How to Convert Coaxial Cable to HDMI

By Greg Martinez / July 23, 2020
hdmi cable

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With all the wonderful 4K TVs on the market today, there’s a good chance you might be thinking about upgrading your old set to one of the newer HD options available.

However, these new TVs might not be exactly compatible with your cable TV box, with its coax output port. Some TVs just won’t have a coaxial cable F-connector in the back.

So what can you do? Not buy the TV?

You could simply convert the coaxial cable to HDMI to keep enjoying your shows in better picture quality.

Reasons to Convert Coax Cable to HDMI

htmi plug the new standard for digital video transmission

When it comes to the battle between coaxial cables and HDMIs vis-a-vis video and audio quality, HDMIs win almost every time.

Indeed, an HDMI cable will almost always deliver better picture and sound quality than coaxial, depending on the design of the receiving equipment and how it’s set up to handle data.

Where a coax cable may be vulnerable to radio frequency and noise interference (depending on its shielding), HDMI cables come with detailed digital audio and video transmission capabilities that cover separate connectors and wires to transmit digital data.

This means that while the bus topology of coax cables makes the deployment of this data prone to congestion, noise, and some security risks, HDMI cables have no such issues.

Apart from the reasons already laid out here, there are several other advantages that HDMI has over coax cable, which are difficult to ignore:

Signal Quality

HDMI cables can offer you 1080p with the Ultra-High-Speed variety going up to 10K resolution, while your run-of-the-mill coax cable offers you 1080i or 720p.

This means that when you use a coaxial cable instead of an HDMI cable, you’ll never be able to get the full HD signals that you might want.

Easy to Use

Coaxial cables are easier to use because they’re much smaller than HDMI cables. HDMI cables make up for this deficit by combining both audio and video signals.

This means that you’ll only need one HDMI cable as opposed to multiple coaxial cables.

Cable Management

You can use a single HDMI cable in place of about 11 coax cables; this is because you can use that HDMI cable to connect TV boxes, TVs, DVD players, and a host of other audio/visual receivers in your home.

Color Depth

HDMI cables handle 10-bit, 12-bit, and even 16-bit color depths, which coaxial cables can’t do, allowing HDMI cables to deliver superior picture and color quality.

With these reasons in mind, you can see why it might be a good idea to convert coaxial cables to HDMI.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Convert Coaxial Cable to HDMI

The very first thing you should know is that you’ll need something called a signal converter box for this to work. This box acts as a converter for your cables.

That being said, here are the step-by-step instructions on how to successfully convert your coax cable to HDMI:

Step 1: Get the Right Hardware

Monoprice 105971 Component YPbPr and S/PDIF Digital Coaxial/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter

In some cases, your cable provider will give you a cable box. If that cable box has these conversion protocols built-in, then you are good to go.

However, if this isn’t the case, then you will need to get a signal converter, also known as a signal adaptor. It converts component signals (component video and optical audio) to HDMI format.

You can easily find one of these online at a relatively affordable price.

Step 2: Connect the Signal Converter to Your Coaxial Cable

At the back of your signal converter, you’ll see a port labeled “Coaxial.” This is where you insert your coaxial cable. Be sure to gently screw in the cable connector to make sure that the cable doesn’t come loose with time or movement, thus distorting the connection.

NOTE: Don’t be tempted to use tools to tighten this nut. Just use your fingers; otherwise, you run the very real risk of damaging the coaxial connector.

Step 3: Connect the HDMI Cable to the Signal Converter and Your TV

There should be an HDMI port at the back of your TV. Newer TVs have several HDMI ports that you can use.

This step is very simple: all you have to do is connect one end of your HDMI cable to the back of your TV (the HDMI port), and the other into the HDMI output port of your signal converter.

The beauty of HDMI cables is that they only go in one way, so this step shouldn’t give you as much of a headache as with audio/video cables.

MiMBAPrice RCA M/Mx3 Audio/Video Cable Gold Plated

Step 4: Power On Your TV and Select the Appropriate HDMI Option

Once you’re sure you’ve correctly connected everything, it’s time to turn on the TV, as well as all other connected devices in use. Your TV screen will go blank.

If this happens, get your remote control and go to the TV menu. On the option labeled, “Source” or, in some cases, “Input,” select the HDMI port that you had designated for this exercise. It could be HDMI 1, 2, 3, …and so on.

The best part is that your TV will tell you if you have done everything right. Typically, most, if not all, of these options will be greyed out except the one that is functional.

That one will be highlighted, and it will be the one with the live connection (input signal).

Take note that in some cases, your cable box might take a few seconds or minutes to fully come on and start operating. In this instance, you’ll still have a blank screen even after selecting the right HDMI option.

Just give it a little while to warm up and get going.

This is how you convert coaxial cable to HDMI. It’s a simple process that might call for buying the right signal converter and just connecting the right cables to the correct ports.

Jason. C. - August 1, 2020

is a regular HDMI still better than a digital coaxial cable?

    Greg Martinez - August 2, 2020

    Actually yes – HDMI is able to carry a higher definition signal.

A.G. L. - August 22, 2020

Thank you so much for a clear and detailed instruction of converting coaxial cable to HDMI, your steps are very easy to follow for a newbie like me who doesn’t know anything about cables. Thank you also for recommending the best coax I can buy out there. Hope to have more guides for technical things in the future – Amanda

    Greg Martinez - August 23, 2020

    Thanks for your kind words Amanda.

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