TV display delay

I own a Samsung LCD television (LN-T4042H) that I’ve always connected to my laptop (Thinkpad T43) to play streaming content on hulu and Netflix, using what Google tells me is the D-SUB port. I was recently given a shiny new panoramic Dell Inspiron laptop and an HDMI cable so when I hook up the Dell, the image completely fills the TV screen, whereas the Thinkpad remained square in the center.
I’ve noticed when I power on the TV it takes longer to display the screen. Anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes! I timed it last night at 2:20, and it had always displayed within a few seconds with the Thinkpad. I can hear it clicking as if it’s trying to…do something, and the red light flashes in regular intervals until it displays.
Is this something I should be worried about? I don’t want to blow out my TV or ruin the laptop…but I don’t know what the problem is. Should I not leave the cable plugged in the TV? it’s annoying as all hell. The Dell is nearly always attached as I use the thinkpad for my actual computing needs…it’s well-ventilated but a real hassle to unplug the HDMI cable from the TV back every time I want to play a movie using my separate DVD player.
What’s causing the delay and how should I handle it?

Some laptops do not need to be told what to do when you connect an exterior display to them, some do, and some are better than figuring it out than others.

Have you tried using the keyboard controls to switch the display to the TV during the 2 minute delay, or are you just relying on the laptop to automatically detect the new device?

Also, HDMI connections are much more sophisticated than VGA connections. The computers on both sides have to sort of negotiate what they’re going to share with each other.

HDMI includes the ability to encrypt the video data stream (using HDCP) so filthy pirates can’t access it and steal their precious content. An HDMI source (like your laptop or a DVD/Blu-Ray player) can require that the display properly support HDCP and the two devices have to “handshake” when connected and exchange encryption/decryption keys. I’ve seen a lot of irritating issues with HDMI when the source enforces HDCP, including long delays, no picture, and so on. Maybe an update for the graphics driver on your laptop would help.

Knead, exactly what keyboard controls? The display I see on the laptop is what shows on the TV - it’s not asking me to connect or anything. I’m relying on the TV to connect when I turn it on because there’s nothing on the laptop that tells me it even cares the HDMI cable is plugged in. Both monitors (TV and laptop) display the same content…the laptop doesn’t go dark when TV is plugged in like the Thinkpad did.
jz, it’s a brand new laptop…how would I update the graphics driver? I’m only vaguely aware of the inner workings of computers (clearly).

Laptops which support external display devices usually have a key combination which allows you to toggle through various combinations of displays. For your situation, you should be able to toggle between laptop display only, external display only, and both.

This is usually accessed by way of a combination of a key (often labeled Fn on laptops) and one of other F keys. Look for a key that looks something like this.

But I really think the handshaking is the issue here.