How to Connect Your Nintendo Switch to a Laptop with HDMI (Without a Capture Card)

The Nintendo Switch offers gamers the flexibility of playing on a TV or in handheld mode. With a simple HDMI cable, you can also connect your Switch to a laptop display for gaming or streaming purposes, without any capture card required.

While lacking some functionality of a dedicated capture card setup, linking the Switch directly to a laptop via HDMI is a convenient way to leverage the bigger screen real estate. Let’s examine how to connect your Nintendo Switch to a laptop using just HDMI.

The Nintendo Switch comes with a docking station that allows you to connect the console to a TV or external display using an HDMI cable. This same direct HDMI connection can also work with laptops.

By using the Switch dock and HDMI, you can view and play your Switch content directly on a laptop screen. This creates a portable big-screen gaming experience. It also provides a method for broadcasting Switch gameplay from a laptop using only HDMI pass-through and streaming software.

In this guide, we’ll go over the steps to hook up your Switch to a laptop using HDMI, with no capture card required. We’ll also look at the upsides and downsides of direct HDMI connection versus using a USB capture card. Follow along to turn your laptop into a versatile Nintendo Switch display.

What You Need to Connect Nintendo Switch to a Laptop via HDMI

To display your Nintendo Switch gameplay on a laptop monitor using direct HDMI, you’ll need just a few items:

– Nintendo Switch Console

– Nintendo Switch AC Adapter

– Nintendo Switch Docking Station

– Laptop with HDMI input port

– HDMI cable

– USB-C to HDMI adapter (if laptop lacks HDMI)

The key requirements are a laptop with an HDMI input and a compatible HDMI cable to run between the Switch dock and laptop. Let’s look at how to put it all together.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Connect Switch to Laptop via HDMI

Follow these steps to display your Nintendo Switch content through your laptop using HDMI pass-through:

  1. Power off your Nintendo Switch and dock it into the official Switch docking station.
  2. Take your HDMI cable and connect one end to the HDMI output port on the back of the Nintendo Switch dock.
  3. For laptops with an HDMI port, connect the other end of the HDMI cable directly to the HDMI input port on your laptop.
  4. For laptops without HDMI, use an HDMI to USB-C adapter and connect that to your laptop’s USB-C port instead.
  5. With the HDMI cable connected between the Switch dock and laptop, power on the docked Switch using the AC adapter.
  6. Turn on your laptop and switch the display input to HDMI. This is usually via a function key like F4 or F8 and selecting the HDMI input.
  7. The Nintendo Switch interface and any gameplay should now appear on your connected laptop screen!

With those steps complete, you have a direct pass-through of the Switch video and audio to your laptop’s display, without any capture card required.

Other Ways to Connects Nintendo Switch to a Laptop

Here are the two methods to connect a Nintendo Switch to a laptop without a capture card explained in detail:

Method 1 – Using Streamlabs

Streamlabs is a streaming and recording software that can connect a Switch to a laptop without hardware.

What you need:

– Streamlabs mobile app installed on an iOS or Android phone

– Phone mount or tripod to position the phone

– Nintendo Switch and HDMI cable

Steps to follow:

  1. Install and open the Streamlabs mobile app on your phone.
  2. Give microphone and camera access when prompted.
  3. Mount your phone and position the Nintendo Switch in view of the camera.
  4. Connect the Switch dock to power and turn it on.
  5. Open Streamlabs on your laptop and click Go Live.
  6. The Switch video and audio will stream directly to your laptop via the phone camera.
  7. For best performance, set resolution to 1080p and enable Dynamic Bitrate in Advanced settings.

Method 2 – Using Xbox One

You can pass the Switch video through an Xbox One to your laptop with an HDMI cable.

What you need:

– Xbox One console

– HDMI cable

– Nintendo Switch docked

– Laptop

– Ethernet cable (optional)

Steps to follow:

  1. Connect the HDMI cable between the Switch dock and Xbox One.
  2. Make sure the Switch is docked and turned on.
  3. On Xbox One, open the OneGuide app.
  4. Connect Xbox and laptop to the same WiFi or use Ethernet cable.
  5. Open Streamlabs on your laptop and click Go Live.
  6. The Switch gameplay will pass through Xbox to your laptop via Streamlabs.

