What is HDMI?
All the technological speak and names might feel overwhelming but we’re going to break it down for you. High-definition Multimedia Interface, shortened to HDMI, is a cable used to convert media from one device to another. More specifically this cable is used between a laptop and a TV.
What can you do with HDMI?
An HDMI cable is commonly used to project your laptop screen and sound on a bigger screen device. This can include a separate monitor or TV screen.
The benefit of an HDMI cable is that it’s able to connect image and sound to your TV whereas you might need extra cables with other conversion options.
There are a couple of other cable combinations to choose from depending on the ports you have available on your laptop and TV. For example, you can use a VGA cable to connect.
The negative with this is that the screen resolution tends to be a lot lower than with an HDMI cable. You will also need a separate cable to connect a sound signal between the two devices.
Output vs Input ports in your laptop
The main difference between input and output ports are that one is where the media is being transferred from and the other is where the media is transferred to.
Most laptops have an HDMI output port that transfers images and sound to the HDMI input port of the TV. Very few laptops possess an HDMI input port as it would be mostly useless.
The main reason people choose to transfer media from their laptop to a TV or monitor is specifically for the benefit of viewing on a bigger screen. A bigger screen will enable you to experience the visual media from your laptop on a larger scale and at a much more intimate level.
Most laptops are not built with the same capacity as a larger screen device and the experience will not be the same if you tried to convert the TV screen to your laptop screen.
There are only a few gaming laptops with high-end graphics that can support an HDMI input, however, normal personal laptops do not have this capacity. For this reason, they should only be used as an output port for HDMI.
Basically, your laptop has all kinds of ports available for cross connectivity with multiple gadgets. Yeah, it allows you to connect your laptop to a desktop monitor, to Television sets, and to sound gadgets like soundbars and home theatres as well.
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Different HDMI cable sizes.
It is important to note that there are different-sized HDMI connectors available. Make sure that the HDMI cable you are purchasing matches the size of your laptop’s output port and your TV’s input port.
There is a standard, mini, and micro connector. We will discuss them in more detail to help you identify which one you have on your laptop.
- Standard HDMI connector.
This connector is the one most widely used and available on most laptops. This size is the largest with 19 pins in the connector.
- Mini HDMI connector.
The mini HDMI connector is just smaller than the standard one with 19 pins as well. This connector is being progressively used more in newer laptops to save space.
- Micro HDMI connector.
This connector is significantly smaller than the standard HDMI connector. It resembles the size of a mobile charger, yet still has 19 pins.
Now that you know the difference between connectors, you should successfully identify which one you require.
These connectors and cables are available separately on internet marketplaces as well as from your nearby electronics shops. Also, there are few brands that provide these connectors and cables as supplementary accessories in the box itself.
How to transfer HDMI output to input.
Now that we have laid out the background of HDMI and connectors, it’s time to get to the steps of how to use the HDMI cable.
- Step one: Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on your laptop. Connect the other end to the port in your TV or monitor.
- Step two: Make sure that both devices are switched on.
- Step three: Change the TV input to the correct one. Press the input button on your TV remote. Change the input to HDMI or the one that reflects your laptop screen.
If the connection isn’t automatically established you can try the following.
- Go to Settings on your laptop.
- From there select ‘system’ and then ‘display’.
- Make sure that your TV is selected under the display section.
You can adjust the screen size on both your laptop and TV to ensure that you have the display settings that work best for you.
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Apps you can use instead of an HDMI cable.
If you don’t have an HDMI cable, an HDMI output port on your laptop, or an HDMI input port on your TV there are alternatives you can use. Applications like Miracast, Chromecast, or Space Desk are great to use since they function wirelessly over your internet connection.
- Miracast connects over WiFi and mirrors your display screen onto the connected device. Both devices must support Miracast. Go to your device settings. Select ‘system’ then ‘display’. There should be an option to connect to a wireless display. If you are not sure that your devices support Miracast inherently you can download the app on both devices and connect from there.
- Chromecast functions in a similar fashion, however, if your device does not have a built-in function you can purchase a Chromecast device. The device connects to your TV with an attached USB device connected to a power supply. You then continue to download the Google Home App. Follow the instructions to set up Chromecast and finally cast your content.
- Space Desk technology was created to share content on your mobile device to your laptop, however, they have recently expanded to working on Smart TVs as well. Start by installing the Space Desk installer file. Follow the Setup Wizard. Do this for both devices you would like to use. Ensure both devices are connected to the same WiFi. Then connect these devices.
You now have the information and tools needed to project one of your device screens to another. You can either use an HDMI cable or use applications to do this. You also have the information to be able to tell between different HDMI cable sizes, and you know the difference between an input and output port.
All in all, connecting your laptop or desktop to your TV set needs just couple of connections with help of your HDMI port. Apart from that, you just have to tweak some settings on your laptop as well as on your TV set and you’re ready to rock.