HDMI Converter Cables and Adapters

By Mike McPeek
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HDMI cables are the easiest way to make connections for a rapidly growing number of consumer electronics devices. All new HDTVs and DVD and Blu-ray players come with HDMI ports. At an increasing rate, portable devices like digital cameras, camcorders and cell phones have a form of the interface included. Computers, monitors and gaming systems are also adopting the interface.

For devices that are equipped with standard HDMI ports, connection is simply a matter of connecting the cable. Beyond just the cable, however, there are a number of accessories available that can help consumers customize HDMI connectivity to meet special circumstances.

Some devices, particularly portable ones, may have smaller versions of HDMI which require an adapter. Many older products are equipped with connectors that can be easily adapted to HDMI with the use of cables or converters. This article will help you decide what is necessary and available to make the most of HDMI connectivity.

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Can I Convert HDMI To and From Other Formats?

The short answer is yes but it the type of format determines the conversion method that’s needed. Other formats that one is likely to want to hook up to an HDMI connection include DVI, VGA, USB, Component and S-Video.

DVI

DVI, or Digital Video Interface, connections are a popular, high-quality way to make the connection between graphics cards and LCD or LED monitors. They’re also used to connect HDTVs to components like Blu-ray players. In that both signals are digital, conversion of HDMI to DVI is simply a matter of installing a HDMI to DVI conversion cable. There is one caveat, however. Whereas HDMI carries both video and audio signals, DVI transports only video so separate audio cables are required.

VGA

Video Graphics Array, better known as VGA, is a very common way of connecting computers to monitors. If you want to connect a computer, whether laptop or desktop, to a HDTV, a VGA to HDMI converter is likely to be the best bet. The process is more complex than converting DVI to HDMI because the VGA signal is analog. VGA to HDMI converter boxes are available to do the job. The analog signal is carried from the computer to the converter by a VGA cable and comes out as a digital signal that is sent to the HDTV via HDMI cable. Some audio-video receivers have a VGA to HDMI converter built in.

Component and S-Video

If you need to connect a device, such as a DVD player or VCR that only has component audio output available, and need to connect it to the HDMI port on an HDTV, you’ll need a Component to HDMI converter. As with VGA signals, component signals are analog so have to be converted to digital to connect to an HDMI interface. There are converters that go the opposite direction, converting HDMI’s digital signal to analog component signals but we don’t recommend them because the HDCP copyright protection of HDMI is likely to render the converted signal unusable.

Similarly, there are converters that will upscale S-Video output to HDMI.

USB

USB connections have become the most common outputs for computers. Any USB output can be made compatible with a HDMI input by using a USB to HDMI converter box.

Connecting Different Sizes of HDMI Cables

There are three types of HDMI connectors currently available given that the larger Type B interface with 29 pins isn’t in use. Type A is the standard sized HDMI cable. The outside width of the male connector is 13.9mm and it contains 19 pins.

The spread of HDMI connectivity to portable devices has brought about two smaller connector sizes which contain 19 pins and work seamlessly with the standard Type A connections with the use of simple adapter cables. Type C, widely known as mini-HDMI is common on devices like digital cameras and camcorders. Its male connector is 10.42mm wide. The newest Type D, or micro-HDMI is becoming popular on small devices like smartphones. Its connector is just 6.4mm in width.

HDMI has made high-definition digital connectivity easy. For more details about HDMI cables, we invite you to visit our HDMI Cables review site. There you’ll find side-by-side product comparisons as well as objective reviews of HDMI cables. We also recommend checking out the learning center for more articles related to USB cables.

 
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