Here’s how to easily connect your Nintendo Switch to a TV

By Steven Rondina


Mar 31, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

The Nintendo Switch being a console-handheld hybrid sets it apart from the PlayStation and Xbox platforms, but that hybrid ability is only appealing if you connect your Switch to a TV.

Though the Switch can be played in handheld mode directly out of the box by just plugging in a game cartridge, there’s a good bit of extra setup required for anyone looking to play their Switch on the TV. All the necessary components for connecting a Nintendo Switch to a TV are included in the box when purchasing the console. However, not all Nintendo Switch models are capable of doing connecting to a TV. Here’s how to easily connect your Switch to a TV, and which versions of the Nintendo Switch can be hooked up to a TV to begin with.

How to connect a Nintendo Switch to a TV

  1. Hook up an HDMI cable to a TV
  2. Plug in the Nintendo Switch’s power adapter
  3. Connect both the HDMI cable and power adapter to the Nintendo Switch dock
  4. Disconnect the Joy-Cons from the Nintendo Switch console
  5. Plug Nintendo Switch console into the dock
  6. Use the Joy-Cons to launch the Nintendo Switch

The process for hooking up a Nintendo Switch to a TV is pretty standard fare for setting up a modern video game console. Give it power through its adapter and hook it up to the TV via an HDMI cable. The only extra step is that the Nintendo Switch attaches to the TV through its included dock.

The Switch can be freely plugged into and removed from the dock, depending on whether the player wants to play in handheld mode or on the television. A gaming session doesn’t even need to be paused when making the transition. You can leave your deck where it is and simply plug your Switch back into it when you want to resume playing on your TV.

It’s worth noting that the Nintendo Switch dock only has an HDMI output option, and there are no official component or composite cables for the Nintendo Switch. Most converters that plug into an HDMI port should work. 

The good news is that the Nintendo Switch can actually receive charge from any given USB-C cable. However, make sure to use a high-quality USB-C power adapter when plugging it into the dock as an insufficiently strong charge may cause issues.

Can you connect a Nintendo Switch Lite to a TV?

The Nintendo Switch Lite cannot be hooked up to a TV. Only the standard Nintendo Switch and the Switch OLED version can be hooked up to a television. The Nintendo Switch Lite is strictly usable as a handheld gaming device. There is no add-on or workaround for this.

The Nintendo Switch’s USB-C port does not have the hardware required for audio or video output. It can only receive power. This prevents it from being connected to a television or any other related accessories.

Nintendo has not indicated that there are any accessories in the works to give the Switch Lite this functionality and there are no third-party options available at this time. Though there may be hardware mod options that come out later, this is not recommended for most Switch owners, and it may not even be feasible given the compact size of the Nintendo Switch Lite.

The only option for playing a Switch Lite on a television is to connect a camera of some sort to a television, line it up on the screen while it’s on a stand, and play with a wireless controller and Bluetooth headphones. This still isn’t recommended as it results in poor visual quality and will likely have a prohibitive degree of input lag, as it relies on the Nintendo Switch’s spotty Bluetooth functionality.

Anyone that wants to pivot from a Switch Lite to a regular Switch or OLED can transfer their save data to a new Switch and enjoy the ability to plug it into a TV directly. That’s your best bet if you want to start playing Switch games on a TV.