HDMI ports have been around for ages. However, their pivotal role in amplifying the functionality of a laptop is often undermined by the lack of empathy for this feature. In most cases, the otherwise powerful specs sheet and diverse connectivity suite make you forget about the HDMI port, altogether.
However, during the course of this discussion, we shall talk about the HDMI port at length whilst enlisting the functionalities and the nature of their usage, in relevance to a laptop.
Better termed as the High-Definition Multimedia Interface, HDMI is simply a high-bandwidth conduit that allows you to transmit HD video and audio from the origin to the source. While the origin device flaunts the HDMI Out port, the source has the HDMI Input functionality to accept the stream and play it accordingly, sans losses.
What about the Laptop?
In most cases, we prefer projecting the content of our laptop onto the HD monitor or Soundbar for a more amplified experience. Therefore, 99 percent of the laptops fail to account for an HDMI input. Therefore, if you have an HDMI cable on you and a 40-inch screen at home, you might be tempted to stream the laptop content onto the television by plugging into the HDMI Input of the receiver, i.e. the TV.
However, things might get tricky if you want to view the contents of the television onto the laptop, especially to continue multitasking and getting entertained, simultaneously. This is the reason why we thought a discussion like the current one would be relevant.
Why is HDMI Input Underrated yet Important for Laptops?
Let’s understand a few possibilities here.
Suppose, your PS4 suddenly stops working and you are only left with the one screen-equipped device at home i.e. your laptop. However, you suddenly realize that the laptop circuitry is designed in such a way that the HDMI input is fixed to the laptop screen as the only option to project whereas the HDMI output is open for use. But that hardly matters as you would want something that can help you connect the PS4 to the laptop.
The Truth: Bitter yet Brazen
A laptop-adhering HDMI port is hidebound by conventional restrictions. This means, physically you cannot change the ‘Out’ to the’ In’. You would need exceptional skills, hardware support, and the willingness to experiment.
However, things can be made easier if you are willing to purchase a Capture Card. This USB-bound device offers an extension to your laptop, thereby making it fit for accepting HDMI input. This is the external device that most Twitch streamers use to project their gaming streams onto the laptop while shooting videos or connecting with the audience in real-time.
Not Every Capture Card is Useful
While capture cards are extremely handy resources for projecting video and audio onto the laptop, as a makeshift HDMI input, not every entity is useful. To get the best possible experience, you need to have a high-end option, which then keeps lags and frame drops to a minimum. Low-quality capture cards increase the transmission latency.
Besides, Capture cards also support audio transmission and even allow you to record videos by projecting the device as an entertainment hub. However, you need to check the laptop drivers beforehand to manage stuff with ease and minimize incompatibility issues, if any.
Are there other Techniques?
In addition to Capture Cards, you can also resort to a few other strategies for adding HDMI Input functionality to the laptop, without having to unscrew the same. These include:
While some laptops have this built-in DP can also be incorporated as an external device for converting the HDMI output into input whilst allowing you to mirror the Television display onto the laptop. Then again, your laptop needs to have the TV tuner support to play the channels properly.
External HDMI Plus Device
The Magwell HDMI Plus connects to the USB port and increases the port distribution of the laptop. The entire setup comprises two HDMI slots, one USB port, and a standalone 3.5mm jack for the headphones. While one HDMI port can be paired along with the headphone for experiencing high-quality music, the other one is an HDMI Input, capable of projecting visuals onto the laptop.
This device is more of an HDMI to USB converter that allows you to set seamless connections between the PC and the concerned television set. While it brings home the USB 3.0 functionality, the transmission quality is still pretty good and way better than the ones experienced over USB 2.0 slots.
In addition to these strategies, you can also go opt for specific software solutions for sharing screens between select devices. However, if cutting the cord is your priority, there are a handful of other options to consider, including:
1. Space Desk
This network-based screen-sharing technique requires you to download a specific software solution. However, for this to work, you need to have a smart gadget or a streaming device at your disposal.
Mirecast is termed as HDMI streaming on Wi-Fi. While this functionality has been around for a long, it is best displayed by high-end Windows gadgets. Synonymous with screen mirroring, this device also allows you to transmit smartphone content onto television sets.
Barring a few exclusive gaming laptops that feature two HDMI ports, one for the output and the other one for the input, most others offer only the output functionality. While you cannot go about changing the orientation directly without impacting the circuitry, you can resort to the aforementioned techniques to pair ‘HDMI Input’ capabilities with the existing machine.