FAQ & Section Info
It's boring, the screen is too small, your display always ends up dimming itself from time to time, maybe the resolution isn't too great. Regardless, normal people like you and I prefer to watch movies or television on our televisions, which seems to make a good deal of sense.
There are lots of video cables with different capabilities, but HDMI is by and large the industry standard for HD video.
And it's a very simple process of hooking your laptop computer up to your HDTV. In no time, you'll have the perfect set-up so you can watch all the videos on your computer in beautiful HD on your living room television. Be warned, though, this is very futuristic stuff and it very well might blow your mind.
You obviously can't just put a laptop next to the TV and expect the video from your laptop to show up on your TV by osmosis. That would be stupid. Why would you ever think that? Are you an idiot or something?
To do this project, you'll need the following items:
First - a laptop or netbook with an HDMI port. You can tell an HDMI port by the fact that it looks like an upside-down trapezoid, sort of. I think of it like a USB port with a little bit of chub on the bottom. Whatever works for you, though.
Second - a TV with an HDMI port. Just about every HDTV made since 2007 has an HDMI port on it. You can identify the HDMI port by the fact that it looks just like the one on your laptop.
Third - an HDMI cable of your desired length. You need this because you can't just mash the ports together and make it work.
THE DIRTY WORK
Okay, now that we have all of our trusty supplies, we're ready to get our hands dirty and put this thing together.
Well…okay. We'll be getting our hands vaguely dusty. Same difference though, right?
Well, first, plug one end of the HDMI cable into the port on your television. Once it's in, we can move on to step two, which is to plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the laptop.
BE WARY, THOUGH! Most modern operating systems, as far back as Windows XP, will immediately send the image through the cable and to the TV and shut your laptop screen off. I'd be lying to you if I didn't freak out that my computer may have died the second I plugged in an HDMI cable for the first time. Of course, I'm dumb, so you'll probably be okay.
Once both ends of the cable are plugged into their respective jacks, go sleep off your exhaustion or have a Gatorade or something. That was hard work, wasn't it? Now that that's all set up, let's make sure your picture is okay.
SETTING UP THE TV
If you're at all familiar with VCRs, DVD players, or video game systems, you probably know what a composite RCA cable is. It's the three-headed red/yellow/white cable that supplies audio and video from your DVD player or game system to your television. When you would plug those in, you would have to change your television to a certain input channel to get that input channel to display on your television. The same concept applies here. If you hit the "input" button on your TV remote or the front panel on your television, the TV will display a list of which inputs are available. If you continue to hit the "input" button repeatedly, it will scroll through that list, changing the channel as it goes. If I can be honest with you, this does not go too far beyond pressing the input button over and over until the TV actually displays the thing you want.
Once you land on the right channel, take a look at your TV and assess how good the display looks. If it's blurry, stretched out, or otherwise out of whack, the fix is no more complicated than going into Control Panel or System Preferences and adjusting your screen's resolution until it looks the way you want it to. Luckily, most contemporary computers and graphics cards, especially the ones that have HDMI ports on them, will automatically detect your screen's resolution and adjust the display accordingly.
There are lots of things you can do with HDMI ports. You can convert certain other video outputs into high-quality HDMI with DVI to HDMI cables, among other varieties. You can also add an external video card to your laptop if you are looking for something with a little bit more muscle than your current graphics card. If you're the hands-on type, you can even lead your cables through walls and install wall plates that support HDMI connections, to make everything a little bit more slick. You can even add switches to use multiple HDMI devices in the same input port. There are lots of cool ways you can make your home theater system totally functional.
And we're done! Pop some popcorn, fire up the ol' Netflix machine or the Hulu box, and watch stuff on your TV to your heart's content. Oh, and mop up the pieces of your mind on the floor. You blew it all over the place. Get yourself together.