Do you want to connect your laptop to your TV to watch movies or play games? are you the person who is addicted to watching a lot of movies, documentaries, etc.? then why hunched around your laptop or smartphone, when you can stream your movies, YouTube, documentaries, etc. on your TV just by connecting your laptop to your TV, wirelessly or through cables?
Why Connect your Laptop to TV?
There are several benefits of using your TV as a second screen. i.e.:
- They are usually far away so do not affect your eyesight much.
- They are a bigger screen
- More space is provided so all of the family members can sit comfortably to watch the movie.
Following are the different methods to connect your laptop with your TV.
Through HDMI cable:
Setup: it is the most reliable way of connecting your laptop to a TV. Connecting TV to laptop through HDMI cable is simple: just connect both sides of the HDMI cable; one to your laptop and the other to your TV. The HDMI cable connection provides the best performance and also gives great picture quality and the lowest input lag. The best part is that it won’t interfere with the wireless environment. It is the most acceptable way to play games. it also supports 4k resolution
- Pros: Simple arrangement; provides full HD and audio in one cable. Most steadfast and reliable connection. Gives best picture quality. Suitable for gaming.
- Cons: limited mobility and range. Not a permanent solution
- Limitations: HDMI cable’s average and standard length is 50 feet because signal degradation can occur if the cables are too long. Can be extended up to 238 feet using Cat5/Cat6 extenders and Ethernet cable providing full HD.
Through wireless HDMI:
Setup: you can use a wireless HDMI extender if using a cable is too much hassle. Wireless HDMI extenders work with the phenomenon of sending data signals wirelessly between the transmitter and receiver. It connects your laptop to a small device with HDMI short cable and your TV to another small device with HDMI small cable. These small devices are paired extenders which work just like HDMI cable when connected. They have a better range than HDMI cable connectors and can reach up to 100 feet. They will not be affected by home wireless traffic as they are point to point. However, they do not provide 4K HDR video since they only top out at 1080 pixels. And secondly, they are expensive. The price may range around $150 to over $200.
- Pros: simple and reliable just as HDMI cable connection, longer range, do not rely on any network connection.
- Cons: not good picture quality. Larger lag for gaming
- Limitation: not very suitable for gaming.
Through Chromecast and Google Cast:
Setup: Chromecast are connected to TV through HDMI’s port and take power from the USB port of your TV. If there is no USB port in your TV, you can plug the Chromecast into an AC wall socket. After getting connected, the Chromecast connects to your WIFI and lets other devices stream context on TV, through Chromecast. Chromecast app is usually supported by any Window or Apple device.
Chromecast comes in two forms; one is USB thumb drive chassis and the other is in dangling unit form. Chromecast is functional both for mobile devices and computers. You can stream on TV through your Chromebook or Android phone. You can stream media through apps which support Chromecast and use your phone as a remote control. Chromecast on a laptop is mostly limited to Chrome web browser.
- Pros: Reasonably Priced. Streams media or web browser tabs. Supports 4K streaming.
- Cons: limited control on laptop than Mobile devices.
- Limitations: Streaming quality depends on the quality of Wi-Fi net.
Through Intel Compute Stick or Google Chromebit
Setup: intel computer sticks get connected by plugging in the HDMI port of the TV. Once connected, it puts the full display on Windows 10 or Chrome OS on the screen. The Intel computes stick or Google Chromebit supports Bluetooth through which a wireless keyboard or mouse can be connected. It requires a Wi-Fi connection.
- Pros: Your display screen or television works as a computer monitor functioning full OS.
- Cons: You have your laptop, why another one?
- Limitations: lack of wired Ethernet Support, Underpowered for beyond basic office work and media consumption.
Through Small Form Factor (SFF) computer as a dedicated media center
Setup: Through HDMI, the Small Form Factor, streams content on more than one display. It supports Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection to stream content from other networked devices. To stream media content, it can also act as a plex; to connect to external storage, it has a USB 3.0 port. It also supports Bluetooth or USB 2.0. There are different types of SFF available.
- Pros: high quality media resolution; stream 4K video. Support real time transcoding.
- Cons: need RAM and mSATA card to be installed/inserted., it is expensive.
- Limitations: more power is needed for high-resolution display and to play on more than one display screen. Ha various hardware configuration and to buy right SFF, detail know how is important.
Through Miracast (Wireless Windows Standard)
Setup: Miracast is supported in both Window 10 and Window 8.1. to get connected, open the notification panel in system tray, expend it on the menu that pops up and then click connect. You can connect your screen to any device on your network, which supports Miracast such as any smart TV. You can also plug in Miracast receiver into your TV which costs $50. Through Miracast receiver, when you are connected to your PC, screen will display on your TV.
It is a more inexpensive solution than wireless HDMI extender. However, like the HDMI extender, it’s resolution is just 1080p and does not support 4K and it can suffer from display lag.
- Pros: inexpensive and supported by Window 10 and 8.1 and smart TVs
- Cons: can suffer lag problem. Low-resolution quality.
- Limitations: not suitable for gaming.
Setup: You can easily stream big media library from computer using Plex. If your device support Plex app, you can stream all of your media content on your TV. For streaming media service, it can also act as a front-end. With a USB tuner, it also records your live TV. Along with the smart Tv platform, most of the media streamers support plex. You can also stream media from your mobile devices using plex. It is also accessible outside your home. It is available for free as well as premium subscriptions which cost $4.99/month, $39.99/year and $119.99 for a lifetime.
It supports media playback and streaming, also for free. However, it does not support screen mirroring. And it streams media quality up to 1080p.
- Pros: wide accessibility, it is free but also has a premium subscription option for advanced features. Strong media format and service support.
- Cons: Does not support high-quality resolution such as 4K, not suitable for games.
- Limitations: Does not support screen mirroring.
Through VGA PORT
Setup: VGA is the most suitable and simple solution to connect your laptop to your TV. It is an old method and is a video cable which needed to be plugged in in both laptop and TV. It also requires an audio lead to be connected with both tv and laptop. The laptop configures the VGA itself and gets connected to your TV and displays the Laptop screen on your TV. But you can also configure it by yourself. Go to Control Panel> Chose Display> Adjust resolution> Select TV. It supports gaming consoles and desktop system but many laptops may not have its port.
- Pros: inexpensive and reliable
- Cons: less mobility
- Limitation: need an audio cable to be connected, many laptops do not may support its port.
Steam link for Playing only Games:
Steam Link is a media streamer, released by Valve a few years ago and supports PC games. you need to connect it to your TV and a controller and you will be able to play games on your TV from your Laptop. It is specifically designed for games and supports Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
- Pros: supports gaming, high resolution through connection with net.
- Cons: Do not support media streaming.
- Limitation: no screen mirror