With about 110 million units sold, the Nintendo Switch is the 5th best-selling console. Its popularity in recent years raises questions for new users, though. For instance, how to hook up Nintendo Switch to TV?
Most people use the Nintendo Switch as a portable device and play games like Animal Crossings anywhere, at any time. There’re more ways to enjoy it, though, as it’s the core benefit Nintendo offers.
See, the Switch is a hybrid console. It lives in the gap between home consoles and portable consoles. So, you can hook it up to a display and play; or you can take it away and keep playing on the go.
It may seem difficult for newcomers, but we’re explaining how the Nintendo Switch’s TV mode works step-by-step. In particular, we’re starting by explaining what you get when buying a Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo Switch Bundle
Let’s discuss what you get when buying the console to understand how to use the full benefits of the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch OLED. These are the items within its case:
- The Nintendo Switch console itself. It’s a display that looks like a tablet.
- The Nintendo Switch Dock. It’s a black enclosure you use to plug the console into the TV.
- The Joy-Con gamepad set. These are two controllers, one for each hand. The pieces ship with straps, plus a grip that connects the two controllers together.
- An HDMI cable.
- The proprietary A/C adapter.
The original bundle supports TV mode, Tabletop mode, and Handheld mode. It sells for less than the Xbox One or the PS4, which is part of the reason for its success.
There’s an even cheaper model, the Nintendo Switch Lite. The alternative ships without the Dock device, so you can only use it in handheld mode.
Moreover, there’re a few games that don’t support the Handheld mode, namely:
- Fitness Boxing
- Fitness Boxing 2: Rythm & Exercise
- Just Dance (the entire saga)
- Nintendo Labo
- Nintendo Switch Sports
- Super Mario Party
So, to connect the Nintendo Switch to the TV, you need to buy the original bundle rather than the Lite model. In other words, ensure the console has its docking device.
Nintendo Switch Gaming Modes
You’d also need to understand how each gaming mode works on the Nintendo Switch.
The most common mode is “Handheld.” You’d connect the Joy-con gamepads on each side of the console and take them with you. It will work on almost any Nintendo Switch game, as long as it’s charged.
The second mode is using “Tabletop.” The main screen has a “leg,” so you can place it anywhere and play with the Joy-Con controllers. Similarly, it can work as long as it has charge.
Lastly, the TV Mode allows you to play on 1080P on a TV or display. You’d place the console on its docking station and play with the Joy-Con controllers.
How to Hook up Nintendo Switch to TV?
Connecting the Nintendo Switch to a TV requires using its Dock station, A/C power adapter, and HDMI cable. Obviously, you need a TV or a display with an HDMI port.
Here’re the specific instructions:
- Place the Dock on a stable and preferably cold surface (like wood or stone). It should be close to the TV.
- Open the back of the Dock to discover the connector plugs.
- Plug the AC adapter into the “AC Adapter” slot.
- Then, plug the other end of the AC adapter into the power output.
- Now, plug the HDMI cable into the “HDMI” slot.
- Similarly, plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the TV’s HDMI port.
- Close the Dock’s back cover, but route the cables through its opening.
- Place the Nintendo Switch inside the Dock. It should “click.”
- Make sure the Switch’s screen faces to the front of the Dock. The front of the dog displays the Nintendo Switch logo. When you place it properly, you should see a “charging icon” on the screen.
- Detach the Joy-Con controllers from the Nintendo Switch screen. You can press the button on the back of the controllers and then slide it upwards to unplug it from the Switch screen.
- Plug the Joy-Con peripherals into the grip, or use it with the wrist straps. This is optional, of course, but it’s very comfortable.
- To connect the Joy-Cons into the grip, you can simply slide them into place.
- Power the Switch and your TV.
- Alternatively, you can press and hold the Home button on your controller to turn the console on.
- Adjust the input of your TV to match the HDMI port you used.
The Switch’s screen will turn off when you use the Dock, but you should see the Switch’s logo on the TV. Now, you’re ready to play.
And if you want to disconnect it from the TV, simply turn the console off, unplug the cables, and remove the Switch from the Dock.
Can you connect the Nintendo Switch to a TV without the Dock?
The Nintendo Switch Dock can suffer damage, or you may have lost it. Regardless of the case, the Switch can’t connect to the TV directly. It needs either the Dock, a docking station, or a USB-C to HDMI adapter.
The Switch connects to the Dock via its USB Type-C output. The Switch’s screen has a female port, whereas the Dock has a male port to plug itself into the console. Then the Dock has HDMI, A/C adapter, and USB ports.
So, if you want an alternative, the adapter would have to imitate the same inputs and outputs, namely:
- A USB Type-C input for the power supply
- An HDMI port
- A USB 3.0 port (only if you want to use the Nintendo Switch Pro controller)
- A USB-C port to connect the Switch (female)
The USB-C to HDMI adapter would look something like this:
Nintendo sells the Dock separately, but it’s quite pricey. Also, it only works with the Nintendo Switch or the Nintendo Switch OLED. The LITE version doesn’t have the proper outputs to work with a docking station or an adapter.
What if the Nintendo Switch can’t connect to the TV?
There’s more than one reason why your Switch might not want to connect to the television. Try to check each potential issue until you find the cause of the problem.
- The Switch is connected, but the television is on the wrong input. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook which setting the TV is on, especially if there are multiple of the same input – like four HDMI inputs on the TV. Each will have its own number but getting them confused is a common issue.
- You’re using the wrong cables, or your cables are damaged.
- You’ve set up the Switch in the dock incorrectly. You can make some tweaks that might fix the problem you’re having.
- Something in the system needs to be reset, whether the AC adapter or the Switch itself.
Here’s a full guide to troubleshooting the connection between the Switch and the TV.
The Switch’s design provides extra benefits to its user, particularly when using the console in its TV mode.
- The Joy-Con design allows you to share games with others, even if the games don’t have co-op. Each player can use a Joy-Con in one hand.
- Many Nintendo Switch games also support local multiplayer with a single Joy-Con controller. Each player would use one-half of the device and, often, use it horizontally. A great example is a rogue-lite game “The Binding of Isaac.” Mario Party, Mario Kart, and other Mario games work this way.
- Other games support multiple Joy-Con and various players on a single console. This works through a variety of gameplay options. However, a Nintendo Switch ships with a single Joy-Con set.
- The Joy-Con set sports a grip accessory. It allows the peripheral to work as a regular controller. Another option is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, but you’d have to buy it separately.
- The Pro Controller connects to the console via a USB Type-C to USB cable. The port is also on the back of the console.
- Up to eight Nintendo Switch consoles can share a local multiplayer session.