Besides being a legacy port that fewer people outside of an office are using, eliminating ethernet also allows for a thinner profile. But if you must have ethernet, there's always a USB-ethernet adapter, or a docking station if one is available for that laptop. That's what I plan to use with my tablet when I visit Japan later this yer, as many of their hotels still use wired ethernet rather than WiFi for internet access. You don't but some folks use legacy devices, or need extra ports for things where PQ is not a high priority. If you only have a basic cable package with no HD channels, why waste an HDMI port for that? Plus with analog connections, you'll never have to worry about HDMI handshaking issues.