Adapter or Converter?

When can you use an adapter, or when is it appropriate to use a converter?

Steve Smith clarifies the question, adapter or converter, by explaining why we need converters, and when using an adapter is just fine.

Episode #5-44 released on July 20, 2015

Watch on Youtube

Computers are notorious for lasting an exceptionally long time, or to be more exact, people are notorious for keeping outdated devices for an extremely long time. The way of analog signals have come and gone, and many still use analog cables or devices. Sometimes, some users may even update they hardware, but keep a few monitors or televisions which are still analog. This does create a weird environment where people who don't know better will be looking for a cheap solution in the form on an adapter or a custom cable. However, can an adapter actually transmit a digital, or analog signal, to an analog or digital device?

First, let us talk about the fact that digital and analog signals, are not the same, or compatible. You can't take an analog signal and feed it to a digital device, if the device itself has no way of converting the signal so it can understand the signal being input. The same is true for analog devices receiving digital signals. Your device needs a way to convert the signal for it to understand what is being transmitted. We saw this occur recently when the entire USA, and even Canada switched from analog to digital broadcast solutions for television itself. Modern HDTVs where unaffected, as they already had a digital tuner. Analog televisions, however, required a signal converter to allow the analog tuner the ability to generate an image.

This means, whenever we are dealing with an incompatible signal, we must use a signal converter, to allow the device to understand the signal. It is important to note, these devices work in one direction. If you want to go from a digital signal, and make it analog, you need a digital to analog converter. One example is a HDMI to VGA converter. If your signal is analog, and you need to make it digital, you would use an analog to digital converter. In this case, a possible example is the VGA to HDMI converter.

For anyone still trying to figure out which connectors provide what kind of signal, I will make it easier for you. HDMI, Display Port, DVI, etc... transmit digital signals. VGA, S-Video, RCA, etc... transmit analog signals. If you want to go from HDMI to Display Port, then you can use an adapter. If you want to go from S-video to VGA, you can use an adapter. If you want to go from DVI to RCA, you need a signal converter.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

Community Comments

Share your thoughts, opinions and suggestions

Login or Register to post Your comment.