I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this but here goes:

How can you use the laptop monitor as the visuals for a console? I only have a Wii to test it with. I'm not very good with hardware so any step by step instructions would be greatly appreciated (if it's hard to set up).

  • 1
    this is not somthing you can do easily without removing the laptop monitor and doing some wiring, especially considering the wii only has component output
    – l I
    Nov 19, 2011 at 14:24
  • It's rare (from what I've seen at least) to have video inputs on a laptop. Maybe higher end ones may have it. Nov 19, 2011 at 14:33
  • See also: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/27653/… - an iMac runs into basically the same issues that you're going to have here. Nov 19, 2011 at 18:00

2 Answers 2


I've never seen a laptop with native video input support (and I used to work for a major laptop manufacturer, so I've seen quite a few). They generally have video output ports which are typically VGA and/or HDMI for output to an external monitor or projector.

You'll probably have to add a video capture card or device to your laptop in order to make this work. Many USB devices exist, so search your favorite electronics vendor for "video capture usb" or something similar. Prices seem to vary wildly - I saw multiple options under $20, although quality may be a concern.

Most of the ones I've seen are only Composite (single yellow RCA video jack) in, which would probably be OK for a Wii or other standard definition console, but not so great for a PS3 or Xbox 360, or a BluRay player, for example. You'll want to make sure that your device supports composite out if you go this route. Most devices do, but you may have to buy a different video output cable than the one it came with.

With one of these devices, you simply plug the device into your laptop's USB port, and then plug the Wii's video and audio output jacks into the device. It should come with software that allows you to view the output on your screen and record it to your laptop's hard drive if you so choose.

I found this youtube video of someone using one of these USB devices to hook his Xbox 360 to his laptop, which should walk you through the basic steps.

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    The problem with using a video capture device is that you'll end up with significant latency issues - especially on a slower computer, or with a lower end capture device. The delay can be really noticable, and this can be particularly problematic in games that have any sort of significant timing or reaction component. Nov 19, 2011 at 17:59
  • The guy in the video seems to be doing OK playing Alan Wake on his, although I will agree with you that it's decidedly non-ideal. It's much better to play on an actual TV. If all you've got is a laptop though, this is probably the best option.
    – agent86
    Nov 19, 2011 at 18:04
  • I'll disagree. The money you'd invest in a capture device is better spent on a cheap monitor. The only good reason to even try this is major space/portability constraints. Nov 19, 2011 at 18:09

There's no good way to do this. As Agent86 notes, you can get a video capture device, but the quality can be lousy, and more importantly, the latency introduced by a USB connection and the various encoding & decoding that takes place before the video shows up on your screen makes this a poor choice for gaming.

Could you hook up your Cable Box to your computer? Sure.

Could you hook your 360 up to your computer and play a turn based game with no timing elements? Yeah, I suspect that'd work. But the nature of the Wii's motion controls, and the fact that, quite frankly, most games involve some element of precision timing (for variable definitions of precision) make this a bad idea.

Take the 100 bucks a decent capture device would cost you and buy a 20" LCD monitor on Black Friday next week. You'll be much happier with the results.

  • I agree this would produce better results, however, it doesn't answer the question as asked. I could also respond to this question by saying "you have a laptop, so use it to play games instead of the console" which would also give better results. Perhaps some clarification on the poster's part would make the correct solution easier to pick.
    – agent86
    Nov 19, 2011 at 19:06
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    Sometimes, the best answer is "Don't." For example, someone might wander on to Cooking.SE and ask how they can best incorporate drain cleaner into their recipes. This would be a fantastically terrible idea. The appropriate solution is not to come up with a way for it to be less poisonous, but to tell the asker that they are not asking the right question. Often, people will ask a question about how to implement a bad solution to a good problem. We should not feel obligated to provide that bad solution when we can instead identify the actual problem and propose a good one. Nov 19, 2011 at 19:16
  • @agent86 To provide an example of what I mean: Take a look at this question. Yes, the correct answer is 'wear gear with +Magicka Regen, chug a potion, and grab the perk in the Restoration tree. But the askers problem will be better solved by taking perks and using equipment to reduce the cost of his spells. Nov 19, 2011 at 19:23
  • Fair enough. We disagree, but this is the internet, so I don't think either of us should be surprised at that :)
    – agent86
    Nov 19, 2011 at 19:48

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