What Is The Difference Between HDMI Input And Output?

Norvan Martin
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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 input is used to connect a source device such as a DVD player, Blu-Ray player, or gaming console to a monitor, TV, or another device. This allows you to transmit video and audio from your source device to the display. On the other hand, HDMI output is used for sending video and audio signals from one device to another connected device.

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 to a digital TV’s HDMI input.

Let’s get into more detail 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 observe 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 capability 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 the receiver and the TV to transmit all video and audio signals.

TV With HDMI Input and Output

High Definition Multimedia Interface, also known as HDMI, is a media receiver that produces high-quality sound and video.

There are various TVs with compatibility for HDMI connections.  However, this connection is made possible through the HDMI media cable. 

Smart TV with HDMI output

Some of the best buys for Smart TVs with HDMI output include the following:

Samsung TV With HDMI Output

Check out the following Samsung TV with HDMI output compatibility:

Smart TV With Video Output

The following are smart TVs that have video output support:

TV With HDMI Output To Projector

On average, a TV with an HDMI output can be connected to a projector. However, this requires technical know-how to know how to connect the gadgets. Below are some easy steps to follow.

  1. For safety reasons, both the television and the projector should be disconnected from a power source. 
  2. Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on the TV that is labeled “output”. Connect the other end to the HDMI port of the projector labeled “input”.

Your projector should be automatically connected by now, but if it isn’t, change the video input on the projector to HDMI.

TV With 6 HDMI Ports

For now, the maximum number of HDMI inputs on most TVs is around 4 ports, although some have 8 which are divided into 4 inputs and 4 outputs.

However, with the help of an HDMI splitter, you can connect to more devices.

4K TV With 5 HDMI Ports

It is very difficult to find 4K TVs with 5 HDMI ports. However, you can find 4K TVs with 4 HDMI ports like the Sony X90J or the Samsung Q70A.

Samsung TV With Video Output

There are a number of Samsung TVs that have Video output, some are listed below: 

  • Samsung 65-Inch Class Crystal UHD AU8000 Series-4K UHD HDR Smart TV with Alexa Built-in 
  • Samsung 40-inch Class LED Smart FHD TV 1080P
  • Samsung 32-inch Class LED Smart FHD TV 1080P
  • Samsung 55-Inch Class Neo QLED QN85A Series-4K UHD Quantum HDR 24x Smart TV with Alexa Built-in and 6 speakers Object Tracking Sound  
  • Samsung 27-Inch Class Monitor M5 Series-FHD Smart Monitor and Streaming TV 
  • Samsung (M5 Series) 32-Inch FHD 1080p Smart Monitor & Streaming TV 
  • Samsung 85-Inch Class Neo QLED 8K QN800A Series–8K UHD Quantum HDR 32x Smart TV with Alexa Built-in 

Cheap TV With HDMI Port

Below are some of the cheapest TVs that come with at least one fully functional HDMI port:

  • Amani 24 inch full HD LED TV
  • Itel (1940AE) ELED HD TV
  • Xiaomi 4A smart TV


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.

How Do I Know If My HDMI Is Input Or Output?

HDMI ports are usually labeled if they are HDMI in ports. If an HDMI port is unlabeled, it’s an out port. In gadgets that have both, the two ports are separate and labeled for input and output.

HDMI cables are two-way with one end being the input end and the other end being the output end. To test your HDMI port, you can hook your laptop up to a television using a cable and note which end works as in or out.

Can I Use HDMI Input As Output?

No. The two ports have different functions and so are wired differently and cannot be used interchangeably without the aid of HDMI adapters which are handy devices that come with both ports and so can adapt either port to a different function.

Are HDMI Ports Two Way?

HDMI ports are not two-way. Only HDMI cables function as a two-way connection between input and output ports connecting to each port on either end. Ports can only be adapted to the opposite function using an HDMI adapter.

Do Desktops Have HDMI Ports?

HDMI has become the industry standard for high-definition connectors, and many new PCs and televisions contain an HDMI output port. The issue is that older PCs do not have HDMI ports. If your desktop computer does not have an HDMI output, it is possible to replace it with a new graphics card that does have one or utilize an adapter.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin