How to Connect HDMI Cables

Three Methods:Connecting a Home Theater SystemConnecting a Computer to a TVConnecting a Game Console to a TV

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is the modern standard for connecting audio/video devices. It has replaced older connection methods such as composite and S-video. HDMI transfers signal digitally, and can handle both video signal and audio. HDMI is also one of the easiest ways to connect your various devices, and requires very little configuration.


Identifying and Purchasing HDMI Cables

  1. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 1
    Understand how HDMI works. HDMI allows you to quickly connect your electronic devices without having to fumble with color-coded cables or multiple plugs. A single HDMI cable will carry both the video and audio signal from a device to your display. HDMI cables connect much like a USB cable; they simply plug in and can only fit in one direction.
  2. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 2
    Buy a little longer than you need. It's always best to overestimate a little when buying an HDMI cable. For example, if you've measured the distance between your TV and receiver and determined that you need a 3-foot cable, you should probably get the next length up in case you need to move your devices around. Having slack will help prevent stress on the connectors as well.
  3. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 3
    Avoid expensive cables. HDMI transfers data digitally, meaning it is either "On" or "Off". This means that there really is no practical difference between a $5 cable and a $50 cable with gold-plated connectors. Don't be misled by high-priced cables at your electronics store.
  4. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 4
    Get a signal booster for cables longer than 25 feet (7.6 m). If you are running HDMI cables over long distances, you will need to use an active cable with included circuitry or a booster box to transmit the signal. Both active cables and booster boxes require an external power source.[1]

Method 1
Connecting a Home Theater System

  1. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 5
    Locate the HDMI ports on all your devices. HDMI provides the best picture and audio quality out of all the different ways you can connect your devices. It is also the easiest way to connect devices, as you simply need to plug the cable into each device. If you have a receiver with enough HDMI input ports, and your TV has at least one HDMI input, you should be able to connect all of your devices to get the best possible quality from your home theater.
    • Most new receivers will have multiple HDMI inputs that allow you to connect all of your HDMI-capable devices, as well as an HDMI output for connecting to your TV.
  2. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 6
    Check what version of HDMI your TV supports. Check that your TV supports HDMI 1.4 ARC (Audio Return Channel). This allows the TV to send audio back to the receiver, which routes your TV sound through your home theater speakers. Most TVs made after 2009 support HDMI 1.4 and newer.
    • If your TV does not support HDMI 1.4, you will need to use a separate audio cable to connect the TV to the receiver. The best quality cable to use for this is a digital optical audio cable. Connect the digital optical cable from the TV output to the receiver input.
    • If you are watching TV through a cable box, and the cable box is connected to your receiver, you don't need to worry about ARC since the sound is coming from the cable box into the receiver. The only time ARC is really necessary is if you are watching over-the-air broadcasts on your TV and want the sound to come through your surround sound system.[2]
  3. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 7
    Connect your devices to your receiver inputs via HDMI. These could include DVD/Blu-ray players, game consoles, and more. If you have limited HDMI inputs, use HDMI cables for the most recent devices first, as they will benefit the most.
    • For example, if your receiver only has two HDMI inputs and you have a Roku, a PlayStation 4, and a DVD changer, plug the Roku and the PS4 in with HDMI, and use a component connection for the DVD player. The Roku and PS4 will benefit much more from the HDMI connections.
    • HDMI plugs only go in one way, so don't force any connections.
  4. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 8
    Connect the HDMI output on the receiver to the HDMI input on the TV. This allows the image from all the devices connected to your receiver appear on your TV. With HDMI 1.4 or newer, the audio signal from the TV will be sent back to the receiver, allowing the TV sound to be played through your surround sound system.
  5. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 9
    Use the receiver to switch between inputs. Ideally all of your devices will be routed through your receiver. This means that your TV can be set to the HDMI input that you plugged in from the receiver, and then you can switch between inputs using your receiver remote.
    • Since everything has been connected via HDMI, all the sound from your devices should go through your receiver's speaker setup.
    • Most devices should configure automatically when they detect the HDMI connection, though you may need to tweak some settings for certain devices.
  6. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 10
    Connect your devices directly to your TV. If you aren't setting up a home theater system, you can still plug your HDMI devices directly into your TV and then control the inputs using your TV remote. Most modern TVs have at least two HDMI inputs.
    • If you have more HDMI-capable devices than you do input ports on your TV, you can purchase an HDMI switch that will expand the number of available HDMI ports.
  7. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 11
    Enable HDMI-CEC. This is a protocol that allows you to control your HDMI-connected devices using one HDMI remote. Typically, you'll want to use your TV remote to control your other HDMI devices. HDMI-CEC is enabled in your device's settings menu, and will need to be enabled for each device that you want to control.
    • HDMI-CEC is called different things by different companies, including Anynet+ (Samsung), Aquo Link (Sharp), Regza Link (Toshiba), SimpLink (LG), and more. Refer to your TV's manual for more information.

