What all do I need and how do I connect my laptop to my television?
Depends on what connections are on your laptop and your TV.
A lot of newer TVs have VGA and DVI connections. If yours have this that is your most likely way. If you want sound as well you will need audio cables. There are 'Y' splitters for connecting headphone plug on your laptop to Philips audio cables for your TV.
If your laptop has a HDMI connection and you have a free HDMI port on your TV that should allow you to use one cable for both audio and video.
If your computer has an S-Video port, then all you need is an S-Video cable, assuming your TV has the S-Video input. If not, there all many different (but some expensive) expansions and connectors that can go from a monitor-out to a VGA input. If you can give me the exact type of your computer, I can help you out. Don't just say something like "Dell Inspiron," but also include the model, as in "Dell Inspiron 1525."