How to connect a laptop to a projector

Projectors are great way to watch movies in your household, and usually you can connect to one easily with your laptop. Even if you’re using the best mini projector, there are different ways that you can connect the devices to one another.

And depending on what exactly it is you’re looking to do, one method may suit you more than another. So, let’s run through the easiest ways that you can connect your laptop and your projector together.

How to connect a laptop to a projector

The simplest way for you to connect your laptop and a projector together is to use a HDMI cable. This will transmit a good quality high resolution between the two devices, and is the more secure method.

Projectors are becoming more popular than ever, with people tending to spend more time at home nowadays (not necessarily by choice!). But a HDMI cable is not the only way that you can get your laptop screen showing through your projector.

There are a couple of other popular ways to do this, as well as some less popular alternatives too. Let’s run through them.

Wired

wired

The majority of the time, you’re probably going to find a wired connection easiest to link the two devices together. Many cheaper projectors don’t give you the option to set up a wireless connection, so we’ll look at the best ways to set up a projector with a laptop using cables.

Easy choice – HDMI

Undoubtedly the most common method for getting your laptop display to work with a projector is to use a HDMI cable.

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen a massive increase in HDMI being used in preferences to older cables. This is no surprise, as it’s probably the best way to transmit both an audio and video connection within just one cable. In the past, we’d have needed a separate cable for each.

Pretty much any older HDMI cable will do the job fine. However, if you’ve got a 4K projector, then you’ll want to make sure that your cable is capable to sending a 4K resolution. It needs to be version 1.4 or higher to do this – any HDMI cable bought within the last decade can do this.

VGA cable

If you have a particularly old projector, then you may not have the option to connect to it with a HDMI cable. This is pretty unlikely, as the majority of projectors out there will have a HDMI input port for you to use.

But if not, then a VGA cable is going to be the next best thing. It can also send both audio and video through the wire, which is going to be necessary if you plan to use the in-built speakers on your projector.

Most new laptops won’t have a VGA port either, so you’d likely need to use an adapter if you only have a HDMI port to connect to. Getting a HDMI adapter is fairly cheap, but for the same price, you could also consider going for a wireless connection instead.

No wires

projector-laptop

Whilst wires are the easiest way to connect your laptop and projector together, they aren’t the only method you can use here. Some people prefer a cable free setup, and if this is the case for you, then you have a few different options.

Use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Although many cheaper projectors don’t have a lot of connectivity options, better quality devices will actually typically have W-Fi built into them.

This means that the easiest way for you to connect to them is by using a simple Wi-Fi connection, but you should check their specifications first to see if they have the ability to do so.

This is especially true if you’re looking to connect to your projector with a Macbook, as only certain models will support Airplay. If you can find one that does, then it can make for a seamless process.

I’ll also mention Bluetooth here, because although it’s not the choice for streaming video content, it’s great for audio. If you have a projector that supports Bluetooth, then you can connect to a wireless set of speakers very easily and play your audio through that.

Typically projectors have pretty weak speakers, so it’s a good idea to connect to an external sound output if you can.

Get a HDMI transmitter

If you want a wireless connection without your projector having the in-built Wi-Fi function to do so, then you’ll probably want to look at getting something that a HDMI transmitter.

As it sounds, a transmitter is just designed to give you the chance to connect to the HDMI port on your projector. Then, you can use your laptop to connect to the transmitter wirelessly. You shouldn’t lose any quality in comparison to a regular HDMI connection.

This will work well with older projectors that don’t have a lot of ports for you to use.

Buy a streaming device

Something else you can do to get a wireless connection is to pick up a streaming stick to use with your projector. Most sticks can be plugged directly into a HDMI port, and then be cast to from another device, like your laptop.

This includes options like Amazon’s Fire stick, Google Chromecast and if you’re based in the UK, then you could look at getting a Now TV stick too. Once you plug it into your projector, you can then use it to stream easily from a laptop.

For most people, this may actually be the best solution. Not only because it allows you to easily cast from a laptop, but also because you’ll have quick access to all of your favourite streaming services without lag too. This includes Netflix, Amazon Prime and similar online platforms.

Conclusion

As you can clearly see, there’s a ton of different ways that you can set up your projector to work with a laptop easily. Some people will find that a simple cable connection is the best way to do this.

However, if you do have a premium projector, then the chances are that it has wireless capabilities built into it. And if this is the case, then you’re probably only a few clicks away from casting your laptop display onto your projector screen.

About Nathan

Hello! I'm Nate. I work for an internet company during the week, so you'll probably see me on here jabbering about the internet and building websites, which is my main side hobby.

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