Connect your computer to a TV


To connect your computer to a TV, your computer needs to have an output port that matches one of the input ports on your TV.

Illustration of VGA, DVI, composite video, S-Video, HDMI, and component video connections
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What you'll need if you have an HDTV

Because almost every computer has an output port, you can use a cable to connect your computer to your high-definition television (HDTV). Most computers have a VGA output port (so using VGA cables is very common). Others have Digital Visual Interface (DVI), high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI), or component video output ports, which all require different kinds of cables.

The following scenarios show you how you can connect a computer to an HDTV:

If your computer has this type of output port
It should work with this type of TV input port
Using this type of cable

HDMI

HDMI

HDMI to HDMI

DVI

DVI or HDMI

DVI to DVI or DVI to HDMI

VGA

VGA

VGA to VGA

For more information, see HDTV: frequently asked questions.

What you'll need if you have a standard-definition TV

Most standard-definition TVs support only composite video or S-Video connections. If your computer supports one of these, you might be able to connect it to your TV. However, both of these connection types will result in displays that are not as sharp as the results you get with an HDTV or with a standard computer monitor.

The following scenarios show you how you can connect a computer to a standard-definition TV:

If your computer has this type of output port
It should work with this type of TV input port
Using this type of cable

Composite video

Composite video

Composite video to composite video

S-Video

S-Video

S-Video to S-Video

Connect your computer to your TV

After you have the right cable, follow these steps to connect your computer to your TV:

  1. Turn off your computer and position it within easy reach of your TV. Disconnect the monitor, but leave the mouse and keyboard connected.

  2. Connect the appropriate video cable from your computer's output to your TV.

  3. Turn on your TV and set it to the input that matches the output on your computer. You might need to refer to the user's guide included with your TV for instructions on how to do this.

  4. Turn on your computer.

    You should see Windows displayed on your TV. If the screen looks stretched, or part of the screen seems cut off, you probably need to adjust the screen resolution in Windows. For more information, see Getting the best display on your monitor.

    If you can't see Windows on your TV, you might need to reconnect the computer to your monitor and adjust the screen resolution before you connect to your TV.

Notes

  • Cables for VGA, DVI, and component video don't support audio signals. However, HDMI cables do support audio signals, but not all HDMI-enabled video cards support audio. If your HDTV has an audio input, you might be able to connect a separate audio cable from your computer sound card directly to the TV. Otherwise, you'll need to connect the audio signal to a different device, such as external computer speakers or your home stereo system. For more information about sound cards, see Sound cards: frequently asked questions.

  • If your computer doesn't support the type of video connection you need, then you might be able to install a new video card that has the right connection.