One effective way to project your computer to an external display is to use its High-Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI.
Suppose you want your laptop screen to display an AV signal from an external device using HDMI, how would you do it?
Assuming it’s possible, can you use the same HDMI port for both input and output purposes?
Here’s What You Need To Know About Laptops With HDMI Inputs.
First, most laptops only have HDMI output ports, and laptops with HDMI inputs are rare. In fact, only Alienware made them, and they’re no longer in production.
You can always use a game capture device to replicate the functionality of a HDMI input if you need one. You cannot convert a HDMI output into a HDMI input, though.
Why Do Laptops Not Have An HDMI Input?
Most laptops in the market have HDMI outputs but not inputs. Why?
Unlike your ordinary monitor, your laptop isn’t designed to take in a video or HDMI signal for its display.
Instead, your laptop can only transmit a digital signal to an external device through its HDMI output. That’s why your laptop has is a HDMI output.
Many manufacturers do not put HDMI input ports on their laptops. This would be an expensive endeavor that would only add to the price of the laptop. Also, many users don’t need a HDMI input and won’t use their laptop screens as secondary displays from external devices.
Another key reason is that laptop screens use Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) inputs. LVDS inputs are extremely short cables, and manufacturers use this interface for energy-saving purposes.
HDMI signals require higher voltages, and a HDMI input would require more power from your laptop battery, draining it faster.
Besides that, your laptop needs to have special hardware that can decode HDMI signals, and only a handful of laptops in the market can support this functionality.
These laptops are quite expensive, and it would be much easier to buy a game capture device for the same purpose.
How Do I Get HDMI Input On My Laptop?
If you really need a HDMI input, you can always purchase a converter.
In the market, they’re more often referred to as Game Capture devices. These devices capture a HDMI signal and convert it to a format that your laptop can accept via USB.
When using a game capture device, you won’t be able to use any other functionality on your laptop. It won’t allow you to perform tasks or run programs on your laptop.
Instead, your laptop screen will become a secondary screen that captures video from a device like your PS4, PS5 or Xbox.
What Is HDMI Input On Laptops Used For?
HDMI inputs on laptops and other types of secondary displays have similar purposes. You use this input to transmit uncompressed and high-quality video streams into your laptop.
Instead of your laptop transmitting the signal, it receives a video signal via its HDMI input or a gaming capture device, effectively becoming a monitor.
Once connected, your laptop will not perform any other functions except display the video signal through its monitor.
How Do I Know If My Laptop Has HDMI Input?
A limited number of laptops in the market have this hardware configuration and functionality, so it’ll be pretty easy to know.
A HDMI input is a standout feature. Unless you’re actively searching for it on a device, it won’t come standard. However, laptops with a HDMI input will likely state it on their specifications page or as a product value proposition.
Check out the specifications of your laptop on the manufacturer’s website for more details before purchasing it to ensure it has a HDMI input.
Another way to tell is if your laptop has two HDMI ports. This is quite rare, and often one port will have an input label and the other an output label.
If your HDMI port has no label, it’s probably an output port. All HDMI input ports come with labels to prevent confusion and potential damage from misuse.
Can I Turn My HDMI Output Into An Input?
It’s impossible to convert a HDMI output into an input port. You also cannot change the circuitry on the motherboard of your laptop to reverse this. Your HDMI input is a hardware design feature, built to operate in one specific way only.
However, there are other ways to solve this problem. You can always opt for a game capture device. In relation to purchasing a laptop with a HDMI input, these capture devices are quite cheap.
If it’s within your means, you can buy a laptop with a HDMI input port.
What Is The Difference Between HDMI Input And Output?
The distinction between these two types of HDMI ports is clear.
A HDMI input receives both high-quality digital video and audio signals from an output device. An output device could be your DVD/ Blu-ray player or gaming console.
A HDMI output, on the other hand, feeds both audio and video signals to a secondary display device that receives and processes them.
As stated above, a HDMI input will stream an audiovisual signal into your laptop, whereas a HDMI output will transmit that signal into another device, most often, a secondary display monitor.
Where Can I Locate The HDMI Input On My Laptop?
Just like the rest of the ports on your laptop, you’ll find your HDMI port on one of its sides. It may be next to your HDMI output port, or next to USB ports or a DisplayPort.
Take note that the manufacturer will always use a marker to distinguish a HDMI input from an output. Don’t attempt to use your HDMI output as an input. This may cause damage to your computer.
Which Laptops Have An HDMI Input?
Most devices that feature a HDMI input are old Alienware laptops.
At the time I wrote this, Alienware no longer produces these devices. I do not recommend purchasing them unless you’re an enthusiast or need them for a unique purpose.
Here they are:
- m17x R3 manufactured in 2011
- m18x manufactured in 2011
- m17x R4 manufactured in 2012
- m18x R2 manufactured in 2012
- 17 R1 manufactured in 2013
- 18 manufactured in 2013.
By modern standards, these devices are obsolete, but you can find them if you look around the internet hard enough.
Use a game capture device if you really must have a HDMI input on your laptop. You can also use software like Miracast or Space Desk to achieve the same result.
Otherwise you may have to settle for an obsolete laptop, a monitor or an all-in-one computer.