How to Connect a Nintendo Switch to a TV (With or Without the Dock)

Nintendo Switch in its dock under a TV.
Lisa Schulz/

Want to bring all the fun of your Nintendo Switch games to the big screen? They enhance your experience by connecting your original Switch or OLED model to a TV to play in docked mode.

Note: This will not work with a Nintendo Switch Lite, which is designed as a handheld-only portable console.

Be careful with third-party docks and chargers

The Nintendo Switch isn’t fully compliant with USB-C specs, with initial reports that the console could potentially overshoot by 300% of the required performance. Some Switch owners reported that their consoles stopped working after charging with third-party docks.

Using unofficial chargers and docks with your Switch always carries a risk, although most are perfectly safe. While unlikely, Nintendo could always issue a firmware update that introduces new problems. Using officially licensed Nintendo accessories (including the official Nintendo power adapter) is the best way to protect your console.

Nintendo Switch power adapter

Nintendo Switch power adapter

Safely charge your Switch with the official Nintendo power adapter that plugs directly into the Switch or dock for TV gaming.

The second best way is to carefully select third-party accessories based on brand reputation and customer feedback. Many docks and adapters are now designed specifically for Nintendo’s performance specifications, rather than the USB-C standard in general.

Using the official dock

Connecting your Switch to a TV using the official dock is the easiest way to enjoy the big screen experience. First, grab your dock and open the back cover, exposing the HDMI port and USB-C “Power Adapter” port.

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Open the back of your Nintendo Switch dock

Connect an HDMI cable to the dock, followed by the Switch power adapter that is included. Now you can close the back cover, making sure to route the cables through the small opening on the side.

Plug the power and HDMI cables into the switch dock

Now connect the other end of the HDMI cable to your TV. Don’t worry about using HDMI 2.1 ports as the switch doesn’t require any additional bandwidth. Plug the adapter into the wall. Make sure the dock is positioned so that neither the HDMI nor the power cable are stretched. Do not place the dock in locations where you are likely to trip and fall.

Place your Switch console in the dock

You can now dock your Switch and power it on. You don’t have to have the Joy-Con attached to the Switch while they’re docked, so you can remove them and use them as controllers (either one in each hand, or use the included Joy-Con adapter with the Switch to make a makeshift to create a joypad).

Switch your TV to the appropriate HDMI input and you should see your switch dashboard or lock screen. If it doesn’t, make sure the Switch is powered on by pressing the power button on top of the device or the home button on a paired controller.

You can always undock your Switch to pick it up and play in handheld mode. The same works in reverse, if you dock your Switch while gaming in portable mode, you can continue gaming in docked mode.

Using a third-party portable dock

Third-party dock warnings aside, there are some good options if you’re traveling with your Switch and still want to use your console on the big screen. At the very least, some of these solutions let you charge your Switch on the go without having to mess with your docked setup at home.

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The Human Things GENKI Covert Dock is our top pick due to its solid reputation, tiny form factor, and inclusion of both global adapters and a USB-C cable. There are other third-party docks that more accurately reflect the official dock, but portable docks are very different.

GENKI covert dock

It’s more of a “power supply with docking capability” than a dock in the traditional sense. Your Switch won’t sit in it, so you’ll need to make sure you position your Switch on a hard surface with good airflow (avoid soft furniture). The dock itself needs to be plugged directly into the wall, which means the outlet needs to be fairly close to the TV or monitor you intend to use.

With the dock connected, connect an HDMI cable (not included) from the dock to the TV you want to use. Next, connect the included USB-C cable to the dock and plug the other end into your Switch. You’ll have a spare USB-A port to charge or pair peripherals like the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.

Human Things GENKI portable docking station
human things

As long as the dock has power, the Switch will function as in the official dock. Make sure your TV is set to the correct HDMI input. Power on the Switch with the button on top of the console or with the home button on a paired controller (or set of Joy-Cons).

Human Things claims that the GENKI Covert Dock is “built to Nintendo Switch performance specifications” and the product has excellent reviews among users. It’s far from the only portable dock out there, so make sure you do your research before you buy if you’re looking at a similar product.

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Using a USB-C hub

Finally, you can also use a standard USB-C hub to connect your Switch to a TV or monitor, as long as the hub has an HDMI port. Not all hubs will work, and the usual caveats about the USB-C standard and non-compliant switch design apply here.

Some hubs like the RREAKA USB-C to HDMI Digital AV Multiport Hub are marketed with Nintendo Switch support, but others that don’t mention the Switch may also work. You should use your original Nintendo power supply.

RREAKA USB-C Digital AV Multiport Hub

There should be a USB-C cable protruding from the hub (for connecting directly to a PC). Take these and plug them directly into the USB-C port on the bottom of the Switch console. You may need to try different USB-C cables if you can’t get things working right away.

Now connect the HDMI output to the display you want to use. Lastly, plug your Switch power adapter into the wall and connect it to an available USB-C input on the hub.

Set your TV to the correct HDMI input and turn on your console, either using the button on top of the console or by pressing the home button on a paired controller. If you don’t see the lock screen or Switch dashboard, make sure the console is powered on before swapping out the USB-C cable.

Do more with your Switch

Grab a cheap Memory Switch-ready memory card, then download cheap games from Nintendo eShop.

Last but not least, don’t forget to make sure you’re making full use of all of your console’s features.

TIED TOGETHER: 10 Nintendo Switch Features You Should Be Using

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