In theory, connecting your Windows 8 tablet to a monitor is quite simple: Connect a cable between your tablet’s video port and your monitor’s input port. The challenge is finding the right cable. No single cable works in every situation. That’s because tablets and monitors contain different types of video ports, and your cable needs the correct jack on each end, or it won’t work.
Most tablets come with a Micro HDMI port, and most PC monitors and HDTVs include a full-size HDMI port. So, you connect a cable as shown.
But if those ports don’t resemble the ones on your tablet or external monitor, read on.
Most tablets come with one of two types of video connectors: HDMI or miniDisplayPort.
HDMI: By far the most popular, HDMI ports appear on most high definition TV sets (HDTVs), computer monitors, and even cellphones. Most tablets include a Micro HDMI port, shown in the figure (left). It’s the same type of video port found on many cellphones today.
miniDisplayPort: Launched on Apple computers and slowly moving to some PCs, the miniDisplayPort now appears on some tablets.
TVs and monitors also include one or more different types of video adapters.
HDMI: Shown in the figure (right), this port is the same as the ones found on many tablets, but it’s full-size — more than twice as large.
DVI: The next most popular, this port appears mostly on PC monitors rather than on TVs.
VGA: This old chestnut appeared on monitors for more than a decade, so it’s still around on a lot of equipment as a last resort connector. Cables and adapters with VGA connectors cost more, because they need more circuitry to translate between the types of signals flowing through the cable.
After you identify the video ports on your tablet and your monitor, buy a cable with a plug for your tablet on one end and the plug for your monitor on the other.
There’s another method, as well: If you already have a cable that fits into the video port on either your tablet or your monitor, head to Amazon, Newegg, or your local electronics store to buy an adapter for the cable’s other end. An adapter can turn a cable’s HDMI plug into a miniDisplayPort plug, for example, letting it plug into a tablet’s miniDisplayPort.
Depending on the variety of external monitors you plan to connect to your tablet, you may need to collect several types of cables or adapters.
Don’t pay more than ten or fifteen dollars for a cable. The higher-priced ones don’t make the video signal any better.