Generally, a computer comes with a host of ports to connect to external devices. A laptop may skip on specific ports, but a full-fledged stationary setup, or a desktop PC, is likely to offer you pretty much all the ports you need to roll and accomplish much more.
Most modern laptops do not come with the ports that were once standard. On the other hand, desktop PCs continue to offer pretty much all ports because there’s still lots of room on them to accommodate them all.
Needless to say, the HDMI port is the most ubiquitous of all the I/O ports.
That begs the question, how many HDMI ports does a PC (Windows or Mac) have?
Is an HDMI port a given with desktop and laptop computers? Can a workstation not have an HDMI port at all? And what are your options if your computing device doesn’t have an HDMI port or has just one?
Keep reading to find out the answers and more.
- Can a PC Have Multiple HDMI Ports?
- How Many HDMI Ports Does a PC Have?
- What Are the HDMI Ports on the PC For?
- How Can I Tell How Many HDMI Ports I Have?
- How Do I Add an HDMI Port to My PC?
Can a PC Have Multiple HDMI Ports?
Yes, a PC can most certainly have multiple HDMI ports. Since HDMI is a standard digital interface, almost no PC comes without one.
A laptop computer is likely to have just one. However, a desktop PC would have more than a single port since there’s enough space for two or more HDMI ports on it, alongside a host of other connectors.
How Many HDMI Ports Does a PC Have?
As mentioned above, a PC can have anywhere between one or two ports.
More than two ports is not standard — be it a laptop or desktop computer. And a no-HDMI-port situation is also rare. The number of ports in a PC usually depends on a PC’s form factor and configuration.
A desktop PC usually has more than one.
The I/O (input-output) section would have at least one HDMI output port alongside other connectors — USB (Type A and/or C), DisplayPort, LAN, audio jacks, etc. There could be one more for the video card.
A laptop would rarely have more than one, especially the slim and light notebooks, which cut out as many ports as possible and push users to live the dongle life.
If the computer has dedicated graphics, it’s bound to have one HDMI port since it needs to output that raw graphics power to an external device, such as a monitor.
If your PC has no standalone graphics and needs one, use a separate GPU. It would lend you that HDMI port, besides all that raw power.
To get an overview of the ports a typical desktop PC would have, watch this video:
Before buying a GPU, make sure your computer is relatively new or has a capable CPU. If the primary device is more than three to five years old, the GPU will mismatch or not pair well with your archaic device.
Instead, upgrade your system to have an intelligent enough CPU to complement a powerful video card.
What Are the HDMI Ports on the PC For?
An HDMI port helps transmit audio-video signals between devices.
The HDMI ports on your PC help connect it to other devices such as an external monitor or a television. If you’d like to watch web content on a bigger screen, the HDMI port on your PC helps.
Your USB A port will not provide the video input a monitor needs. An audio-video port such as HDMI or DisplayPort is needed for that.
HDMI is arguably the most mainstream digital interface of the two, since many more devices sport HDMI ports than they do DP. Gaming consoles, for instance, only use HDMI.
Not to mention, HDMI transmits both audio and video signals, which other video ports such as DVI do not.
PC HDMI Port Is Output-Only
Kindly note, the HDMI port on your desktop or laptop computer is output-only. The HDMI port on your TV or monitor, on the other hand, takes in digital information.
Your laptop or desktop PC’s HDMI ports cannot work as output jacks, since they don’t have any input circuitry.
Laptops may have an HDMI input port, but those are rare and were found only on laptops launched during the late 2000s, perhaps. Those were the days when laptops were briefcase-like thick and came with a bevy of ports, including a slot to slide in your CDs/DVDs.
The HDMI input port is pretty much non-existent on current laptops, and it looks like it won’t be returning any time soon.
Other modern electronics to sport an HDMI output port are gaming consoles (connect to monitors, projectors, etc.), set-top boxes (connect to TVs), etc.
How Can I Tell How Many HDMI Ports I Have?
If you are new to computers, you may confuse an HDMI port for a USB port, as the two don’t look very different. And because the DisplayPort jack also doesn’t have a very distinct design, you may confuse it for an HDMI port as well.
Compared to the thick and heavy laptops of yore that came with pretty much all the ports you need, the existing slim and light notebooks have limited or only a handful of ports to boot.
