If you’ve recently bought yourself a new smart TV, then you’re going to want to take advantage of all of the different features they have to offer. Otherwise, you’re not really making the most of your new TV and its functionality.
One of the first things that many people want to do is connect different devices, like a laptop, to the TV. In some cases, you can do this via Bluetooth. But if you want to connect your laptop to your smart TV, the best way to do this is probably via a Wi-fi connection..
How can you connect your smart TV and your laptop together seamlessly? Well, we’re going to look at the best way for you to do this.
How to connect your laptop to a smart tv wirelessly
To connect your laptop to your smart TV wirelessly, you should be able to do this by heading into your display settings on your laptop and selecting Connect to a Wireless Display. There, you should be able to find your smart TV and connect the two together.
Now, the method that you actually use to do this will vary depending on both what laptop you’re using, but also the TV that you’re using as well (check out our 40 inch smart TV guide here). Let’s run through how you’ll connect to the TV depending on your laptop OS first.
Connecting Windows Laptops to a Smart TV
If you’re trying to connect your Windows laptop to your smart TV, then the likelihood is that you’ll need to use something called Miracast. This is essentially the same as a Chromecast, which you can use to stream content from your mobile onto your television.
The difference is that most TVs don’t have Chromecast built into them, and you’d need an additional USB receiver. Smart TVs are instead built with a Miracast receiver, so this is how you’re going to want to connect to your smart TV.
Anyway, if you’re using a Windows laptop then it’s going to have Miracast capabilities, and you’ll be able to connect them both together quite easily – there’s no need for any HDMI cables.
On a Windows 10 Device, all you’ll need to do is scroll to the Display Settings, and click the option Connect to a Wireless Display.
If you’ve set your smart TV up with your wifi properly already, your Windows device will then be connected with your TV. From here, you can mirror what you’re going on the laptop onto the television screen, or use it as a second screen if you want.
Connecting a Macbook to a Smart TV
Whilst the most common method will be using Miracast, this isn’t the only way to connect your laptop and smart TV together. This is especially true if you’re using Apple products, as you can connect the two together in a different way.
In the past, to connect the two you had to use a Macbook and an Apple TV together to link them up. But, Apple TVs aren’t the only device you can connect your Macbook to nowadays. You can also do this is newer models from big name TV suppliers like Samsung, Sony and LG.
Connecting them works in a very similar way to with a Windows laptop. However, connecting an Apple device is through something we call Airplay. Airplay is simply a wireless casting protocol developed by Apple to enabled you to send files between two devices very easily.
You can do this on a Macbook by just looking at the top of your screen – you should be able to see the Airplay icon in your menu bar. If you can’t see the Airplay icon, then you might need to enable it yourself first.
You can do this by going into System Preferences > Display, and then select the option at the bottom to Show Mirroring Options in the menu bar when available.
Now, you should be able to go back to your laptop and connect the two together. In case you’re wondering, this is also the case for iPhones, which you can Airplay with the same method.
Connecting Chromebooks to a Smart TV
As you’re probably aware if you own a Chromebook, they actually have Chromecast functionality built into them. This is a great way to make sure your laptop and smart TV are connected properly.
The good news is that there are some smart TVs out there that actually have Chromecast built into them too. So, connecting the two couldn’t be easier.
A good example of a brand that does this in the UK is Cello Electronics, who are known for being one of the last UK manufacturers of Smart TVs. But aside from this, there are many other TV manufacturers like Sony and Sharp that also often have Chromecast built into their televisions.
Again, you can connect the two in the same method as previous mentioned, but it’s just a little different for a Chromebook. You can click to the clock in the corner of your Chromebook, and then select Cast. From here, you can find your television and connect the two together.
Generally, there’s a solution for pretty much every laptop out there, but you need to ensure that you’ve got the right TV to work with it. If your smart TV doesn’t have Chromecast built into it, then it could be worth picking one up to use with your laptop.
Google Chromecast makes things really easy, especially if you want screen mirroring from your device onto the TV.
How to Connect via a Wired Connection
In some cases, whether you just can’t be bothered to try and connect wirelessly or the internet in your house isn’t great, then you might need to connect your laptop to your TV using a wired connection.
In the past, we would’ve used a VGA connector to do this. But in the modern day, it’s much easier to do this via a HDMI connection. All new smart TVs are going to have multiple different HDMI ports for you to connect to.
The only exception to this is the newer Macbook models, which actually don’t have a HDMI port for you to connect the two together. In this case, you’d need to use an adapter to link them both up together.
So, you’d likely want to use a HDMI adapter to connect your Mac and TV screen together. This will give you a good picture quality, and is often more stable than going wireless.
What’s the difference between Mirroring and Extending?
When you’re connect your two devices together, you’re often going to come across two different terminologies used. This is Mirroring, and Extending.
Whilst the name of these two functions kind of explains what they are, let me just clarify. Mirroring is usually the default, and it will bring up a mirror image of your laptop screen on your television.
This is perfect for streaming content, or showing your family something on your laptop. Using screen mirroring can be a good way to get your small screen onto a bigger screen.
Extending is like using a second monitor in tandem with your laptop. Whilst most people won’t want to do this on their TV, it isn’t a bad idea to do this instead and have something playing in the background whilst you’re working.
In most scenarios, it’s actually very easy for you to connect your smart TV to your laptop wirelessly. This is the case whether you’re a Macbook user, a Windows user or a Chromebook user too.
There’s usually a solution for you to connect the two together, no matter what. Getting your laptop’s display on the big screen shouldn’t be too difficult, whether you want to mirror your display or use it as an extra monitor. And if all else fails, then having a HDMI cable handy isn’t a bad idea either.