How to Change Video Source on Laptop

Using your laptop is quite convenient because a laptop can manage to carry out several functions all at once. One of the biggest reasons people prefer to use a laptop is because it can help you multitask. In the sense that at one moment you might be working and the next instant you’ll be in the mood to watch a movie or play a game.

Switching from one task to another also requires you to change the video source of your laptop because working on your laptop might be enough but watching a movie on the same display might not be as fun as you would expect. This is why laptops bring you the convenience of changing their video source.

Once you end up changing the video source of your laptop, you will be able to enjoy a number of different things. You can play video games on a larger screen, watch your favorite TV shows and movies, and if you want to, you can even work on a larger screen than your laptop. This is why for today, we are going to tell you how you can change the video source on your laptop.

Laptops have HDMI output ports which are present in majority laptops. This basically means that they are used to send audio and video from the laptop to another external source such as a TV or an external display. They aren’t used to receiving signals from an external source. This is exactly the reason why you cannot plug in your HDMI cable into your laptop and a gaming console.

For that you would require an HDMI input port that is going to permit you to receive data and not just send it.

Changing HDMI Output to Input on a Laptop

It isn’t possible for you to use an HDMI adapter or any other connector similarly in order to change the laptop’s HDMI output to input. It isn’t that cable which is responsible for sending or receiving the signals but the port itself and that is how the laptop is built. The HDMI port is only built for output in your laptop which sends the signal.

It doesn’t matter which cable you plug in because you simply cannot use your laptop as a display for your console or any other device. The worst part is that there are a number of websites which tell you differently and they recommend you to invest in HDMI adapters of sorts which doesn’t help you one bit. A laptop with a port built for only output will only be able to send a signal and not receive it.

Another thing which we are stressing on is that the cable doesn’t direct the direction of the signal. As long as your laptop’s HDMI port is built to send signals to an external source and not receive audio or video signals then changing the HDMI output to an input on a laptop is impossible.

That is how the case for most laptops is because laptops aren’t built as external displays and you can only use laptops to display their content on an external screen.

Can HDMI on Laptop be used as Input?

The HDMI of your laptop is built to be output only. So it cannot be used as an input port no matter how much you tweak the settings. The main reason being that this isn’t something you can change from your settings because laptop HDMIs have this built in setting of being an input device or output device.

Although there are a few workarounds which you can use to receive signals and display it on your laptop’s monitor, that won’t happen if you change your HDMI to an input.

Workarounds That Can Be Applied

Even though using an HDMI is quite easy, plugging it into your laptop from one end and then into your console from the other isn’t possible. There are several workarounds to use the display of your laptop as a monitor for external devices like these.

However, these methods involve you spending money on a capture card and other similar devices which are quite expensive. With the money that you’ve spent buying a gadget, you could very easily spend the same amount buying a 4K TV which would be more beneficial to you.

If you don’t have enough space for an external TV or you prefer to use your laptop’s screen for receiving signal from an external source such as a gaming console only then you can opt to use a capture card and other devices but not via HDMI.

In this method you’ll be using a capture card that is going to connect via USB to your laptop and the device you will want to stream for. Since a large amount of data is going to be sent for 4K resolutions then the connection is going to be done using a USB-C or Thunderbolt port. Both of them offer fast connectivity.

So you need to make sure to check that your laptop has such ports. You can also check out the list of recommended 17-inch laptops which have these ports and which also offer a large screen that is perfect for gaming or watching the shows that you want to.

Change Video Source Using Capture Card on Laptop

The first thing which you need to keep in mind is that you’re not actually going to change your HDMI output to an input because that is impossible, as discussed earlier. Since most people use this workaround and are able to turn their laptop into a monitor, they consider that there is actually a change from the output to input.

This isn’t right but these are just mere technical details. The final result is that you can receive signals from an external source to your laptop and in order to do this, you will need a capture card such as an Elgato HD60S or any other capture card which you prefer.

Here is how you can change the video source using a capture card on your laptop:

  • Connect the USB Type-C cable to your capture card and then the other end into your laptop or desktop’s USB port 3.0 port. You will now need to make sure to connect it to your 3.0 port and not the older ports in order to get the best performance possible
  • Next, you will plug the HDMI cable into your gaming console and at the other end in the HDMI IN port on your capture card.
  • For the third step, you will plug in another HDMI cable into the HDMI OUT port of the card and the other end will be directed to your laptop.

That’s that! You will now have set up your capture card and you will be able to receive signals from the external source using the capture card itself and on the screen of your laptop. It might seem that you are switching from the HDMIs output to input on your laptop but you are actually sending the signal to your display using the Type-C cable.

As we’ve mentioned before, these are nothing more than technical details which don’t really matter in the big picture. What matters is that this is the only legitimate way to carry out this process and when you’re using a regular adapter like an HDMI output to input cable, it just won’t cut it and the process won’t be carried out.

You can’t directly switch a laptop’s HDMI from output to input but you can use a capture card in order to achieve the same results. It will require you a USB 3.0 port or higher for this method to work but don’t worry about it because most laptops which are being manufactured now do have this port present in them.

Even though the capture card is a bit expensive, it is a genuine method which makes your laptop’s audio and video able to be changed into an external screen. Make sure to double check the requirements of a capture card because these usually require a higher end laptop with a dedicated graphics card in order to function properly. Make sure to check your laptop’s specifications as well before you invest in one.


With the method told above, you can change the video source on your laptop to an external screen or another TV and using a video card is probably going to be the best method which you can use. Although you might end up experiencing a bit of lag if your laptop doesn’t meet the requirements which are needed for the capture card. However, some technical tweaks will help you solve this problem.

This is how you can change the video source on your laptop because and be sure not to fall into the hands of scammers because this is the only legitimate way by which you can do so!

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