HDMI to RCA: Cable TV has come a long way since its inception, and HDMI to RCA has been one key innovation in this area. What we consider as a good quality video has changed significantly. The best quality videos from the ’90s don’t hold a candle to today’s average household TV’s. All thanks to the achievements of the digital age.

Coming back to the topic at hand, though people have heard about HDMI and RCA a lot, there is still unawareness about the actuality of things. And sheds light on exactly that. So keep reading.


The term stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface; even if you didn’t know that fact, you probably might have heard of HDMI. And if you still have no idea what I am referring to, just check out the ports of laptop or HD TV. There will be a port similar to a USB port but a bit narrower at one end. Well, that is the one we are talking about. And the cable that goes into it is called the HDMI cable.

As the name suggests, HDMI is used to transfer audio and video signals of high definition. It lets the network provider put in both video and audio interface in one connection. Consequently, you can see it all sorts of devices near you as they are used in. Such as Blue-ray players, cable boxes, HD TVs, projectors, mixers, speakers, and so on. HDMI belongs to the information age, where getting information faster and with more clarity matters.


HDMI might be the next generation of cables. But don’t go underestimating what RCA can do. It might be a little behind the times, But it is still an essential component as far as connecting devices is considered. And for those of you wondering, I am talking about the set of three wires that you always see dangling around the back of TVs, computers, or speakers. You know, the cables that have white, red, and yellow tips. Go back to your childhood; you may have seen them on your very old gaming console.

Radio Corporation of America is the first company that produced this cable. And that is what RCA actually stands for. But RCA connectors also go by names such as the phono connector or cinch connectors. They are used for transferring audio and video signals. Although they are a bit old when compared to HDMI, they are still used on a large scale. Furthermore, they are straightforward and cheap.

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Also read: Android to HDMI


Now let’s have a little showdown between the two cables. Because it might be useful to see how well these cables hold their own against each other before going into their connections. Moreover, you also need to understand these cables individually before looking at cases where they tend to converge.

1. The difference in signals

Let it be optical conductors, copper wires, or any other types of cables. One of the significant and most fundamental ways of characterizing the cable and distinguishing them from others is by looking at the kind of signals they conduct. When it comes to the two cables at hand, HDMI transfers digital signals. Whereas RCA carries analog signals, although the video part of the signal in HDMI is transmitted with the help of analog signals.

2. How the audio of these two measure up

Audio is a significant factor when it comes to any kind of device that specializes in multimedia. Since it uses digital signals, the audio and video signals can be transferred through a single connection. But when it comes to analog, two attachments will be needed for transferring just the audio. And these are done by the red and white cables that we see. However, the downfall here is that RCA won’t be able to transfer surround sound. Unless, of course, an optic audio cable is used instead of the audio part.

3. Weighing in the video factor

Techies have the terrible habit of bragging about the high-end stuff that they own. They actually never stop and think if they actually need a specific feature or not. After all, what good is spending your money on something you will never use going to get. That is the problem here as well. Admittedly, up to 1080i video quality, what HDMI and RCA deliver will look precisely the same. Moreover, you will be able to spot a difference only if the video is of 1080p. But you mostly get only 1080i clarity from your cable or satellite source. Hence both cables weigh in almost equally.

4. The overall ease of use

Or a better way to frame this would be how lazy are you? With the HDMI cable, you won’t have to go through a hassle to get all your connections done. Since it is just the one connection. But with an RCA, there will be multiple connections that you need to deal with. However, if you have a lot of devices that need to be connected, then RCA might be a better choice. As it would burn less of a hole in your pocket.

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HDMI to RCA converter

From the sort of tug of war that happened above, you must now be familiar with the various properties of HDMI and RCA cables. Considering their ups and downs, it is natural that there might come different scenarios where you need to convert the signal from HDMI to RCA. That is where the HDMI to RCA converter comes in.

With a standard HDMI to RCA converter, you can convert the digital signals to analog signals. And this is used in many situations. For instance, if you are using an old TV but the cable provider has gone to HD standard. Although the provider may not be giving you videos at 1080p quality, the signals will still be coming as HD signals. So, a medium for conversion becomes necessary.

If you are looking to buy one, there are various factors that you should look at. These involve price, quality of media, the power required by the converter, HDMI version, and even type of conversion. There are even converters that change the digital signal into a clean analog. But they bypass some copy protection guidelines. And hence are illegal in the US, Canada, and Europe.

HDMI to RCA cable

How is HDMI to RCA cable different from an HDMI to RCA converter? It is the fact that HDMI to RCA cables cannot send in videos. Even though it has the suitable ports at both ends, the absence of a ‘converter’ part won’t allow the process to occur. For the turning digital signals to analog signals, there has to be an active conversion of the former to the later.

Hence, don’t buy anything that is labeled merely as an HDMI to RCA cable. But you will come across products by this name. Then what exactly are these? The cable becomes useful when there is no need to convert the digital signal to RCA. That is if there is a device that expects digital signal but over RCA ports. But these are usually not the everyday appliances that you use. Hence, you most likely won’t need such a cable.

Check out: USB OTG Cable

HDMI to RCA adapter

The term adapter is often misused. Instead of the converter. As mentioned earlier, a converter transforms one signal to another. But an adapter may not. It only means that there is a physical change in the plug or wire format. And there is absolutely no conversion taking place.

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But if you ever searched around for HDMI to RCA converters, then you might have come across something named HDMI to RCA converter adapter. Other than the physical adaptation, they also refer to the power need to the converter. There are converters that come with adapters to power their conversion. Consequently, you get a much better signal. Hence, it is much better if you buy a converter with an adapter built-in. They don’t add a lot to the final price and, after all, who does not enjoy a good movie in better quality.

HDMI to RCA audio

HDMI to RCA audio cables and converters come in handy. Especially, when you are looking at devices that don’t need a video input. Speakers are the most common devices that need this kind of setup. Usually, there will be a converter for converting the audio signal from digital to analog.

HDMI to RCA converter cables

HDMI to RCA converter cables are really just he converter with cables. That is the only difference between these and the converter. And it will burn less of a hole in your pocket. But when it comes to connections that have a lot of distance between them, it is better that you but the converter and cables separately.

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If you went through the length of this post, then you have probably learned a lot of things about HDMI to RCA. Furthermore, you may have also picked up a few things about RCA and HDMI from the initial signals. I hope that this post has done you justice.