How to Use a Laptop as Monitor for Nintendo Switch

Generally, you would want to connect your television with your Nintendo Switch Console so that you can enjoy playing games on a big screen. However, there might be instances where your TV simply might not be working, or you may be travelling and wanting to chill out at the end of the night by playing a few games before you hit the bed.

Also Read: How to Play or Connect NES and SNES Classic to a Laptop

Whatever the reason may be, if you’d like to know how to use your laptop as a monitor for the Nintendo Switch, then you should know that for this you need to connect your laptop to the console. There are two easy ways you can achieve this. It’s not really all that complicated so you don’t have to worry about having an elaborate setup. The steps are relatively easy to follow, even for someone who isn’t well versed in technology. So, without further ado, let us show you how you can use your laptop as a monitor for your Nintendo switch console.

Also Read: How to Play, Display or Connect Wii to a Laptop

how to use laptop as monitor for nintendo switch

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Table of Contents

Display Switch on a Laptop with the HDMI Input Port

If you’d like to display your Switch on your laptop, you’re going to need an HDMI input port on your computer. Unfortunately, only a few laptops have an HDMI input port readily available. Do not confuse the HDMI port on your laptop as the HDMI in, it’s probably the output port.

Also Read: How to Turn Off Laptop Screen When Using HDMI Windows 10

Why do we say that? Because most laptops do not have the input port. If yours did, then you would probably be aware of it. As a matter of fact, only about 0.01% of laptops have the HDMI in functionality.

By far, only the Alienware laptop series are known for having an HDMI input port. You may be under the impression that the HDMI output port works in a similar manner, however, trying to display your switch on your laptop through an HDMI out just isn’t going to work.

An example for this is when you take the HDMI cable and plug it into the HDMI out on your laptop and the HDMI in on your TV. The computer display is then presented on your TV screen. All TVs have an HDMI input port by default, however laptops are just not built with that functionality in mind.

Also Read: How to Play or Connect your PS3 to a Laptop

You don’t have to worry though! Even though a built-in HDMI input port is quite rare, you can connect your console to your laptop with a game capture card.


Turning your Laptop into a Monitor for Switch with the Elgato Capture Card

A capture card is a device that is used for uploading digital data via converted gameplay signals. This is an excellent way to facilitate game-savvy individuals, allowing them to save and capture games that they love and play frequently. This nifty little device has the ability to both capture, as well as stream an entire game.

The Elgato Game Capture card is one of the best ones available in the market and can easily be purchased through amazon for your use. It is an excellent device for converting your laptop into a monitor! If you’re looking for an easy solution to get the job done, then this is definitely no brainer. The device is available on amazon, you can check it out via the link given below.


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Elgato Capture Card Connectivity Ports

There are a total of 4 ports in the Elgato Game Capture Card: 2 of them are inputs, and 2 of them outputs. Let’s go through each of them one by one to understand their functionality.


HDMI Input Port

This is the magic port that is missing on most laptops! The Nintendo Switch is connected to the HDMI In port. It should be noted that it will be impossible to utilize any signals that might be secured off by HDCP.


A/V In (Elgato Game Capture HD only)

An adapter cable can be used to connect the video through either Component or Composite. An Analog Video Adapter Cable works best if you’re looking to use S-Video. The cable can easily be purchased online on Amazon or through the Elgato Store.


HDMI Output Port

The HDMI signal is sent by the HDMI Out, which is then captured by your laptop in real time, allowing for a continuous gameplay session.


USB Port

The final port on the Capture Card is the USB port, which transfers the H.264 encoded video through the USB 2.0 to your device. In comparison with the HDMI output, signals are not received in real time. A delay of a few seconds is normal during the transmission process (this delay should not cause any screen ghosting though). The Elgato Game Capture HD hardware is also powered through this very USB cable.

Also Read: How to Convert Laptop LCD to Desktop Monitor


Additional Items Required

Gathering additional items for this process might seem like a strenuous task, but it is relatively simple. All you need is two more items that you most likely already have.


HDMI Cable

A high-quality HDMI cable is usually already included in the Nintendo Switch Package. If not, then you can literally pick up any HDMI cable available in your household.  

