While I cover all the various services and devices you can use to watch TV without cable, I realized I haven’t covered simple basics like how to watch Netflix on TV without having to purchase any additional equipment or devices. Today I’m going to show you how to hook up your laptop or computer to an HDTV and watch Netflix streaming on your TV.
To do this you will need the following:
- Access to the internet with at least a 5 Mbps connection
- A Subscription to Netflix Streaming (If you don’t have one, you get sign up for 1 month free)
- An HDTV with an HDMI port
- A laptop with an HDMI port
- An HDMI cable
Connecting your Laptop to an HDTV
Below is a diagram of my home network. Most of you will have a similar setup. It doesn’t have be exactly the same. For instance, you may have a cable modem and router in 1 device where mine is to separate devices.
As you can see we are going to use your laptop to stream Netflix by connecting your laptop to the TV with an HDMI cable. Your TV will then mirror your laptop display to play movies and TV from Netflix. This will work for other streaming services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Sling TV as well. In fact, I use the instructions in this guide with MLB.TV to watch baseball online.
Obtaining an HDMI Cable
If you don’t have an HDMI cable you can pick one up on Amazon, Walmart, Bestbuy, etc. I’d recommend this inexpensive 6 foot cable from Amazon. The HDMI cable should look like the picture below. Both ends of the HDMI cable should look identical.
Connect HDMI Cable to Laptop
Locate the HDMI port on your laptop. Mine is pictured below.
Simply insert one end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI port (pictured above).
Find HDMI Port on TV
Locate the HDMI port on the back or side of your television. My port is on the side of the TV and is pictured below.
Notice how this my 3rd HDMI port as it is labeled “3” just above the “Audio Out” ports. Below is a close up image of what the port looks like.
Insert the other end of the HDMI cable into the port on the TV as show below.
Watch Netflix on TV from your Laptop
Remember how I pointed out that my computer was plugged into HDMI 3. On my television remote there is a button that says “Input.” It allows me to cycle through the various inputs on my TV. When I get to “HDMI-3” I see that my computer is now duplicated it’s display to the TV. It’s like I have a super sized monitor. From there, I simply navigate to Netflix on my laptop, sign in, and anything I watch on the laptop will also play on my TV.
My laptop display automatically mirrors to the television. This should also happens on both Mac and Windows laptops. If instead you have a black screen, desktop, or other images on your screen; it’s possible your display setting are extending the desktop to the TV instead of duplicating it. Here is how to set the display settings to duplicate the laptop display to the TV on various operating systems.
Display Windows 8 to TV
(This is how to do this in Windows 7 as well)
If your Windows 8 laptop isn’t displaying on your TV, then try the steps below.
From their change the dropdown menu for “Multiple displays” from “Extend these displays” to “Duplicate these displays.”
After that click “Apply”, then “OK.” The display should now be duplicated to your television.
Display Windows 10 to TV
Setting your display to duplicate in Windows 10 is very similar to doing it in 7 or 8.
- Right Click on the Desktop and chose “Display Settings“
- Click the Multiple Displays drop-down list, and select Duplicate these displays
- Click Keep Changes if you are prompted to save the changes
Display Mac to TV
- From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
- From the View menu, choose Displays.
- Click the Arrangement tab.
- Check “Mirror Displays” in the bottom-left corner.
Better Ways to Watch Netflix on TV
This “How To” covers watching Netflix on your HDTV using a laptop. However, televisions typically don’t render a laptop screen as well as we would like. Sure, we could tweak the resolution and display settings to improve the picture but that’s a hassle and there are devices made to do this. The streaming device I use is a Roku and can stream just about any streaming service I want to my TV. For more information check out my post explaining what Roku is and how to use one. It’s also possible to use a video game console to watch Netflix on TV. You can see how this is set up in my article on Watching Netflix on Xbox.
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