Thursday, October 30, 2008

37. How To Stream Video From Your Laptop To Your TV

By: gary hendricks


Step 1: Inspect Your Laptop and TV
To stream video from the laptop to the TV, what you first need to do is to inspect both your laptop and TV. The manuals are a good place to start. What you wna tto do is to identify the connectors located on the back of these devices. Usually, there are five basic types of jacks involved - RCA, S-Video, VGA, DVI or HDMI. Don't worry about those acronyms, we'll run through them below.

Step 2: Understand the Connectors

- Composite/phono plug (RCA). This is also called a phono connector and is used for analog video and audio components. You will see three round, colored sockets - red and white for audio and yellow for video. Just get a three-prong cable (from a computer or electronics shop) and connect the RCA laptop to the TV.

- S-Video. S-Video connectors is slightly more advanced, and uses a four-prong round plug (usually yellow in color). To connect a laptop to a TV via S-Video, simply plug the single S-Video connector to the TV. You can use your laptop's existing sound system for audio.

- Video graphics array (VGA). For this type of 15-pin connector, you you need a PC-to-TV Convertor to connect that laptop to the TV. You plug the VGA cable from the source into the convertor. Then, from the convertor, use an S-Video or RCA cable and connect it to the TV.

- Digital video interface (DVI). A DVI port is rectangular in shape, with 24 pins arranged in three horizontal rows for digital video. The audio cables are separate and usually make use of RCA white / red plugs. You will usually find DVI ports on Macintosh laptops.

- High-definition multimedia interface (HDMI). The HDMI port is half the size of the DVI port. It is also rectangular and has 19 pins. The good thing is that it provides both digital audio and video. You will find these connectors on newer laptops and TVs.

Step 3: Buy a Proper Connector
Now that you understand the various types of connectors from a laptop to the TV, you need to purchase the correct cables to connect the two. Remember, if your laptop has RCA but the TV has S-Video, you will need to get a RCA to S-Video cable (a laptop to TV cable ready available from electronics shops). If you have a TV with a HDMI port but the laptop has a DVI connector, then you need a DVI-to-HDMI cable for the video and also a pair of RCA analog stereo cables for the audio. If your laptop has S-Video and the TV also has S-Video, you can just directly connect the two with a S-Video cable for video. Get a separate RCA analog right / white cable for the audio (or just use your laptop's audio system).

There are many other combinations I can think of, but the idea is the same - whenever ports do not match, you can by adaptors and cables to make any connection. Ok, you're almost there - one more step and you will be able to seamlessly stream video from your laptop to the TV.

Step 4: Tune the Display
With the laptop and TV properly connected, you now need to tune the display on the TV. The key thing to note here is that if the screen resolution and aspect ratio of your laptop and TV are not the same, the picture on the TV will be distorted.

Make sure both screen aspect ratio and pixel resolution of TV and laptop are compatible. What you can do is to adjust both picture ratio and resolution with on the Display Settings of the Control Panel in the PC laptop. You might need to refer to your laptop manual to get information on settings and options for video output.

Step 5: Enjoy That TV Display!
With all the above steps done, you're ready to get a cup of coffee, kick back and enjoy your favorite movie clip or videos on the big TV screen. For the best results, you should get a large, flat panel LCD TV for this purpose. It'll cost ya though, but prices are coming down.

And that's it! Now you know how to stream video from your laptop to the TV using conectors and cables. It's not that difficult once you figure out what connectors there are, and what cables to buy.

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