If by any chance, there is no HDMI cable in your Nintendo Switch package and you’re unable to find one at home, you can simply buy one from Amazon by using the link given below.


Nintendo Dock

Despite the existence of multiple adapters, it is still not possible to directly attach the Capture Card with the Nintendo Switch. A video output port is not built into the Nintendo Switch itself, so you won’t be able to link it with the Elgato Capture Card. This is where the Nintendo Dock comes into play since it has a built-in port that can directly connect to the Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Dock enables signal transfer from your Switch console to your laptop using the HDMI cable and also allows for other related accessories to connect. The USB ports can be used to charge controllers. It is more powerful than a battery and is perfect for running the Switch console efficiently.

The dock is always included in the switch package. If your dock is broken, you can quickly grab one from Amazon using the link given below.

It is possible to connect your Switch without a dock. We have a guide which goes into how to connect your Switch to TV without a dock.

STEP BY STEP Connection Process

Once you have all of the required items in place, you can go ahead and start connecting your Switch console to your laptop. The process is fairly simple and actually quite self-explanatory. Follow the steps below to connect your switch console to your laptop.

Also Read: How to Overclock a Laptop Monitor

Step 1: Locate the HDMI output port on the Nintendo Switch Dock and hook it up to one of the ends of the HDMI Cable.

Step 2: Next, take the opposite end of the HDMI cable and connect it to the HDMI in port on the Elgato Game Capture Card.

Step 3: Using another HDMI cable, plug in one of the ends of the Elgato Capture Card’s HDMI output port.

Step 4: In a similar manner, connect the other end of the second HDMI cable with the HDMI in port that is built into your device (laptop, tv, etc.)

Step 5: After you’ve connected the HDMI cables with their respective HDMI ports, connect your Nintendo Switch to your Nintendo Switch Dock.

Step 6: After confirming that your device is connected to the Elgato Game Capture HD, you can commence with the Elgato Game Capture HD Software.

After you’ve completed the steps above, you are now free to play the Nintendo switch on your laptop! You can also use your laptop hotspot to connect a Nintendo Switch to hotel wifi.

Alternative Capture Card Choices

Although Envato is the best capture card available in the market to turn your laptop into a monitor for your switch, there are also other options available. We’re going to quickly go over two more capture cards if you choose not to go with the Elgato for some reason.

AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus

One alternative of the Envato Capture Card is the AverMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus. This nifty little device is very user friendly and the installation procedure again is quite simple. This proves to be advantageous for users who might not be tech savvy or well versed in technology. All you have to do  i plug in the HDMI cables into the AverMedia Live Capture Card.

If you don’t have a laptop to record the games, no need to worry! AVerMedia Capture Card has a PC-free mode that you can utilize to record and capture games in the highest quality i.e. 4k. However, all good things come with a few drawbacks. Although you can record in 4k, you won’t be able to stream the game in 4k. However, most users do not deem this as too huge of a disadvantage considering that a 1080p picture is displayed by Nintendo Switch in the first place.

Razer Ripsaw HD Game Streaming Capture Card

Yet another high-quality substitute device for the Envato Capture Card is the Razer Ripsaw. This capture card is encased with multiple features, including a headphone jack that can be utilized for monitoring purposes, and a mic that can be used for recording purposes. 4K compatibility is yet another feature you can enjoy with the Razer Ripsaw Capture Card. One drawback, however, is the fact that there is no separate software built specifically for the Razer Ripsaw Capture card.

Final Words

If your Nintendo Switch won’t connect to TV, then there are a few options on how to use your laptop as a monitor for your switch console. You can do this is if you have an HDMI in which is quite rare. So, for most of us, the only way to properly connect the Switch to your Laptop is through a Capture Card. If you are playing your switch during the day and sunlight is making your screen hard to see, check out our article on how to set your laptop screen to brighter than maximum.

Now you have all the ammo to go ahead and connect your switch console to your laptop. Don’t forget to read the user manuals for thorough instructions before you proceed. It’s always a good idea to stay up to date with hardware requirements so make sure to read the product pages on Amazon to see if any other elements of your setup need a little more tlc. Good luck!

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