The highly-familiar USB interface offers a quick, simple, and reliable way to connect all kinds of devices to your PC.
If your mind just went, “Mmh, but how do I connect my HDMI monitor to a USB port? I’ve wanted to do this a long time…”
We have your answer right here.
You’re going to learn how to make a computer-to-display connection using the two most common USB types.
By the end of the post, we believe you’ll finally be able to enjoy all the great content you wish to stream from your computer to a much bigger screen.
- Important Things to Note About Connecting an HDMI Monitor to a USB Port
- Connecting an HDMI Monitor to a USB 2.0/3.0 Port
- Connecting an HDMI monitor to a USB-C port
Important Things to Note About Connecting an HDMI Monitor to a USB Port
Out of the numerous data transfer interfaces, the USB standard connects the highest range of devices. These include HDMI monitors.
Nearly every computer comes with a USB port or several.
That, and the fact that we use it for all sorts of tasks—from connecting flash drives, external storage disks to charging devices—means it’s one of the most commonly used ports on many devices.
Plus, it’s easy to use: just plug-and-play.
Before attempting to connect your monitor to a computer USB port, here are some crucial things to note.
1. You must use a USB-to-HDMI adapter.You can’t connect a USB cable directly from the computer to an HDMI monitor because USB is a data interface and HDMI is an audio and video interface.
Use a USB-to-HDMI adapter instead.
Most USB-to-HDMI adapters come with a CD driver. The driver makes it possible for the adapter to communicate with the computer.
The adapter relies on the driver to signal the GPU to send data through the port. And it then transfers the data from the output device to the monitor.
If your computer has a CD drive, insert the CD into the drive to install the driver on your computer.
If the computer does not have a CD drive, download the driver from the official adapter website. Just enter the adapter’s model number on the website to search for the driver.
The driver should be easy to find and easy to install.
2. USB-to-HDMI adapter speed and resolution depend on the type of USB port
The newest USB specification, USB4, has a bandwidth of 40 Gbps, which is considerably fast.
But most devices come with USB 2.0-USB 3.1. These have a bandwidth of 480 Mbps, 5 Gbps, and 10 Gbps, respectively.
The last two are not slow by any means.
But, because USB lacks the powerful hardware you find in standard video interface technologies like DVI and DisplayPort, it is slower compared to those video interfaces.
Some USB-HDMI adapter manufacturers actually warn you that the adapter might take a while to sync with some devices, depending on the USB specification at play, and that it needs a little more time to process data.
But it eventually gets the job done.
What that means is:
When you connect a USB 3.1 adapter to a USB 2.0 port, the USB will process information at the USB 2.0-speed level.
Furthermore, USB 2.0 is not powerful enough to run video. So, if your computer has a USB 2.0 port, use it to run light applications, and not high-bandwidth tasks like video playback.
The same goes for resolution.
When you connect a USB 3.0 adapter to a USB 2.0 port, the adapter will attain and process data at a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.
If you use a USB 3.0 port, the adapter will attain a resolution of 1080p.
USB-C adapters support 4K resolution at 30 Hz and transport data smoothly, without lag or transmission loss.
That means if you connect one of these to a 4K HDMI monitor, and the data output from the computer is 4K, the monitor will display the content in 4K.
Note that: You must also use a high-speed HDMI cable with 4K support to transport the data from the adapter to the monitor.
3. Most USB-to-HDMI adapters support mirror and extend modes
USB-to-HDMI adapters tend to support both Mirror Display mode and Extend Display mode. But you should always confirm that this is the case before buying any adapter.
The Extend Display mode allows you to show a different window on each monitor.
The duplicate mode allows you to show the same window on both monitors.
If you prefer to use both modes, the flexibility to switch modes as needed can help you work more efficiently. And, in that case, an adapter that offers both is more desirable.
4. USB-to-HDMI adapters transport video and audio together
Like HDMI, USB transmits both audio and video.
When you use a USB adapter to connect a monitor, you won’t need to connect an audio cable separately.
The USB fetches both video and audio signals from the GPU and sends them to the HDMI cable. From there, the HDMI cable transports them to the monitor.
Let’s now look at how to connect each USB type to an HDMI monitor.
Connecting an HDMI Monitor to a USB 2.0/3.0 Port
To connect an HDMI monitor to a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 port, you need a good quality USB 2.0/3.0 to HDMI adapter .
Confirm that the adapter supports your source device. Some adapters support specific device models and operating systems, while others support a diverse variety of devices.
Check whether the adapter comes with drivers and install them as instructed.
Then connect the devices as follows:
- Plug the USB end of the adapter into the USB output on your computer (or any other source device).
- Connect an HDMI cable to the HDMI end of the adapter.
- Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI port on the monitor.
- Turn on the monitor. It will automatically detect the input.
This video shows you a step-by-step way to connect an HDMI monitor to a USB port.
Connecting an HDMI monitor to a USB-C port
To connect an HDMI monitor to a USB-C port, you need a high-quality USB-C to HDMI adapter .
Confirm that the adapter is compatible with your device, since some adapters are compatible with select devices and USB interfaces.
Once you’ve confirmed that you have the correct adapter, connect the devices as follows:
- Plug the USB-C end of the adapter into your source device.
- Connect your HDMI cable to the HDMI end of the adapter.
- Plug the HDMI cable into the HDMI port on the monitor.
- Turn on the monitor. It should automatically pick the input.
ConclusionYou can connect your HDMI to a USB port using a USB-to-HDMI adapter.
USB-to-HDMI adapters are compatible with the various USB interfaces, from USB 2.0 to USB-C, so choose an adapter that is compatible with your output device.
Check and confirm the type of USB port on your computer. It’s usually written next to the port. You may also check in your computer manual or look it up online.
Adapters for the older USB specifications may require you to install a driver. The driver is what enables the adapter to process and transport data.
USB-C adapters are mostly a plug-and-play deal and don’t require you to install drivers. Plug the adapter into your PC, connect an HDMI cable, then plug the cable into the monitor.