In this article, you will learn how to connect your computer or computer to your HDTV or TV using wired and wireless connections. You have a lot of options these days, so it really depends on your hardware and budget. Nowadays, the most common method is still to connect a cable from a laptop to a TV, so I’ll cover those first.
However, if you’ve recently bought a laptop like a MacBook Pro, then there is a way to wirelessly stream whatever is on your screen to your TV using Apple AirPlay. Unfortunately, there is nothing like this on Windows computers yet, even with the release of Windows 8. This is one area where it is more profitable to buy a Mac over a PC due to the wireless streaming feature.
Connect the laptop to the TV via cable
Five years ago, this was the most common method of connecting a laptop to a TV because S-Video cables are cheap and almost every laptop and TV at the time had an S-Video port. Nowadays, it is rare to find a laptop with an s-video port, although many modern TVs still have a port. Remember that there are two types of S-Video cables: 4-pin and 7-pin. Most laptops and PCs come with a 7-pin port, so if your TV only has a 4-pin S-Video port, this method won’t work, or you’ll have to buy an adapter.
S-Video picture quality is average, HD video is not supported. Also, the S-Video ports do not support audio, so you will have to purchase a separate cable for this purpose. DVI and HDMI are best for HD signals.
VGA, like S-Video, was another common port that at one time could be found on all laptops and TVs / computer screens. Again, you will still find the port on HDTVs and monitors, but not on laptops. Most desktop computers still support VGA and have VGA ports on the back. In terms of picture quality, VGA is better than S-Video. Also, like the S-Video cable, VGA cables are very cheap. VGA cables do not support audio, nor do S-Video cables.
DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface with the keyword “digital”. The digital signal will give a higher quality picture than S-Video or VGA. Of course, your computer must have a DVI connection and your TV must be an HDTV. DVI cables used to be expensive, but now you can buy them online for between $ 5 and $ 10. Also, DVI cables do not support audio, so you still need a separate cable to do this.
DVI cables are also a little tricky as you have DVI-I (single link), DVI-I (dual link), DVI-D (single link), DVI-D (dual link), and DVI-A. The reason DVI has become popular is because it also supports analog connections, namely VGA. You can buy a DVI to VGA adapter to convert between DVI output and VGA input, etc.
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) brings you the best picture quality on your HDTV. Despite the fact that HDMI is very popular, many laptops still do not have built-in HDMI ports. Fortunately, HDMI is DVI compatible, so you can purchase an HDMI to DVI cable to connect to your HDTV. Unfortunately, HDMI cables are quite expensive these days. You can buy cheap cables, but the picture quality can be lower than more expensive cables.
There are also many versions and types (A to E) of HDMI cables that support various functions such as audio, 3D over HDMI, Ethernet, and 4K resolution support. The best part about HDMI cables is that you get high definition video and audio through the cable, making it very convenient when connecting your laptop or PC to your HDTV.
DisplayPort and Mini-DisplayPort are very similar to HDMI, and DisplayPort is meant to complement HDMI, not replace it. The main advantage of DisplayPort is that it can support up to 4 video and audio streams over a single cable. This means you can connect up to 4 monitors with a resolution of 1920 Ã— 1200 or 2 monitors with a resolution of 2560 Ã— 1600 pixels.
HDMI is still more popular, but you’ll find DisplayPorts on Apple computers, Microsoft Surface tablets, and even some Windows PCs. DisplayPort is also backward compatible with VGA and DVI, which is nice.
Connect the laptop to the TV wirelessly
In addition to connecting your laptop to your TV with a cable, you can also wirelessly project your laptop screen onto your TV using new wireless technologies. I will mention a couple of different technologies that are currently in existence and explain what equipment is needed. Unfortunately, the main reason wireless streaming from laptops and desktop displays to TVs hasn’t become ubiquitous is the high cost of the hardware required.
If you have a 2011 MacBook Pro, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini, or iMac or newer, you can stream video from your Apple laptop or desktop display to your TV wirelessly using Apple TV in Full HD. Apple TV is a standalone hardware device that costs $ 99. Since only a few of the newest Macs support AirPlay Mirroring, it’s not very popular.
Intel Wireless Screen
AirPlay, which is supported on Mac computers, has long been absent from Windows computers. Fortunately, things have changed, and Intel introduced a technology called Intel Wireless Display (WiDi), which allows you to wirelessly stream your laptop screen to your HDTV.
Of course, the main disadvantage of WiDi technology, like AirPlay technology, is that it is relatively new and therefore you can only use it if you have a WiDi-enabled computer. If you are planning to buy a new PC soon, you should find out if this feature is supported or not, as it can make it easier to stream from your laptop or PC screen to your HDTV.
There are only a couple of WiDi-enabled HDTVs at the moment, but you can buy an adapter for any HDTV that will allow you to stream content to that TV from a WiDi-enabled device.
If you do not have any of these technologies built into your computer, or you want something that is not proprietary, then you can buy wireless HDTV computer kits. There are quite a few of them, and I’ll link to some of the popular ones I’ve heard about myself.
Imation Link Wireless HD Audio / Video Extender – Supports video resolutions up to 720p and can also stream audio. Requires DisplayLink software, available for Mac and PC.
Veebeam HD – This kit supports 1080p wireless high definition video and digital audio.
So these are your options for connecting your laptop or PC to your TV via a wired or wireless connection. The fastest and most reliable way is to still use a cable, but if your computer supports the latest AirPlay or WiDi technology, you’re good to go. Wireless kits use poor technology and will not perform as well as the other technologies mentioned. Enjoy!