Why Won't an HDMI Cord Fit Into My Laptop?

By Richard Asmus

Laptops built before 2002 won't have HDMI ports.
i Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Laptop computers come in a wide range of prices and models for many different uses. A laptop that is set up for a student has far different features than one for a professor or salesperson who uses it for customer presentations. Since laptops have a viewing screen included in the lid, any video output connects to an auxiliary device. An HDMI port offers an output for video and audio on a single cable.


HDMI was developed in 2002 as a way to connect components together in high-definition television systems, putting video and audio signals in the same cable. Version 1.4, issued in 2009, added several other features, including an Ethernet channel to make Internet connections to all devices in a home entertainment system that use Internet support. This feature added another reason to connect a computer or laptop to a home entertainment system by way of an HDMI port, and more computer models started including them.

Older Laptops

The video portion of the HDMI format evolved from digital video interface (DVI) that was developed in 1999 specifically for computer monitors for a video signal only, without including audio. After the development of HDMI, laptops started adding HDMI ports to connect the internal DVD player to home entertainment systems. But before that started, laptops provided DVI ports for digital connections to external monitors, VGA ports for analog connections or composite video outputs for connections to TV screens. The audio signals went to speakers or headphones.

Not Properly Equipped

Although a laptop will almost always have an audio signal output for speakers or a headphone, it will only have an auxiliary video output if it needs one. The internal video card in a laptop works mostly to send signals to the screen in the lid. Since space is limited in a laptop, additional components for external video won't be included unless the laptop's overall design includes it. Therefore a laptop won't have an HDMI port if it doesn't have the internal components to support it.

Adding HDMI

If your laptop has a video output, you can use a converter to change it to HDMI. If it doesn't, you can purchase an adapter that connects to your laptop via a vacant USB port. Make the HDMI connection to the converter and use the laptop to program it. But your laptop must have compatible features with the converter. Check your operating system, video options, disc space, processor type and speed and RAM capacity, and compare them to the requirements of the various HDMI converters.