How to Change HDMI Output to Input on a Laptop (Problem Solved!)

If you have a new laptop, you may have noticed that the HDMI port on the back has a little silver circle in the center of it. This is a universal symbol for activating the HDMI output on your computer. The problem is that if you are like me and buy laptops from time to time, you will find that a few of your new laptops don’t have an HDMI output port. The solution is to find a way to change the HDMI output to an HDMI input .

This is a problem I’ve run into recently, and I wanted to share my solution with others so they don’t have to go through this hassle. The issue stems from how the HDMI port on your laptop outputs video, yet your computer only has a display that can accept this signal. This means you have to connect a monitor to your laptop’s HDMI port to see what your laptop is showing.

I was recently watching a YouTube video where the guy was having an issue with his laptop that had a bad HDMI output to his TV. He was unable to get the device to send the video to his TV. Normally, I wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of posting this, and I ordinarily would have just reported it to the user’s YouTube account, but the problem was solvable and I really wanted to share my solution with the world. This is the (solved) problem, and how I fixed it.. Read more about how do i enable my hdmi port on my computer? and let us know what you think.

In the overwhelming majority of instances, laptops feature HDMI output connectors. They are used to transmit audio and video from a laptop to an external device, such as a TV or another display. They aren’t designed to accept signals from other sources.

You can’t just connect an HDMI cable into your laptop and a game console, for example, and use your laptop as a second display. In order to do so, we’d need an HDMI input port that could receive data as well as transmit it.

We published a tutorial on how to prevent this and convert your laptop into a gaming console display using alternative methods. But what about making it simple and adaptable to different devices? Is it possible to convert a laptop’s HDMI output to an input?

On a laptop, changing HDMI Output to Input

It is not feasible to convert a laptop’s HDMI output to input using an HDMI adaptor or anything similar. The port itself and how the laptop is constructed are to blame for transmitting and receiving signals, not the connection. And it’s just designed for output, which means it’ll transmit a signal regardless of which cable you connect it to.

Unfortunately, many websites will tell you differently and will advise you to buy HDMI converters, but this will not help. A laptop with an output-only port will only be able to transmit and not receive signals.

It is the port, not the cable, that determines which direction the transmission travels. And converting HDMI output to input on a laptop is difficult as long as your laptop’s port is only designed to transmit signal to an external source and not to accept audio and/or video signal (as most laptops nowadays are).

Is it possible to utilize HDMI as an input on a laptop?

No, not in that way. The HDMI connection on a laptop is designed to be an output port only, therefore you can’t use it as an input port under any circumstances.

You can still receive signal and show it on your laptop’s monitor if you change the HDMI to input, but that won’t function.

You have a few options for workarounds.

Even if the simple method — for example, connecting an HDMI cable into your laptop and a console – is not feasible, there are workarounds for using your laptop’s display as a monitor for external devices.

However, they need the purchase of a capture card or equivalent equipment, which may be very costly. You could easily buy a good 4K TV with the money you would have spent on such a device.

You may utilize your laptop’s display to receive signal from an external device such as a game console if you don’t have enough room for an external TV or just choose not to use HDMI.

gaming console on laptop screen

Instead, you’ll need to utilize a capture card that connects to your laptop and the device you’re streaming to through USB.

Because a large amount of data will be sent – particularly for 4K resolutions – the connection will be made through USB-C or Thunderbolt.

As a result, double-check that your laptop has these ports. Alternatively, you may go at my selection of 17-inch laptops that have these connections as well as a bigger screen that’s ideal for streaming.

On a laptop with a capture card, how do I convert HDMI Output to Input?

First and first, I must state that we will not be changing the HDMI output to input, as we already addressed the impossibility of doing so.

Because most users utilize this suggested workaround and can convert their laptop into a display, they mistakenly believe they’ve switched from output to input.

This is incorrect; nevertheless, they are just technical matters. As a consequence, you may receive signal from an external source via your laptop.

You’ll need a capture card like the Elgato HD60 S (affiliate link), which is my personal favorite.

There are other alternatives on the market, but the Elgato is reasonably priced and performs well, allowing you to transmit audio and video signals from any major game console – Xbox or PlayStation – to your laptop.

It’s simple to use one to convert an output to an input and get a signal on your laptop:

1. Plug the USB-C cable into the capture card, then into a USB 3.0 port on your laptop or desktop. To get the best performance, make sure you connect it to a USB 3.0 port rather than an older one.

2. Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI IN port on your capture card and the other end to your game console.

3. Plug another HDMI cable into the card’s HDMI OUT port and into your laptop’s other end.

And this is it! You will set-up your capture card next and you’ll be able to receive signal from the external source, via the capture card itself and on your laptop’s screen.

While it may seem that you’re changing the laptop’s HDMI output to input, you’re really transferring the signal to your display through the USB-C cable/port.

But, as previously said, they are just technical minutiae that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. What important is that this is the only true method to accomplish so, and that a normal adaptor, such as an HDMI output to input cable, would not suffice.


Although you can’t simply convert a laptop’s HDMI output to input, you can accomplish the same effects using a capture card. It will only operate with a USB 3.0 or higher port, which most contemporary laptops have.

Even though it’s a little expensive, it’s a reliable technique that enables you to see external video and music on your laptop’s screen.

Make careful to double-check all of a capture card’s specifications (particularly the system requirements), since they often need a higher-end laptop with a dedicated graphics card to operate correctly.

If you can only satisfy the minimal criteria, you may encounter some latency, but with a little adjusting, the results will be at least acceptable.

As you can see, the procedure is a little convoluted. So, unless you have a particular purpose to utilize your laptop as a display for your console (such capturing video on your laptop, streaming, or something similar), it may be simpler to simply get an inexpensive smart TV instead.

For example, this Insignia model (affiliate link) isn’t much more expensive than a capture card, but it comes with a bigger screen (32′′) and, since it’s a smart TV, it’ll allow you quick access to Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and other streaming services as long as you have a WiFi connection.

In the end, it’s your choice since you’re the one who knows why you need to convert that HDMI output to input in the first place.

It’s nice to know you have options, and in this instance, the alternative may be the better option unless you plan on broadcasting or recording gameplay footage.

Spread the word about this post!

Over the years I have probably bought or built a laptop from scratch around 10 times. It is a hobby that I personally love. It is also a problem that I love to solve. The problem that I feel most people have is that they think that changing the output and input to the laptop is the same as changing the display or sound settings. This is not the case.. Read more about hdmi port not working on pc and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change my HDMI output to input on my laptop?

You can change the HDMI output to input by pressing Fn + F5 on your keyboard.

How do I switch between HDMI inputs?

You can switch between HDMI inputs by pressing the PS button on your controller.

How do I fix my HDMI port on my laptop?

The HDMI port is a connector on your laptop that connects the monitor to the computer. If you are using an HDMI cable, make sure it is plugged in all the way and not loose. If you are using a VGA cable, make sure it is plugged in all the way and not loose.

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