Nowadays, connecting your PC to the TV is quite simple, especially when your computer has an HDMI port. Next to the wired connection between your computer and the TV, there is also the option of completely wireless, using a Chromecast or an Apple TV, for example. Finally, in the last part, we will give you advice for older televisions.
Do you want to connect your computer to the TV in your living room or to an overhead projector? There are a thousand and one ways to do this. In this tutorial, we will discuss several techniques: with an HDMI cable, through a HDMI dongle, of a Chromecast or even Apple TV. We also indicate where to go in the Windows settings to control the output display.
Why go through HDMI? Until recently, televisions were practically all equipped with composite inputs (coaxial, S-Video, Scart). Corn HDMI supplants all these alternatives. HDMI transmits the signal digitally and can also carry audio. The other analog solutions first require you to have these inputs and outputs on your computer and television.
The other digital possibility is the DVI. But living room televisions that have such an entrance are becoming increasingly rare. Finally, it is rather advisable to have adapters VGA just in case if you have to regularly connect your computer to overhead projectors, for example, this type of connection is still very widespread.
What are the different types of video connections?
To find out if your TV or your PC have HDMI (or another type of video connection), here is an image showing you the different types of video ports the most common. Just look on your PC and your TV to see if two plugs match.
Unless you decide to go through wireless technology like a Chromecast or Apple TV, you will need a cable to connect your computer to your TV, depending on the ports on your computer and on your TV. The most common port is the HDMI port, located at the top right.
Connect your PC to the TV using an HDMI cable, the most common solution
If you have an HDMI port on your television and on your computer, you can directly connect these two parts using an HDMI cable. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. This is the most frequently used HD signal to transfer both high definition audio and video over a single cable.
It is used both in the commercial audiovisual sector and is the most used cable in homes to connect devices such as digital TV, DVD player, BluRay player, Xbox, Playstation and Apple TV with the TV.
More and more home audiovisual devices are connected using this simple and efficient cable, but now HDMI is also present on laptops and PCs. It has thus become the standard for all types of devices.
There are several types of HDMI cables. It’s up to you to choose it according to its length, resistance, and maximum resolution. There are several versions, which range from the most basic HDMI 1.0 (1920 × 1200 and 60 Hz maximum) to the most recent, the HDMI 2.1 (4K and 120Hz maximum).
What if my PC or Mac only has USB-C ports?
In some cases, your Mac or PC will not have video ports and will only have USB-C ports. For example, all MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros released after 2016 only come with two or four USB-C ports, but no HDMI ports.
In this specific case, you will need to buy a USB-C to HDMI adapter. You can easily find them on Amazon, Boulanger, FNAC, Darty, etc. for just under 20 euros. Then all you have to do is connect it to the USB-C port of your PC, then connect one of the two ends of the male HDMI cable to the female HDMI port of the adapter.
How to configure video output on Mac?
To configure your Mac’s video output once you’re plugged in, follow the guide.
- Go to the Apple menu (top left).
- Click on System Preference …
- Click on Monitors.
It is from this menu that you can fine-tune your video settings. You can configure your monitor so that it copy or extend your desktop, or behaves like your primary monitor (this option only appears when you connect an external monitor to your Mac). You can adjust the brightness, details, color profile, refresh rate, etc.
How to configure video output on Windows?
Once your computer is plugged into your Windows PC, your television may directly display your desktop, or an extension of it. If not, follow these steps. Same thing if you just want to configure your TV settings.
- Right click on an empty area of the desktop.
- Click on Display settings.
It is from this menu that you can configure the display of the video between your PC and your television. Screen resolution allows you to adapt the resolution, Multiple displays allows you to select the appropriate display mode, etc.
How do I configure the correct refresh rate on Windows?
Sometimes your PC may not adjust to the correct refresh rate of your TV. The image may appear slow, jerky. There is a simple solution to fix it, here it is.
- Right click on an empty area of the desktop.
- Click on Display settings. Scroll down and select Advanced display settings.
- To the right of Choose refresh rate, you can adjust your refresh rate.
Connect your PC to your TV wirelessly with a Chromecast
Obviously, cable has its drawbacks, and in 2021, when possible, what could be better than to use wireless ? Two solutions stand out. First, the amazing HDMI dongle made in Google, the Chromecast.
The concept is very simple: the device is plugged into the HDMI port of a television set and communicates, via Wi-Fi connection, with another device connected to the Internet (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) in order to display on the television multimedia content received from an application compatible with Google Cast technology, from the Google Chrome browser on a computer, or from certain Android devices.
If you don’t have one, or you don’t know it yet, the Chromecast comes in handy. There are several models, with a price starting at 39 euros. Barely more expensive than a good quality HDMI cable, the convenience of use in addition.
For configure your Chromecast :
- Plug the Chromecast into your TV’s HDMI port, then go to chromecast.com/setup.
- Connect the Chromecast to your home Wi ‑ Fi network.
- Tap the Cast icon from a compatible app.
Connect your PC to your TV wirelessly with an Apple TV
A very similar option is also valid and available on the Apple side, it is the Apple TV. The device looks like a Mac mini, (although it’s only half the height). You can make it communicate wirelessly, via Ethernet, with an iOS device, or with a computer (in macOS as well as in Windows) using the AirPlay protocol.
Like Chromecast, it allows you to stream video and audio content on your TV. The device works with the Apple remote control already marketed with other products of the brand. It will fit especially well if you have other Apple products, for example.
How to connect your PC or Mac to old televisions, with obsolete connections?
SCART / PERITEL socket, coaxial cable: even if they tend to be gradually replaced by flat screens, analog televisions are not dead, far from it. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, either you already have the right connections on your PC (S-Video, coaxial), or not. In this case, there is many adapters.
In fact, more precisely, we must speak in this case of converters: these are small peripherals that can be found around thirty euros for the cheapest. Because what we need to do here is to transform a digital signal into analog.
See also: Best 4K TVs for Android TV: 2021 Buyer’s Guide
You can easily find what you are looking for by typing the words “HDMI to RCA converter” or “HDMI to S-Video” into your favorite search engine. There are also DVI or DisplayPort converters depending on your case. Finally, for very old TVs that only have the antenna as an input, there are also converters to RF. They are all found on Amazon.
Finally, if your computer has a VGA output, we are on all analog. No converter is therefore necessary: all you need is a simple composite or S-Video adapter which costs only a few euros.