How to get a full screen display while connecting a laptop to HDTV

Updated April 17, 2017

Hooking up your laptop computer to a high-definition TV set allows you to enjoy videos, photos or games on a widescreen TV display. Although Windows computers come with a range of monitor display settings, the default option might not give you a full screen display setting when you connect the laptop to the TV set with an audio-visual cable. You can fix this problem by changing the screen resolution settings in the computer's Control Panel.

Connect the laptop computer to the TV set with an HDMI, DVI or component video cable. You must use an HDMI or DVI cable if you want high-definition video. Don't use an old-style analog VGA, SVGA or S-Video cable, because these won't deliver full screen video on a widescreen TV set.

Push the "AV" or "EXT" key on the TV set's remote control handset to cycle through the external inputs until you see the output from your laptop on the TV screen. You can now configure the computer's screen resolution settings to get the correct full screen display on the HDTV set.

Point to the top right of the laptop computer screen with your mouse cursor to launch the Windows charm bar, and then click the "Search" button. Type "display" in the search input field, and then select the "Settings" search option.

Click the "Display" button on the search screen to launch the Display settings section of the Control Panel. Click the "Adjust Resolution" settings option, and then click the "Resolution" menu bar. Windows displays the current resolution, which is automatically configured to work optimally on the laptop's screen rather than the connected TV set.

Move the slider bar up or down to select a new resolution that gives a full screen display on the connected TV set. For a widescreen display, select a 16:9 ratio resolution; for example, choose "1680 × 1050" or "1920 x 1200." If you know the optimal native resolution for the TV set (you can usually find this information in the user manual) then select this option. When you're happy with the display on the HDTV set, click "Apply" followed by "OK."


Older laptop computers might come with a DVI port rather than an HDMI port. In this situation, use a DVI to HDMI adapter cable to connect to the HDTV set.

Things You'll Need

  • HDMI, DVI or component AV cable
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About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.