How to connect your computer to a TV | Digital Trends (2023)

You'd think connecting a computer to a TV would be rather simple: You just grab oneHDMI cableboth together, right? But what if a computer doesn't have an HDMI port? This guide shows you how to connect your PC to a TV on the three main PC platforms —Windows 10, MacOS and Chrome OS— with severalwiredand wireless methods.


  • Windows 10
  • MacOS
  • Chrome OS

Windows 10


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All modern desktop monitors and TVs have HDMI ports. In most cases, there are more than one on a back and/or side panel. Most desktops and a good numberportable computersalso offer this connection option, making it one of the simplest ways to connect your PC to a TV — especially when you consider that it handles video and audio with a single cable.

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Two smaller variants of this interface still in use today are Mini HDMI and Micro HDMI.

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To connect the two devices, plug one end of a male-to-male HDMI cable into a port on the TV and the other end into a port on the computer. Windows 10 will then recognize the TV as an external display, which can be verified by right-clicking on the desktop and selectingScreen settingsin the pop-up menu.

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To see the Windows 10 desktop on a TV, just grab the remote control and navigate through the connections until the PC desktop appears.

If your view looks blurry, do the following:

Step 1:Right click on the desktop and selectScreen settingsin the pop-up menu.

Step 2:Select the TV in the diagram. The main monitor should appear as "one" and the TV as "two" — or something higher if more than two monitors are connected.

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Here, the output screen resolution, orientation and scaling can be changed. If necessary, change the refresh rate as well. Here's how:

Step 1:While in the Display panel with the TV selected, scroll down and clickAdvanced display settings.

Step 2:In the next window, clickDisplay adapter properties for display # —change the symbol to the specified TV number.

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Step 3:Click onList of all modesbutton in a pop-up window.

Step 4:Select a refresh rate and click onOkaybutton.


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Most desktops with exclusivegraphics cardscome with at least one DisplayPort connector, although it is less commonportable computers. Some have the modified mini-DisplayPort adapter. Unfortunately, TVs usually don't have DisplayPort connectors - they're mostly reserved for desktop computersdisplays.

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In this case, a DisplayPort to HDMI male to male cable is required, or you will need an adapter with a DisplayPort male end and an HDMI female end. In both cases, the computer connects to the TV just as it would with an HDMI connection.

Windows 10 should detect the TV as an external display and offer it as an extended or duplicate display,based on your preferences.


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Modern computers without an HDMI or DisplayPort connector often have an alternative option in the form of USB-C. Note that not all USB-C ports support video output — it's just an interface that doesn't promise any technology other than USB 3.2 connectivity. Check your computer's specifications before assuming that the USB-C port supports HDMI and DisplayPort output.

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In this case, a male-to-male cable with USB-C on one end and HDMI on the other is required. A USB-C adapter with a USB-C male end and an HDMI female end will also work.

As with a standard HDMI connection, Windows 10 should detect the TV as an external display.


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This port was never intended to push video. Unlike DisplayPort and HDMI, it requires a third partyDisplayLink Drivers. This method works best on blue USB ports (USB 3.0, USB 3.1), shown above, because of its speed. However, DisplayLink's system requirements also list older non-blue USB 2.0 connections, which are slower.

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This method requires an adapter or docking station with an HDMI port, like the one shown above from Mokai Start. Most automatically install DisplayLink drivers when connected to a computer's USB-A port. However, these drivers may be old and require users to download and install the latest ones directly from DisplayLink.

With the adapter or dock connected and the drivers installed, Windows 10 should discover the TV. Please note that video output performance may vary because the computer depends on third-party software.


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Short for Video Graphics Adapter, VGA first appeared in 1987 and supports only analog video signals. It is not very flexible, but it can be used in some cases. Use a male-to-male cable with VGA on one end and HDMI on the other, or use an adapter with a VGA male end and an HDMI female end. Mini-VGA is a smaller variant.

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Digital optical interface, or DVI, is the next step and is still used in some specialized cases. There are seven variations of this interface, including DVI-I Single Link, DVI-I Dual Link, DVI-A, DVI-D Single Link, DVI-D Dual Link, Mini-DVI, and Micro-DVI. This makes purchasing the correct adapter difficult, so check your computer's specifications to determine the correct cable or adapter before making a purchase.

