Tech Tips - Video Conversion Explained

Why do you need to convert video? 

In most cases the conversion is required to allow the use of various sources and displays or to use older equipment with newer technologies. Examples would be: 

  • HDMI to VGA 
  • VGA to HDMI 
  • DisplayPort to HDMI 
  • HDMI to DisplayPort 


What’s the difference between HDMI to VGA, and VGA to HDMI? 

We always talk about converters starting at the source device, for example a PC, going to the display. For example, HDMI to VGA would be used to convert the HDMI from a PC to connect to the VGA on a projector.  

VGA to HDMI would be the opposite, it would be used to converter an older PC with VGA to a newer TV with HDMI.  

Do these work in both directions? 

No if it’s HDMI to VA then HDMI is your source and VGA is your Monitor/Display. You cannot do the opposite. 

What do I need to do this? 

You need a converter/adapter. We could say that a converter changes the video and the adapter is the hardware necessary to make the conversion.

Normally it would be a small device with the original source connector type.

How do I choose the right one? 

There are a few things to consider. You have to identify the video format on the source device and the video output you need to connect to your display. 

Do you need a converter for 4K/UHD or HD/1080p.

DisplayPort adapters are a little different. Please refer to the Passive and Active question

What do you mean by Passive and Active? 

When your source device/graphics card supports dual-mode DisplayPort or DP++, then a passive adapter is suitable because the card can perform the conversion. If it does not support DP++, you will need to use an active converter. Active converters use a chipset(electronics). 

How do I know if my device supports DP++? 

You should see the DP++ symbol next to the Port on your device. If you are unsure whether your graphics card supports DP++ / Dual Mode, then an Active adapter would work in either scenario  le HDMI for example) and on the output side there will be the connector type you are converting to (VGA for example).