How to Connect Your Computer and TV

Isaac Fernandez

What do the weekly Netflix binge, casual PC gaming, and the illusion of basic technical knowledge all have in common? You can upgrade them with the same simple trick: when you cast from laptop to TV. 

But, you may protest, HDTVs and computers boast so many specific ports and varied display settings…and you want to connect them to each other?! We sure do, and you will, too, once you see how truly streamlined the process is. 

We’ll walk you through everything below. 

Why Would You Want a Laptop to TV Connection? 

How to Connect Laptop to TV Wirelessly

Display connections have a few different configurations, each useful in a different way: 

  • Screen Mirroring (Duplicate Displays): Display what’s on your computer screen on the TV simultaneously. Mirroring a laptop to a TV is perfect for doing a webpage walk-through, for example. 
  • Screen Extend (Dual Monitors): Treat the computer and television as two separate screens. This lets you compartmentalize your digital workspace, on a personal level. But you can drag windows between the two screens, meaning it’s perfect for sharing only what you choose with your audience. 
  • Show Only on 1 (Computer) / Show Only on 2 (TV): You can remain connected but switch to the computer only if you’d like to stop sharing for the moment. The second screen is great if you’ll be working with the TV view on its own, or a bright computer screen is in a distracting position and needs to be turned off for visibility. 

Essentially, it lets you turn the television into a big monitor — most TVs are bigger than your laptop screen, after all. No more squinting while huddled around a 13-inch tablet in your living room. 

This is a great solution if you already own the television, of course. But there are situations where it could be beneficial even if you had to make a purchase. 

Perhaps your eyes or neck are feeling a little strained, and you considered upgrading to a new, larger laptop. Connecting to a bigger screen for home use could be a viable compromise, giving your body a break without sacrificing the portability you value. Even if you decided to buy a 40 inch TV for this purpose, it would still be cheaper than all but the most basic of Chromebooks — plus you’d have a functional television and not just a dedicated computer screen. 

For business purposes, connecting a laptop to a TV is a necessary skill at this point. It allows you to invite everyone in and share presentations, data dashboards, or team planning in a classroom, meeting room, or conference hall. Plus, when someone inevitably doesn’t realize how to project laptop contents to TV, you’ll be prepared to swoop in with the assist and look very capable. 

When Would You Not Want to Connect? 

We’ll concede this is hardly the best option for desktop computers, although how to connect a PC to TV is the same as a laptop. It would simply be a more awkward setup that requires more consideration to pull off. But if you have a small- to medium-sized television that’s not used, you could certainly connect your PC on a permanent basis, and have the TV serve as a secondary computer screen (or the main if you’re out of options). 

Connecting a laptop to TV has few drawbacks itself. It’s fast to implement and almost immediately reversible. 

It does require separate hardware, whether wired or wireless. Wireless hardware will involve running apps or software, and still needs access to all the ports, while wired hardware involves running a long enough wire between devices. 

How to Connect a Laptop to a TV

Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts — or in this case, cables and ports. A port will determine what kind of cables you can plug into your computer or television. They all look and function a little differently from each other. 

  • If you are unable to visually determine which port your laptop or TV has, simply check those details online with the manufacturer. This should also give you the location so that you can more easily plug your cables into the TV. 
  • When everything is hooked up, use your remote to switch to the proper input source — HDMI 1, 2, RGB, VGA/PC, or whatever it is. 
  • You can adjust the display type by searching screen settings on your computer, or it may be prompted when the connection is recognized. 

Once you understand these pieces of the puzzle, knowing how to mirror a laptop to a TV is actually quite easy, no matter what you’re using. 

  1. With HDMI Cable (High Definition Multimedia Interface) 

This is a standard all-in-one port that allows cables to transmit visuals as well as audio. If the question is how to connect a laptop to TV, HDMI is the first answer. They are also used to connect DVD and Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and the like. 

But there is no specific laptop to TV HDMI cord, so fear not. They’re practically available a dime a dozen in varying lengths, and any should work just fine. 

