How to Hook Up a Laptop & PC to a TV

By James Clark

Connecting a laptop and a PC to a TV requires two separate jacks on the back of the television. Laptops and PCs typically use a 15-pin video port to transmit to an external monitor, although few TV sets are similarly equipped with the same type of port. Instead, TV sets are more likely to have S-video or RCA-type jacks, which require an adapter to work with the computer jacks. Since TVs typically come with several sets of video inputs for hooking up components, use one set for the laptop and another for the PC.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 VGA cables
  • 2 VGA to S-video/RCA adapters
  • 2 S-video cables or two RCA-type video cables

Step 1

Check the back of the TV to determine the available video inputs. If the set has two round S-video sockets, which will be labeled, use those for the best picture quality from the laptop and PC. Some TVs may have only one S-video socket, but extra RCA-type video inputs. On these sets, use one S-video connection and one RCA connection.

Step 2

Connect one VGA cable to the matching video port on the back of the PC. Connect the other VGA cable to the port on the edge of the laptop. The pins in the plugs line up with the port holes.

Step 3

Turn the knobs on the plugs clockwise to hold the cables to the ports.

Step 4

Connect the other end of each cable to the matching socket on an adapter. The other end of the adapter may have two cables, one terminating in an S-video socket and the other an RCA-type video socket.

Step 5

Plug in the appropriate cable for the connection to the adapter, using the S-video socket to connect an S-video cable or the RCA cable to hook up the RCA socket.

Step 6

Connect the other end of each cable to the corresponding socket on the the back of the TV.

Step 7

Turn on the computers and the TV, then press the "Input" button on the TV remote control to switch between the PC and the laptop.

Step 8

Press and hold the "Fn" (function) key on the laptop, then press the corresponding numbered function key along the top of the keyboard to switch the laptop screen to the external video connection. For example, some laptops have a function key labeled "LCD/CRT," while other laptops have a function key printed with a small screen icon. Press the "Fn" key and the numbered function key a second time to switch back to the laptop screen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shut down the computers and turn off the TV to prevent a screen-damaging power surge while connecting the components.