HDMI To Component
Converting HDMI to Component video is a common request with the recent increase in High Definition (HD) outputs supporting HDMI only. This can be done but there are some things you will want to know before embarking on the journey, this conversion is not as simple as buying a HDMI converter or HDMI adapter at the local electronics store.
Note, this page focuses on converting from HDMI to Component specifically. If you are interested in converting in the other direction see Component to HDMI. You may also be interested in related topics on the upper right hand side of the page.
Ok, on with the details. We will start with a brief introduction to HDMI and why this conversion is difficult followed by some potential solutions. Understanding of the challenges involved will help you in determining the correct solution for your needs.
High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), see what is HDMI for more information, is a digital interface for transmitting audio and video. Although the interface began shipping in 2003 it has just recently become popular. The reason for its new found popularity is not that it offers anything that was not already on the market. DVI was already available and is a digital interface capable of carrying High Definition (HD) signals. Component itself can also carry HD signals So the only real difference was that HDMI offers audio and video through one cable rather than separate cables for the two mediums. However, audio and video in one cable is certainly not reason enough for everyone to switch to HDMI. The reason for this switch is actually being pushed by the media publishers. HDMI offers copy protection called High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) that prevents copying of the media. Therefore the publishers have worked with the device (Blu-Ray players, up converting DVD players, etc.) manufacturers to produce devices with HDMI outputs and only send HD signals through the HDMI output. This rapid change has left many people in a position where they have invested in a new display that will display HD (720p, 1080i or 1080p) but the display does not have a HDMI input therefore they are not able to receive HD quality output from their new device when used with their existing display.
One last comment before we get to the solutions. You will only benefit from converting this conversion if your display is able to handle HD, therefore your display needs to be capable of handling 720P, 1080i, 1080p to take advantage of this. Otherwise save your money and use one of the other existing outputs, they should be able to provide the maximum signal your TV can handle.
The normal solution when the interfaces are not the same between two devices is to look for an adapter or converter. But this conversion is not so simple due to the HDCP. This copy protection makes it so that a standard adapter or converter may not meet your needs. Below are some options for converting between HDMI and Component, read them carefully as the first two only work in certain situations.
HDMI to Component Converter
The easiest solution to find is a HDMI to Component converter. These are normally HDCP compliant, therefore will not convert copy protected HDMI inputs. If copy protected input is detected, there will be no signal and the screen will go blank. What this means to you is no DVD’s, no Blu-Rays, etc. Cable and satellite boxes may work if they are not sending HDCP copy protected signals. To see if they will work you will want to call your cable or satellite company and ask them if the HDMI signals coming from the box is encrypted or HDCP enabled.
HDMI to Component Adapter
In the case of this conversion, adapters and converters are often mentioned in different sentences, but really refer to the same thing. Therefore a HDMI to Component Adapter is the same as the converter mentioned above and has the same limitations. This section is just here as an attempt to reduce confusion.
HDMI To Component Stripper
Ok, for those of you looking to utilize your recently purchased display, that does not support HDMI, the answer is an HDCP stripper. These devices remove the HDCP information from the video signal and allow the video to be converted from HDMI to Component and played on non HDCP compliant displays. There are not many of these devices available any longer due to the HDCP and companies creating the devices getting sued. You can thank your government for this removal of your rights to use your new television.