Using HDMI From Your Computer to Your TV

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is currently the best way to carry a video and audio signal.  The one cable can carry HD video and up to 7.1 surround.  However, using this particular cable still baffles some, like Bernhard Schauerte from Kelowna,B.C.  Bernard writes “HDMI – what is it good for? I thought I could hook it up from the back of my ACER PC into the LG flatscren TV and Windows 10 would do the rest.
I want to watch online movies. Is that possible with this cable?  Do I need some kind of app that sees it? I am stumped.”

Thanks for the great question, Bernard.  Yes, it is possible.  I had an HP laptop with a Blu-Ray drive for many years, and used it as my primary video device to my TV.  However, sometimes it’s not as simple as plug and play.  Even with as many things that I like about Windows, there are still some things that I don’t, and inconsistent plug and play ability is one of the things that I don’t.

Now, you didn’t tell us exactly what’s happening when you try to watch your videos on your TV, so what I’m going to do is start at the basics.  If you already know the stuff that I’m about to tell you, please feel free to skip ahead.

First thing that you need is an HDMI port on your computer, which looks like this:

hdmi-to-tv-1

Next, you need an HDMI cable.  Hook the cable up to the TV.  Put the TV on the right input.  If it works, great.  If it doesn’t, there are some other things that you can try.

You may have to tell your computer to cast to an external monitor.  There are a couple of ways to do this.  The first one is a keyboard shortcut.  On my computer, it’s CTRL+F5.  What you’re looking for is a key with a picture of a monitor or a square with a straight line on either side of it, something like this:

https://i0.wp.com/imgsrv.worldstart.com/images/ct-images/2017/04/hdmi-to-tv-2.jpg?resize=519%2C183

If you still have no joy from this, you can take the long route.  Anywhere on your desktop, but not on an icon for anything, right-click and then click SCREEN RESOLUTION.

hdmi-to-tv-3

This will take you to a screen that gives you several options for changing your display options.

https://i0.wp.com/imgsrv.worldstart.com/images/ct-images/2017/04/hdmi-to-tv-4.jpg?resize=589%2C432

If you have your laptop’s display on, and the TV hooked up via HDMI, you should see two monitors listed in the top window.  Click on the one for the TV, and that should fix you up.  Just so you’ll know, here are the other options.  The first drop-down gives you a list of the monitors that are connected.  So if you’re not sure which one is your TV, you can change it this way.  The next drop-down lets you choose resolution.  Choose the highest resolution listed.  If your screen goes blank, don’t panic… just wait a few seconds, and it will revert to what it was before.  The final drop-down gives you the option of landscape or portrait.  Typically, you’ll want to leave it on landscape.  I changed mine to portrait once because I had an emulator for the old arcade game Galaga on my machine, and that was the best way to play it… on portrait with my monitor rotated 90 degrees.

I hope that this helps!  If it doesn’t, please leave a comment and we’ll try to address your issue for you.

~ Randal Schaffer

3 thoughts on “Using HDMI From Your Computer to Your TV

  1. Randal Schaffer. Just finished reading your article “Using HDMI From Your Computer to Your TV”. Confusing! Lots of words, not enough pictures. And the pictures should all be relevant. For example you used the description “What you’re looking for is a key with a picture of a monitor or a square with a straight line on either side of it, something like this:” and then you display a keyboard with a red square around the “F5” key which corresponds the “Control F5”, which made sense. But I was still trying to figure out “a square with a straight line on either side of it”. Then it dawned on me that the keyboard had etching behind the labels for some of the keys. But not on my keyboard. And after the Control+F5, then what?
    I found your article confusing. If you step back and look at the article you may notice that there’s a lot of words and few pictures (not to be confused with picture size).
    – John – keep up the good work!

  2. Hi, John. Sorry if you found the article confusing. I actually did try to give a couple of descriptions of icons that I’ve seen on keyboards to cast to external monitor, including saying “on my keyboard it’s F5” because I know that this varies from computer to computer. As it happens, my laptop keyboard DOES have the pictogram, whereas my full-size desktop keyboard, strangely, does not. And you’re absolutely right. I should have included a note that, once you hit the shortcut key you should be able to see something on your external monitor or TV. If you can’t, then you’ll need to try something else.

    Another thing that I didn’t mention is that you need to make sure that your TV is on the right input, the one that matches the HDMI port that you have your computer connected to.

    I hope that this clarifies things!
    Randal

  3. I saved these instructions when I first got this tip back in May but it’s still about as clear as mud. I have DirecTV and the “Another thing that I didn’t mention is that you need to make sure that your TV is on the right input, the one that matches the HDMI port that you have your computer connected to.” All I can add is ?????????????????????????????????????

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