Miracast/Other streaming apps

Make sure the TV is compatible, turned on and set to receive the PC broadcast. For example, on an LG Smart TV with webOS, owners must first load the Device Connector app and select thePCoption, followed byScreen sharingandMiracast. This can also work with apps like Plex, PlayOn byYear, TiVo Desktop software and various other options. The instructions will differ a bit for the app, although on the PC side the steps should be largely the same.

This method will not work if no device is on a wired connection.

Step 1:Click on the squareNotificationicon next to the system clock in the lower-right corner of the Windows Start screen. This launches theAction center.

Step 2:clickThey expandat the bottom if only four tiles are visible.

Step 3:Click onWorktile. Its location may vary, but it will be there.

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Step 4:ChooseConnecting to a wireless displaylisted in the drop-down menu that appears on the right.

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Step 5:Select the compatible TV in the list.

Step 6:Follow the instructions on the TV, if any.

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Step 7:To end the broadcast, clickDisconnectlocated on a toolbar that appears at the top of the computer's main screen.

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Note that this toolbar has a gear icon. Click it to find three optimizations: Gaming, Working and Watching Videos. For the former, it reduces latency for optimal frame rate. Video watch mode increases latency to reduce cache, while work mode is in between.

To change the transmission mode, do the following:

Step 1:Right click on the desktop and selectScreen settingsin the pop-up menu.

Step 2:The Settings app appears on the screen. Select the TV in the diagram.

Step 3:Scroll down toMultiple screensand click the down arrow to expand the selection.

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Step 4:Choose a mode: Extend desktop, copy desktop, view only on TV or log out.

Resolution, scaling and so on can be changed like any other monitor.


Thunderbolt 3/USB-C

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All modern Macs, from the MacBook Air to the Mac Pro, rely on USB-C to connect external devices, whether it's a peripheral, an external drive, or a display. All supported byLightning strike3 that promise up to 40 Gbps to handle all that data at once.

This method requires an adapter or cable to physically connect a Mac to a TV. However, what users buy depends on the actual USB-C port.

The small tree symbol printed next to the port means it is not supportedLightning strike3, but handles DisplayPort video output. The lightning icon meansLightning strike3 included. Unfortunately, these symbols don't always appear on the box, so check the specs.

Once your Mac is connected to a TV, MacOS should detect it as an external display. To change the output mode, do the following:

Step 1:Click onSystem Optionsdock icon. Alternatively, click the Apple logo in the upper left corner and selectSystem Optionsfrom the drop-down menu.

Step 2:ChooseDisplaysin theSystem Optionswindow.

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Step 3:Click onPreparationsear.

Step 4:To mirror the main screen, click the box next to itMirror screens. Otherwise, MacOS defaults to extended mode.

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Note:Drag the white menu bar icon to the main screen thumbnail on the TV screen to make it your main screen.

Mini DisplayPort

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This port is found on older Macs. As seen above, it's a rounded box-shaped interface (except for small corners in the lower left and right corners). Some just provide DisplayPort output, while others include older ones as wellLightning strikeandLightning strike2 connectivity.

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As with USB-C, the printed lightning icon indicatesLightning striketechnology. These withoutLightning strikeyou have a square icon with a small line on each side.

This method requires a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI male to male cable or an adapter with a Mini DisplayPort male end and an HDMI female end. Once connected to a TV, MacOS will detect it as an external display.

In case of doubt,Apple provides a list of portsthat are available on all Macs, past and present.

Apple TV

This is Apple's approach to mirroring or extending MacOS to a TV over a wireless connection. This requires an Apple TV device already connected to a TV's HDMI port and signed into an Apple account. This is the only solution for those who don't have a TV that natively supports itAirPlay 2.

To get started, turn on AirPlay on your Apple TV device. Here's how:

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Step 1:Choose gray and silverTools tileon the home screen. This opens the Settings app.

Step 2:ChooseAirPlay and HomeKiton the screen below.

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Step 3:ChooseAirPlayto enable it if it isn't already. A prompt asks for a local location and a name to identify it to other Apple devices.

Step 4:ChooseAllow accessto configure restrictions, such as creating a password and turning off nearby AirPlay off-network access.

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Now the Mac can connect.

Step 1:Make sure your Mac and TV are connected to the same wireless network.

Step 2:On a Mac, click the icon next to the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar. It looks like a screen with an up arrow at the bottom, as shown below.

Step 3:Select the target Apple TV device in the drop-down menu.

