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There are plenty of reasons to connect your laptop to a TV or HDTV, and it's not that hard to do either.

Having your pictures or presentation displayed on a big high quality screen is very useful and depending on what hardware you have there's a few different ways you can go about doing it.

Traditional TV set

The cable you need depends on your TV and your laptop. Most of the new laptops today have an S-video output built-in. If you have an S-video output on your laptop and an S-video input on your TV then you will need an S-video cable. If you have an old laptop and an old TV you will probably need a standard video cable which usually has yellow connectors at each end.

High Definition TV (HDTV)

Most of todays HDTV comes in either LCD or Plasma. High Definition TV usually is more expensive than traditional TV set and can be amounting to thousands of dollars for extremely large sets. All HDTV sets are in 16:9 ratio and have output for 5.1 digital sound and are extremely thin.
High Definition content or HDTV has some options that will give you higher quality image than you would get when using an S-video or a yellow composite video cable. To get the highest quality video, your laptop or PC needs to have a video card with DVI (Digital Video Interface) output.
This guide will help you connect your laptop or PC with Vista operating system to a HDTV).

1. First, you need to check if you have the needed cables to connect your laptop to your TV.
For better picture quality, you should connect the laptop or PC to the TV using standard VGA ports or via the DVI to HDMI cable provided with your TV that supports these ports.
If you laptop or PC has no DVI port, you can transform your laptops USB port into a DVI port using an adapter to connect it to your HDTV. The adapter has 128mb onboard memory, making it capable to handle resolution of up to 1400x1050 with quality similar to a DVI port.

2. Make sure that you connect the cable to the TV before turning on the laptop or PC as it may fail to detect and recognize external display sometimes. Open the display settings by clicking on Start Control Panel Personalization then click on Connect to a projector or other external display to get into Windows Mobility Center. Click on Connect display option to automatically detect and activate output to the TV screen. You can either mirror content of your computer on the TV or extend the display just like a dual monitor screen.

3. Pick up your TV remote and switch to "External Inputs" from the menu. You will need to change the default "Video 1" to a different selection which may be "HDMI 1" or "Video 2" depending on how you have made the connection.
Important: You may also need to change the screen resolution of your TV using the Display settings in your Control Panel else the picture may appear distorted.
How to Setup Audio from Laptop to HDTV
The above mentioned information will help you get video signal from laptop to show up to your HDTV. However, you will need to use a different cable in order to get the audio to your TV. Every laptop has a mini-headphone jack input so you can just buy a mini-headphone cable with male connectors on both ends.
If your HDTV does not have a mini-headphone jack input you can use a headphone to RCA cable to get the audio from your laptop or PC to your HDTV.

Thanks for reading this guide and I hope you found it helpful.

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