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Configure Computer Audio Output to Television

These days, most laptop computers provide users the flexibility to view their pictures and videos on a television by connecting the two devices using an HDMI/DVI cable, a VGA composite, or a s-video connector. Upon connection, users often run into an issue with the sound system, where audio is emitted through their laptops instead of the television. This issue is most commonly found amongst users using a non-HDMI sound, as HDMI is the only connection that carries both video and sound.

If you do not have an HDMI/DVI connector, you will have to use the VGA-composite or s-video connector to display your PC's output on your external monitor. This article will explain how configure your audio output to your television.

No Sound When Connecting Laptop to TV

Every computer has two separate systems: one for video and one for audio. Depending on the make and model of your computer, your PC's system is either configured with HDMI sound or S/PDIF jacks to extract audio from your computer. Note that each of these connectors provide a one-way connectivity from your computer to a television, and not the other way around. In order to connect a television output to a laptop, you would need to use a video convertor box.

Choose Your Monitor Mode

If you are an HP or Dell user, you may access your display settings by going to Start > Control Panel > Personalize > Display Settings. Here, you have the option to choose between two display modes: single-monitor or dual-monitor.

Single-monitor mode allows users to switch between any one of three possible video outputs: VGA-composite, S-Video or laptop screen, or a split-desktop. A split-desktop screen will display your screen between two separate monitors. We recommend using single-monitor mode until you are comfortable with this process. Dual-monitor mode allows the same display on any two of three possible video outputs. You can switch between monitors using your function keys, plus the F2 or F8 keys.

Select VGA-composite or S-Video.

HDMI vs. S/PDIF Sound

Non-HDMI sound to your TV monitor or sound system must be obtained from your laptop's headphone or S/PDIF jacks. Your headphone jack will give you stereo sound, while your S/PDIF jack will give you 5.1 surround sound. Headphone is electrical, but S/PDIF may be electrical or optical (laser light).

Set the sound jack that you intend to use as your default by going to Start > Control Panel > Sound.

Display TV Screen on Laptop

None of these connectors is two-way in the context of an LCD monitor: your PC cannot record television picture or sound from the external monitor. To accomplish this, you must purchase a video converter box that converts cable television or video and accompanying sound inputs to a USB format usable by your laptop.

In doing this, you can essentially turn your laptop into a TiVo recorder or DVD burner using Beyond TV, Sage TV, or a variety of other software packages.


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