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How to Connect Your Laptop to Your TV Using a USB Cable

by:ShunXinda      2020-05-13
Connecting your laptop to your TV using nothing but a USB cable might be a bit far-fetched right now, but in this article I present to you the next best thing, which just happens to be entirely within financial reach for most of you. You can connect them using nothing more than one USB port on your laptop and the HDMI input on your TV. Full-HD resolution and the costs involved don't exceed ten per-cent of a decent sized, modern TV's retail price. The Problem Most laptop computers have one video output connector. Whether that's VGA, DVI or HDMI isn't a significant point, as every one of them can be converted to HDMI for less than $10. The problem stems from busy or broken connectors. To fix the issue, you need a way to connect your TV to a port on a laptop, which is ubiquitous, easy to use and can be multiplied via a cheap port replicator (USB hub). The Solution There are two ways to come around the issue. You can either connect a USB to DVI adapter to one of the USB ports, or use a Wireless HDMI adapter, which essentially does the same thing. Let's take a quick look at the wired solution first, as it happens to be my personal favorite. USB to DVI adapters can be had for $50 at any major online retail store, and delivered to your doorstep in a couple days. These adapters have the main benefit that they can be stacked. You can use one, turn its DVI output into HDMI using the converter found in the box, use another adapter to drive yet another monitor, projector or TV. The practical limit is around three adapters, allowing three extra displays besides the internal TFT screen and whatever it is that's hogging the one native video output. The theoretical limit is usually six adapters in any one PC, but I don't see laptops getting CPUs powerful enough to feed all six with high-resolution picture. DisplayLink manufactures the chipset, Sewell, Kensington and Plugable are the three biggest shippers of compact solutions. All three use the CPU of the laptop to produce the image. The USB device basically turns the compressed image coming from the USB end, and turns it into video signal on the other. As you might have guessed, this solution heavily relies on computing power of the laptop. For this very reason 1080P, true Full-HD video content may appear chopped or slow on common laptop configurations. 720P, or HD-ready resolution videos tend to look good on the TV, though. The other problem is that these adapters don't transmit audio. Solution Number Two The second solution within the scope of this article consists of wireless HDMI USB sticks. They look like any other wireless USB dongle. They hog one USB port, turn it into wireless signal, which the receiver box picks up at the other end, and turns into HDMI output. Practical coverable distance is around 10 feet. Supported resolution stands firmly at 1080P High-Definition, which happens to be the pixel count of any modern flat-screen TV. Wireless HDMI dongles transmit audio. Also, there have been reports of 1080P video playing enjoyably over the room. It takes powerful and numerous CPU cores, which laptops don't always have. On a laptop computer you're likely to be stuck with 720P video playback, but other --less CPU intensive content-- can be stretched over 1920 x 1080 easily, without any notable quality drop. Conclusion If you want to connect a HD flat-screen TV to your laptop using only one USB port, you can either do it via USB to DVI/HDMI adapters or Wireless HDMI dongles. The former allows for a several TVs or monitors --one for each adapter-- simultaneously, up to six adapters. Wireless HDMI kits transmit audio and don't require any visible cabling. Wired USB solutions cost anywhere between $45 to $65 depending on performance and brand. Wireless dongles come at $110 and upwards. Both options have their ups and downs, but the choice is entirely yours.
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