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How to Connect Your Laptop to Your HDTV

by Paul Sanders

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Man connecting his laptop to his HDTV

Things You Need:

  • Laptop
  • Video cable
  • Audio cable

The pursuit of a bigger and better entertainment experience gets easier all the time. With the blending of HDTV and computer technology, you can now enjoy the functionality of your laptop with the display capabilities of your plasma or LCD TV. All that's required is a few connector cables and a little setup.

Connecting Your Laptop:

  1. Check the connection ports. High-definition TVs have lots of audio and video connection ports, like HDMI, composite and RCA cable ports. Check the sides and back of your laptop computer for various connection ports that you can use to connect to your TV. HDMI is probably the simplest because it carries both sound and video data. Otherwise, you'll need both a video cable and an audio cable. Often, the only audio-out port on a laptop is the headphone jack.

  2. Choose long cables. If you want to be able to sit on the couch with your notebook computer connected to the TV, the cables will have to cover the distance from the couch to the TV.

  3. Secure the audio and video connections. Once you've chosen your cables, connect them to the ports on your TV and laptop.

  4. Adjust your laptop display resolution. Turn your notebook on and locate the display controls, which vary depending on your operating system. Check the help menu on your laptop to find instructions for adjusting the display.

  5. Most notebooks will let you operate in dual-display mode, so you can adjust a second screen resolution for you HDTV without altering the actual laptop screen.

  6. If you have a 1080p HDTV, set your resolution to 1920 x 1080 pixels. If you have a 720p television, your resolution will be 1280 x 720 pixels. If your notebook computer's display menu doesn't offer those options, you may need to enter a custom resolution.

  7. Select the correct TV input channel. Use your HDTV remote to change the input channel to the port you're using for the laptop. For instance, you may have connected your laptop using the "HDMI 1" port.

  8. Adjust your HDTV picture settings. The color saturation, contrast and other settings may not look the same on your TV as they do on your laptop, but some quick adjustments should make the screen watchable.

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