Toshiba Thrive HDMI port

One of the key things setting the Toshiba Thrive apart from other Android tablets is that the Thrive has full-sized USB and HDMI ports. I’ve already tested the tablet’s ability to read data from a USB flash drive, so I decided to take the next step and test the HDMI port.

I have a 1080p television hanging out in my basement, so I wandered downstairs to connect the tablet to the TV using an HDMI cable. At first I thought nothing was happening, but it turns out I had to wiggle the cable a little bit to make sure it was snug. Once I did that, almost everything on the tablet’s screen was mirrored on the TV set.

I say almost everything, because the menu buttons and status icons at the bottom of the screen didn’t show up. That makes sense, since you can’t actually touch them on the TV display. Instead, you continue to interact with the tablet by touching it — but the TV acts as a secondary display.

Anything you can do on the tablet you can also do with a TV plugged in. That includes playing videos, listening to music, surfing the web, or playing games. In the video below I demonstrate video playback and a quick round of Angry Birds.

The HDMI cable also carries audio to the television. When plugged in, you’ll hear sound from the TV but not from the tablet.

My only complaint with the Toshiba Thrive’s HDMI feature is that there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to turn off the tablet screen while continuing to watch a video on a TV or monitor. There’s no really good reason that you should have to see the same video on two screens.

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9 replies on “Toshiba Thrive: Testing the HDMI output”

  1. QuanahHarjo. I was also wondering about this because I plugged in my tablet to my 55 inch Samsung 3d plasma and was like WTF how can i access the recent programs and home and back. Here is my workaround I bought the logitech android 3.0 keyboard and a bluetooth mouse made by eclipse. The keyboard has a back button and home button so those two problems are solved. Now if only honeycomb would allow you to swtich programs like gingerbread does by pressing the home button i would be fine. In the meantime I just use the app drawer to switch stuff. Until I figure something else out like adding some sort of recent programs short cut key to the main screen. Also you can prop your tablet next to your tv and since the screen doesnt turn off use the mouse to click on the three icons at the bottom. Where there is a will there is a way!

    1. Also the cool thing about the keyboard is its the only one out there with android specific keys and the mouse has a cool optical sensor that makes it easy to flick between honeycomb screens and flick web pages back and forth. Totally worth the 100.00 investment.

  2. Can’t turn off the screen, can’t see the status/icons on an HDMI monitor.  So using this as a “PC” with mouse and keyboard attached to an HDMI monitor is sounding like a fail.

    1. Not entirely… well, maybe if you really want to use the HDMI output. 

      But I just tested a mouse and keyboard with a USB hub and the setup worked really, really well if you’re using the tablet as a monitor.

      I also wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a software update or third party app eventually that allows you to turn off the screen and/or view the status bar and buttons.

      1. It’s a Honeycomb issue, which doesn’t presently support multiple monitor modes.  So other Honeycomb tablets have the same issue with HDMI mirror mode.

        Motorola even mentions both the Mirror Mode and the Status icons not being mirrored in the Xoom FAQ.

  3. Nardsbarley sounds like something that happens after I eat too much chili.

  4. “One of the key things setting the Toshiba Thrive apart from other Android tablets is that the Thrive has full-sized USB port  and HDMI ports.”
    One of the key things setting the Coby Kyros Mid7022 apart from other 7″ Android Tablets is it has full-sized USB port and a mini-HDMI port.

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