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I'm trying to hook up my laptop to my HDTV to be able to get films from my laptop and watch them on a secondary TV screen (i.e. duplicate the laptop screen to the TV).

At first I drove myself crazy trying to get any display from the laptop onto the TV as I have an older laptop with only a VGA port (no HDMI) but now that I've found the correct resolution it is only displaying a second screensaver picture (i.e.. an extended picture) that only shows my mouse when I go off my laptop screen.

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Have you tried enabling mirroring for the display instead of extending your desktop? –  slhck Jan 27 '13 at 14:37
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Do you have the latest drivers for your graphics chipset from the laptop vendor? Have you tried downloading directly from the chipset manufacturer? NVidia, ATI, and Intel have programs that allow you to set up extended monitors, mirroring displays, and other functionality. –  Keltari Jan 27 '13 at 14:38
    
Try closing starting the show then closing the lid to the laptop. That will force it to the external monitor only. Or, you can just start watching and drag it to the second screen and maximize there. I used to do that all the time so I could watch and surf at the same time. –  Zooks64 Jan 27 '13 at 14:46

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