How to Watch a Laptop on a TV Screen

By Dusty Wilkens

A laptop computer is one of the most versatile pieces of electronics you can own. From streaming video to playing DVD movies, a laptop can do it all. If you don't have a DVD player, you can watch a movie on your laptop. If don't have cable or satellite TV, you can use your Internet connection to watch TV or movies online. Connect your laptop to your TV, sit back and enjoy.

Things You'll Need

  • VGA cable
  • VGA to RCA converter (optional)
  • RCA cable (optional)

Step 1

Determine which connection your TV has by looking at the back or in the manual. The TV will have either an RCA or a VGA input. RCA inputs are round jacks colored red, white and yellow. A VGA input is a 15-pin connector, just like a computer monitor has. If your TV has a VGA input connector, use a VGA cable from the laptop directly to the TV. If your TV does not have a VGA input connector, use a VGA to RCA converter and an RCA cable. Connect the VGA and RCA cables to the converter, matching the colors appropriately on the RCA connection.

Step 2

Connect the VGA or RCA cable to the TV's VGA or RCA input jack.

Step 3

Plug the other end of the VGA cable into the VGA (monitor) port on the laptop. It is usually located on the back or on the side of the laptop near the back.

Step 4

Turn on the TV and laptop. Set the TV to the correct input channel. If you are using the RCA inputs, this is usually called "AUX". If you are using the VGA input on the TV, it is usually called "PC."

Step 5

Switch the laptop's display output to its external monitor setting. On most laptops, do this by holding the function key ("Fn") and pressing one of the "F" keys ("F8," for example). Refer to your laptop's owner's manual for this information if you are unable to find it easily. Most laptops work in one of three modes: laptop display only, laptop display and external monitor, and external monitor only. You may need to press the key sequence more than once before the display appears on the TV. Allow the laptop up to 10 seconds to switch display outputs before pressing the key sequence again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Connect external speakers to your laptop to get higher-quality sound.