Connecting your computer to a TV, Monitor, or Projector

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There's just as much content on your computer as there is on your TV. You can stream services like Netflix, and catch up TV like BBC iPlayer on your laptop or desktop.

Sometimes, you might want to enjoy it on your bigger TV, monitor, or even a projector (rather than on your laptop screen). We'll go through the different connection types you can use, and which are the best ones.

There's five main connection types you can use to get your computer and TV talking to each other, but before you do, make sure you're familiar with these bits:

  • Resolution: this is how many pixels you'll be seeing on the screen - the more pixels, the better the picture will look. Most screens will be '1080p', and some newer ones are '4K'.
  • FPS: this is how many 'frames per second' your screen will show. Most TV shows are about 30fps, but for gaming you might want to use 60fps or higher.

Connection types

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DisplayPort isn't that usual, and is mostly found on high-end equipment.

  • Found on monitors, projectors and computers.
  • Not found on TVs normally, so you'll need a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.
  • Can be used for 4K and 3D video.
  • Can play games in 4K, at over 60FPS.
  • Some kit might use a 'mini' version, and will need an adapter.

VGA

VGA is an old connector that is still found on some bits of kit.

  • Found on older monitors and projectors and a few TVs
  • Sends an 'Analogue' signal, not a digital one, so the picture quality is poor
  • Can suffer from interference from other signals
  • Doesn't send audio signals, so you'll need separate speakers or an audio cable

DVI

Also an old connection still found on some equipment.

  • Found on a lot of monitors, some projectors and a few TVs
  • Doesn't send audio signals, so you'll need separate speakers or an audio cable

USB Type-C

USB Type-C is a new type of port found on some computers.

  • Found on new Apple MacBooks, some new Windows laptops and a few monitors
  • No TVs have it, so you'll need a USB Type-C to HDMI adapter
  • Can be used to charge, connect to monitors, and connect to other devices all using one port

Setting up the display

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Once you've got your TV connected to your computer, you'll need to make sure it's set up. Most computers should automatically detect your display and set itself up, but you might still need to do a bit of tweaking.

Changing the display settings on Windows

On your Windows computer, right-click on the desktop, then click Display Settings. When it opens, click the 'Multiple monitors' drop down, and choose from one of these options.

  • Duplicate these displays: shows the same thing your laptop and the TV
  • Extend these displays: gives you two separate screens, so you can have one thing open on your laptop, and a different thing on your TV
  • Show only on monitor 2: turns off your laptop screen, so that you can only see things on the TV

The other thing to check is the 'Resolution'. On Windows 10 you'll have to click Advanced Display Settings to find it. Click the drop down box, and choose the resolution you want to use from the drop down menu. Click Apply to save the settings.

Changing the display settings on macOS

On your Mac, you'll need to open your System Preferences, and then click on Displays.

You'll see a box show on your laptop screen, and your TV, and you can change the settings for each one.

Hopefully that's everything you need to know, but if you need any extra help, you can get in touch with our Team Knowhow Experts here.

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