DisplayPort To HDMI Cable: An Ultimate Guide on Conversion of DisplayPort to HDMI


Have you installed a new computer, television, or display? What is the meaning of all those inputs?

Among so many inputs, you will find DisplayPort and HDMI.

Why is it necessary to use DisplayPort to HDMI cable?

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Why do you need a DisplayPort to HDMI cable?

Before going into the details, first, let’s learn about these two interfaces and how they came into the picture.

In 2006, the consortium of hardware manufacturers (PC and circuit board) developed DisplayPort. VGA and DVI interfaces were becoming obsolete as HD displays were gaining popularity. 

Manufacturers were looking for a new standard that could transfer new HD videos, and then a DisplayPort came as their answer. 

These manufacturers specially focused on professional computers, data transmission, and security applications.

On the contrary, a group of display manufacturers (including Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, and Philips) developed HDMI in 2003, even before the DisplayPort. 

They mainly focused on enhancing the video quality and thus created an HD standard compatible with all brands. HDMI is a universal standard; therefore, you can find it on the latest TVs, projector system, and monitor.

So, as these are two different interfaces, you will need an adapter to convert DisplayPort signals to HDMI signals and vice versa. 

Of the two possibilities, DisplayPort to HDMI adapters is simple and inexpensive (up to $7-$8 per unit). 

However, low cost indicates some limitations, and the major one is that these adapters are only compatible with some systems. 

The basics of HDMI and DisplayPort

HDMI came as a replacement for the old RCA standards. However, RCA standards had limited picture quality and bandwidth. 

As HDMI was optimized for the display side, it had to look to the IT industry to improve its standards. 

At that time, the IT industry used DVI interfaces for a long time. Later, DisplayPort replaced DVI; thus, both DVI and DisplayPort have a more or less similar design.

DVI connectors included 24 pins and delivered 1920*2000 videos at 60 frames/second. Unfortunately, it did not carry an audio signal. 

That’s when developers came up with HDMI with improved technology, five additional pins, and the ability to support 32-channel audio and 4K video. 

However, they had a slimmer profile to make it usable and look better. Both these standards used TMDS technology; thus, converting DVI to HDMI and vice versa was easy.

However, you may face a problem when you want video resolutions higher than 1920*2000. In such cases, you may need to downscale the video with a complex active adapter. 

Also, you may need an audio cable if you want to run audio along with the video.

Soon, DisplayPort came into existence in 2006. However, they used a completely different technology from HDMI. You can use passive or active cables to convert between them.

What makes the DisplayPort to HDMI cable active or passive?

Commonly, people consider that the presence of a semiconductor chip makes a DisplayPort to HDMI cable an active one.

 However, you must understand the concept behind using the chip. As opposed to 1080p videos, 4K resolution videos are quite prevalent nowadays. 

As a result, the copper cables are expected to get 4K resolution @ 60Hz video transmission. For this, a cable should be of high quality and limited length. 

However, it’s the physical characteristics of copper cable to experience some signal loss during transmission.

Experts had to find a solution to compensate for this loss. If you use thicker copper cables, the cable can transmit more signals at the same length. 

So, even if there is signal loss, you can fulfill your requirement of 4K resolution. However, this solution was not viable as thicker copper cables were difficult to store, bend and plug into displays.

The use of a semiconductor chip in the cables came up as a viable solution as the chip tends to amplify the signal. 

As a result, even after signal loss, users get desired 4K resolution signals with the amplified signal. Concludingly, active chip amplifies weak signals in long-distance applications.

In addition, the chip also supports signal conversion, as various interfaces worldwide result in different transmission methods. 

So, if we need to switch from one interface to another, we will have to convert the signal accordingly. For example, if you need to switch from DisplayPort to HDMI, you will need something to convert the signals.

various cords and plugs in the hand

Image: various cords and plugs in the hand

Active DisplayPort to HDMI Cables vs. passive ones: Application

The passive DisplayPort adapters do not work on DisplayPort technology; instead, they work on DisplayPort dual mode or DP++ technology, a GPU technology available on most video cards. 

Now when GPU detects any HDMI adapter, it sends the signal as HDMI rather than DisplayPort. The DisplayPort pins will map the HDMI pins easily to simplify the conversion.

 You need not add any special hardware for this conversion. However, this conversion works only for 1080p resolutions or lower than this.

Now, what happens if the adapter does not support DP++ output? That’s when you need an active adapter capable of converting signals and increasing voltage. 

Active adapters need an external power source and are often more expensive than passive ones. So, to avoid this extra cost, ensure that your GPU supports DP++ output while buying. 

Generally, consumer PCs need universal tools for versatility and compatibility. However, professional-level equipment works on a different concept. 

Such equipment doesn’t have a DP++ output feature. Instead, they work on FPGA and similar technology, which means they will send signals in their native format only; thus, you will need an active DisplayPort to HDMI adapter for professional-grade equipment.

Another situation where you may need to buy an active adapter is when you use DisplayPort alternate mode with a Type-C USB cable available in small devices like smartphones, tablets, or notebooks. Such video output always needs an active adapter.

mini-DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI cables

Image: mini-DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI cables

Should I Always Convert DisplayPort to HDMI?

The best scenario will be when you use a similar connection at both the input and output ends. For example, if your PC or TV has a DisplayPort output, you must always prefer a DisplayPort input. There are two reasons behind this:

  • Firstly, there is always some loss of signal quality during signal conversion
  • Secondly, the change in the voltage may affect the adapter speed, and you may experience some lag with an adapter.

Can I convert HDMI to DisplayPort?

Yes, it is possible, but it is not as simple as you think. Firstly, you must know that HDMI standards do not allow signal transmission on GPU; thus, a passive adapter is no use. Instead, you will need an active adapter with high computing power to convert signals in real-time.


Concludingly, an active chip helps in converting and amplifying the signal. So, you will need an active cable when you require a 4k resolution, a long cable, or want to connect two varying interfaces.

Whether it’s an active or passive cable, Cloom can help you get the best quality and best possible deals. We are a leading manufacturer of all cable assemblies and wiring harnesses, and our professionals can guide you to get the most suitable cables based on your requirements.