These methods allow capturing Switch gameplay on a laptop without a video capture card. Follow the setup steps closely for best results.

Applications: How to Use Your Connected Nintendo Switch

Once you’ve connected your Switch to a laptop via HDMI, there are a couple of neat applications for this setup:

  1. Big Screen Gaming: Play your favorite Switch games on the larger screen real estate of your laptop! Keep the Switch docked and enjoy Zelda, Mario, Pokémon and more with the expanded portable view.
  2. Streaming: Broadcast your Nintendo Switch gaming sessions using your laptop and software like OBS Studio. Share gameplay and commentary without a capture card.
  3. Troubleshooting:View the Switch interface on your laptop screen to check error codes or troubleshoot technical problems with the console by seeing exactly what is displaying.

While lacking some capture card pass-through capabilities, the direct HDMI method provides an easy way to leverage your laptop display for Switch gaming, streaming, and diagnostics.

Limitations to Note About HDMI Connection

While connecting Nintendo Switch to laptop via HDMI is easy, there are some limitations to note with this basic setup:

– Requires the Switch dock for HDMI output, limiting mobility.

– HDMI constraints like max resolution and no audio pass-through apply.

– Latency makes fast-paced competitive gaming difficult.

For maximum functionality, a USB video capture card is recommended. But for more casual usage, the direct HDMI method can get the job done with minimal equipment required.

Tips for Success When Connecting Nintendo Switch to Laptop

To ensure the best results when hooking up your Switch to a laptop monitor via HDMI, follow these tips:

– Update your Nintendo Switch and laptop to the latest software and drivers. Outdated firmware can cause video issues.

– Tweak your laptop’s audio settings for optimal sound quality. Boost levels appropriately.

– Position your laptop near the Switch dock for easiest cable positioning. Avoid cable strain.

– Use a high quality HDMI cable to get the cleanest video signal.

– Set your connected laptop to “Do Not Disturb” mode to avoid pop-up notifications while gaming.


Connecting your Nintendo Switch to a laptop screen is straightforward with the right HDMI cable and adapters. While some functionality is limited compared to a capture card, the HDMI pass-through method provides a quick and easy way to leverage your laptop display for gaming anywhere or streaming gameplay footage without expensive accessories.

Simply linking the Switch dock and laptop together via HDMI opens up new possibilities for gaming, troubleshooting, and broadcasting Switch content using only your laptop screen. Just be aware of the latency and resolution constraints. With the steps and tips above, you can be up and running in no time. Game on!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use any regular HDMI cable for my Nintendo Switch?

A: Yes, both Switch models output 1080p resolution, so most decent quality HDMI cables will work fine for connecting the Switch dock to a TV or laptop. Any modern HDMI cable should have enough bandwidth.

Q: Is it possible to play Nintendo Switch games directly on my laptop screen?

A: Yes, by connecting your Switch dock to your laptop’s HDMI input port with an HDMI cable, you can directly display and play Switch games on your laptop’s screen, similar to playing on a TV. The Switch footage will automatically expand to fill the full laptop screen.

Q: Do I need a capture card to display Nintendo Switch on my PC laptop?

A: Most laptops only have an HDMI output port, not input. So to display Switch video on a laptop, you need a USB capture card with an HDMI input to take the video signal and pass it to your laptop through the USB data connection.

Q: Which HDMI port on the Switch dock should I use to connect it to a TV or laptop?

A: The HDMI port you need is located under the flap on the back of the official Nintendo Switch dock. This is the HDMI out port that sends video and audio signals from the docked Switch to external displays like TVs and laptops.

Q: How can I connect my Nintendo Switch to a TV or laptop screen without the dock?

A: For portable HDMI connection without the doc, you can use a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Simply plug the adapter into the Switch tablet’s USB-C port, connect an HDMI cable to the adapter, and then connect the HDMI cable to your desired display device.