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Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

In a blog radio interview with a Motorola developer, when asked about how the Droid X’s HDMI-out could be used, the following answer was given by the Moto dev:

"The only time that we are enabling the HDMI driver on the device is when you are in the gallery mode. [...] The HDMI driver is not active any time outside the gallery"

As Android users are aware, gallery is the native photo and recorded video viewing application on Android devices. The mechanism of controlling the HDMI-out on the Droid X remains unknown, but for the time being it appears that, without root, the Droid X’s HDMI out is extremely limited in its usefulness.

This has also apparently been confirmed in a number of reviews of the device, citing the Droid X’s manual that ships with the phone.

There has been considerable outrage over on the XDA forums because of this apparently lacking “feature,” given that HDMI-out had been a major selling point of the device. While an eventual workaround in the form of rooting (and possibly unlocking) will likely provide users more HDMI functionality in the future, many people are uncomfortable tinkering with their devices in a way that may void the warranty; and who can blame them?

Thoughts on Motorola’s slightly deceptive marketing? Give a shout-out below!

Credit: MotoDev on BlogTalkRadio via XDA Forums

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Digitalthug

    I must be having a brain fart and not understanding correctly, but when I throw my converted .mp4 vids on my sdcard they are playable thru the gallery. So why wouldnt the vids trigger the hdmi driver?

    • David Ruddock

      In theory, they might be. But no one has provided an example of this in action. The HDMI-out may only support videos on the same (exact) codec that the Droid X records in.

      Otherwise, yes, Gallery may be able to play *some* (note, some, not ALL MP4 codecs work in gallery) MP4 video files.

      Either way, no Youtube, browser/flash, or official API for apps to access the HDMI out. This, at best, means you'll only ever be able to play MP4 out of your device, and even then it must be stored on the SD card and be of the proper codec type for Gallery to play it.

      But, your hypothesis does make sense!

    • http://www.xda-developers.com/ Watcher

      This is a sad day for DROID lovers, but you have a point i think it will work. Also i think they are talking about taking the OSD (on screen Display) of your phone and displaying it through HDMI out, ie: looking at your phone's home screen from your TV.

      Witch in turn would mean you can run any program from the TV like game, and other apps...

      Wow Drop 7 on the big screen cant wait (Talking about the "Galaxy S" for sprint Sorry Droid Fanboys/Girls) besides you don't need to worry about it, we have good hackers that will fix that problem.
      It's just sad... :( that it not working right out of the box.

      Watcher Out...

      • digitalthug

        Yea def is quite a shame this limitation is in place. I wonder what the reasoning is. Is it just Motorola has not had time to implement full functionality for the launch and will enable it all at a later date? Or are they doing this on purpose for some insane reason? The HTC Evo has limited hdmi capability as well, so maybe its an Android limitation?

      • Mormegil83

        I'm sure its pretty much the same deal as Hulu on the TV. Especially with all DLNA letting you hook your phone to the TV you could watch content from any connected set top box (no more $10 extra per cable box), computer, internet videos. Developers, content providers, and Motorola dont want to step on any toes. Cable companies make and pay way too much money for the corporate America to want this to happen...

        • digitalthug

          I was thinking that could be another reason too. They don't want to trespass on anyone's yard...But I say to hell wit that. Its all about changing the game and hdmi out on phones with full flash capability is def a game changer!

  • Darkseider

    Once the device is rooted you can pretty much kiss that limitation goodbye. XDA will have a field day with that getting it work for any media format.

  • Deon

    Slightly confused. While it sucks as a limitation, the only time I can think I'd want to use the HDMI port is to display video's and photo's, all can be done through the gallery. So the #1 reason I'd want to use the HDMI port would still be ok with the Droid X. What other reasons would one use the HDMI port? To browse the web and play games?

    • David Ruddock

      Gallery only supports a (very) limited variety of video, .MP4 (an H.264 codec), and only of certain types.

      This means: No .avi, no .mpeg, no .mkv, no .mov, or any other video format.

      Additionally, there is speculation that Droid X's Gallery app's video playback will be software-limited to only play back videos taken on the device itself using a yet-unknown mechanism.

    • LP

      Monthly internet bill for one!

  • Trevor

    Guys, you can get your downloaded and converted videos to play just fine, just tag them!! I was messing around with my Droid X today, found out the easy way by just randomly doing stuff and it worked! Watching on my TV right now!

    • Stephanie

      How would one "tag" them?

    • Ben

      To an earlier comment: To watch movies and tv you moron.. Thats why this is
      Important. We need a fix Now!

      • Stephanie

        seeking step by step instructions on specifically getting my movies through the hdmi to the tv, how to tag them and perhaps removing drm...whatever will get them to play

    • Tajh

      Tell me how you got your Droid X to play movies on your tv step by step please !!!!!!

  • BB2Android

    From a productivity standpoint, using HDMI out with a powerpoint prezo loaded on SD card is a useful thing. As far as I know there's no way to convert to "media" type file so looks like a no go there unless the X gets rooted...

  • RJ

    I just got the HDMI cable yesterday only to find out that I could only watch *some* things and only from the gallery. You can't even browse the gallery through HDMI for crying out loud! What is the point of this? They should have left out HDMI all together and given us another SD card slot!

  • John

    I've been wondering if the hdmi port on the droid x may eventually be used for audio out to a speaker docking station, like so many you see for the iphone that use Apple's proprietary port for both charging and sound. Droid x could use the micro usb for the charge and the hdmi for sound, yes? Anyone have any info? Will Android 2.2 add any capabilities?

  • Themultimarkanthony

    I'm using a Moto Droid X rooted and can playback avi,mp-4 & 3gp that was(not) captured on this same device. Yes thru the gallery only, but it works flawless.

  • guy

    You jus hav to buy the gman app on market place to unlock your port works great for me

  • Col Steve

    I can stream Netflix to my phone and would like to show it on the hotel TV via the hdmi port