So you have two devices, one with VGA, and one with HDMI, and you’re wondering how to connect them. There are lots of VGA to HDMI adapters out there, as well as the reverse, and it can be confusing figuring out which one you need.
And what are the possible uses for such an adapter? Continue reading to learn more.
Analog vs Digital Signals:
The most important tip that you need to know about VGA to HDMI adapters is that they use different methods to transfer signals; VGA uses analogue signals and HDMI uses digital signals.
The reason you need to know this is because a VGA to HDMI adapter converts the two signals, not only the physical connectors. For that reason, they’re also called VGA to HDMI converter, or “ACTIVE” adapters.
In most cases, to convert analogue to digital signals, an adapter needs external power, which usually comes from a Micro-USB cable. Make sure you have an extra USB port nearby!
Bear in mind, in most cases, converting VGA to HDMI requires external power, but converting HDMI to VGA does not. The reason for that is HDMI is an all-in-one connector that can carry over small amounts of power, while VGA, at least the older versions, cannot carry any power besides video signals.
We’ll expand more on this issue later on.
Types of VGA to HDMI Adapters:
There are a few types of VGA to HDMI adapters that you might see in stores. Unfortunately, there are many of these adapters that don’t work and are blatant scams, which are, for some reason, still being sold.
Here are the most common VGA to HDMI adapters:
VGA to HDMI Cables (Scams!)
VGA to HDMI cables are pretty common, but they don’t work. I’m not sure why they’re so common. These are not the adapters you need, avoid them.
VGA to HDMI Active Converter:
If your source is coming from a VGA port, then you want a VGA to HDMI Active converter. Note the word “Active”, make sure it comes with an external power source. I listed a couple of products later on in this article.
HDMI to VGA Adapter
As I mentioned earlier, if the source comes from HDMI, then you don’t need an active adapter, no power supply is needed. Bear in mind, VGA can’t carry audio signals, so you’ll need to figure out how to get the sound to your other device. These are a lot cheaper than the previous product because they’re simpler and easier to make.
Best VGA to HDMI Converters:
If you’re looking to convert VGA output to HDMI (for example, connect a VGA-only PC or laptop to an HDMI display or TV) then this is the converter you want.
This VGA to HDMI adapter is very nice and compact and can fit nicely in the back of a PC. It’s got a female VGA port to Female HDMI port (HDMI cable not included). As you might have guessed, it comes with a Micro USB cable for power, it won’t work without power. It’s also not reversible, one-way only!
It includes a convenient 3.5mm aux port for audio, so all you need to do is connect a set of external speakers, and it should work with no problems. I really liked the fact that they included a solution for audio.
Here we have an adapter with the opposite direction, HDMI to VGA. With this adapter, you don’t need external power because the source is coming from HDMI. This particular product also has an aux port for audio.
The HDMI cable will take some power from your device and transfer it over for the conversion, so extra power is not needed. These adapters are mainly for connecting to VGA displays, for example, old TVs and monitors, from an HDMI source. They’re very budget-friendly and easy to use. The only thing you need is a VGA cable.
Note: In some cases, HDMI to VGA converters come with an external power port, and, if the signal is weak or having issues, the extra power can help clear it up a bit.
Buying an HDMI to VGA (or reverse) converter is pretty straightforward, but there are a couple of other things you need to know.
Specs to Look For:
- Active Converter (for VGA to HDMI).
- Supported Resolution (Ideally 1080p)
- Stable Connection & Build Quality
- Aux Port
Is VGA to HDMI Reversible?
VGA to HDMI adapters are not reversible. The signals can only flow in one direction, they’re not omnidirectional like HDMI is. You’ll have to buy the specific adapter for your specific needs, so you might need more than one. They don’t work in reverse.
What is the Maximum Resolution for VGA to HDMI Adapters?
The maximum resolutions for VGA to HDMI adapters depends on your output device’s supported resolutions. These adapters are mainly used to connect old PCs, DVD Players, and other devices, to HDMI-ready displays.
Most older VGA-only devices can’t output higher than 1080P, and these adapters are limited by the VGA standard, which is capped at 2048×1152.
Can I Use an HDMI to VGA Adapter with a Projector?
You can use an HDMI to VGA adapter to connect an HDMI-output to a VGA-input projector. The product mentioned earlier (HDMI to VGA) should work for this situation with no problems. Buying this little adapter can also help you connect other devices to the VGA projector, such as a Chromecast. It’s very handy!
How Can I Connect a VGA-only Laptop to an HDMI-only TV?
To connect a laptop that only has VGA output to a TV that only has HDMI input you will need a VGA to HDMI active converter. If everything is properly connected, you should be able to connect any VGA-only device to an HDMI-only TV with absolutely no issues. With this adapter, you can easily turn an old laptop into a media hub for watching movies in your living room. Very convenient.
Image credit: Evan-Amos / Public domain