Been looking for a means to connect your laptop via HDMI to a TV or projector? Read on for more information on how to do this and which cable to buy.
There’s nothing particularly special about an HDMI cable for your laptop. Anybody that tries to sell you on anything other than a cheap cable is just blowing smoke.
The simple fact of the matter is that you can gold-plate a cable, you can triple-wrap it in insulation, you can even put the best materials you have behind it, the only thing you’re doing is adding longevity to a cable that can easily cost you 5-6 times as much as a normal cable, and add only a small amount more to the life of the cable.
So, which cable should you buy?
The main problem with me suggesting a cable for you to buy is that I have no idea what you’re trying to do with it. Are you hooking it up to a projector through the wall? That’ll be a much longer cable than if you’re trying to hook it up to a TV that’s just 2 feet away.
In order to determine the size of cable you’ll need, measure the distance from the laptop you’re trying to connect to the device in question. Take that distance and add about 10-15% more on top of it. For instance, if you measure the distance out to be 4 feet, buy a 5 foot cable to give yourself some slack. Slack is important in the event that you yank the laptop from its resting place.
Also, some slack in the cable makes sure that the taught cable isn’t disconnected by anything other than your hand. Since most cables come in standard sizes of 3’, 6’ and so on, you’re probably going to buy a larger cable than you need anyway. Remember though, overkill isn’t necessary. Don’t put in a 12 ft cable in a space where a 6 ft cable will work just as well.
The other important part of cable selection for your laptop is the connector on the other side of the HDMI cable. If your TV has HDMI and so does your laptop, you’re looking for an HDMI male-to-male connector cable. However, if your laptop doesn’t have HDMI, you’re in for a big problem.
If the laptop only has VGA, be prepared to shell out big bucks for a converter box. A simple box will cost you somewhere in the region of $100, and at that point, it might be worthwhile looking into upgrading your laptop for something that comes with an HDMI or DVI-D port.
If your laptop has a DVI-D port, you can go ahead and buy a simple adapter that will get the job done admirably. I currently have a DVI-D to HDMI adapter installed in my home theater PC and it works perfectly for the job I expect it to do. This adapter can be found here.
And that’s it – with either Windows 7 or Vista, the connection should literally take a minute and be extremely easy. Follow these suggestions and you’ll be up and running with the HDMI connection in no time.