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Step 4:Click onAirPlay iconagain to switch between two modes: Mirror the main screen or use the TV as a desktop extension.

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Step 5:To log out, click onAirPlay logoagain and selectStop AirPlayin the drop-down menu.

AirPlay 2 TVs

This is a different strategic method to wirelessly copy or connect MacOS to TV. These TVs have a built-inAirPlay 2, omitting the requirement to purchase Apple's expensive set-top box. For now, it is alonemanufactured by LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio.

This process is basically identical, except with toggle mode enabledAirPlay 2it's different on every TV. For example, on Samsung TVs, we advise you to go this route:Settings > General > Apple AirPlay Settings.Once you've done this, the TV should appear in your Mac's AirPlay menu.

Chrome OS

If you want to use HDMI, you can use a male to male cable or an adapter. We recommend using a cable with an HDMI male plug on one end or an adapter with an HDMI female port on one end for USB-C and all other connectors.

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After making a secure connection to both, the Chrome OS desktop should appear on the TV screen.

Sometimes you might want your TV screen to mirror your desktop screen instead of stretching it. Below, we have described some simple steps that allow you to change the settings:

Step 1:Click onSystem clocklocated in the lower right corner.

Step 2:Click onGear iconin the pop-up menu to open Chrome OS settings.

Step 3:ChooseDeviceis listed on the left.

Step 4:ChooseDisplaysis listed on the right.

You will see all possible options listed below each screen. Double check to select the appropriate tab before making any adjustments:

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  • Rearrange screens by dragging their icons.
  • Check the box next to Mirror Built-In Display to mirror the desktop on the TV.
  • Change the scale of the elements displayed on the screen.
  • Change the sharpness of text and images (resolution).
  • Change the orientation.
  • Adjust the desktop borders to the current screen.
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If your budget doesn't allow you to spend a lot of cash, you might want to consider using Chromecast, which comes at a much more affordable price compared to an Apple TV.

You may not realize it, but you probably already have Chromecast on your computer using your Google username and account. Chrome OS is compatible with Chromecast, so it's best to pair Chrome OS and Chromecast for PC-TV connections.

Although you can't extend your desktop to your TV screen with Chromecast, you can view it by following the steps listed here:

Step 1:Click onSystem clockin the lower right corner.

Step 2:Click onMoldbutton in the popup menu.

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Step 3:Select the Chromecast device that appears in the menu below.

Step 4:Select the desktop thumbnail in the popup below and click onSharebutton.

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To stop streaming, follow these steps:

Step 1:Click onSystem clockin the lower right corner.

Step 2:clickTo stopat the top of the pop-up menu.

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How to connect your computer to a TV | Digital Trends? ›

To do this, go to settings, Connected Devices and Add Device. Select your TV from the drop-down menu. The laptop will then mirror to the TV.

How do I pair my computer to my TV? ›

Connect to a Compatible Smart TV

Simply go into the display settings and click “connect to a wireless display.” Select your smart TV from the device list and your PC screen may instantly mirror on the TV.

How to use a TV as a monitor? ›

If you want to use your TV as a computer monitor, you will need to connect them using an HDMI or DP cable. First, make sure both devices have HDMI and DP ports. Once you have connected the cables, switch your TV to the right input source. Also, match the resolution of your PC to that of your TV.

Why won't my PC connect to my TV wirelessly? ›

Make sure the display supports Miracast and verify it's turned on. If your wireless display doesn't, you'll need a Miracast adapter (sometimes called a dongle) that plugs into an HDMI port. Make sure your device drivers are up to date and the latest firmware is installed for your wireless display, adapter, or dock.

How do I turn on screen mirroring? ›

2 Mirror Display
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Display.
  3. Tap Cast Screen.
  4. In the upper right-hand corner, tap the Menu icon.
  5. Tap the checkbox for Enable wireless display to enable it.
  6. Available device names will appear, tap on the name of the device you wish to mirror your Android device's display to.

How do I connect my computer to my TV wirelessly? ›

Connect a wireless display to your Windows PC
  1. Turn on your TV or projector. ...
  2. On your PC, make sure Wi-Fi is turned on.
  3. On the right side of the taskbar, select the Network icon > Cast, then select your display or wireless adapter.
  4. Follow any additional instructions on the screen.

Why can't I use a TV as a monitor? ›

Simply put, most television screens are just too big to use as a computer monitor. The general rule for optimal screen viewing, computer or otherwise, is to sit one foot away for every ten inches of screen size. For example, if you're watching TV on a 60" screen, sit about 6 feet away.

