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Do You Need A TV For Nintendo Switch?

As a Nintendo Switch owner, I have had the same question for months now: do I really need a TV for the Switch? After months of research, trial and error, and talking to other Switch owners, I have finally found the answer.

In this post, I’ll be sharing my experiences and the solutions I’ve come across in my search for the ultimate answer to this question.

You do not need a TV for a Nintendo Switch because it comes with an integrated screen. However, while you can play regular Nintendo Switch games without a TV, you will need a TV for Nintendo Sports games. They require you to output a video signal via TV mode on the Nintendo Switch. 

Tips for Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch comes with an integrated screen, so a TV is not required for regular games
Nintendo Sports games require outputting video to a TV or monitor via the integrated TV mode
The Nintendo Switch has three gaming modes: TV Mode, Tabletop Mode, and Handheld Mode
The Nintendo Switch Lite only supports handheld mode and cannot output video to a TV
When purchasing a Nintendo Switch, you get the body, two Joy-Con controllers, Joy-Con grip, TV dock, HDMI cable, and charger
The ideal TV for Nintendo Switch should support at least 1080p, 60Hz, and High Dynamic Range (HDR)
Smart TVs should not be the first pick as some features may disrupt game time

Do You Need A TV For Nintendo Switch?

The versatility of the Nintendo Switch allows you to opt for the regular Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite, with the Lite version being cheaper due to its simplified features. 

While you don’t need a TV for regular Nintendo Switch games, Nintendo Sports does require a TV. Nintendo Sports games require that you output video to a TV or monitor via the integrated TV mode. For this reason, it also means the Nintendo Switch Lite has limited functionality. 

Otherwise, you can comfortably play a Nintendo Switch without a TV because it comes standard with an integrated screen – unlike the Wii U, which has a console, and connects to a TV, played with a controller. The entire Switch has a tablet shape that connects to any TV via an HDMI port. 

Nintendo Switch Vs. Nintendo Switch Lite

You may not need a TV to use a Nintendo Switch, but if you want the option to use a TV, you must know the difference between the regular Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. 

The regular Nintendo Switch comes equipped with full functionality designed by Nintendo. It can play all Nintendo Switch games and any game that the Nintendo Lite can play. 

The regular Nintendo Switch has three gaming modes: 

  • TV Mode – this gaming mode enables you to connect your Nintendo Switch to any TV via an HDMI cable and play your games on the TV screen. It is also a requirement if you want access to all the features available when you play Nintendo Sports games. 
  • Tabletop Mode – tabletop mode allows you to sit the Nintendo Switch console down on a flat surface and have it stand upright while you play. It is helpful for multiplayer games because players can fully view the screen, turning it into something akin to a Playstation or Xbox. 
  • Handheld Mode handheld mode is the most traditional mode designed for sitting or lying down when you play. 

The Nintendo Switch Lite is exclusively for handheld mode. It does not contain the hardware to output a signal to a TV; it only supports Nintendo Switch Lite games – not regular Nintendo Switch games. The lack of functionality is partly due to its lack of motion controls. 

The Nintendo Switch Lite has one gaming mode:

Handheld Mode the Nintendo Switch Lite’s handheld mode is the same as the regular Switch.

Since it does not have motion controls, it is impossible to access all the features of a Nintendo Sports game. Furthermore, the limitations on the Nintendo Switch Lite prohibit local play, meaning you won’t be able to play games like badminton or tennis with a friend or sibling – only with online users. 

If you want to retain some functionality and play a Nintendo Sports game, you must get Joy-Cons – detachable controllers with analog sticks – and even then, it will still have its limits in specific game modes.

What Do You Get With A Nintendo Switch Purchase?

When you purchase a Nintendo Switch, you get the body, two Joy-Con controllers, Joy-Con grip, TV dock, HDMI cable, and charger.

While a regular Nintendo Switch does not come with a TV (unfortunately), it does come with everything else necessary to jump into your favorite game. 

When you purchase the Nintendo Switch, you can expect:

  • A Nintendo Switch body – the 6.2-inch body conforms to the shape of a tablet and comes with an integrated screen. It measures 6.2-inches. 
  • Two Joy-Con controllers – the Joy-Con controllers allow two or more players to play local multiplayer games. You can strap them to your wrists to play Nintendo Sports or motion control games.    
  • Joy-Con grip – this Joy-Con grip allows you to slot the Joy-Cons into the grip and use them as a gamepad. 
  • TV dock – this is what you will use to cast your Nintendo Switch game on your TV. 
  • HDMI cable – an HDMI cable is necessary to connect your Nintendo Switch to your TV. Of course, that also means your TV must have an HDMI port available. 
  • Charger – it’s always great when a device comes with a charger, especially if you plan to use it as often as a Nintendo Switch. 

What Kind Of TV Do You Need For Nintendo Switch?

The ideal TV for Nintendo Switch will support at least 1080p, 60Hz, and High Dynamic Range (HDR). 

If you are deadset on a regular Nintendo Switch with TV mode, you might want to know which TV you need. In short, any TV with an HDMI connection will work. However, if you’re concerned about image quality and performance, you might want to look deeper. 

Most modern TVs support 1080p, so you shouldn’t have an issue finding one. HDR is more important than 4k because, although the image is sharper in a 4k, HDR will bring your games to life with popping colors and livelier motion. 

The biggest TV is not always the best option, especially if you play competitive games. Larger screens demand more resources to run smoothly, meaning the company may opt for slight discoloration near the corners. 

Thus, it’s usually better to go for something in the middle with a decent size – around 50 inches – and excellent quality. Additionally, the difference between the size of the room and the distance from the TV screen can make it challenging to see, so a 50-inch TV is a perfect size. 

Smart TVs should generally not be the first pick because some of the features disrupt game time with pop-ups. Visio TVs do not offer the best image quality, while Samsung TVs go overboard with their Smart features.  

At any rate, if you have your eye on a TV with many features, ensure that you can switch them off; otherwise, it will create a lot of input lag and affect your gaming experience. Lastly, as a gamer, you want to aim for a TV with at least 4 HDMI ports to prevent future pains. 


You don’t need a TV to play your Nintendo Switch because it comes with a screen. However, Nintendo Sports must have a TV because you must output the sports game onto the TV via the Switch’s TV mode. 

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