Nintendo Switch is the perfect handheld companion for any gamer out there. Its 2-in-1 design is excellent; you can use it in handheld mode or connect your Switch to more giant TVs or monitors. With the bigger screen, you get to enjoy its fantastic game library. Its wireless joysticks also mean you don’t need any wired controller to play!
Overall, Nintendo Switch is a great package. But what if you’re traveling with your Switch or at home, and your TV is not working?
In that case, you can still connect to a bigger screen in the form of your laptop.
If you want to, you’re in the right place, as we’ll list the steps to connect Nintendo Switch to a laptop.
Let’s get started.
Pre-requisite: Things You Need
You’ll need some items to connect Nintendo Switch to the laptop screen. These items include the following:
- An HDMI or USB-C input port on your laptop.
- A working Nintendo Switch console. Nintendo Switch Lite will not work.
- A working laptop that you intend to connect your console to.
- A HDMI cable with HDMI input or output port. Or HDMI Output to USB-C input cable. This cable will help you share Switch’s audio and video to a laptop or PC.
- A video capture card to capture Switch output and render it on your laptop’s screen.
However, you don’t need everything listed here. That’s because you can connect your Switch to the laptop in two ways.
The first method uses an HDMI cable (or an HDMI output to USB-C input cable). However, using just a single cable to complete the Switch to laptop connection is only possible if your laptop has an HDMI input and not output — that’s because you need the laptop to receive the Nintendo Switch signal and then display it on the laptop screen.
For this test run, I have an HP Envy x360 laptop, which doesn’t have a HDMI port. However, it does come with a Type-C port output type. This means even if I bought an HDMI to Type-C cable, I won’t be able to use the first method of just using an HDMI cable to mirror the Nintendo Switch screen to my laptop screen. However, my laptop does have a USB 3.0, which is useful for connecting the Nintendo Switch to the laptop using a capture card.
And the chances of your laptop having an HDMI input is rare. That’s because most laptops have an HDMI output so that you can use it to connect the laptop to an external screen.
So, if you’re lucky and have an HDMI input on the laptop, you can follow the first method (check below for exact steps). Alienware laptops are known to have HDMI input, in case you were wondering.
However, you can try your luck, but it won’t work as HDMI input and output ports work differently. Also, make sure you use a high-quality HDMI cable, as a bad-quality cable can cause issues. Check out our HDMI cable recommendations below.
➡️ Amazon Basics HDMI Cable
Amazon Basics accessories are known for their quality. They offer high-quality HDMI cables at a reasonable price. You can get the size as per your requirement.
|Amazon Basics High-Speed, 4K Ultra HD HDMI 2.0 Cable / Cord, 60 Hz, 2160p, 48 bit, 18 Gbps, 3D,…||$7.11||Buy on Amazon|
➡️ Highways HDMI Cable
Highways HDMI cable is also an excellent HDMI braided cable for connecting your Switch to your laptop. It offers enough bandwidth for Switch, which renders at 1080p resolution.
|Highwings 4K 60HZ HDMI Cable 6.6FT, 18Gbps High Speed 2.0 Braided Cord-Supports (4K 60Hz HDR,Video…||$7.19||Buy on Amazon|
The second method is to use a capture card. This removes the need to rely on an HDMI input port on your laptop. We’ll discuss more on it below.
Capture Cards You Can Use With Switch
If you don’t have the rare laptop with an HDMI input port, you’ll need to shell out for a capture card. Capture cards help capture the direct console feed (in this case Nintendo Switch) and then convert it to recorded data for those who want to stream or capture the footage.
Which capture card should you get? Well, here, we also have two recommendations.
➡️ Elgato HD60X External Capture Card
Elgato’s HD60X is a top-tier capture card. It supports low-latency transmission and ensures smooth gameplay on your TV, monitor, computer, or laptop. It offers 4 ports, 2 inputs, and 2 outputs. Furthermore, it also provides a USB port that offers a delayed signal for capturing gameplay. However, it is costly. So, if you intend to capture high-quality Switch gameplay for sharing with your audience, go with it.
|Elgato HD60 X – Stream and record in 1080p60 HDR10 or 4K30 with ultra-low latency on PS5, PS4/Pro,…||$149.00||Buy on Amazon|
➡️ Rybozen Capture Card
The Rybozen capture card is an excellent pick if you’re low on budget. It offers 1080p video capture resolution, which is ideal for Nintendo Switch.
