What Is The Difference Between HDMI Input And Output
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HDMI is a technology that enhances audio/video signal transmission between receivers and display devices. This article is about HDMI input and output and the difference between them.HDMI INPUTS VS OUTPUTS

Is there a difference between HDMI input and output and how can I know which one is input/output?

HDMI inputs accept one end of an HDMI cable which then accepts an incoming audio or video signal transferred from another device through an HDMI output. HDMI outputs send audio and video signals into the HDMI inputs of digital devices to process. 

We should also mention that it’s rather rare to have an HDMI input on any device and if you had such an input, it would be labeled as such.

HDMI inputs and outputs are found on digital TVs, PCs, and many home theater receivers. For example, the HMDI output of a Blu-ray player could be connected to an HDMI input on a  receiver or it could be connected directly into a digital TV’s HDMI input.

Let’s get into more details about HDMI input and output. 

HDMI Input vs HDMI Output Comparison

1. On A Laptop PC

For most laptops, all HDMI ports are HDMI outputs. We do not know any laptop with HDMI input built-in.

As a general rule, laptops cannot receive audio or video signals from any other source other than the motherboard.

2. On A Desktop PC

If you are using a desktop computer, then you are using HDMI input if the HDMI port is on a video capture card. However, if the HDMI port is on your motherboard or graphics card, then it’s an output.

3. On A TV

Many TVs have AT LEAST 3 HDMI ports. In most cases, 2 of them are possibly multi-use. Here are the typical HDMI ports:

  • HDMI (Only)-Only inputs HDMI signal
  • HDMI (DVI)-Inputs HDMI and DVI (converted) signals
  • HDMI (ARC)-The ONLY HDMI input that doubles as an output


This means, for most digital TVs, you can find both HDMI input and output ports. For example, if you want to output your TV audio signals to a surround sound system ( 5.1 ~ 7.2 surround sound receiver), then you can use ARC, or Audio Return Channel.

4. On A Monitor

Monitors are input devices and so the HDMI ports on these devices are HDMI input ports for accepting video. In fact, some monitors have built in speakers and accept HDMI audio and video. 

How To Test HDMI Input and Output

The easiest way to test your HDMI port to see if it’s input or output is to connect your device (say your laptop) to a TV and observing if it functions as an input or output port.

Does HDMI Use Input Or Output?

HDMI can either be input or output depending on its intended use. Getting high-quality audio and video from a home-theater system is made easier with HDMI. This is an all-digital connection with the capabilities of carrying and transmitting multi-channel sound and video signals in just a single cable.

Also, it supports high-definition video together with high-resolution audio. In addition, it is compatible with formats including DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, and 3D video.

HDMI Inputs

HDMI inputs are built on several modern home theater receivers and digital TVs. The inputs are designed to one end of an HDMI cable.


Audio and video signals transferred from HDMI output devices such as A/V receivers and Blu-ray players are transmitted into receiver devices such as speakers through HDMI inputs.

On the other hand, HDMI inputs aren’t placed on computers because HDMI input has to manage several issues like HDCP protection. This processing would make your computer slow and may lead to blank screens. 

HDMI Outputs

HDMI outputs are designed to deliver signals – either audio or video, into the HDMI inputs of digital devices. The devices receive and process the signals.


The HDMI output of a Blu-ray player for instance can be connected to the HDMI input on a TV or an AV receiver. 

Making The HDMI Connection

It’s important to know which port is an HDMI input or output port as well as the type of HDMI port you have when connecting HDMI devices because it’s the only way you can troubleshoot properly. For example, if your receiver output ports stop working, you need to tell which si which. 

To perform an HDMI input-to-output connection, you need an HDMI cable. The cable can convey high-resolution signals of both audio and video using just one cord.

At the ends of the cables, there are plug connectors. The plugs feature 19 pins that make the connection successful.

In addition, the HDMI plugs on both ends of the cable have an equal number of pins and are in a position to connect to either the input or to the output port. The cables do not, therefore, have male or female nor left or right channel connectors as they have a similar design.

Analog-To-HDMI Conversion

Several AV receivers are built with digital processors. The processors are in a position to take analog video signals from devices such as DVD players and convert them to HDMI.

It is therefore possible and much easier to use just one HDMI cable connected between receiver and TV to transmit all video and audio signals.

Why Are There Two HDMI Ports On My Soundbar, And What Do They Mean?

Generally, sound signals from TVs or any other streaming devices will usually connect to the input or “in” port.

Input HDMI ports are therefore meant to take in signals. On the other hand, HDMI output or “out” is meant to transmit signals out of the TV or any other streaming device.

For soundbars, for instance, one HDMI port is an output from the speaker to the TV, while the other is input from a source device such as a satellite receiver.

If you play music or video from an external source, the soundbar extracts the signals through the input port and simultaneously passes it on to an external display device such as a TV through the output cable.