  1. With VGA or DVI Cable (Video Graphics Array/Digital Video Interface) 

These somewhat standard ports are less common — available on some TVs and desktop computers but usually only older, and certainly thicker, laptops. Both cables transmit visuals only and require an additional audio line out (some are available with an attached audio cable though), limiting their convenience if you plan to show a movie or play music. Additionally, DVI has a few variations, so you’ll need to check the pattern of your port against any cable you want to buy. 

Luckily, these two cable types are also cheap and plentiful and sold in varying lengths. 

  1. With USB-C Adapter 

Many newer, ultra-thin laptops may opt for versatile USB ports over single-use ports like HDMI. Should that be the case for your machine, simply invest in an adapter. It will transmit visuals and audio. 

An added bonus is that such an adapter will work all across hardware — Apple laptops and tablets, Windows laptops and tablets, Samsung tablets, and some smartphones. The drawback is that it’s only for certain hardware. USB-C ports that aren’t running on updated protocol — Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 — won’t transmit anything. 

  1. With Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, and Other Adapters

Speaking of, you can get a multi-port adapter hub specifically for Apple’s Thunderbolt protocol if you’re so inclined. Apple also utilizes the miniature version of standard all-in-one port called DisplayPort, which can be found on Windows tablets and ultra-thin laptops as well. TVs aren’t on this standard, however, so you’ll have to resort to Mini DisplayPort to HDMI converters, which either allow you to plug in an existing HDMI cord or function as one themselves

What if your laptop has, for example, a VGA port, but your HDTV only has HDMI? Everyone makes adapters for everything — you may need to purchase more than one item, and you may need to shop around for something that works, but we promise you that a workaround for your situation exists. Just keep in mind that cables that don’t transmit audio still cannot even if they are adapted to fit an HDMI port. 

How to Connect Laptop to TV Wirelessly 

OK, you may think that all that rigamarole sounds awful. Or, my 80 inch TV is mounted 5 feet in the air, 17 feet away from my sectional. How am I to connect laptops to a TV the wireless way?

  1. With Wireless HDMI Transmitter 

If you’ve got a little cash to drop, or just need a high quality, professional solution, a wireless HDMI transmitter could be a great choice. It will run audio and visuals, can be used across a wide area, and may support more than one input device at a time. This makes it potentially viable for offices or gaming setups, where there may be the primary device dialed in from another room, but someone else can still seamlessly borrow the feed. 

  1. With Roku Streaming Device

Available as a box or discreet little stick, a Roku device will let you stream content or cast it from your Android phone or Windows computer. They don’t support Apple devices for this function (but iPads and iPhones can cast), and screen mirroring must be accessed via an app on mobile. 

  1. With Apple TV/Airplay or Google Chromecast 

If you’re all about an ecosystem, these are compelling options. The Apple TV/AirPlay screen mirror functionality is limited to Macs and iOS. At the same time, Google Chromecast works through the Chrome browser on computers and the Google Home app on mobile. 

  1. With Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is basically a wi-fi HDMI dongle for Android phones and Windows computers — you plug and you play, even from another room. No set up to speak of, and no streaming capabilities, and also no Apple support whatsoever. 

It’s a handy device to have in the pocket of your business attire or to keep in your home. But despite its convenience, it’s definitely not viable for PC gaming due to much-reported lag. 

Takeaway 

By now you should have a pretty good idea of both how to connect a laptop to a TV and how to cast from laptop to TV. Wait, what’s the difference? Well, casting will just beam over the content specifically, while connecting a display will totally link the screens as monitors. 

You can share your screen in its entirety with screen mirroring or adjust your computer settings to retain some privacy. Then when you’re ready, you can move content over to the public screen. Or you can use a second screen for your own daily browsing needs. 

Wireless options offer a range of casting possibilities. Wired connections can all transmit visually but otherwise differ kind of wildly. HDMI cables are a simple, streamlined A/V standard that is extremely difficult to go wrong with. But if you’re venturing into the wider world of audio/visual cables, just be sure to read up on the specifications of your machine and buy accordingly.

Do the weekly Netflix binge, casual PC gaming, and the illusion of basic technical knowledge all have in common? You can upgrade them with the same simple trick: when you cast from laptop to TV. 

