Although the majority of the more ‘modern’ laptops that are currently on the market boast large screens that are ideal for personal viewing; sharing laptop content such as films, television programmes and even pictures with a larger audience can be trickier. In these situations, using a TV screen or monitor can often make for a much more immersive viewing experience.
There are several different ways to watch this type of content on a TV, some of which involve purchasing additional cables and adaptors, so how you connect will largely depend on both your budget and your existing arsenal of specialist equipment.
Connecting your laptop to the TV via an S-video cable may not produce the best picture, but as the majority of laptops have S-Video ports, it may be the most convenient option. To do this, you will need to have one set of cables for audio and one for video, although these are generally sold together in most technology shops. Make sure you check the length of these cables before buying them, to ensure they give you enough space between your laptop and TV.
Plug the S-video cable into the relevant port on your laptop and the corresponding socket at the back of your TV set, before connecting an audio cable from the headphone port on your laptop to the TV’s audio socket, and you should be ready to go. If you struggle to get your hands on an S-video cable, you can always replace it with a VGA cable.
HDMI, or High Definition Multimedia Interface, is one of the most recent laptop to TV solutions, and arguably provides a better quality picture than some of the more primitive alternatives. Unlike the S-Video and VGA cable, a HDMI cable carries both the video and audio signal from the laptop to the screen, so you don’t need to contend with different cables and ports – it’s a simple case of plug and play.
If you are not lucky enough to own a laptop with a dedicated HDMI port, there are a number of affordable adaptors on the market that can still give you the opportunity to take advantage of the superior quality of HDMI, making this one of the most popular options.
Connecting your laptop to your TV wirelessly is another ideal solution for the particularly tech savvy – the set-up can be quite complicated, unless you have the right equipment and know-how to do the job.
If connecting wirelessly is the best option for you, then one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to invest in a signal receiver, which can plug into either the VGA or HDMI ports and pick up a signal from your laptop by “reading” the content.
There are also devices such as the Netgear “Push2TV” box that you can use to wirelessly stream your content to a television, although these can be quite expensive – so the ideal wireless solution will very much depend on your budget and level of expertise.