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How to Connect Nintendo Switch to a TV

How to connect Nintendo Switch to a TV
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Knowing how to connect Nintendo Switch to a TV can totally change your gaming experience.

The whole appeal of the Switch, as suggested by the name, is that it can transform from handheld to TV console in seconds. Capable of 720p gaming on the built-in 6.2-inch screen and 1080p when output to a TV via HDMI, if you confine yourself to handheld play, you are most definitely missing out.

The steps to connect your Nintendo Switch to a TV are fairly straightforward, and we’ve outlined them below. But first, an important caveat: they don’t work on the cheaper Nintendo Switch Lite. Not only does the Switch Lite not come with a dock, it won’t be recognized by one — the hardware simply isn’t in place for it to output to your TV screen.

Assuming you have an original model rather than the Lite (if the Joy-Cons aren’t removable, it’s a Lite), here’s how to connect Nintendo Switch to a TV.

1. Find your Switch’s dock

Image: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide

Image: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide

 If you’ve misplaced yours, Nintendo sells replacements for $60, or there are third party options available for less — though be warned that consoles have sometimes been bricked using non-official solutions, so pursue at your own risk.  

2. Open the back cover

How to connect Nintendo Switch to a TV — open the dock

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

On the back, you’ll find a hinged cover. Open it and you’ll see three labeled ports: AC Adapter, USB and HDMI Out. 

3. Plug in your AC adapter

The AC adapter goes into the top port, and the other end to the wall socket.

4. Connect an HDMI lead

How to connect Nintendo Switch to a TV — connect cables

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Plug one end into the Switch Dock's HDMI Out, with the other end connected to a spare port on your TV.

5. Route the cable through the notch in the dock

Once that's done, you can close the back cover.

6. Place the Nintendo Switch into the dock

Do this carefully, putting the Switch into the slot so that the charging port lines up with the connector inside the dock.

7. Remove your Joy-Cons

How to connect Nintendo Switch to a TV — remove Joy-Cons

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you intend to use your Joy-Cons for docked play, remove them from the sides of the console by holding the small black button on the back of each and gently lifting them free of the Switch. They’ll charge if left attached when the Switch is docked, which is helpful.

8. Wake up the Switch

You can do this via your controller of choice.

9. Set your TV to the correct HDMI channel

With that done, you're now ready to play Mario Kart the way it should be experienced. 

If the Switch isn’t outputting to the screen, make sure that the power lead and HDMI cable are firmly inserted into the dock. If they’re loose, the Switch will continue to think it’s being used in handheld mode and will behave accordingly.

More Nintendo Switch tips

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.