Put that PC screen on your bigger screen.
There’s a pretty good chance your TV has a larger screen than the one on your laptop or desktop computer. Have you ever thought about hooking up your PC 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 PC 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.
First, we should mention you may not need to use any accessories 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.
“Casting” your computer screen wireless is great for certain situations, but not everything. It’s handy for showing off what you’re doing on the screen or playing YouTube videos, but the lag that be troublesome for things like games.
On Windows and Chromebooks, you can share your screen from the casting menu in Chrome (and Microsoft Edge). Mac users should look for the “AirPlay” button to cast to an Apple TV or Roku.
If wireless isn’t the best choice 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 aren’t all made equally.
We’ve got 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 tethering to a TV. A standard HDMI cable can only be so long, but there are ways to make an HDMI cable longer.
Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
Now that we’ve got the PC tethered to the TV, it’s probably not at arm’s reach from your couch. You’re going to need some wireless accessories to control your PC from afar.
There are two directions you can go here. The first is a wireless keyboard with a built-in trackpad. These are great for using on your lap as 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-style versions.
Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch TV Keyboard
A keyboard from a trusted brand specifically intended for being used with a TV. Compatible with all computer operating systems.
If that’s not your style—or you’d prefer a separate mouse—there are plenty of options as well. Any Bluetooth mouse or keyboard will work for this setup. Check out our Best Keyboards and Best Mouse guides for some wireless options.
A lot of people connect their PC to a TV for gaming purposes. If that’s the case for you, a good controller is an integral part of the setup.
Whether you need a wired or wireless controller is going to depend on your situation. To minimize latency as much as possible, wired is the best choice. However, if the distance from the PC to your couch is too far, you’re probably stuck with wireless.
Thankfully, there are many controllers that offer both wired and wireless options. You may already have a controller that can connect to your PC too. Take a look at our Best PC Gaming Controllers guide for some ideas.
Pretty simple, right? The biggest challenge with using a PC 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 forth and take advantage of that big screen!