Many of us are familiar with using HDMI to output your computer’s screen to a bigger display, such as TVs and monitors.
But is it possible to receive signals from other sources such as a gaming console to your computer? Can you use your computer as an extra monitor for other devices?
While this may sound easy, your laptop’s HDMI port is an output port and cannot receive signals from other sources.
So how can you make it receive a signal through HDMI from an external device?
In this article, we will discuss how to change HDMI output to input on laptop, the different types of HDMI cables, and the benefits of using this cable compared to DVI, another popular display cord.
While some computers, such as Alienware laptops, have both HDMI input and output ports, it’s still uncommon for most laptops to have both.
And even if your computer has an HDMI port, it usually won’t function as an input port if you want to.
You need to configure the port and allow it to receive signals from external devices. Here are some ways of changing HDMI output to input:
Related: How To Charge A Laptop Using HDMI
One of the easiest ways to change your HDMI output port to an input port is by using switches or splitters.
This innovation contains both an HDMI input port and output port, allowing your laptop to receive a signal from other devices. The setup is also quick.
All you need to do is plug in the switch or splitter to your computer, and external devices can project the display onto your laptop screen without extra configuration.
With a splitter, gaming consoles like PS5 or XBOX can now be an output source, allowing your computer to receive HDMI signal and use your laptop screen as a monitor.
So even if a TV is not available, you can still play games on your favorite video game consoles.
Related: How To Connect PS4 To A Monitor With And Without HDMI
Using an HDMI Output to Input Adapter
Another easy way to convert HDMI output to input on laptop is by using an adapter. Think of it as a converter rather than an adapter.
It basically changes the standard HDMI port on your computer to an input port without the hassle.
Some adapters have multiple HDMI input ports and HDMI output ports, allowing your computer to receive a video signal from connected devices using your laptop display as an external monitor.
Many USB and HDMI adapters online allow you to use a standard HDMI connector and transmit audio and video to your computer—for example, Magewell USB Capture HDMI, which has an HDMI input and USB for an output port.
So even if your laptop doesn't have an HDMI output port, your computer can still receive audio and video signals from the USB port using a USB adapter.
Without an external source (Wireless Connection)
Using external adapters or splitters with multiple HDMI input and output ports can cost you money. So how to change HDMI output to input on laptop without spending a dime? Simple.
By downloading software on your computer that allows screen sharing to display audio and video files from an external device.
You only need an internet connection, and you can easily share a screen between two devices.
This also means you don’t have to worry about buying an HDMI cable or having a laptop with an HDMI connection.
With these programs, you can also cast the screen of a device that doesn’t have an HDMI port to your computer.
Miracast  and Spacedesk  are some display driver software you can use to change HDMI output to input with just a WiFi connection.
Using A Capture Card
If you’re planning to change HDMI output to input for streaming and recording of your video games, the best device to use is a capture card.
This allows a laptop HDMI output port to receive a signal from consoles. The process of converting is also very easy.
First, you need a capture card with two HDMI ports and one USB-C port. One HDMI port is an input port, while the other is the default output source.
Next, plug in the HDMI connectors for the input and output source. Be careful when plugging in your HDMI cord, and make sure you put it in the correct port.
Don’t forget to plug in the USB-C cord to the capture card to your laptop’s USB 3.0 port. Otherwise, the external device won’t stream on your laptop screen.
If you’re wondering why you need USB-C for this method, a capture card doesn’t change the HDMI output of your laptop to input.
Instead, it sends the signal to your display through the USB-C cable/port. So you must plug the card into a USB 3.0 port for it to work.
Using HDMI to VGA adapter
If you have a VGA input on a laptop, an HDMI to VGA adapter might be a good idea to receive signals from another device.
However, this isn’t really recommended since VGA can only transfer video signals, and you’ll need a different connection to send audio to your devices.
Related: How To Play Sound Through A Monitor With HDMI & More
Using DisplayPort to HDMI adapter
If you’re looking for a device that converts your HDMI output into an input, a display port HDMI adapter is the solution. This device is light and easy to carry around.
It has a male HDMI connector on one side and a female HDMI connector on the other.
This allows you to mirror your TV display using the TV decoders output to your computer and vice versa.
With this device, a laptop HDMI input won’t be a problem anymore. You can now change HDMI output to input easily.
What Actually Is HDMI?
HDMI stands for high definition media interface and is used to send audio and video content from connected devices without compromising quality.
With an HDMI video cord, what you see on your input source is what you get from your output device.
It is recommended if you want to preserve the quality of your content and ensure that there will be no difference between the two devices.
Different Types – A, B, C, D
There are different types of HDMI cables, each with its own usage and feature. Here are the different types you should know about:
What Does The HDMI Output Do?
An HDMI output sends audio and video signals from one device to another. It transmits data using transmission minimized differential signaling (TMDS) protocol.
This port allows users to transfer signals without distorting the quality of content.
What Does An HDMI Input Do?
An input HDMI port allows devices to receive HDMI transmissions from other devices. This type of port is usually found on monitors and TVs, commonly known as receiving devices. Many monitors come with an HDMI cable included for added convenience.
Benefits Of Using HDMI Vs. DVI For Laptops
DVI and HDMI are two of the most common ports found on laptops. But why should you choose HDMI over the other port? Here are three reasons why you should ditch DVIs:
With HDMI, you can transmit video and audio signals using a single cord. With DVI, you’ll need a separate connection to send audio files to another device.
This makes streaming content on a different screen simpler.
When you use HDMI, you don’t need to set up two different things on your laptop. It’s as easy as plug and play. DVI requires you to further configure your computer.
HDMI cables are newer devices compared to DVI. There are also numerous versions of this cord that can cater to different technology and gadgets.
This means you can use this cable on various equipment such as cameras, smartphones, tablets, and newer laptops.
Common HDMI Output & Input Questions
Can HDMIs on a laptop actually be used as input?
It’s not possible to change the circuitry of the HDMI port of your laptop, but you can use adapters and switches to transmit signals to your computer via different ports such as USB.
How do I configure my HDMI ports correctly?
You can change the setting of your HDMI ports through the Control Panel > Appearance and Visualization tab.
Click on the Display button and look for Connect to a projector or Connect to an external display button to configure your HDMI ports correctly.
Can I connect two HDMI outputs?
Yes, you can. You only need an HDMI splitter and can operate multiple devices into one HDMI output.
How do I set HDMI as the default output?
On your Windows computer, right-click on the speaker icon on your taskbar. Choose Playback Devices from the menu.
Then, select Digital Output Device or HDMI Device. Lastly, click Set as Default.
What are the standard HDMI cable lengths?
The most common HDMI cable lengths you can find are 3 feet, 6 feet, 10 feet, and 25 feet.
Now that you know how to change HDMI output to input on laptop, you can use your computer screen as a display for your other devices.
However, keep in mind that you can’t change the circuitry of your HDMI port, and you need additional devices connected to your computer or third-party software to transmit data.
In the future, we can expect more laptops with both HDMI input and output ports.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.