But, you may protest, HDTVs and computers boast so many specific ports and varied display settings…and you want to connect them to each other?! We sure do, and you will, too, once you see how truly streamlined the process is. 

We’ll walk you through everything below.

Why Transfer:

Before we dive into the details of how to transfer pictures from Android phone to computer, here are a few reasons you might want to:

·  Photo gallery for articles

·  Cache of photos for social media posting

·   Transferring provides extra backup for your images. After all, multiple backups are the best way to store photos that are important.

·   If you transfer photos from Android to PC or Mac, you’ll have more space for new photos.

Transfer Files from Android to USB Drive

Transfer Files from Android to USB Drive

Unless your Android is extremely old, it probably came with a USB cable that allows you to connect your phone to your computer for file transfers. For most Androids, the USB cable can also connect to a pronged plug for charging.

This method is one of the easiest since it requires minimal setup and because you only need your charging cable and your PC or Mac.

Windows Import Pictures and Videos:

If you have a PC, you are probably running some version of Windows. As soon as you connect the USB port, you’ll be prompted to with options that will allow you to choose what happens to the device. From there, you can choose to import your photos.

Take Advantage of Photos on Windows 10:

If you are running Windows 10, you can also use the Photos program to import your photos; simply open photos, find “import,” and from there, it will give you the options to import from a USB device.

Drag and Drop from Windows to PC:

You can also go to This PC, File Explorer, and choose your device. From there, look for a folder labeled either Camera, Pictures, or DCIM. This option is neat because it’ll allow you to drag and drop photos onto your desktop or into a chosen folder. This will allow you to copy the selected pictures without the risk of deleting them on your phone.

How to Upload Photos to Google Drive from Android

Google Drive is another convenient option, which will also allow you to backup your photos. Most Androids come with access to Google Drive, which will enable you to keep your files stored and synced to the cloud while also maintaining your privacy. To transfer pictures from Android to PC via Google drive, you simply need to go into your Android settings and make sure that your images are being backed up via Google Drive. Then, you can access the images by connecting to the drive on your PC. If you’ve never used Google Drive, you may need to set it up from your phone and create a password.

Use Your Wi-fi to Transfer Pictures from Android to PC

Use Your Wi-fi to Transfer Pictures from Android to PC

The Droid Transfer app allows you to windows import pictures and videos using the app and our wi-fi signal. You’ll need to download the Droid Transfer app onto your PC and get the Transfer Companion App on your Android via the Google Play Store. Once both are downloaded, scan the Droid Transfer QR Code with the Companion App. This will link your phone and your laptop and allow you to copy as many photos as you like.

How to Download Google Photos to PC

Google Photos gives you another easy-transfer option. Open your google photos, select which photos you want to download and hit the Download button.

How to Download Pictures from Phone to Computer for Mac users

Some people say that Androids and Macs aren’t compatible and that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything that will “communicate” between the two devices. This is simply untrue.

Consider Wondershare:

Wondershare is an app that allows you to back up all aspects of your Android device and to seamlessly transfer photos from your Android to your Mac. The downside, the app costs $35. The upside? You’ll be able to back up everything on your phone.

Tap Into the Google File Transfer:

If you have an Android that’s version 3.0 or newer and are running Mac OSx 10.5 or later, you can use the Google File Transfer feature. While the Google File Transfer doesn’t have the features of an app, it makes transferring software easy and has a 4 GB storage limit.

Options That Work With Mac and PC

Dropbox:

Dropbox is a good answer for how to transfer photos from Samsung to a computer regardless of whether you are using a Mac or a PC. You can get a free Dropbox account or pay for more cloud storage space.

Email:

If you only need to transfer one photo, email may be a convenient option. Simply send the photo to yourself as an attachment on your phone and open it from your computer. While you’re at it, you can email the picture to friends or family.

Takeaways and Extra Tips

How to transfer pictures from Android to PC

There are plenty of ways, but USB is probably the easiest and most intuitive

How to transfer photos from Android to Android

There are several ways. You can send photos as a message or email if you’re sending it to friends. For larger file transfers, go into the photo tab and select which photos to export.

Do I need to pay to transfer photos?

No. While there are a few great apps that you can buy, there are plenty of free ways to transfer your photos

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