The beginning

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are two of the best games you can only play on the Nintendo Switch. They look great on the Switch’s small screen, but when you play them on a bigger screen, they really stand out. The dock that comes with the console is nice because it has an HDMI port that lets you connect the Switch to other screens.

You may already know that it’s easy to plug in an HDMI cable and play on a TV or monitor. But it’s a different story when you use the screen of a laptop as a monitor. You can play Switch games on your laptop in a few different ways. This guide will show you how to use a laptop as a screen for Switch.

Plug it into an HDMI port

Some gaming laptops have ports for both putting and taking out HDMI signals. Others only have one HDMI port that can be used to send and receive. With an input port, you can connect a device like a Nintendo Switch to your laptop’s screen and use it like any other display. Some Alienware laptops have HDMI input ports because Dell, who owns Alienware, thinks that their displays are so good that gaming consoles or even gaming computers should be able to use them in addition to the laptop’s hardware.

Most laptops only have an HDMI output port, which is a shame. On the other hand, an output port can only send data. In other words, you can only connect it to other external displays through the HDMI port. This is great because it lets you watch movies on your laptop on much bigger screens or connect a second monitor to work faster, which is especially helpful in these COVID times.

You can find out if your laptop has an HDMI input port by looking at the user manual or by going to the manufacturer’s website and looking up your laptop model. If you’re lucky enough to have an HDMI port, it’s easy and quick to set up.

Here’s what you need to do:

Shut down all of your laptop’s programs and turn off your Switch.

The Switch should be in the dock.

Plug one end of an HDMI cable into the dock.

Connect the other end of the cable to the HDMI port on the laptop.

When you turn on the Switch, it should work right away.

If it doesn’t work right away, you might have to restart both devices while they are still linked. You can also turn them both off and then try to connect them. If that doesn’t work either, you might need to check the settings for your laptop’s display in Windows. Also, check again to see if the cables are plugged in the wrong way. Because the laptop is already using the display, the HDMI input port on the laptop can sometimes be glitchy.

If the audio signal doesn’t work, you can check the Windows audio settings to see if it has been turned off. Just turn on the HDMI signal as a sound device again, and it should work.

This method won’t be the most popular because most laptops don’t have HDMI input ports. Still, it is the best way to do it because it is easy, convenient, and works very well. Since you are connecting the two devices directly, the signal will be strong and the picture will be very clear. If you can’t use this method, you might want to try the next one.

Get a capture card

A capture card is basically an HDMI-to-USB adapter that lets you use any HDMI input device with anything that has a USB port. This means you can use your Nintendo Switch by connecting it to a USB port on your laptop and using it that way. At first, capture cards were meant to be used with cameras and other hardware that could record video. Still, you can use it with no problems on your Switch as well.

Elgato makes capture cards for gamers that are sold because they have their own software for capturing games. But you can do the same thing with any other capture card. Remember that any kind of adapter, including capture cards, will cause a delay between the input and the output. If that bothers you a lot, then playing games on the Switch’s screen will be more fun.

But if you want to have fun with friends or by yourself on a bigger screen, the capture card method is pretty much your only choice.

Here’s how to connect any capture card to your laptop and your Switch:

Shut down all of your laptop’s programs and turn off the Switch.

Put the Switch in its charging station.

Both the dock and the capture card need to be connected to the HDMI cable.

Next, connect the capture card to your laptop and turn on the Switch.

You should be able to see it work right away through the software for the capture card. If you don’t have OBS Studio, you can download and install it, then add the Switch as a new scene.

Once you are done, it is easy to play the games. Don’t touch the laptop’s keyboard, or you might lose the full-screen mode and the laptop will stop working.

In addition to input lag, another problem with capture cards is that they can be pretty expensive. It’s not a big deal if you already have one or can borrow one from a family member or friend. But it’s not a good idea to get one just to play games on your laptop’s screen, since you can easily get a TV that will look much better. Not to mention that a TV screen is much bigger than a laptop screen, making it easier to relax and play games on a TV than on a laptop.

Use the computer to play

Even though you already have a Switch and just want to use your laptop as a monitor, this isn’t the best way to do it, but it is still possible. You can download and play many Switch games on your laptop as well, but if you want to play paid games, you will have to buy them again. And you won’t be able to play exclusive games, which are the main reason people buy a Nintendo Switch.

You could also use an emulator, but they have a lot of bugs and take a long time to work. Not only that, but they need very strong hardware. Also, you can’t legally get ROMs that are protected by copy rights when you use an emulator.

Still, if you want to play Nintendo Switch games on your laptop and don’t have an HDMI input port or a capture card, this is the next best thing.

Do Capture Cards Generally Pay Off?

You might wonder what capture cards are and why they cost so much to begin with. There are a lot of things, like research and development, licensing fees, and hardware, that make capture cards so expensive. Still, people who want to use HDMI devices with their computers should buy them. Since HDMI has been a standard for a long time, it’s likely that it will still be widely used for many years to come.

Almost everyone works or goes to school from home through Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, and other platforms, so it’s very important to have a good web camera. If you have a DSLR that you never use, a capture card would turn it into the best webcam in the world in no time. So why not just get a capture card for that and play Switch games on your laptop as a bonus?


You can use a laptop as a screen for your Nintendo Switch. If your laptop has an HDMI input port, it’s also easy to set up. Since most laptops don’t have an HDMI input port, but only an HDMI output port, most people will probably find it easier to use a high-quality capture card. A capture card will change the HDMI cable into a USB cable so that you can use the USB port on your laptop.

Even though capture cards are great, they cause a lot of input lag. Some capture cards for gamers promise a low input lag, but they are also pretty expensive. If you don’t already have one or plan to get one for your camera, it’s not worth it to buy one just to play Switch games on your laptop because they are very expensive.

The last way is to just play games on your computer that you would normally play on the Switch. This is not good, especially if you want to play paid games, because you will have to buy them again. But some free games keep track of your progress on all of your devices, so you won’t lose anything.


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