A tablet is an incredibly useful device that can boost your productivity, keep you in touch with family or friends, as well as entertain you with a wealth of movies and games. While tablets aren’t a total replacement for a laptop (yet), they do the job quite nicely for many folks. But sometimes you need your tablet to do just a bit more.
Wouldn’t it be nice to connect your tablet to an external monitor, a flat screen TV, or a projector? Well, it just so happens you can do all of these things by using the video port on your tablet. But to do so requires a little homework because not all tablets have the same video ports, and these ports don’t necessarily match the video input ports of all monitors, TVs and projectors.
HDMI-enabled video ports are the most common on tablets, but they come in different flavors. For instance, Microsoft’s Surface 2, ASUS’s Eee Pad Transformer Prime, and Acer’s Iconia Tab A100 all have micro-HDMI ports. Dell’s Venue 11 Pro 5000 Series has a mini-HDMI port, and Toshiba’s Thrive tablet has a full-sized HDMI port. Few tablets are fitted with DisplayPort-enabled ports, but Microsoft’s Surface Pro, Pro 2 and Pro 3 are the exception, featuring mini-DisplayPort ports.
Now let’s turn the tables and look at the video input ports of monitors, HDTVs and projectors. They typically use standard HDMI, DVI-D or VGA (HD15) connections. Since they don’t match the tablets’ video ports, you will have find a way to match these devices’ input ports to the tablets’ input ports. This is done with HDMI, DVI-D or VGA cables and adapters.
To simplify the selection process, here are the options for adapting existing ports with cables or adapters to make your system work:
- Buy a standard cable. Search for a commercially available cable with the correct connectors on both ends. For example, a cable with a micro-HDMI connector and a full-sized HDMI connector can be used to directly connect either a Microsoft Surface 2, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, or an Acer Iconia Tab A100 to an HDMI-enabled monitor or flat panel HDTV with full-sized HDMI ports.
- Buy a standard adapter. If you have a cable with one correct connector, then all you need to do is buy an adapter to fit the connector on the other end of the cable. For example, a mini-DisplayPort to DVI adapter can be plugged into a Surface Pro 2’s mini-DisplayPort port and a DVI-D cable can be used to connect it to a DVI monitor.
- Buy a specialty adapter. Some tablet manufacturers have specialty AV adapters you can purchase. For example, Microsoft has adapters for its Surface tablet that fit on standard VGA or HDMI cables.
Since there are a wide variety of monitors, flat panel HDTVs and digital projectors, you may need to look for more than one type of cable or adapter to get your system to work. With a bit of homework into cable and adapter types, you will be expanding your tablet’s visual displaying capabilities in no time.
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