How to Connect a Laptop to a Monitor with a USB Port

06/06/23 by EE Team

USB to Monitor Connection

A connection that most people don’t think about is a USB to HDMI connection. Most people will use the USB port to plug in phones, cameras, printers and other peripherals to power up or download information between devices.

Hey – A big side note: If you are just reading the text below the Exhibitor Lounge video I highly recommend that you open the video as there is a lot of illustrations to assist you in understanding this information.

On a recent show when confronted with a VGA to HDMI compatibility problem like the one we discussed last week an A/V technician suggested that I pick up a J5Create USB to HDMI adapter to solve the problem. I had never heard of plugging in a monitor from a USB port. Having fears that I would not be able to find a VGA to HDMI active adapter at a local store I went on the search for the USB to HDMI adapter. I found one pretty easily at an electronics big box store. The price was quite reasonable as they are between $45 and $70. There are other brands but the J5Create is the one that the technician said I would find in the store as he also got one recently.

When I got back to the show floor the technician showed us how to install the driver that came with the adapter, onto the computer. Once installed the active adapter worked great. OK –stay with me now. The information is going to get pretty intense.

Technical Side of Connecting Monitor to Laptop with USB

The USB to HDMI active adapter basically works like an external graphics or video card as an interface between the computer and monitor. Most computers will have a USB 2.0 or 3.0 Type A port. This is the slender rectangular port. The other type of USB port is the Type B port that you see more on printers and other peripheral devices.

When you purchase the USB to HDMI adapter you may have a choice of a 2.0 or 3.0 adapter. The price difference is about $15 to $20 between the two. The 3.0 Type A is much faster and will probably replace the 2.0 version completely in about 4 to 5 years from now. The 2.0 version is only about 450 megabytes per second which is slow in today’s standards. HD video requires about 750 megabytes per second. Therefore, It is not recommended to run video through a computer with only a 2.0 USB port as the bandwidth is not enough for smooth playback. If your computer only has a 2.0 USB port you should only run basic PowerPoint and other office applications. A 2.0 port will accept both a 2.0 adapter and a 3.0 adapter. Remember the computer’s USB port needs to be 3.0 to run video. If you buy a 3.0 adapter it still will not play HD video out of a 2.0 USB computer port even though the physical plug will fit. The easiest way to tell if the port is 3.0 is the color. 3.0 cables and ports usually have a distinctive blue color. Another way to tell is the cable or port is stamped with the letters “SS” which stands for Super Speed. The best way to tell is to look inside the port for the extra five contact pads which is a sure indicator. A USB 2.0 port has only 4 contacts and the USB 3.0 has 9 contact pads.

You can also get a USB to DVI, a USB to VGA and you can add a passive adapter to a USB to HDMI active adapter (on the HDMI side) to create a USB to DVI converter.

Additionally, you may encounter the USB-C when handling iPhones, Macbooks and iPads while managing your trade show exhibit or design booth. To handle situations like this, you’ll need to have a USB-C to HDMI/DisplayPort or a USB-C to USB-C port, which is common with new monitors.

If you’ve been intrigued by the possibilities of USB to HDMI connections and are on the lookout for expert guidance to make your next trade show a remarkable success, you’re in the right place! At Exhibit Edge, we specialize in providing custom exhibit services that will transform your booth into a standout attraction and ensure a memorable impact.

Our seasoned team of professionals is here to assist you with all aspects of your exhibition journey, from crafting and setting up your booth to managing logistics and offering strategic marketing support. Whether you’re a seasoned exhibitor or new to the trade show scene, we possess the expertise to amplify your presence and help you achieve your objectives.

Don’t miss the chance to shine at your upcoming event. Contact us today to explore our exhibit services and elevate your trade show experience to new heights. As always, please respond with your comments. We will see you next week. Until then, I am your host Michael Gray telling you to RELAX in the Exhibitor Lounge.

colorful exhibit display with monitor

Elevate Your Trade Show Experience with Exhibit Edge

Let Exhibit Edge be your partner in creating remarkable trade show exhibits that captivate and engage. With our expertise and your vision, we can craft a space that truly represents your brand and story. Connect with us today and take the first step towards a standout trade show presence!