How to change HDMI output to input on laptop

If you’re trying to connect your console or camera to your laptop or PC, then you’ve probably thought of every method out there you could use to make this possible. The most common way to connect your laptop to your TV or another monitor is to use a HDMI cable. So, surely you should be able to connect another device to your laptop in the same way, right?

Well, no not really. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as just connecting a HDMI cable to your laptop and switching it from output to input. So, let’s look at the way that you can connect a device to your laptop.

How to change HDMI output to input on laptop

The answer is that it’s not actually possible for you to change the HDMI from output to input on your laptop without some additional hardware to help you do this. This is because laptops aren’t designed to accept input of video, and there’s nothing you can do with your HDMI cable to change that.

A standard HDMI cable is not directional, which means that it can go both ways. This is where people get confused, as they think this means that it can allow you to change an output to an input. But, unfortunately this isn’t possible when you’re using HDMI.

This is down to the HDMI connector type ports that your laptop has. It only has HDMI output ports, meaning it can send video signals from itself to another device. It doesn’t have HDMI input ports, which means that you cannot set up another device to connect to your laptop’s display.

So, it’s not possible for you to switch your laptops capabilities of being able to accept a HDMI signal from another external device. But is there anything that you can do to get your console, camera or another device to show up and stream onto your laptop screen? Well, there is a way that you can do this.

The solution

The solution to this problem is for you to use a capture card. This can allow you to connect another device to your laptop, and allow you to stream whatever you’re watching onto your laptop screen too.


As I mentioned, a laptop doesn’t allow video input from another device, which can be a little annoying. But, this is exactly what a capture card does – it gives your laptop the ability to accept video input from another device.

So if you’re wondering how all of the Twitch streamers manage to connect their console to their PC to stream their gaming, then they’ll be using a capture card to do this.

You need to ensure that you get a capture card of a decent enough quality. A lot of the cheaper capture cards out there aren’t great, and there will be a significant amount of lag between the gameplay and the streaming on your laptop.

Don’t opt for a low cost model that will leave you without a high quality connection. As it stands, this is still the best way to get your display from video or gaming console onto the screen of your laptop.

What does HDMI input mean?

You’ll find HDMI input written by the HDMI port of many devices, but in most cases, you’re going to find them on monitors and televisions. This type of HDMI port is only designed to allow other devices to input video content into the device, which is digitally transferred via the HDMI cable. HDMI, which stands for high definition media interface, is just the cable that is used for transferring data.

What does HDMI output mean?

At the other end of the scale, you also have devices that will have a HDMI output port. This includes laptops, but also includes consoles and some other devices, like soundbars. This port is only capable of sending out a signal via the HDMI cable, via both an audio and video method.

Do any laptops have HDMI input capabalities?

There are a very select few laptops which actually have video input capabilities – one that immediately springs to mind is the Alienware M17. There are a selection of Alienware laptops that will have both HDMI input and output capabilities, and they’re designed like this specifically for those wanting to stream. But aside from these laptops, the only way for you to connect another device to your laptop via HDMI is with a capture card.


Whilst HDMI cables can actually work in both directions, this is only for audio purposes. So, you could connect a device to your laptop with a HDMI cable and play audio, but you can’t connect an external device to your laptop with a HDMI cable and play videos.

There is no way for you to switch the output to the input. This is the same for all different HDMI versions, whether you’re using HDMI 1.3 all the way through to HDMI 2.1.

Unfortunately, aside from a capture card there’s actually no other resolution for this problem. So, if you want to stream onto your laptop, you’ll need to pick up a capture card.

Avatar of Jon
About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

Leave a Comment


Intel Optane Memory vs RAM vs SSD – Explained

Best Laptop for Drawing & Digital Art [2023]