HDMI to DVI Converter

HDMI to DVI Converter

There are several things to be aware of when considering a HDMI to DVI Converter. First are the limitations such as loss of sound and the inability to play copy-protected media. Second are the options available and the limitations on distance for HDMI and DVI cables. Read on for all the details.

Note, this page concentrates on HDMI to DVI Conversion. For a better understanding of the differences between HDMI and DVI see our HDMI vs. DVI article.

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HDMI to DVI Converter Limitations

When converting between HDMI and DVI it is important to understand the differences between the two as this leads to the limitations in the conversion. The limitations are:

Loss of audio

Audio cannot be converted by a HDMI to DVI converter. Reason being that DVI does not carry audio. Therefore audio will need to be carried through another connector such as TOSLINK (Optical Audio Cables) if available. If TOSLINK is not available, audio can be connected using the audio connectors from a composite or component connection.

Getting the Correct Interface

Understanding HDCP Copy Protection: HDMI includes High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), which is Digital Rights Management technology protection. This technology is built into HDMI allowing players (DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.) to play copy protected media. DVI does not provide this copy protection; therefore converters will limit the media that can be played from a HDMI device on a DVI device. Just to be clear, it is not the HDMI to DVI converter, adapter or cable creating the limitation but the originating HDMI device (DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.) will either prevent output from playing or lower the quality of output if the receiving device is not HDCP compatible. Since the player can detect that the receiving device is not HDCP compatible this limitation will take place.

Although HDMI has a standard connector, DVI has about six different connectors so be sure you understand which one you have and order the correct connector for your needs. See our connector section for pictures and details on each connection type. Related to getting the correct connector, make sure the correct ends are male and female, also covered in the connector section.

HDMI to DVI Adapters, Converters or Cables?

Now that we understand the limitations on a HDMI to DVI Conversion and understand what we need, let’s look at the options available. HDMI to DVI converters are commonly available in converters, adapters and cables.

In this instance a converter and adapter are really the same. Since both HDMI and DVI are similar this is a simple device that converts the pin arrangements so the plugs fit. Here are some popular converters and adapters for HDMI to DVI Conversion.

Converter Cables

A cable that has HDMI on one end and DVI on the other. These come in various lengths and qualities. We recommend buying a converter or adapter and a HDMI cable for one side and DVI cables for the other side of the adapter. That way when you upgrade your DVI device to a HDMI device you will be able to reuse the HDMI cable you already have by just removing the adapter. For this reason we also recommend purchasing a shorter DVI cable and longer HDMI cable so you have the longer HDMI cable remaining after removing the adapter. We expect most people will upgrade to HDMI, as more and more content is copy protected making DVI a limiting factor.

Note, there are also other devices such as splitters, repeaters, etc. These are not covered in this section, see the article on HDMI splitters and repeaters.

Our Recommendation

We recommend purchasing a standalone converter rather than a converter cable so you can reuse your cables in the future. Keep in mind the distance limitations for HDMI and DVI Cables. For shorter distances (10 feet or shorter) a good quality cable will work just fine. For longer distances the signal will decrease and the longer the distance the worse it will get. Although a higher quality cable, such as Monster Cable, or cables with repeaters, may help to reduce this degradation and provide a reasonable signal quality up to distances of 20 feet. We recommend using Fiber Optic cables for distances over 20 feet.