There’s a pretty good chance that your TV has a larger screen than your laptop or desktop computer. Have you ever thought about connecting your computer to the TV? It’s easier than you might think.
Whether you’re interested in connecting your laptop to your TV for one night or you want a mini computer connected to your TV 24/7, there are a few accessories that make the experience the best it can be. In fact, depending on your needs, you may already have everything on hand.
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First, let’s mention that you may not need to use any accessories. If you have a streaming media device connected to your TV, such as a Chromecast, Roku, or Apple TV, you can connect wirelessly.
“Casting” your computer screen wirelessly is great for certain situations, but not all. It’s handy for showing what you’re doing on the screen or playing YouTube videos, but the lag is annoying for things like games.
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 cast to 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. The HDMI cable will allow you to treat the TV as a monitor. There are tons of HDMI cables on the market, but they are not all made equal.
We have a roundup of the best HDMI cables for different price points 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 only 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 is probably not within arm’s length of your sofa. You will need some wireless accessories to control your computer remotely.
There are two directions you can go here. The first is a wireless keyboard with a built-in trackpad. These are great to use on your lap because they don’t require a flat surface for the mouse. They’re also compact, and you only have one accessory to charge. You can get laptop-style or desktop versions.
If that’s not your style—or you’d 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 a TV for gaming. If that’s the case for you, a good controller is an integral part of the setup.
Whether you need a cable or wireless controller will depend on your situation. To minimize latency as much as possible, wired is the best option. However, if the distance from the computer to your couch is too far, you’re probably stuck with wireless.
Fortunately, there are many controllers that offer both wired and wireless options. You may already have a controller that can also connect to your computer. Check out our Best PC Gaming Controllers guide for some ideas.
Simple enough, right? The biggest challenge with using a computer connected to a TV is room logistics. That’s why 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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