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How to Connect a Dell Computer to a TV

Summary: This article provides information about how to connect your Dell laptop or desktop to a television (TV).

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Symptoms

Connecting your Dell computer to your television(TV) is a fast, simple way to show what's on your computer directly on your TV, or even use the TV as a second display.

Cause

To learn more about connecting a Dell computer to a monitor or projector, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Connect a Monitor to a Dell Computer.

Resolution

Compare the video port that is available on your computer with the television (TV) to find which video or display port they have in common.

  • Dell desktop: The video ports are located on the back of the computer. If your Dell desktop has a dedicated graphics card (GPU), you must use the video port that is available on the graphics card (GPU).
  • Dell all-in-one: The videos ports are location on the back of the computer. See the User Guide of the Dell all-in-one computer to identify if the computer supports video output to a secondary display.
  • Dell laptop: The video ports are available on the back, left or right-hand side of the laptop. See the User Guide for the Dell laptop.
  • Television (TV): The video ports are usually located on the back of the TV. See the User Guide of the TV.
Video or display cable types
Source (computer) Display (TV, monitor, or projector) Description
VGA VGA VGA is the most common video connector available on many devices. The standard VGA monitor interface is a 15-pin D-subminiature connector. For more information about VGA, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Graphics_Array External Link.
DVI DVI DVI is digital visual interface that can transmit digital video signals only. The DVI connector on a device is one of three types, depending on which signals it implements: DVI-A (analog only), DVI-D (digital only, single link or dual link), and DVI-I (integrated, combines digital and analog in the same connector; digital may be single or dual link. The pin configuration in each type of connector is unique. For more information about DVI, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Visual_Interface External Link.
HDMI HDMI HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a common video connector that supports both video and audio signals on a single cable. There are several versions of HDMI standards, and with each latest version new features are added. For example, HDMI version 2.0a and above supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. There are five types of HDMI connectors: standard HDMI, dual-link HDMI, mini HDMI, micro HDMI, and HDMI automotive connector. For more information about HDMI, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI External Link.
DisplayPort (DP) or mini-DisplayPort (mDP) DisplayPort (DP) or mini-DisplayPort (mDP) DisplayPort can be used to transmit audio and video simultaneously, although each is optional and can be transmitted without the other. There are several versions of DisplayPort standards, and with each latest version new features are added. For example, DisplayPort version 1.2 and above supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) or daisy-chaining compatible monitors. DisplayPort cables and ports may have either a "full-size" connector or a "mini" connector. These connectors differ only in physical shape, the capabilities of DisplayPort are the same regardless of which connector is used. Using a mini DisplayPort (mDP) connector does not affect performance or feature support of the connection. For more information about DisplayPort, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DisplayPort External Link.
USB-C (with DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3) USB-C (with DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3) USB-C, also known as USB Type-C is a connector type. Manufacturers can enable alternate modes like DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, or HDMI that can transmit both video and audio signals using the same cable. See the device specifications to learn if the USB-C port on the device supports any of these alternate modes.
NOTE: USB-C port that does not support DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3 alternate mode cannot transmit video or audio signals.
NOTE: The USB-C port can transmit a video signal only when the port is enabled with DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3 alternate mode. See the User Guide of the computer to check if the USB-C port on the computer supports DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3 alternate mode. To learn more, see the Dell knowledge base article Guide to USB-C.
 
NOTE: If the television supports RCA or composite connector only, there are third-party converters or adapters available that helps convert the signal from the VGA, DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort on the computer to the RCA or composite connector on the television.
Video or display adapters or converters

Common video converters or adapters
Source (computer) Display (TV, monitor, or projector)
VGA VGA
DVI VGA
HDMI DVI or VGA
DisplayPort (DP) or mini-DisplayPort (mDP) HDMI or DVI
USB-C (with DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3) DisplayPort or HDMI
NOTE: Many video converters or adapters are not bi-directional. They can transmit video signals in a single direction, from the source (computer) to the display (TV, monitor, or projector). See the common video converters or adapters table above for unidirectional or single direction video converter or adapter examples.

The easiest way to connect your computer to your television (TV) is with a cable that can be plugged into each device. The most common type of connector available on both the computer and the TV is HDMI. If the video or display connector is different on the computer and the TV, see the common video converters or adapters table in the section above to identify which type of converter or adapter might work.

  1. Connect the computer to the TV with a compatible video or display cable.
  2. Connect the two devices with a 3.5mm audio cable for audio (only if required when using a VGA cable. HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C cables support both video and audio on the same cable).
  3. Turn on the computer and the TV.
  4. Select the correct input or source on the TV. For example, if the video port reads HDMI 1, select HDMI 1 as the input or source on the TV. See the User Guide of the TV to learn how to change the input or source.
  5. On the computer, press the Windows key + P key.
  6. Select the display mode to either Duplicate, Extended, or Second screen only, depending on your preference.

For optimal video performance, download and install the latest video drivers from Dell.com/support website. To learn more about downloading and installing the drivers on a Dell computer, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Download and Install Dell Drivers.

Configure the screen resolution, color depth, refresh rate, and font size.

Based on the operating system that is installed on your Dell computer, see the Dell knowledge base:

Wireless display technology lets you project photos, web content and more from a compatible computer or mobile device onto a TV or projector. This is also called screen mirroring, screen casting, or streaming to a TV. There are two easy ways to wirelessly connect your computer to a TV:

NOTE: Connecting a Dell desktop computer to a TV wirelessly requires a compatible Wi-Fi adapter installed in the computer.
  • Connect to a compatible smart TV.
  • Connect to any TV with an available HDMI port and USB port using a wireless display adapter.
Connect to a compatible smart TV

If you own a smart TV, chances are you will be able to connect your Windows 10 computer to the smart TV. To learn if your smart TV supports a wireless connection to a computer and how to set it up, see the User Guide of the smart TV on the manufacturers website.

Connect to an HDTV with a wireless display adapter

A wireless display adapter is a device that allows you to display the content of the computer onto your TV. This adapter or dongle (sometimes called a wireless display receiver) is a small device that connects to your TV through an available HDMI port and a USB port for power.

There are several third-party wireless display adapters available in the market. Some of the most popular ones are Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, Google's Chromecast, Roku's Streaming Stick, Amazon's Fire Stick, and so on. The features of each wireless display adapter varies, see the device manufacturers website for more information.

NOTE: Read the technical specifications of the device to understand that the device is compatible with your computer and that it suits your specific use case before you purchase a wireless display adapter.

To learn how to setup and connect your Dell computer to a TV using a wireless display adapter, see the User Guide of the wireless display adapter.

Additional Information

Article Properties


Affected Product

Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models

Last Published Date

12 Jul 2021

Version

6

Article Type

Solution