How to connect your laptop to your TV to work from home
Trying to find the easiest way to work at home without your familiar office space? Find out how to turn your TV into an efficient second screen…
20 Mar 2020
Not everybody has a ‘conventional’ home office setup. With mobile working becoming ever more mobile, many people have to be flexible in their approach and be prepared to work anywhere
However, when you have to work from home, it’s not as tricky as you might think. Even if you don’t have a PC monitor and a cosy office area, you can still make it work.
The best way to get connected to a second screen at home is with your TV. Once your laptop is linked to your TV, you can use your laptop’s display settings to get your working space just right.
There are a few ways to link your TV to your laptop. Let’s find the best way for you.
How to connect a laptop to TV using HDMI
The easiest way to hook up your laptop is with a cable. Connecting your laptop to your TV via HDMI is today’s most common way as almost all modern televisions as well as laptops have HDMI ports. All you need is a cable.
Some newer laptops are so thin, they haven’t got HDMI ports. These usually come with USB Type-C instead. But don’t worry, there are plenty of HDMI to USB-C cables and adapters that you can pick up for a good price.
Making your TV work for you
Once you’re connected to your TV via HDMI, tweaking the display is simple. If you’re using a Windows laptop, right click on your desktop display and scroll down to ‘Display settings’. When you’re there, click ‘Detect’ to find your TV as a video output.
You can then choose whether to extend your display across both screens or duplicate your laptop display. If you’re not facing your TV head-on, you may want to use your laptop as normal and drag files to your TV when you need to see them for reference. To do this, select ‘Extend these displays’.
Make sure that if your TV is to the left or right of your laptop, you’ve got the screens arranged correctly in Display settings. That way, dragging programs between displays will feel more natural.
Want to know how to connect a MacBook to a TV? Okay - it will either have a Mini DisplayPort, ThunderBolt or HDMI port. Check to see what port yours has. If it’s not an HDMI port you’ll need to buy an adapter to connect your TV with a cable.
The only drawback of connecting with an HDMI cable is trailing wires across the room you’re working in. A good way around it is to make use of wireless mouse and keyboard. This way, you can use your laptop much like a tower PC and use your TV as the main display. With wireless accessories, it’s easier to work from anywhere in your home.
How to connect your laptop to a TV wirelessly
Why not ditch the wires? Our wireless age means there are loads of ways to connect your laptop to your TV. It’s a convenient way to interconnect your devices, plus you get rid of all the hassle with cables. You can place your laptop anywhere and stream to your TV.
Just keep in mind that you still usually need an HDMI port on your TV. Most streaming and mirroring methods require you to use some kind of adapter (a dongle). You’ll also need a strong, reliable Wi-Fi signal so you maintain a stable connection with your laptop
There are loads of different ways to connect wirelessly. Here are three of the most common and easiest to set up.
Chromecast casts your laptop Chrome browser to your TV screen. Some smart TVs have Chromecast already built-in, but no worries if yours doesn’t. There’s a Google Chromecast device that makes things easy. All you need is an HDMI port, a USB port to provide the power and the Chrome browser installed on your laptop.
Once you’re set up and connected, just select the “cast” button in Chrome on your laptop and let the browser guide you. It’s great for working on shared files with your team on Google Sheets or looking at presentation slides.
This one was developed by Microsoft to cast your Windows to the big screen. To check if your laptop is compatible, just press Win + P. If you see the ‘connect to a wireless display’ option, your laptop is ready to connect.
Your TV might have Miracast already – search for the ‘wireless display’ feature. If not, you’ll have to get a wireless display adapter.
Since you mirror your whole operating system, Miracast is also great for big screen gaming when you’re not working away.
Of course, if you have a workspace all set up and ready to go, the best way to get a second screen is with a dedicated PC monitor. That way, your family can still watch their favourite shows as you focus on productivity.
How do you prefer to work from home without a desktop monitor? The convenience of wireless or the reliability of HDMI? Let us know in the comments!