Method 2
Connecting a Computer to a TV

  1. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 12
    Locate the HDMI ports. Not all computers have HDMI ports, but most newer ones do. If your desktop computer does not have an HDMI port, you may need to install a new video card. HDMI ports are typically located on the back of the computer, though some laptops have them on the side.
    • If your computer doesn't have an HDMI port, but has another output such as DVI or DisplayPort, you can purchase an adapter that will allow you to connect an HDMI cable. If you are converting DVI to HDMI, you will need to use a separate cable for audio, as DVI does not transfer audio signal.
    • There are also USB-to-HDMI adapters for computers with no video ports.
  2. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 13
    Connect the computer to an HDMI input on your TV. Run an HDMI cable between the two devices. Your computer should detect your TV automatically if it is turned on.
  3. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 14
    Switch to the input using your TV remote. Your TV will need to be set to the HDMI input that your computer is connected to. Use the "Input" function on your remote to find th right input. If you aren't sure which one it is, look at the physical port on the TV; they are usually labeled.
  4. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 15
    Choose how you want your computer image displayed. There are several options for displaying your computer's image on your TV. Choose the mode that works best for your in your computer's Display menu. To access this menu in Windows, right-click on your desktop and select Screen Resolution. To access this menu in OS X, click the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and then select Displays.
    • You can set your TV to be your primary display, which will shut of your computer monitor and display the image on your TV.
    • You can mirror your display so that the same thing is shown on both your computer monitor and the TV.
    • You can extend your desktop so that both the monitor and TV comprise your desktop space. This can give you a lot of room to work with multiple windows and documents.
    • See this guide for more details on configuring multiple displays on your computer.

Method 3
Connecting a Game Console to a TV

  1. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 16
    Plug your console into your TV's HDMI input. Not all consoles support HDMI, but all new ones do. Most Xbox 360s, all PS3s, PS4s, Wii Us and Xbox Ones support HDMI. The Wii does not support HDMI, and the original Xbox 360 does not either.
  2. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 17
    Switch to the HDMI input using your TV remote. You will need to be on the input that your console is connected to. You can label your inputs on most TVs to make remembering what's connected much easier.
  3. Image titled Connect HDMI Cables Step 18
    Configure your console to connect through the HDMI cable. Most consoles will automatically detect the HDMI cable and attempt to configure the best settings. You may be taken through a short setup process when you start the console up for the first time.


  • You can connect two HDMI cables to each other using an HDMI Female-to-Female adapter. Since HDMI signal is digital, you don't need to worry about picking up an expensive connector, and generally don't need to worry about the length of the connected cables as long as the total length is under 25 feet (7.6 m).


  • Twisting, tugging on or stapling HDMI cable could cause your HDMI cable to malfunction, so use caution when you work with it.

Article Info

Categories: Cabling and Wiring Connection