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How to Connect a Laptop to TV


There are more than half a dozen different basic ways to connect a PC laptop computer output to a TV screen input. That’s not counting the added wrinkles presented by the high-definition configurations of most of today’s giant plasma screen TVs.

It really depends on what kind of output connection is outfitted on the laptop computer and what type of input receptacle is waiting on the selected TV. A round, seven-pin connector laptop port can be linked with the proper cable to either a three-pronged RCA jack with familiar red, white and yellow markings, or to a five-pin S-Video round input port and red-white audio pin connects, or to a European rectangular 20-pin SCART input.

The simplest PC-to-TV connection configurations are those that involve identical input and output ends, such as a 15-pin VGA cable set-up or a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cable link. There are also situations where a four-pin laptop output connects to an RCA three-pronged, or S-Video and audio input, as well as configurations calling for a VGA to RCA three-pronged and VGA to S-Video and audio input.

Once a PC laptop is connected to a TV with the proper cable, the real fun begins. Some fiddling might be required on the computer end to get the S-Video output to properly display. It’s also often a little complicated, if desired, to get the laptop computer to display the images simultaneously on both the laptop and TV screens. The Internet is full of bulletin board and discussion message pleas for help from consumers who have followed their instruction manuals only to still wind up without a TV screen image. When software, browser, video players, and other elements are added in, a million and one possible permutations truly can come into play.

The same is true for a MAC laptop user trying to connect their computer to a sophisticated home theater environment. After plugging in a DVI, fire-wire, or other cable and following MAC instructions, they too may see a blank screen after opening System Preferences and selecting Detect Displays. Once again, patience and a lot of trial-and-error may be required.

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