How do I connect my computer to my TV via USB? ›

Connect your Laptop to TV using USB Type-C

If your laptop is pretty new, then it is likely to have a USB Type-C port. You can connect your laptop directly to the TV If the TV also supports USB Type-C input. In this case, connect both devices with a USB Type-C cable and then select the correct input on the TV.

Why won't my computer show up on my TV through HDMI? ›

Fix 1: Restart and reconnect your devices

Shut down all your devices (your computer, monitor, and TV) completely and unplug their power cables (and battery if you are using a laptop). Leave them for five minutes. Plug the power cables (and the battery) back in. Connect the HDMI cables back to your devices.

Can I connect PC to non smart TV? ›

To connect the laptop to the TV, use an HDMI cable. Almost all laptops sold today have an HDMI port. HDMI cables can carry full HD and 4K video and surround audio to the TV. If you don't have an HDMI port, then can use a VGA (D-Sub) cable.

Where is my screen mirroring in settings? ›

On TV, you will get the option “Wi-Fi Direct”, from where you can open the screen mirror option.
  • Open the Settings tab on both the devices.
  • Go to the setting of both your Android phone and the TV and search for the screen mirror option. On Android, you will get the option “Cast”, "Mirror", or "Screen Share".
6 days ago

Can I screen mirror without Wi-Fi? ›

Via Hotspot

You can use the Hotspot function on your Android device to screen mirror to TV without WiFi or an Internet connection. By putting on the mobile Hotspot feature on your device, your phone can create a temporary WiFi network that other devices, such as a TV, can connect to.

Where is screen mirroring? ›

Open the Smart View app on your device and select your TV from the list of available devices. Once you're connected, you'll be able to see your device's screen on your TV.

Can you connect a PC to a TV with HDMI? ›

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.

Do TV screens work as monitors? ›

You can use just about any recent model TV as a computer monitor by plugging into one of your television's HDMI ports. This can be done with both desktops and laptops, as long they have the proper connections and graphics capabilities.

Is it better to use a monitor or TV for computer? ›

If you're using your screen with a laptop or desktop computer, or you're a PC gamer who wants the very best screen response and refresh rates possible, we'd recommend going with a monitor. You can use a television set as well, of course, but you typically won't get the same sort of clarity or fluidity.

How do I connect my Samsung TV to my computer? ›

Make sure your keyboard and mouse are connected to the TV, and follow the detailed guide on how to access to your PC on the TV.
  1. Select Source in the Smart Hub menu, and then choose PC on TV. ...
  2. Download an app to your PC with the link on the guide screen. ...
  3. Select the connected PC's Icon if shown on the TV.
Oct 1, 2022

Why won't my PC connect to my TV? ›

First, check that your PC is turned on and make sure that it is not in Sleep mode. Completely disconnect the HDMI cable from your TV and PC, then reconnect it. Use of a certified cable is highly recommended. Using a non-certified HDMI cable may cause connection issues, or your screen may not appear properly.

How to connect HDMI to TV? ›

We'll be discussing how to connect via HDMI cable.
  1. Figure out which charging port your phone has. ...
  2. See whether your TV will need a special adapter. ...
  3. Connect your phone to the cable.
  4. Connect your cable to the adapter.
  5. Connect the adapter to the TV.
  6. Using your TV remote, change your source to HDMI.

Why won't my Samsung TV recognize my PC? ›

Check that your game console or Laptop/PC is powered on and properly connected to your Samsung TV. Make sure that your Laptop/PC is not in Sleep or Hibernate mode. If you connected an external device to the HDMI 1 port on the back of your TV, make sure that the source in the TV settings is also set as HDMI 1.

Why is my Samsung TV not displaying my computer? ›

Check the power button on the connected devices. Check that the connected device is actually powered on, and properly connected to your Samsung TV, and if you connected to a Laptop or PC make sure that it is not in Sleep or Hibernate mode and it is set to Portrait mode.

How do I cast my screen to my Samsung TV? ›

Connect Android to Samsung TV
  1. Launch Screen Mirroring Samsung TV app.
  2. Click 'Get Started' and 'Continue'.
  3. Upgrade to Pro version, or try the app for free.
  4. Click the cast icon in the top-right corner.
  5. Connect to your Samsung TV.


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