Therefore, discerning an HDMI port from others should not be that difficult with them. But some people could still struggle due to the aforementioned similarities.
Differentiating an HDMI Port From USB and DisplayPort
A full-size HDMI port is marginally bigger than a regular USB port if you look closely. It also has a characteristic trapezium shape, with slot sides or opposing faces of unequal length.
Though there are various HDMI port configurations and sizes, the ones in computers are usually full-sized or mini-HDMI — the latter being a lot more recognizable from your DisplayPort and USB ports since it’s a much smaller size.
To learn more about HDMI port types, the cables that go with them, and how they are different from DisplayPort, watch this video:
Ascertaining the HDMI Version
To help newbies, and for easy identification in general, the term “HDMI” is mentioned near the port on your computer.
If there are multiple HDMI ports and one is newer, the specific versions could also be marked. If the exact type is not mentioned on your PC, you may refer to the user manual or the product’s specifications online.
Since HDMI has not changed in size, shape, or design across all versions, you cannot just look at a port and say which one’s the newest.
Even if that were a possibility, only people who knew more than just a thing or two about HDMI would be able to draw that line.
Suppose you have a basic idea of what the various versions of HDMI bring to the table and your PC’s HDMI capabilities. In that case, you may be able to draw parallels and ascertain the HDMI kind on your device without perusing its manual.
For example, if the HDMI on your computer supports 4K at 60 Hz (maximum), it’s most likely HDMI 2.0 since v1.4 can transmit 4K video at only up to 30 Hz.
How Do I Add an HDMI Port to My PC?
If your computer does not have enough HDMI ports or has none at all, you can either upgrade your setup or use an HDMI splitter — with the latter being the more cost-effective option.
The HDMI adapter plugs into the HDMI port of your computer on one side, and the other side of the dongle would have two or more female ports to allow plugging in an HDMI cable.
Take a look at the following HDMI splitters:
- Enbuer 1x4 HDMI Splitter
- Orei Ultra-HD 4K 1x4 HDMI Splitter
- Orei 4K 1x2 HDMI Splitter
- J-Tech Digital JTD4KSP0108 1x8 HDMI Splitter
Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Do not confuse between an HDMI splitter and a switch, as the latter has one output port and multiple input ports.
If your computer has a USB port, you may use a USB-to-HDMI adapter, such as the following:
- Anker USB C to HDMI Adapter
- StarTech USB 3.0 to Dual HDMI Adapter
- TWOPAN USB C to HDMI Multiport Adapter
- Mokai Start USB 3.0 to HDMI 5-in-1 Hub
Last update on 2022-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
The USB-to-HDMI adapters will also help add HDMI capabilities to laptops devoid of DisplayPort and HDMI ports.
If your computer uses only integrated graphics and wants something more powerful and discrete, use an external graphics card. The video card shall also provide you with an HDMI port (as mentioned earlier).
Also, if your device has a VGA port, which transmits analog signals to an external monitor, you may use a VGA-to-HDMI adapter — for instance, the Vention VGA to HDMI Adapter , to make the signal digital.
There is also the option to convert your computer’s VGA port into HDMI. But that’s a long and difficult path that will require enlisting the services of an expert. It is also not recommended with the much easier alternatives mentioned above.
HDMI ports are hard to not find on almost any kind of computer — of course, excluding tablet PCs and smartphones. They use micro-HDMI instead.
And even if your device doesn’t have one, adding HDMI capabilities to the machine is as straightforward as hooking it up with an adapter or dongle-like device.
Besides being “essential”, HDMI ports are also extremely robust and capable of delivering more speed or bandwidth than most other digital interfaces.
That could be one of the reasons Apple decided to bring back the legendary audio-video interface with its 2021 MacBook line-up, which was conspicuously missing on their laptops since 2016.
If you are not planning to buy the latest Apple computers or have a Windows PC (old or new) that doesn’t sport an HDMI port or have enough of them, an HDMI adapter is always there to save your boat.
Catherine Tramell has been covering technology as a freelance writer for over a decade. She has been writing for Pointer Clicker for over a year, further expanding her expertise as a tech columnist. Catherine likes spending time with her family and friends and her pastimes are reading books and news articles.