Have you tried the Function Keys on your Laptop? I know on my Lenovo, I can switch to HDMI by simply selecting the proper function key. On my desktop, I select the NVIDIA Control Panel (by wrong clicking the mouse on the desktop ("wrong-clicking" is a Michaelism for right-clicking...coz I'm left handed
) (not over an icon). Under the Control Panel (of course if you have ATI, it's CCC) you should see the Monitor...You should be able to set it to primary display (or cloned) and use it!
I use HDMI on my desktop to run a Vizio 47" LCD as well as my Dell LCD. I run Hulu on the Big screen whilee I do my "homework" on the Dell...
Good Luck...hope this helps!