click on the buttons in the usual way.
Step 6: Your TV is now your computer screen. Make sure you select the ‘Full screen’ option on your computer.
Step 7: Start the film you want to watch. Move the mouse pointer off the screen so that the ‘Play’ and ‘Pause’ buttons don’t clutter it up. But don’t worry – if you move the mouse again, they’ll reappear.
Step 8: When the film has finished, close the file that contained the film or video and shut down your computer. Unplug the HDMI cable and select a different input on your TV’s ‘AV’ button.
Siobhan O’Neill is an experienced freelance writer living in Surrey.