DisplayPort (DP) offers a simplified way for you to work with different interlinked devices. But it’s not always clear how you should connect your devices because the ports may not have a visible IN or OUT label.
Our aim here today is to help you figure out how the DP ports on your devices work. In detail, we’ll determine whether a DisplayPort can be used as an input or it is strictly output?
What is a DisplayPort Input?
A DisplayPort input is a gateway through which a DisplayPort signal enters a display device. Because it supports audio and video signals, you do not need to input audio separately.
DisplayPort input ports are found on displays such as TVs, monitors, and projectors.
Although not as common and widely used as displays with HDMI, displays that support DisplayPort make it possible for you to connect to a DisplayPort device directly.
As a result, you enjoy the high bandwidth and fast refresh rate that DisplayPort offers.
To use the DisplayPort input on your monitor, plug one end of a DisplayPort cable in the monitor and the other end into your computer.
If the monitor doesn’t automatically detect the signal, go to the Input settings and select DisplayPort.
You’re not limited to using your DisplayPort input device with DisplayPort sources only. You can connect the display to sources that output in other video formats, including HDMI, DVI, and VGA. But you can only do this using an adapter.
Choose an HDMI to DisplayPort adapter if you wish to screen video from an HDMI video source.
To connect your DisplayPort monitor to a DVI source, use a DVI to DisplayPort adapter .
And to connect the monitor to a VGA source, use a VGA to DisplayPort adapter . These are not as common as other adapters, so make sure you’re getting the right one. It has to go from VGA to DP, not DP to VGA.
As well, make sure that the adapter you choose is active and connects to a separate power source.
Can DisplayPort be Used as an Input on a Laptop?
No, on most laptops, DisplayPort is an output, not an input. And that’s because it was designed to be a PC display interface, basically connecting the computer and the monitor.
What does that mean?
It means that it’s structure and makeup push it to fetch data from the computer system and transport it to the monitor. And this is why you find DisplayPort ports built into the motherboard or the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) on a PC.
Let’s assume that you’ve connected a device to your laptop’s DisplayPort, either directly or via an adapter.
For example: PlayStation 4 > HDMI to Displayport adapter > DisplayPort on laptop.
You’ll get nothing on the laptop screen because the signal is not crossing through the DP port and into the laptop. The DisplayPort port only sends signals out. It can’t receive them.
For this reason, you cannot use the Displayport port on your laptop as input.
Mini DisplayPort (MiniDP) is a miniature version of DisplayPort, and therefore, it works just like the original DisplayPort.
On a laptop, MiniDP is mainly an output, and so, it can’t feed signals to the computer.
On a display or monitor, however, you can use Mini DisplayPort as an input. And how to tell that your monitor is a Mini DisplayPort input is if it has a Mini DisplayPort IN port.
In that case, you can connect a Mini DisplayPort cable directly from your computer MiniDP port to the MiniDP port on your monitor.
It doesn’t matter which cable end you use on each port because the cables are unidirectional. That’s why they’re not labeled IN and OUT.
Like with DisplayPort display devices, you can connect your MiniDP monitor to sources outputting different video formats using adapters.
Thus, it’s easy to:
- Connect a Mini DisplayPort input to a Displayport source via a DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable.
- For this connection: a cable will do (as opposed to a converter/adapter) since the signal doesn’t need converting.
- The connectors on each cable end are different; their shape and size cater to the unique source and display port sizes.
- And a good number of the cables are bidirectional . Hence, with one of these, you can connect from DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort and from Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort.
- Connect a Mini DisplayPort input to an HDMI video source via an HDMI to MiniDP adapter. .
- Connect to a source device using a USB C to Mini DisplayPort adapter .
- Connect a Mini DisplayPort input to DVI or VGA video sources using DVI-Mini DisplayPort adapters and VGA-Mini DisplayPort adapters . Do note that you’ll need to connect the audio separately since DVI and VGA signals don’t carry audio.
DisplayPort Input vs. Output?
DisplayPort input is a DisplayPort signal receiver. It receives the signal via a DisplayPort cable, and you can directly connect this cable to the DisplayPort source. Or you can indirectly connect it to the DisplayPort source using an adapter or converter.
You will find DisplayPort input ports almost exclusively on TVs and displays such as monitors and projectors. You can typically connect such displays to laptops and PCs.
By contrast, DisplayPort output is responsible for sending out DisplayPort signals. It doesn’t accept signals.
DP output connects directly to a DP display through a bidirectional DisplayPort cable.
Additionally, it connects to non-DisplayPort displays like HDMI and VGA via adapters.
You’ll mostly find DisplayPort output ports on PCs, laptops, and some displays.
Having a DP OUT port on a display screen allows you to set up a daisy chain of monitors since the OUT port can connect to the IN port of another monitor.
On laptops and PCs, DisplayPort ports are mostly an output. You can’t always tell by looking because that detail is probably not indicated on the ports. But when you connect a source and try feeding video into the computer through the port, you’ll not succeed—because data moves in one direction only: outward.
Through the port, you can push DisplayPort signals into a device. But you cannot import DisplayPort data into the computer through the same port.
On most display devices, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort are input ports. And some display screens have DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort in and out ports. A display with both DP in and out can receive and send DisplayPort signals.
To tell the difference between DisplayPort input and output, analyze what the port does with the signal. If it accepts signals, it’s an input. And if it feeds them into the display, it is an output.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.