The correct cable is usually decided by the older device. The two main cable options are VGA and HDMI cables. VGA cables, or Video Graphics Array, are an older technology used to connect devices that carry signals in analog format. VGA cables are familiar because they have been used to connect monitors to desktop computers for years. One of the most important things to note about VGA cables is that they do not carry audio signals. This means additional cables are required for sound if the sound from the laptop is not enough. HDMI cables, or High-Definition Multimedia Device, are newer and carry both video and audio signals in a digital format on a single cable.
A VGA cable connector An HDMI cable connector
The type of cable needed to connect two devices depends upon the older device. Newer devices normally have HDMI ports, while older devices might only have a VGA port available. If a laptop and a device do not have the same port types available, there are adapters that can be purchased to allow an HDMI cable to plug into VGA ports. There are also adapters for MAC devices that allow VGA or HDMI cables to plug into lightning ports.
To connect a laptop to an external device, plug the correct cable into the laptop then connect the other end of the cable to either a television, projector or other device. If the secondary device does not connect automatically, use the media button on the laptop to project the laptop display onto that device. The media display button toggles between three different settings:
- The display on the local laptop
- The display on the externally attached device
- Both displays at the same time
The media display button is usually an F key and varies between devices but will look similar to the images shown below. F keys require the Function (Fn) key to be held at the same time to get the desired results of the button. Some examples of the media display button: