How Do I Change the Screen Size When Hooking My Laptop Up to a TV?

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Most modern laptops have a built in ability to attach to a second monitor or display, usually with a dedicated button assigned to the "Function" key. Sometimes, this second display is a television, usually an HDTV. Some televisions automatically adjust to the computer input, but others need to be switched over to a TV friendly resolution manually. When a laptop image on a TV is cropped or letterboxed, it's usually because the resolution needs to be changed.

  • Plug your laptop into the TV by HDMI, DVI or VGA, depending on what connectors the laptop and TV have. On the TV, select the input source to switch to the laptop image. By default, this should be a mirror image of what's on the laptop.

  • Right click an empty space on the desktop and click "Properties" or "Screen Resolution." Alternatively, go to "Start," then "Control Panel," then click "Display."

  • Click the "Settings" tab if you're not on the resolution screen. Click the monitor labeled "2" to select it. Click "Identify" to make sure it is the TV you're modifying. A "2" should display on the TV. Slide the resolution bar to 1280x720 or 1920x1080 for standard HDTV resolutions. Click "OK" or "Apply" to confirm.

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