Want to bring all the fun of your Nintendo Switch games to the big screen? You level up your experience by connecting your original Switch or OLED model to a TV to play in docked mode.
Note: This won’t work with a Nintendo Switch Lite, which is designed as a purely portable, handheld console.
Be Careful With Third-Party Docks and Chargers
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t fully comply with USB-C specifications, with early reports that the console could potentially overdraw by 300% of the required power. Some Switch owners reported that their consoles no longer worked after charging with third-party docks.
Using unofficial chargers and docks with your Switch always carries a risk, though most are perfectly safe. While unlikely, Nintendo could issue a firmware update at any time that causes new issues. Using officially licensed Nintendo accessories (including the official Nintendo Power Adapter) is the best way to protect your console.
Nintendo Switch AC Adapter
Nintendo Switch AC Adapter
Charge your switch safely with Nintendo’s official power adapter which connects directly to the Switch or the dock for TV play.
The second best way is to carefully choose third-party accessories based on the reputation of the brand and customer feedback. Many docks and adapters are now designed specifically for Nintendo’s power 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 get the big screen experience. First, take your dock and open the cover on the back, exposing the HDMI port and “Power Adapter” USB-C port.
Connect an HDMI cable to the dock, followed by the Switch power adapter that comes in the box. You can now go ahead and close the cover on the back, taking care to thread the cables through the small opening on the side.
Now connect the other end of the HDMI cable to your TV. Don’t worry about using HDMI 2.1 ports, since the Switch doesn’t need the extra bandwidth. Plug the adapter into the wall. Make sure the dock is positioned so that neither the HDMI nor power cable is being stretched. Avoid positioning the dock anywhere you are likely to trip and fall.
You can now seat your Switch in the dock, and turn it on. You don’t need to have the Joy-Con connected to the Switch while it is in the dock, so you can remove them and use them as controllers (either one in each hand, or using the Joy-Con adapter that came with your Switch to create a makeshift joypad).
Switch your TV to the appropriate HDMI input and you should see your Switch dashboard or lock screen appear. If you don’t, make sure the Switch is on by pressing the power button on the top of the unit or pressing the Home button on a paired controller.
At any time you can unseat your Switch from the dock to pick it up and play in handheld mode. The same works in reverse, where docking your Switch while playing in portable mode lets you carry on playing in docked mode.
Using a Third-Party Portable Dock
Warnings about third-party docks 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 around with your docked setup at home.
The Human Things GENKI Covert Dock gets our top pick for its solid reputation, tiny form factor, and inclusion of both global adapters and a USB-C cable. Other third-party docks exist that more closely mirror the official dock, but portable docks are quite different.
GENKI Covert Dock
It’s more of a “power adapter with docking ability” than a dock in the traditional sense. Your Switch won’t sit inside it, so you’ll need to make sure you position your Switch on a hard surface with good airflow (avoid soft furnishings). The dock itself needs to be connected directly to the wall, which means the power outlet needs to be fairly close to the TV or monitor you want to use.
With your dock plugged in, 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 one USB-A port left over for charging or pairing peripherals like the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
As long as the dock is powered, the Switch will operate as it would in the official dock. Make sure your TV is tuned to the correct HDMI input. Turn on the Switch using the button on the top of the console, or using 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 Power Specifications” and the product has an excellent rating among those who use it. It’s far from the only portable dock to exist, so make sure you do your research before you buy if you’re looking at a similar product.
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 adapter when attempting this.
The hub should have a USB-C cable protruding from it (for connecting directly to a PC). Take this and plug it 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 straight 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 a spare USB-C input on the hub.
Tune your TV to the correct HDMI input and turn your console on, either using the button at the 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, check the console is on before switching out the USB-C cable.
Do More with your Switch
Lastly, don’t forget to make sure you’re using all of your console’s features to the fullest.