I’m trying to figure out how to plug my PC laptop into my television so I can use the bigger screen. TV shows, family video calls, games, seems like it would all be fun on TV! But when I do with an HDMI wire, the sound still comes out of my PC speaker. Is there something special I have to change on my Windows 10 computer for the audio to work too?
When you’re focused on using your computer, it’s easy to forget that there’s a bigger and often better screen sitting in the same room: your television. Not only that, but every TV has an HDMI input (if it’s reasonably recent that is!) and just about every computer either has an HDMI port or you can buy a very low cost adapter that will let you connected via HDMI. So why do so few people hook up their computer to their television? I suspect it’s because people don’t know how easy it is to accomplish this task. Certainly using that bigger screen for things like Skype or Zoom calls is great fun, even if the camera ends up in the wrong place.
But it’s not at all uncommon for audio to still be coming out of your PC speakers, as if you don’t have a TV hooked up at all. Frustrating! Basically, what’s happening is that some computers automatically change the audio output when they detect an additional screen being plugged in, while others are a bit more stubborn and stick with the computer speakers regardless.
On a Mac you can go to System Preferences > Audio > Output and change your output device to the television.
On a PC, it’s even easier.
Plug everything in, then click or tap on the tiny speaker shortcut icon on the Taskbar. It’s probably on the right edge near the time and date display:
You can move the slider to ensure that the problem isn’t the volume being set too low. Also notice the little “^” adjacent to the name of the audio output device. It’s on the top right corner in the screenshot above. That subtle icon denotes that there’s more you can reveal. Click on it and you’ll find a convenient list of audio output devices:
Every single PC has different names for the different devices, but in this case, the “Intel Smart Sound Technology” speaker is the internal speaker on this particular Dell XPS13 laptop. It’s the other device I want to choose: Dell USB Audio. In fact, clicking on that suddenly reroutes all the audio to my television. Audio problem solved!
There are other ways to get to this option too. As with everything else, Windows Search can be darn helpful. Here’s a search for “output” on my PC:
Manage output devices seems promising, as does the second option, Choose your output device.
Let’s just jump over to Manage output devices to see what’s there:
It’s that same pair of speaker options, USB or the Intel Smart Sound Technology.
I’ll click on Smart Sound…
That “Test” button can be handy if you’re not sure which is which. Click it and listen for an audio tone out of your TV. Heard it? Got it. Switch to that output!
You can also back up to the Sound Settings control panel if you want a bit more control:
If you can’t get any of this to work, that Troubleshoot button might prove helpful, but also make sure that your Master volume isn’t set super low (or muted to 0). Choose the appropriate output device here and hopefully you’re good to go:
Remember that you might need to ensure that your TV speaker volume level is not at zero or muted too, though many TVs disable volume control when there’s external volume, figuring that the external device can manage that instead.
In any case, this should get you going with your HDMI connection from your PC to your television with audio! Once you unplug it should all switch back to normal, but if it doesn’t simply reverse the process to get audio back out of your PC speakers!
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Windows for quite a while. Please check out my extensive Windows 10 help library for hundreds of other tutorials on everything Windows!