Best Way To Make Laptop HDMI Input Possible

laptop hdmi input

In this article I will teach you how to use your laptop as a monitor for your computer or console. In order to display a screen, the device will require a HDMI input port. However, laptop’s usually only come with an output port. To get around this issue we will be using a video capture card in order to get laptop HDMI input connectivity.

Is It Possible To Get Laptop HDMI Input?

You can’t get HDMI input on a laptop because the HDMI ports are for output only. So you can connect it to a TV and play your media on the TV but you cannot do it the other way around.

The main reason why this is not possible to do is that the signal has to be decoded in a specific process which laptops are not able to do yet.

There is also a problem with voltage as the LCD panels on laptops have different voltage levels compared to a monitor, so the signals will not transfer.

If you use an input port then it will only be a display and your audio, mouse and keyboard will not work.

Understanding HDMI Ports: Input vs. Output

Before we delve into the solution, it’s essential to understand the difference between laptop HDMI input and output:

  1. HDMI Input: This is typically found on devices that display content, like TVs and monitors. An input allows the device to receive data from another source.
  2. HDMI Output: This is found on devices that send content, like laptops, gaming consoles, and DVD players. An output allows the device to send data to a display.

Most laptops are equipped with HDMI output ports, allowing them to send video and audio to external displays. However, very few laptops come with HDMI input ports.

What is a Video Capture Card?

A video capture card is an external device designed to capture video signals from various sources, converting them into a format that your computer can display or store. Gamers often use these cards to stream or record their gameplay from consoles

How To Get Laptop HDMI Input Via Video Capture Card:

  1. Purchase a Suitable Video Capture Card: Ensure the card supports HDMI input and is compatible with your laptop’s operating system.
  2. Connect the Capture Card: Plug the HDMI cable from the external device (e.g., gaming console, another computer) into the HDMI input of the capture card.
  3. Connect the Capture Card to Your Laptop: Most modern capture cards use a USB connection. Simply plug the USB end of the capture card into an available USB port on your laptop.
  4. Install Necessary Software: Some capture cards come with proprietary software that needs to be installed on your laptop. This software will allow you to view and record the incoming HDMI signal. OBS is a popular piece of software for this method.
  5. Launch the Software and Select the Source: Once the software is installed, open it and select the capture card as your video source. You should now see the video feed from the external device on your laptop screen. Don’t forget to add an audio source too.
  6. Adjust Settings as Needed: Depending on the software and capture card, you might have options to adjust the resolution, frame rate, and other video settings. Tweak these as necessary for optimal performance.

Benefits of Using a Video Capture Card:

  • Versatility: Apart from converting laptop HDMI output to input you can also record and stream content, making it a favorite tool among content creators.
  • High-Quality Transmission: Capture cards are designed to handle high-definition signals, ensuring that the displayed content retains its quality.
  • Real-Time Feedback: For gamers and live streamers, this tool provides almost real-time feedback, which is crucial for interactive sessions.

Best Video Capture Cards

  1. Elgato Game Capture HD60 S:
    • Features: USB 3.0 Type-C connection, 1080p at 60fps capture, instant gameview for real-time playback.
    • Best For: Gamers and streamers who want high-quality recordings with minimal lag.
  2. AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus:
    • Features: 4K pass-through, PC and PC-free modes, microSD card slot for standalone recording.
    • Best For: Gamers on-the-go and those who prefer a portable solution.
  3. Razer Ripsaw HD:
    • Features: 4K pass-through, 1080p recording at 60fps, full audio mixing capabilities.
    • Best For: Streamers looking for a balance between high-quality capture and audio functionalities.
  4. Blackmagic Design DeckLink Mini Recorder:
    • Features: PCIe interface, 1080p recording, supports both HDMI and SDI inputs.
    • Best For: Professionals in need of a versatile solution for both studio and on-the-go recording.
  5. Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen2:
    • Features: Plug-and-play usability, 1080p at 60fps capture, automatic video scaling and aspect ratio conformity.
    • Best For: Users seeking a straightforward solution without the need for additional drivers or software.
  6. Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2:
    • Features: 4K at 60fps capture, HDR10 recording, ultra-low latency.
    • Best For: Content creators and gamers who demand 4K recording capabilities.
  7. AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K:
    • Features: 4K HDR recording, high frame rate capture up to 240fps, RGB lighting.
    • Best For: Gamers and streamers who want both performance and aesthetics.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Video Capture Card:

  • Resolution and Frame Rate: Depending on your needs, you might want a card that supports 4K recording or one that prioritizes high frame rates.
  • Interface: Whether it’s USB, PCIe, or Thunderbolt, ensure the card’s interface is compatible with your system.
  • Software Compatibility: Some cards come with proprietary software, while others are compatible with popular streaming and recording software.
  • Portability: If you’re a content creator on-the-move, consider a more compact and portable capture card.
  • Price: High-end features often come with a higher price tag. Determine your needs and budget before making a decision.

Models Which Have A Laptop HDMI Input Port

There are some models that actually have a HDMI-input port, however these are very rare and in that case there would actually be two ports.

Some models have this port such as the Alienware 18, M17x, R4 and M18x. Current models from Alienware do not have this and it’s not to be expected in the future as this feature is not popular.

The M17x R4 also has 3 USB ports.

Can You Use A Laptop As A Monitor?

Only models that have a HDMI input can be used as an external monitor or second screen. Most people use it the other way around. They have their laptop displayed onto a second monitor as a second monitor would be bigger.

You can use third party programs like spacedesk via wifi to use a laptop as a second display instead of using HDMI.

You can use wireless display connectivity like using miracast on windows 10 to connect your laptop and pc via the wifi network. To do this you have to:

  • Go to windows 10 display settings
  • Choose projecting to this PC
  • Choose always on
  • Enable on your laptop as well
  • Press Windows + P and press connect to a wireless display
  • Select your laptop and configure the resolution settings.

Connecting Xbox Without Laptop HDMI Input Port

You can’t connect an Xbox to a laptop via HDMI and expect the laptop to receive the signal unless it has an HDMI input port like on Alienware laptops.

If you do this it can be risky and damage internal components because the voltage could be a mismatch between the LCD screen and the xbox. On most laptops that have a single HDMI port, you will not be able to receive any signals if you connect the HDMI cable from your Xbox to your laptop.

Most people just use game capture cards which are a bit expensive to record or stream their games on console. There is a lot of input delay sometimes when using a game capture card and this can make you play a lot worse in the game.

Conclusion

While laptops don’t natively have laptop HDMI input ports, with tools like video capture cards, this limitation can be easily overcome. Whether you’re a gamer, a content creator, or just someone looking to display content from another device on your laptop, a video capture card offers a reliable and high-quality solution. There are also some laptops which actually have an input and output port, but these are very rare.

With over 12 years of experience with laptops, Grayson Uppington has delved deep into the tech world, always learning and sharing. His top pick is the Lenovo Legion Slim 5, blending performance with style. Formerly a pro gamer in CS:GO, those tournaments sharpened his skills and heightened his appreciation for laptop potential.