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HDMI to RCA

mldavis2

Novice Member
Yes, I'm a dinosaur. But as a senior citizen, I think I should get to ask a question.

Like many of us, I have a new digital TV with streaming capability, but a favorite analog hifi system built around it. My amp (receiver) has only RCA inputs. My digital TV has one powered analog output for driving headphones or a speaker bar and three digital HDMI ports, one of which is ARC. So obviously I want my TV sound through my audio system, not out of the TV speakers. Looking online gives dozens of HDMI to RCA converters. Many of them are not exactly great (according to reviews) at converting the video, but I don't care about the video, I want quality audio for SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, etc. when streamed from the TV.

The question, then, is can someone recommend WHICH HDMI to RCA converter gives top quality audio from those sources? I assume there is likely one microchip used in almost all of them so maybe brand name is not a consideration. Is there anything to watch out for?
 

xmb

Well-known Member
Just buy a new receiver with HDMI inputs and save yourself a lot of issues. You also will then have automatic switching on of the receiver when you turn the TV on. Also, many receivers support streaming services so you don’t need the TV on when playing music.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
I'd suggest converting an optical output to analogue would be a better route, providing your TV has an optical out which most do.
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
Many others of us here are also dinasours also.
In order of expense etc.
The ARC service on your new TV assumes it is going on into a HDMI input ,and has the ability to automatically switch it on and off if the TV is switched on. Unless you are using HDMI this is redundant
You have not identified the model of TV, and that affects all subsequent answers. You have also not identified a budget if any...
Many TVs will still include the legacy RCA analogue outputs or a headphone jack ,so a simple RCA cable or 3.5 mm to RCA may be all you need. In some cases the SCART connection is either present or is a plug in adapter.. some generations of LGs have this.
So this is the cheapest.
Next there are low cost Optical cable to RCA adapters ...look on Amazon . Ann optical cable can be got for 8:quid.
Next there are low cost HDMI adapters.
At this stage it is going to cost in excess of 70 quid... A second hand home cinema unit, which may even include DVD player, amplifier and 5 channel sound.
Better is of course a full blown AVR with HDMI ARC and this will cost from 400 to 10,000 depending on how many channels you want...

Just noted you are across the pond so for Quid substitute Dollars. I don't think SCART was popular in your neck of the woods.
 

mldavis2

Novice Member
The TV is a TCL 6-series. The only analog output is a powered headphone (or I presume soundbar) output so that is powered but totally inadequate power for driving a pair of AR-3a's and a center channel, obviously. Since it is powered, I assume it would be too "hot" for using a simple 3.5mm to RCA cable input to the RCA jacks on the amp. (I wish I know more about electronics but I'd be afraid to try that for fear of damaging the amp. The amp (receiver) is a Sony STR-D1015 with nothing but RCA inputs, no optical.

Budget is not really a consideration, however this is a "supplemental" system for using the TV system as a part time sound source of streaming audio and to have access to the audio system for an occasional ROKU movie. I do have a networked AV receiver upstairs in my "man cave" which I just setup (Onkyo TX-8260 - Chromecast built in) driving a pair of AR-4x's) and that will get most of the audio streaming.

Up to this point I have used satellite and a satellite receiver with both HDMI and analog output with the TV system. I rarely use ROKU movies but wanted to add the sound to the streaming system.

So although I thought about using an HDMI to RCA converter, I have decided to go with the optical to analog converter. Better fidelity, maybe?

Anyway, thanks to all the comments here. Great help!
 
Last edited:

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
There's no issue using the powered output into an RCA adapter. The voltage level is almost exactly the same 2-3V and the additional current driving ability is only used if required, so it won't damage the amp - as it won't require it. You can occasionally get a ground loop using this method, but you will only know this once you've tried it!

Optical converter will give you the best quality output and you can spend as much as you want to get the quality level you desire.
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
The TV is a TCL 6-series. The only analog output is a powered headphone (or I presume soundbar) output so that is powered but totally inadequate power for driving a pair of AR-3a's and a center channel, obviously. Since it is powered, I assume it would be too "hot" for using a simple 3.5mm to RCA cable input to the RCA jacks on the amp. (I wish I know more about electronics but I'd be afraid to try that for fear of damaging the amp. The amp (receiver) is a Sony STR-D1015 with nothing but RCA inputs, no optical.

Budget is not really a consideration, however this is a "supplemental" system for using the TV system as a part time sound source of streaming audio and to have access to the audio system for an occasional ROKU movie. I do have a networked AV receiver upstairs in my "man cave" which I just setup (Onkyo TX-8260 - Chromecast built in) driving a pair of AR-4x's) and that will get most of the audio streaming.

Up to this point I have used satellite and a satellite receiver with both HDMI and analog output with the TV system. I rarely use ROKU movies but wanted to add the sound to the streaming system.

So although I thought about using an HDMI to RCA converter, I have decided to go with the optical to analog converter. Better fidelity, maybe?

Anyway, thanks to all the comments here. Great help!
As Noiseboy says. the headphone jack on the TV will be a match for the RCA inputs on the amplifier. Basically it is the same analogue output as goes to the TVs speaker but reduced in power ,as headphones do not need as much voltage. The TCL brand is not common in Europe.
The optical will be potentially better than the headphones jack, but will not be as good as the HDMI . So if money is no object get the HDMI convertor
 

mldavis2

Novice Member
The optical will be potentially better than the headphones jack, but will not be as good as the HDMI . So if money is no object get the HDMI convertor
Interesting. So the consensus is that the headphone jack is best, HDMI is next and optical last. Well, I ordered both an HDMI converter and an optical converter, and I do have (somewhere) a 3.5mm to RCA cable set. So it may be time for an A-B-C comparison.

Again, I'm an old guy from a bygone stereo era with some slight high frequency hearing loss (I don't wear hearing aids or anything like that) so maybe I won't be able to tell the difference in signal quality. It's nice to have all 3 options.

Thanks, guys, for the help!!
 

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