The other day I was playing with my PS4 and I found myself wondering if there is a way to use my laptop as a monitor for my PS4. It could be quite handy, especially if you’re travelling and don’t have access to a TV or other dedicated display.
Is it possible? Here’s the thing:
Can You Use a Laptop as a Monitor for a PS4?
No. You cannot use a laptop as a monitor for PS4 because both devices use HDMI output. The alternatives would be to either buy a video capture card or use a game-streaming service but both these options introduce significant input delay.
When it comes to using a laptop as a monitor for a PS4, the first idea that comes to mind is to run an HDMI cable between the devices. Unfortunately, that won’t work because both laptops and PS4s use HDMI output, neither of them are designed for HDMI input.
The physical HDMI ports are backwards compatible, but the cables only support video signals in one direction. Granted, there are a handful of laptops that support HDMI in, but those are far and few between.
If you want to get technical, it may be possible to remove your laptop’s panel, look for a controller for the ribbon plug that converts to HDMI, and then use that as a display. As you can imagine, that’s out of the average person’s capabilities and overly complex.
In fact, if you try to connect two HDMI output devices via HDMI, you risk damaging both of them. Surprisingly, other articles on this subject recommend using an HDMI cable but that will not work and it can be harmful. Don’t do it.
Let’s take a look at our options:
Video Capture Card:
One way to use your laptop as a monitor for a PS4 would be to use a video capture card. These are small devices that allow you to see the content on your console on another device and record footage.
Using a video capture card on your laptop is quite easy. Simply run an HDMI cable to the capture card from the PS4 and then connect the USB end into your laptop. Depending on the software you use, the media from your console should appear on your laptop’s screen.
Video capture cards are mostly used to either stream or record console games through a PC, they’re not designed for direct gaming because there’s a lot of input delay.
However, on some titles, having a fast reaction time is not that important, so the delay is manageable. You would be playing directly through the media capture window. The downside is video captures cards can be expensive, and the performance isn’t the best.
Game Streaming with PS4 Remote Play
Here we have another option that doesn’t require any additional hardware but also introduces significant input lag. Most consoles, including PS4, have an online game streaming service that allows you to play games from your console on another device over the local area network.
It’s fairly easy to set up. On PS4, what you want to do is to install the PS4 Remote Play app on Windows 10 and follow the on-screen instructions. Once completed, plug the PS4 controller into your laptop, and you should be able to use your PS4 on your laptop over the network.
As you might have guessed, the performance of this setup varies, depending on the speed and quality of your network. Playstation recommends a high-speed connection with a download and upload speed of at least 5 Mbps.
If playing over Wifi, a 5 Ghz router would likely be more reliable than the standard 2.4 Ghz. Even better, consider hooking up both your laptop and PS4 directly to the modem through a high-speed LAN cable.
If you want to play PS4 games on your laptop, I think this is the best option. Unfortunately, other than those options, there’s no practical way to use a laptop as a monitor for a PS4.
PSNow is a cloud gaming service that allows you to play PS4 games over the internet from a laptop or PC. It’s similar to the game streaming option mentioned earlier, except you don’t need a physical PS4 to use this service. The service runs games from the Playstation network and the media is sent to you.
As you can imagine, the quality highly depends on the speed of your internet connection. Even if you do have a fast and reliable internet connection, there will still be a very noticeable input delay. Much more delay than the local area network streaming option mentioned earlier.
The upside is you don’t need a PS4, or any console for that matter, and you can play games on basically any device because they don’t run locally. The downsides? It’s expensive, and the input delay is horrendous.
Cloud gaming might become big when everyone has lightning fast internet, such as 5G, but as of today, it’s still not a practical solution.
Bonus Idea: Buy a Portable Monitor
While you can’t use your laptop as a monitor for PS4, what you can do is buy a portable monitor. There are plenty of affordable portable monitors on the market. Most portable monitors look like tablets, and they can easily fit into a backpack with your laptop and other devices.
Another advantage to having a portable monitor is you can use it as a second screen for your laptop to be more productive while on the go. For activities like road trips, a portable monitor can be very handy and help you kill time. Amazon has lots of portable monitors that you can check out.
To summarise, there’s no easy way to use a laptop as a monitor for a PS4, but there are still ways to play PS4 games directly on a laptop. The game streaming options are worth trying out at least. But I think the best option would be to buy a portable HDMI monitor for your console.