Why Won't My HDMI Cable Hook My PC Up to My TV?

by Richard Asmus

As computer and home entertainment technologies come closer together, many manufacturers consider HDMI to be the standard solution to connections from computers to high-definition television sets. But many users mistakenly think that HDMI is only a cable and don't realize it's a digital interface technology. Making a successful connection from a PC to a TV requires that each device supports HDMI technology and has the proper settings.

Connecting Ports

To make an HDMI connection between a PC and a TV, each must have an HDMI port and internal circuits that support the format. An HDMI port uses a flat, trapezoidal 19-pin "edge" connector approximately 3/4 inch wide. Although most equipment that has an HDMI port supports the format, some computer setups may not. Check the instructions for your video card specifications to ensure it supports HDMI. If your equipment doesn't have an HDMI port, you can't make a connection with an HDMI cable without complex electronic converters.

Computer Adjustments

A computer may have a single HDMI port designated for its monitor, and be set up to route video to that port. But if it has an auxiliary HDMI port for another monitor, it may not be set up to send signals through it. Some video cards may also support other formats with additional video ports, and your video card may have the video routed to another one. You may need to make adjustments with your device manager to route signals to the auxiliary port. Check the instructions for your particular video card for proper HDMI signal routing.

HDTV Adjustments

HDTV sets usually have several format inputs, and some have multiple HDMI ports. Formats may include composite video on a single yellow RCA push-in jack, S-video on a round four-pin jack, composite video on three RCA jacks and a VGA input on a 15-pin D type connector. Your HDTV input selector must be set for the HDMI port to which you have your computer connected. Some have number designations on the ports and on the scroll-down menu on the screen. Check to see that you have the same input port selected that you have your PC connected.

Incorrect Adapters

If your computer or HDTV has a DVI connector, you can use an adapter to make the connection for video signals. But DVI doesn't carry audio and your TV will not have any sound. If you computer has a VGA port, you may be trying to use an adapter cable with a VGA connector on one end and an HDMI connector on the other. But this cable will not work. Many outlets offer them for sale, but fail to explain that the analog VGA signals will not operate digital HDMI circuits.

About the Author

Richard Asmus was a writer and producer of television commercials in Phoenix, Arizona, and now is retired in Peru. After founding a small telecommunications engineering corporation and visiting 37 countries, Asmus studied broadcasting at Arizona State University and earned his Master of Fine Arts at Brooklyn College in New York.

Photo Credits

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