Whilst the Nintendo Switch has the capabilities for you to play in handheld mode, sometimes you might want to play on an external monitor. This is very easy to do if you want to connect your Switch to your TV at home, or even a monitor that you use for your computer.
But one question that many people have is whether it’s possible to connect you Nintendo Switch to your laptop and use the laptop screen to play games. This would be perfect, right? Being able to play Smash Bros on your laptop, especially if you don’t have access to a TV?
Well, unfortunately it isn’t as simple as just adding a HDMI cable to your Nintendo Switch to give it the ability to stream to your laptop. So, let’s look at the issue in a little closer detail.
How do I connect my Nintendo Switch to my laptop using HDMI?
The truth is that you can’t simply connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop and use the laptop as a monitor. This is because laptops aren’t designed to accept video input from other devices, so you can’t just add a HDMI cable to connect them to each other.
So whilst it’s possible for you to stream your laptop screen on to a TV, it isn’t possible for you to stream another device onto your laptop. This is because the laptop allows video output to other devices, but it won’t allow video input to the laptop itself – it doesn’t have the hardware to do this.
But is the end of the story, or is there a way that you can get your Nintendo Switch to stream onto your laptop screen? Well, there is one way that you can do this pretty easily.
How to Stream a Nintendo Switch onto a Laptop
The one way that you can stream your Nintendo Switch screen onto a laptop is by using a device called a capture card. You may or may not have heard of a capture card before, but quite simply, it’s a small device that gives your laptop the ability to receive video input.
This is the best way you can stream from your Nintendo Switch, or any other device for that matter (like a camera), onto your laptop screen. You won’t be able to do this without a capture card (check here to find out more information about capture cards).
Once you have a capture card, you can set it up to stream onto your laptop via this method;
- Make sure that your Nintendo Switch is connected to the Nintendo Switch Dock.
- Connect the Nintendo Switch Dock to the capture card via a HDMI cable.
- Turn your laptop on and open the capture card software, then turn your Nintendo Switch on.
- Make sure that your capture card is connected to your laptop.
- Done! You should be able to see your Nintendo switch streamed onto your laptop, and you can use your normal joycons to control the Nintendo Switch.
Capture cards are one of the best ways for you to not only connect your Nintendo Switch to a laptop, but record all of the action as well. They’re pretty popular amongst Twitch streamers, with the Elgato Game Capture HD being a commonly recommended choice.
For many, this is going to be too much hassle and it may not be worthing trying to connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop. A video capture card can do this, but you’d be much better off finding a TV screen or monitor to connect your Switch to instead.
Are there any other methods to stream my Nintendo Switch?
Unfortunately, this is the only way that you can currently stream your Nintendo Switch onto your laptop screen. The only exception to this is certain Alienware laptop models, which do have another HDMI port which you can use to input video from another device.
A laptop that you can do this with is the Alienware 17 r4. It is pretty expensive, but many gamers choose it because it has both HDMI input and HDMI output integrated into its design. You don’t even need the Nintendo Dock, as you can simply connect it via a USB-C to HDMI cable.
One thing that you can potentially do in some cases is to play your game directly on your laptop. For example, one game that I love for the Nintendo Switch is Brawlhalla.
But you can find Brawlhalla in Steam as a free download, and you can play it directly via your laptop if you want to. Of course, you’ll have to get used to the keyboard as opposed to a console controller, but is another viable option for playing games that have been released on Nintendo Switch on your laptop.
Other great Switch games that you can also find on Steam are Ori (both and the Blind Forest and Will of the Wisps) and Hollow Knight. So, it could be worth using Steam on the occasions that you’d like to play on a bigger screen.
Overall, hopefully this has helped you work out that you can’t actually connect a Nintendo Switch, or any other device for that matter, to your laptop via a HDMI connection.
Whilst you might be able to connect your laptop to another device to output video, for 99% of laptops they won’t have the video input capability needed to stream video from another device. In order to do this, you’ll need to pick up a capture card.