Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more popular to transfer data from one device to another, bypassing portable storage devices. One such method is the HDMI cable. The vast majority of laptops have HDMI output ports. This means that they’re used to send audio and video from the laptop to an external source, such as a TV or other monitor. They’re not used to receiving the signal from an external source.
That’s why you can’t just plug an HDMI cable into your laptop and game console, for example, and use your laptop as an additional monitor. To do this, you will need an HDMI input port that allows you to receive data, not just send it. Well, let’s take a closer look at how to change HDMI output and input on a laptop.
How does HDMI work?
Connecting one device to another is becoming easier and easier, which is why HDMI is so popular. There are almost no devices that don’t have this port. In some cases, you can use adapters, for example, to connect a smartphone to a monitor or TV. Only the image that’s broadcast from the source device will be displayed.
Before you know how to turn on HDMI on your laptop, you need to understand what this connector is for. It can be used to broadcast movies, clips, and music. The principle is simple – replacing the analog connection method, HDMI facilitates the transfer of high-quality video and audio from one device to another. It can be a connection from a PC to a TV, from a smartphone to a monitor, and so on. Even video cards are connected to a monitor using this method.
Modern versions of the cable can transmit images in 2K and 4K quality. Unlike its predecessor VGA, this interface doesn’t distort the image and has a higher data transfer rate of 60 and 120 Hertz screen updates. And the presence of an audio channel helps to avoid additional audio connections.
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Is it possible to change the HDMI output to the input on a laptop?
Unfortunately, you cannot use an HDMI adapter or something similar to change your laptop’s HDMI output to an input. After all, it’s not the cable that’s responsible for sending or receiving the signal, but the port itself and the design of the laptop. And it’s designed for output only, that’s, to send the signal, no matter what cable you connect. Even if you buy the latest and greatest HDMI cable, it still won’t help you.
The cable doesn’t decide which way the signal goes, but the port itself. And as long as your laptop’s port is designed only to send the signal to an external source and doesn’t receive the audio and/or video signal (as most laptops do today), you cannot change the HDMI output to the input on your laptop.
The HDMI port on your laptop is for output only, so you won’t be able to use it as an input port no matter what. However, there’s a workaround for getting the signal and displaying it on your laptop monitor, but this won’t happen if you change the HDMI to input. A feature of HDMI is also that in some cases it can be converted to Coax.
What is a workaround to use a laptop as a monitor for an external device?
Some workarounds allow you to use your laptop display as a monitor for external devices. However, to do so, you will need to invest in a capture card or similar devices, which are usually quite expensive.
However, if for some reason you prefer to use your laptop monitor to receive a signal from an external source, such as a gaming console, you can do so, but not via HDMI. Instead, you’ll need to use a capture card that connects via USB to your laptop and the device you want to stream video to.
Since there will be a huge amount of data being transferred – especially at 4K resolution – the connection will be through a USB-C or Thunderbolt port. So make sure your laptop is equipped with these ports.
How to change HDMI output to the input on a laptop using a capture card
If you want to change the HDMI output to the input on a laptop, you can use the Elgato HD60 S capture card. Of course, you can also use other models. However, most users give preference to this one.
Elgato is capable of transmitting audio and video signals from all major gaming consoles – Xbox or PlayStation – to your laptop. The process of using one of them to convert the output to input and receive the signal on the laptop is very simple:
- First of all, connect a USB-C cable to the capture card and the other end to a USB 3.0 port on your laptop.
- Plug the HDMI cable into the game console and the other end into the HDMI IN port on the capture card.
- Finally, connect the other HDMI cable to the HDMI OUT port on the card, and the other end to your laptop.
Once you have completed these steps, you will be able to set up your capture card and be able to receive the signal from an external source, through the capture card itself, and onto your laptop screen.
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What kinds of HDMI cables are available?
Unlike many devices, HDMI has a reverse connection between any of its versions. For example, you can use the first-generation cable and enable data transfer from a second-generation connector. However, in this case, the data rate and picture/sound quality will match the cable standard, not the connector.
Also, many experts recommend paying attention to the cable length/thickness ratio. The fact is that the market is full of fakes, and if there’s no possibility to know the characteristics of the cable in detail, you should pay attention to its appearance.
First, if the cord is long, then as it increases, the thickness should also increase. That is, a cable that’s one and a half meters long will be much thinner than a cable that’s ten meters long. Second, safety is most important. Cable manufacturers, to protect their products, put special filters that prevent electromagnetic interference. Externally, they look like a cylindrical thickening at the base of the cable.