HDMI-to-VGA converter

HDMI-to-VGA converter

In an ideal world, a HDMI-to-VGA converter would not be needed. The best option would be to only have HDMI compatible devices, in which case, we can simply use a HDMI-to-HDMI cable to connect them up. However, currently, we do not have that. Truth is, HDMI is a relatively new standard (V1.0 released around 2003) so there are a lot of older devices that do not have HDMI ports (or even DVI ports for that matter). One such example is older computers and display monitors that have VGA ports. Therefore, if you have a newer device that only has HDMI ports and you would like to connect it to an older monitor you would need a converter cable. In this case, a HDMI-to-VGA would fit the bill.

Obviously, with this arrangement there will be some lost in quality of the content that is displayed. But, depending on the objective that you are trying to achieve, that might be acceptable. Even in a pure HDMI eco-system, the maximum HDMI functionality and benefit is determined by the device with the minimal amount of HDMI functions. The same rule applies to any HDMI-to-other_format converter.

The above example highlights the HDMI-to-VGA cable, but, I suppose the reverse connection — VGA-to-HDMI is also possible. A computer with a VGA port that connects to a HDTV with a HDMI port for example. In any event, the same limitations applies ! If both of the devices that you are trying to connect have VGA ports, then use them and a regular VGA cable. You will NOT gain any benefits by using a HDMI-to-VGA cable when you have the aforementioned VGA-to-VGA scenario.

So, what are some of the technical differences between a HDMI and a VGA connector ?

The explanation will get a little more technical, so I will explain it in the “Tech Talk” section below.

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To start, the pin count between the two connectors are different. The VGA port has 15-pins while the HDMI port has 19. Fundamentally, the VGA port is an ANALOG device that uses analog signals to communicate. HDMI is all DIGITAL. Consequently, for a HDMI-to-VGA converters, DIGITAL signals are being converted into ANALOG signals using what is known in the Electronic Engineering world as an Digital-to-Analog (DAC) converter. For the reverse connection VGA-to-HDMI, the reverse conversion with an electronic device called a Analog-to-Digital (ADC) converter is used.

By-the-way, if you don’t know, and you are wondering what is ANALOG and DIGITAL ? Basically, an ANALOG voltage signal is a signal that can be any voltage value (an infinite amount of different possibilities) between some low and high threshold. For example, if the low threshold is 2 volts and the high threshold is 5 volts, the analog signal can be any value within that range.

Unlike the ANALOG signal, the DIGITAL signal is essentially limited to only two values: 0, 1 — where the “1″ is actually an abstraction of some set analog voltage (i.e. 3 volts). For obvious reason, a DIGITAL signal is usually much easier to process and manipulate. Which probably explain why we are currently living in the digital age. There are some other technological factors for why digital is so ubiquitous but, I won’t get into that at this time.

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