|Rybozen 4K Audio Video Capture Card, USB 3.0 HDMI Video Capture Device, Full HD 1080P for Game…||$24.99||Buy on Amazon|
Note: Before you buy, check if your laptop has a USB 3.0 port or USB Type-C. Getting a capture card with the supported port is best, depending on port availability. So, if your laptop has USB 3.0, get a capture card that supports it. Similarly, get a capture card with USB Type-C support if your laptop has it. Also, avoid using a USB adapter to convert USB Type-C to Type-A, as this will only lead to video quality corruption.
Connect Nintendo Switch with a Mac or Windows Laptop
Alright, we now know the pre-requisite to get started. Let’s go through each method of connecting the Nintendo Switch to a Mac/Windows laptop below.
➡️ Method 1: Connect Using HDMI Cable
If your laptop supports an HDMI input port, you can use a high-quality HDMI cable to connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop. The steps to do so are as below:
- Connect the HDMI to the HDMI output port of the Nintendo Dock.
- Now, insert the other end of the HDMI cable (HDMI input) into your laptop’s HDMI input port.
- Choose the source of the laptop display by switching to HDMI.
And now, you can play on a bigger screen on your laptop.
As mentioned, this method only works if your laptop has an HDMI input port. This is very rare. For example, only Alienware laptops have it. So, if you don’t have an Alienware laptop, you must resort to the second method of using a capture card.
➡️ Method 2: Connect Using a Capture Card
Capture cards are a more streamlined and universal way of capturing video games from a console to a computer. As Nintendo Switch outputs 1080p resolution, a decent capture card will work. Furthermore, you can use capture cards on any platform of your choice (be it Mac, Windows, or Linux) — the only condition is that you’re using a compatible video capture software.
To use the capture card, you need the following things:
- A console with HDMI output
- Two high-quality HDMI cables
- A monitor or TV
- A compatible capture card with the supported interface (USB or PCI-e).
- A computer/laptop for encoding
- Software to facilitate the process of capturing and streaming
The step-by-step process of using a capture card to stream Nintendo Switch to your laptop is as below:
- Step 1: Connect the HDMI cable from your Nintendo Switch dock to the capture card. Here, you’ll need to ensure that you insert the HDMI cable to the HDMI-out port on your Nintendo Switch and HDMI input port on your capture card. Make sure that your Nintendo Switch console is docked.
- Step 2: Connect the capture card to your laptop using a USB port. If your laptop has it, connect it to the USB 3.0 port or USB Type-C.
- Step 3: Next, open the video-capturing software on your laptop. We recommend installing OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). It offers streaming and recording.
- Step 4: Launch OBS and add a source by clicking the “+” button in the sources section.
- Step 5: Select Video Capture Device and then name the source as you like. Now, click Ok.
- Step 6: It’ll open up a new window where you need to select the exact source. Select the source, mentioning the capture card. It can be “USB Video” using a USB-powered capture card.
And, just like that, you’ll see the Nintendo screen captured and streamed to your laptop.
Before you start playing, you also need to capture audio. To do so, go to Sources again and select “Audio Capture Device.” Now, create a Device, push OK, and select the audio device to get the sound.
From here, you can start playing the game from your Nintendo Switch on your laptop!
If the picture or audio quality is not up to mark, you must tweak the OBS settings. You may also want to try out different capture cards to see which fits your needs better.
Note: If you’re using an Elgato capture card, you can use Elgato’s free software that seamlessly captures and streams Switch games to your laptop.
Playing Nintendo Switch games on laptop screens requires patience and investment in hardware. Until and unless you’re playing a Nintendo Switch console exclusive, it is best to get the game from Steam, Windows, or Mac store.
Playing Switch games on a bigger screen is exciting as it improves your immersion to new levels. So, a good investment in a capture card can go a long way.
You can also check out our guide on Nintendo Switch emulators for PC and Android smartphones!
For the past 20 years, Nitish has been an avid gamer. His primary focus is on PC games, but he also enjoys exploring the worlds of Nintendo, XBOX, and PlayStation. Nitish is always looking for new games to try out and is particularly fascinated… read more