Preliminary steps:

  1. Plug the laptop into a power source. Some of the models have a power management scheme that will not allow for HDMI audio while running on batteries. Later, after you get your HDMI audio working, if you find that it still does not work on batteries you can change your power management settings in the Control Panel.
  2. HDMI has its own audio driver separate from the audio driver. HDMI audio is incorporated into the graphics card's driver so make sure you have the newest version of your graphics card driver. On models with Intel graphics the HDMI audio driver will appear in the Device Manager as "Audio Device on High Definition Audio Bus" or "Intel Display Audio".
  3. Turn off the computer and projector before connecting the HDMI cable. Later, after you get your HDMI audio working, if you disconnect the cable while the computer is running and lose your audio, try closing and then re-opening whichever program you were using that generates audio.
  4. Every time you try a different solution you should reboot the computer. HDMI audio is extremely finicky and seems to usually need a reboot.

Make the Connection:

  1. Connect the HDMI cable to the computer and projector. If the projector has a "DVI/HDMI" port do not use it. Use a port for HDMI only.
  2. Turn on the projector and select the HDMI port you are using. Adjust the projector settings to receive HDMI audio if any.
  3. Turn on the computer. (Optional, some people close the laptop lid immediately after hitting the power button but I am not sure why. Most people should not need to do this.)
  4. Optional. Some models do better if the projector is set to be the primary display. To set, repeatedly press Fn+F8 (or ctrl+alt+F4) to cycle through the settings (laptop display only -- laptop + projector -- projector only). Reboot the laptop.
  5. Go to Start>Control Panel>Sound>Playback tab. Make "HDMI" the default device. If "HDMI" is not there, right click in the white area and look under "Show Disconnected Devices" or "Show Disabled Devices" and see if it is there. (This applies only to Vista & 7. XP does not have "show disconnected devices". )

Post Connection Problems:

  1. If there is still no option to select "HDMI' as the default audio playback device, try re-installing or updating the graphics driver, or even try an older version. The graphics driver is the driver for HDMI audio, not the regular audio driver. A few people with Intel graphics had better results by uninstalling the graphics driver, rebooting, and letting Windows look for a driver (instead of downloading the driver from the Dell support site).
  2. Try disconnecting and then reconnecting the HDMI cable.
  3. If you are using Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center but get no HDMI audio even after it is selected as the default playback device, go to Control Panel>Sound>Playback tab>Audio/Playback device>HDMI>properties>Advance>Exclusive Mode and uncheck "exclusive mode".
  4. Try a different HDMI cable.
  5. Try a different HDMI port on the projector.