Take Your Display to the Next Level with BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 & HDMI Cables

DEVICES / 07.04.12 / bswanncanada

Besides your trusted micro USB cable, one cable to add to your arsenal is a HDMI cable for the BlackBerry™ PlayBook® tablet. Whether you are making a presentation to a client or showing baby pictures to the grandparents, the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is the perfect medium.

The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has a HDMI port, which allows you to connect to an HDMI display (such as a TV, projector or monitor) so you can share what you are viewing on the tablet with others. You also have the option of using your BlackBerry® smartphone as a wireless remote control for your tablet, which lets you sit back and control it from your recliner.

Technical Stuff

Before we get started there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you are going to need BlackBerry HDMI cable; you can pick one up at

An HDMI cable carries both digital video and audio signals, wrapping those connections into one neat little package. The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has been designed for plug and play; however, if something doesn’t look right you may need to adjust some settings. For an overview of these settings, check out Ty’s blog post on BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 Setting Overview.

You will also need to ensure that your display is HDMI compatible, so if you are unsure of this, review the documentation that came with the display or contact the manufacturer for more information.

Two Viewing Modes

There are two viewing options you can choose from when connecting a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to an HDMI display. The settings are Default to Mirror Mode “On” or “Off”.

Default to Mirror Mode “On” – The HDMI display mirrors what you see on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s screen.

Default to Mirror Mode “Off” – This could also be called presentation mode because you choose what to share on the HDMI display. Videos, pictures and Slideshow To Go are examples of apps which support this feature.

To access the HDMI settings and check if Default to Mirror Mode is “On” or “Off”:

  1. From the Home screen, tap the “Setting” (Gear) icon that appears in the top right corner
  2. Tap “HDMI”
  3. Ensure the setting Default to Mirror Mode is set to “On”.

You should know that when Default to Mirror Mode is turned off, only apps that support this future will be able to show media on the HDMI display. In other words, the only apps that will display content when Default to Mirror Mode is off are Video app, Pictures app and SlideShow To Go.

In the screen shot below I’ve highlighted the icon used to display media on the HDMI display. Simply tap the icon and the video, picture, video chat or Slideshow To Go presentation will be displayed on the connected display.

The HDMI Display Doesn’t Look Right? Change the Settings!

Aspect Ratio – The device is designed to work out of the box with a standard HDMI display, but if it doesn’t look right to you, you can change the Aspect Ratio. “Normal (1:1)” should be the correct setting for most HDMI displays, but you do have the option to “Stretch”, “Zoom” and “Fill.” The names are pretty self-explanatory, so find the one that works best with your display.

Connected To – Shows the device you are currently connected to; this information is received from the HDMI display itself.

Display Mode – By default this setting uses the “Preferred” mode.

One More Setting to Consider – Audio!

HDMI Audio – When this is set to “On,” the audio that would normally be played through the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s speakers are played though the HDMI display’s speakers (if available). When turned “Off,” the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s speakers or headphone jack are used for audio.

Tip: Get yourself a BlackBerry® Music Gateway to connect your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s audio wirelessly to your home stereo system. Check out Getting Started with the BlackBerry Music Gateway for more information.

What Could Possibly Make this Better?

I’m glad you asked! Here are a few things that take this feature to the next level. Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities.

Remote Control – Use your BlackBerry smartphone as a remote control! If you have never used this feature, check out the post Remote Control feature in BlackBerry Bridge 2.0 lets you control your BlackBerry PlayBook with your BlackBerry smartphone.

Wireless BlackBerry Mini Keyboard – If you don’t have a BlackBerry smartphone or would like a full keyboard, then this is the solution for you. The bonus here is the multi-touch touchpad built into the keyboard, which can input text and manipulate the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet from afar. For information on how the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard works and how to pair it with a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, check out the post Getting Started with the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard.

Video Chat – If you have a family member, friend or colleague who also has a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the Video Chat app is the perfect way to communicate with them – and you can see them better by connecting your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to an HDMI display. Read Getting Started with Video Chat in BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.

Wi-Fi® Sharing – Wirelessly transfer files from your home computer network to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet for easy viewing of your media. Check out Ty’s post How to copy files to and from a BlackBerry PlayBook using Wi-Fi Sharing!

Let us know why you connect your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to a HDMI display!

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