The 6 Best HDMI To RCA Composite Converters
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in September of 2016. If you have an older television or projector in your home, office, or classroom that still works well but is not compatible with newer AV hardware, an HDMI to composite converter can breathe new life into your not-so-new gear. Allowing you to connect everything from gaming consoles to content streaming devices, they'll let you eke out a few more years from your equipment. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 23, 2020:
Since composite video has been obsolete for quite some time now, little has changed in the way of HDMI to composite conversion technology. For this reason most of our previous selections are still relevant, however we did make a few changes to ensure that our users can make the best choice for their particular needs.
While we ended up removing the RuiPuo due to unavailability, we replaced it with the Dingsun Adapter, which is a nearly identical device. We felt it important to provide an option that doubled as a switcher, since it's quite common for older televisions to have only one input, and getting up to manually unplug and plug in cables everytime you want to switch between a streaming stick, laptop, or gaming console can get irritating.
We also added the Gana Converter to provide some variety in contrast to models that integrate their own HDMI or RCA connectors. This allows users to use their own cables, whether because they're particularly long or high in quality, and also eases cable routing. Additionally, it is also one of the most affordable options on the market that still provides a decent picture quality.
October 21, 2019:
You don't have to throw out your old TV or projector just because it doesn't have the newest connectors, you just have to pick up one of these converters. By far the easiest to use is the iSimple, because unlike the rest, you don't need to plug it into a power source. But it is a little more costly. The Wonlyus is also convenient because it includes a female-to-female adapter that can accommodate HDMI extensions in case you need to cover a lot of ground. The RuiPuo is worth a look if you want to streamline multiple video sources thanks to its 3 HDMI inputs, and the Tendak is interesting because it also allows for S-video output. Then there's the NewCare, which is one of the very few to offer dual display support thanks to its HDMI passthrough port. And the Wonlyus Adapter is one of the cheapest, but it's still perfectly reliable. And if you do decide to upgrade to a TV with an HDMI input, it's actually pretty easy to do so without breaking the bank.
Choosing An HDMI To RCA Composite Converter
People with little to no technological know-how will want a simple unit that is clearly labeled.
There are a few very important things to consider before choosing an HDMI to RCA composite converter. Output quality is one such consideration. The output quality between analog devices and digital standards of today can vary to extreme degrees. Even the difference between 720p and 1080p in high definition is noticeable, so making sure that the HDMI to RCA composite converter will try to preserve the image as much as possible is very important. Many converters will even boost the RCA output in some ways, such as enhancing the brightness or contrast of the image. The same goes for audio quality. While the difference between stereo and mono audio may not matter for some, others say it is very noticeable. Many converters will keep the stereo sound transmission intact instead of breaking it down to mono. This gives the sound a richer and more complete feel.
The amount of tech experience you have will matter to a certain degree. People with little to no technological know-how will want a simple unit that is clearly labeled. Someone with a better understanding of technology and more complex needs from their converter may want the additional functionality of a PAL and NTSC switch or S-video jack.
Even the type of hardware plugging into the unit is important to consider. Some converters are ideal for DVD and Blu-ray players, but will have a hard time keeping up with the demands of a newer video game console. Luckily, there are many units that are designed with the use of gaming consoles in mind. Size may also be a minor consideration here if there is little space on the desktop or the back of your entertainment system looks like a cable graveyard.
The HDMI Takeover; Why Are HDMI To RCA Composite Converters Necessary?
High-Definition Multimedia Interface is the standard for transmitting uncompressed video and high-quality audio between various modern devices. The intelligent design of the HDMI jack is such that it can easily incorporate the functions of nearly every other connector type, making backwards compatibility with older HDMI cables simple. It also makes conversion between HMDI and other sources, like RCA, easier. This means an HDMI to RCA composite converter is a sound investment, as well, as new innovations in HDMI are unlikely to surpass the capabilities of the converter.
At one time, nearly all televisions, surround sound systems, VCRs, game consoles, and even DVD players all used RCA connections.
Unlike HDMI connectors, the acronym RCA has no AV significance. The Radio Corporation of America named the jacks after the corporation itself. They allowed technicians to service speaker units or turntables when they were in disrepair. The standard at the time was still the quarter-inch connector, and RCA jacks were mainly used between components of the sound system itself.
The rise of high-fidelity audio created a demand for new connectors, which is where RCA cables stepped in. RCA connectors have been the standard since, adapting later to deliver video signals. There are a couple downsides to them, however. The connector cables can make a loud buzzing as you plug and unplug them. The design of the plugs causes this buzz, as the signal pin makes contact before the ground ring does. Another confusion with RCA connectors is the sheer number of male to female connections necessary to actually use the devices. RCA connectors are color coded to make the process a little less confusing. Even so, there are over 11 different colored connections that have different purposes depending on the type of system one is using. At one time, nearly all televisions, surround sound systems, VCRs, game consoles, and even DVD players all used RCA connections. RCA signals can also have poor impedance matching. These reasons are largely why RCA is now being phased out by HDMI.
HDMI combined all the inputs into one simple, high-quality digital interface. Yet many people still have older analog equipment that still works quite well, which is why HDMI to RCA composite converters are so important. The financial impact of throwing out a perfectly good piece of AV equipment is extremely high when compared to simply getting a converter to make the equipment HDMI-ready.
Understanding The Changes In Audio And Video History
From the beginning of recorded time to the advent of the phonautograph and beyond, there have been numerous changes in the way we experience recorded sounds and sights. Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville invented the phonautograph around 1860, nearly 20 years before Edison’s famous recording of himself.
RCA could deliver both audio and visual elements with ease.
Alexander Graham Bell made improvements to Edison’s early work on the telephone, and sought to collaborate with Edison to create the phonograph and bring this device to the mainstream. Edison declined, but happily pilfered some of Bell’s ideas and finished developing the phonograph on his own, marking the birth of mainstream music recording, playback, and production. As karma would have it, Emile Berliner would swipe many of Edison’s ideas soon after to bring the first disc records to the public.
What is important to note here is that each of these early devices were complete units. They recorded the sound, stored it, and played it back. This trend continued until the wax cylinders or vinyl records these machines used could be mass produced. Now we have a situation where the recording device, playback device, and storage device are all different. This trend continues into the modern digital age, and has caused many of the changes in jacks and connections.
The original problem arose when many different manufacturers sought to create different connections for their audio and visual equipment. The quarter-inch jack was the standard in telephone switchboards, so in the early days it made sense that this would become the universal tool for audio equipment.
When consumers started demanding high fidelity sound, the RCA connector was front and center. RCA could deliver both audio and visual elements with ease. This was the standard until very recently, when HDMI came onto the scene. Luckily today, there are things like HDMI to RCA composite converters and AV to HDMI converters, so we no longer have to decide between the two.