HDMI Out with the Google Chromebook

I am using–having purchased it for myself–the $249 Google Chomebook made by Samsung, the same general device being purchased by schools for 1:1 implementation.

I do not believe that the Chromebook is the answer for SAMR models of tech integration, particularly when it comes to the M (modification) and R (redefinition) levels of that model.  However, if you are looking for a device as a substitute for traditional computer use in education (papers, research, presentations), it is a fitting device.

The Google Chromebook comes with HDMI out only, which is problematic for many schools, as schools will often fail to purchase projectors with HDMI capability–yes, even in 2013.  Most projectors come with HDMI output…but there are still models that do not have that feature.  Furthermore, most schools are not wired for HDMI, so a VGA cable connection is run to the projector from a mounted point on the wall.  So, even if you have an HDMI equipped projector, you will still need to convert HDMI to VGA.

I remembered to bring in my Kanex ATV Pro to school today, which is a small adapter that converts Apple TV output to a VGA plus audio (1/8″ stereo mini plug) connection, which costs around $65.  One of the best parts about the Kanex is that it does not require an additional power connection to covert the Apple TV’s signal from HDMI to VGA.

I thought I would try that device with the Chromebook.  It did not work.  I still had an older, powered HDMI to VGA convertor in the choir room (about $100 on Amazon), and it did project the Chomebook’s HDMI output to the screen.  Audio does appear to run throught the HDMI port (this is standard, however, on my 2008 MacBook, audio does not go out via the HDMI dongle, but does with later models of MacBooks).

So..you can convert the HDMI signal, you just can’t do so with the small, unpowered Kanex ATV Pro.

I also had to reboot the Chromebook to get it to start “automatically” projecting via the HDMI port (it apparently isn’t hot swappable).  And when I did get the Chromebook running both the device’s screen and HDMI output, the Chromebook would not allow me to mirror the displays, as they have to share the same resolution (to mirror, you have to hit the CTRL and Maximize Windows keys).

I know a lot of users like to have a secondary montior that isn’t mirrored–I just happen to be one of those people that prefers my “presentation” screen to mirror my monitor (a default change in Office for Mac 2011, by the way, where PowerPoint prefers to present in presentation mode for the presenter and in PowerPoint mode for the class–easy enough to fix, but complicated enough that you have to show teachers how to avoid this (if they wish to…and most of them do).

So…in summary:

1) Yes, obviously, you can get HDMI out from a Chromebook

2) The Chromebook HDMI out will not mirror your screen unless you match resolutions (otherwise, you just have a second desktop)

3) If you want to connect to VGA, you will need a more expensive powered HDMI to VGA converter

4) You may need to restart your Chromebook to get the HDMI output working

5) Audio comes out of the HDMI port on the Chromebook

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