How to View a Laptop Screen on a TV

By James Clark

Viewing a laptop on a TV screen requires a video connection between the devices to transmit the signal. The most common video output on a laptop is a VGA port (video graphics array), which joins with a 15-pin VGA cable to attach an external monitor. Few TV sets have this type of connection, so an adapter is needed to join the VGA cable with a standard S-video cable that can attach to the TV. Once connected, the laptop keyboard can be used to switch between the computer's built-in screen and the TV.

Things You'll Need

  • VGA cable
  • VGA to S-video adapter
  • S-video cable

Step 1

Connect the VGA cable from the laptop's video port, typically on the back or left edge, and the VGA port on the adapter. The plug must be turned so the pins inside line up with the holes in the port.

Step 2

Twist the two bolts on each plug clockwise so the cable cannot pull out of the VGA port.

Step 3

Turn the plug on one end of the S-video cable to line up the metal pins inside with the holes in the adapter's S-video port, then push the plug straight in.

Step 4

Hook up the plug on the other end of the cable to the TV's S-video port in the same way.

Step 5

Turn on the laptop and the TV, then press and hold the "Fn" button on the lower-left corner of the keyboard.

Step 6

Press the numbered "F" key along the top row of the keyboard that corresponds to the laptop's video port. The button may be printed with a small monitor icon, or it may be marked "CRT/LCD." Press this button while holding the "Fn" button to switch between the TV screen and the laptop screen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Turn off the laptop and TV while connecting the video cable.