There’s a pretty good chance that your TV has a larger screen than what’s on your laptop or desktop computer. Have you ever thought about connecting your computer to your TV? It’s easier than you think.
Whether you’re interested in hooking up your laptop to your TV overnight or want a mini PC that you can hook up to your TV 24/7, there are some accessories that make the experience as good as possible. In fact, depending on your needs, you may already have everything at hand.
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First of all, we should mention that you may not need to use any supplements at all. If you have a streaming media player connected to your TV, such as a Chromecast, Roku, or Apple TV, you can connect wirelessly.
Wirelessly “casting” your computer screen is great for some situations, but not all. It’s useful for showing what you’re doing on the screen or playing YouTube videos, but it’s the lag that causes problems for things like gaming.
On Windows and Chromebooks, you can share your screen from the cast menu in Chrome (and Microsoft Edge). Mac users should look for the “AirPlay” button to stream to an Apple TV or Roku.
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If wireless isn’t the best option for your situation, the first thing you’ll need is an HDMI cable. HDMI cables will allow you to treat your TV as a monitor. There are many HDMI cables on the market, but not all are created equal.
We’ve rounded up the best HDMI cables for different prices and specifications. If you have a 4K HDR TV, you’ll want an HDMI cable capable of 4K HDR output. You may also want to pay attention to the refresh rate to match your TV. The length of the cable can also be important when connecting to a TV. A standard HDMI cable can be so long, but there are ways to make an HDMI cable longer.
Wireless keyboard and mouse
Now that we have the computer connected to the TV, it’s probably out of reach from your couch. You will need some wireless accessories to control your computer remotely.
You can go in two directions here. The first is a wireless keyboard with a built-in trackpad. These are great to use on your lap as they don’t require a flat surface for the mouse. Plus, they’re compact, and you only have one accessory to charge. You can get laptop style or desktop style versions.
If that’s not your style—or if you prefer a separate mouse—there are plenty of options, too. Any Bluetooth mouse or keyboard will work for this setup. Check out our Best Keyboards and Best Mice guides for some wireless options.
Many people connect their computer to their TV for gaming. If that’s your case, a good controller is part of the setup.
Whether you need a wired or wireless controller will depend on your situation. To reduce latency as much as possible, cable is the best option. However, if the distance from your computer to your couch is too far, you’ll probably stick with wireless.
Fortunately, there are many controllers that offer both wired and wireless options. You may already have a controller that can connect to your computer. For some ideas, check out our guide to the best PC gaming controllers.
Pretty simple, right? The biggest challenge of using a computer connected to a TV is the logistics of the room. For this reason, wireless accessories are often the best choice. However, anything is possible with a long enough cable. Go ahead and take advantage of that big screen!
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