How to Connect Your Computer to the TV to Watch Shows and Movies

Published: July 26, 2017 - 9:00am EDT

Streaming movies on a television

There are many great video streaming websites, apps, and services available these days. Whether you’re watching Netflix, YouTube videos, Hulu, or another video service, there’s always something new and fun to watch. Unfortunately, it can get annoying watching movies, tv shows, and other videos on a small computer screen.

If your TV doesn’t have the ability to stream these services on its own, you may be looking for a way to connect your computer to your TV screen to watch your favorite videos. Luckily, there are a few ways you can go about this and we’re going to tell you about them. We’ll also give you some helpful tips for connecting your computer to your television, in case you find yourself facing any problems. Let’s get into some of the ways that you can do this!

4 ways to connect your computer to your TV

1. Connect using an HDMI cable

This method of connecting your computer and television is one of the easiest. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It requires only a single cable to stream high quality video and audio from your computer to your TV. Best of all, HDMI cables are the same on both ends, so it doesn’t matter which end goes into which device’s HDMI input.

HDMI cable

To connect your computer to your TV with an HDMI cable, plug one end of the cable into your computer’s HDMI port and the other into your TV. You can find the HDMI port on the side of your computer, and on the side or back of your television.

HDMI cables range in price from under $10 to over $20, depending on the brand and quality you decide to go with. Check out these ones on Amazon if you’re looking to purchase one.

2. Connect wirelessly with Bluetooth

Another way to stream video from your computer on your TV is through a Bluetooth connection. Some televisions have Bluetooth capability built in, and almost all computers have a Bluetooth function. This method allows you to wirelessly connect your TV screen to your computer.

The specifics of connecting your computer and TV using Bluetooth will vary depending on the devices you have. Not all computers and TVs will have the same settings. However, here are some general instructions for this method:

To connect your computer to your TV using Bluetooth, make sure Bluetooth is enabled and active on both devices. Ensure your computer is a “discoverable” Bluetooth device so your TV will be able to pick up the signal from your computer. Using your TV’s Bluetooth settings, pair your computer to your TV.

Bluetooth logo

Check out BestBuy’s awesome selection of Smart TVs here.

3. Connect with a VGA cable

The third method you can use to stream video on your TV from your computer is using a VGA (Video Graphics Array) cable. If you have an older computer and/or TV, this can be used as an alternative to an HDMI connection. VGA cables will allow you to use your television screen as a larger screen for your computer. If you also want to stream audio through your TV, you’ll need an auxiliary audio cable in addition to a VGA to send audio signal from your computer to your TV.

VGA cable

To connect your computer to your TV using a VGA cable, plug one end of your VGA cable into your computer, and the other end into your TV. Using an auxiliary audio cable, plug one end into your computer’s headphone jack, and the other end into your TV or speaker system. Set your TV to the appropriate source.

4. Use a game console or Internet TV box.

The last way we’d recommend streaming shows and movies from the Internet to your TV is by using another device like a game console or Internet TV box. If your TV doesn’t have Wi-Fi capability, you can use one of these devices to sort of transform your TV into a smart TV. This way, you don’t necessarily need to connect your computer to your television at all.

Game consoles

Some examples of devices like this are Xbox, Playstation, Wii, or Roku boxes.

To stream videos on your television using a game console or Internet TV box, plug the provided cables into your device, and the other end of the cables into the back of your television set. Depending on the device you have, the types of cables can vary – it may use old school A/V cables, or HDMI.

Now that we’ve talked about four ways you can connect your computer to your television to stream videos, we’re going to provide you with a few tips you may find helpful when going through the process.

Tips for connecting your computer to your TV

1. Make sure you have the correct cables.

Depending on the input/output ports that your computer and television have available, the type of connecting cables you can use will vary. Before purchasing any of these cables, have a look at the plugins on both devices to see what options are available to you. Ensure you’re purchasing the correct kind of cable for the connection method you’d like to use. Your TV will most likely label each input it has, so look for this before purchasing a cable.

Different input options

2. Play around with your TV’s source/input settings.

Once you’ve connected your computer to your television – whether using a cord or wirelessly – you’ll likely need to change the input source on your TV in order to see what’s on your computer on your television screen. Click the source button on your TV or its remote to change the input source. Play around with these settings until you find the right one.

3. Be patient when trying to connect your computer to a TV.

Getting your computer connected to your television and making sure the settings are set up properly can take a while to complete. The process may be a little long and frustrating, but try your best to stick it out and be patient. You’ll be all set to watch shows and movies soon enough!

 

Those are our tips for how to connect a computer to a TV. Check out the Entertainment section of our website for courses on popular video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and see what else you can learn!

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