Although delighted with my new HP Elitebook laptop, I could not find an HDMI port on there. Instead I found a somewhat similar port, but my HDMI cable didn’t fit in it. So I decided to do some digging and find out more about it. Here’s what I found. But first, what is HDMI?

What is HDMI?

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and is the most frequently used HD signal for transferring both high definition video and audio over a single cable.

HDMI Port

The Old Familiar HDMI Port

You’ll find HDMI ports on all sorts of home devices such as TVs, DVD players, Digital Set-top boxes, Xboxes, Playstations and AppleTV.

But HDMI has also featured on laptops and PCs for years enabling them to be connected to monitors, projectors and other peripherals.

HDMI Cable

HDMI Cables are Cheap and Easy to Buy

Goodbye HDMI,.. Hello Display Port!

However, there’s a new kid in town when it comes to Audio Video connections, and it looks like this;

Display Port on an HP laptop

Display Port on an HP laptop

DisplayPort ports look very similar to HDMI ports. But don’t force an HDMI cable into it, as it’s like stuffing a round peg into a square hole. A closer look shows there is a subtle difference.

DisplayPort vs HDMI

DisplayPort vs HDMI

DisplayPort cables are very similar to high-speed HDMI in terms of bandwidth but can have a much higher refresh rate at peak resolution (60 Hz vs. HDMI’s 24 Hz). DisplayPort (DP) is a digital interface created by Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) and is mostly used to connect a video source to a display device, such as a laptop to a TV or projector.

You will likely notice a logo and double plus sign next to the port. This indicates dual or multi mode display port.

Dual Mode

Dual Mode Display Port Logo

The Advantage of Dual Mode

Dual-mode is DisplayPort’s ability to output either DisplayPort, HDMI, or Single-Link DVI from the same port. The advantage to this is that Passive adapters can be used to make the conversion — these are typically smaller and cheaper than the Active variety, and don’t require external power.

In other words, you can output from your laptop using a display port cable, but input to a TV or projector if you have an appropriate adapter.

Display Port to HDMI

Display Port to HDMI

In Conclusion

So if like me you ever face a challenge connecting to a projector, perhaps this advance information can come in handy.