If you buy a new TV, chances are it won’t have a coax connector. It may have several HDMI, USB, and component connectors but no coax. If you have an older cable or satellite box that only outputs coax, you could have trouble connecting the two.

You may think that coax is a bit outdated, but there are plenty of excellent devices out there that we still use today. Whether you still use that old VHS player or an older game console or perhaps you’re using an antenna, there are plenty of options available for you. In this article, we’ll walk you through the options to make your older tech compatible with your newer devices.

AV connection types

While it may seem an obvious oversight to some of you, not fully considering the output of the receiver is an easy oversight. For many years coax was the default output and has only recently been fully superseded by SCART or HDMI. Many cable and satellite receivers came with coax, SCART, and HDMI. Few were purely coax.

Coaxial connections

Coaxial cable was invented sometime in the 19th century to carry radio signals. It is comprised of a copper core of two layers surrounded by insulation and shielding. The idea was to deliver analog signals with a minimum of interference. The technology was in use until recently, first in radio and telegraphy, then TV and then broadband. It was gradually replaced with fiber or other technologies that offered faster transmission speeds.

Even though coax is insulated, the signal needs frequent repeating and is subject to data loss over distance. Coax was popular because it was superior to anything else at the time, was cheap and easy to use. It was also very durable. Fiber is faster and can carry more data at once. Though fiber requires more upfront investment, it requires less maintenance.

HDMI

HDMI, or High-Definition Multimedia Interface is the modern replacement for coax in the home. It is used to carry signals between devices with the maximum amount of data possible for high definition or ultra-high-definition broadcasts. It can carry audio too. HDMI was invented by Japanese TV manufacturers to help improve picture quality and works exceptionally well.

HDMI is purely digital and is therefore insulated against loss and does not need frequent repeating over distance. It can carry more data further for the same size at higher speeds. Digital transmissions are immune to interference when the correct configuration is used so it is very useful in busy households with lots of devices and WiFi networks.

Convert coax to HDMI

There are a couple of ways you can convert your Coax to HDMI and vise versa. Depending on the devices you’re trying to connect, one option may work better than another. Either way, it will take some upgraded equipment to get everything hooked up and working properly.

Set Top Box Upgrade

Depending on your cable provider, if the receiver has only a coax output, it is due for replacement. Not including SCART or any HDMI output means it could be anything up to 25 years old and should be replaced. However, if it is working fine or your service provider wants to charge you for an upgrade it might not be your best option.

Coax to HDMI converter

Coax to HDMI converters usually come as adapters. Those with larger AV setups may want a more involved convertor unit but for the rest of us, a simple coax to HDMI converter box will suffice. This page on Amazon has a bunch of them for sale. Other retailers will offer the same kinds of products too.

The converter takes the analog signal from coax and converts it into a digital signal for HDMI. It will either come with cables attached or have sockets for each cable at either end. Some converters perform a straight conversion, a signal for a signal. Others can include scaling which takes a standard definition coax signal and convert it into a high definition digital signal. Which one you choose depends on your needs.

Connecting the TV to the satellite receiver in this situation is very straightforward. You take the coaxial output from the satellite receiver and connect it to the coax input on the converter. You take the HDMI feed from the converter and attach it to an HDMI input on your TV. You should now be able to set the satellite receiver as a source and watch TV.

Converting coax to HDMI is not difficult but does require a little extra investment. If you’re in a similar situation as our reader, there is a way around it and it won’t cost as much as you might think!

How to Convert Coax to HDMI

If you’re unable to obtain updated tech with an HDMI to HDMI setup, here is how you can complete the conversion:

Plug your Connections into the Converter

Connect the cables to their respective devices

Set Your Input Method

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is some more information about coax and HDMI:

Which is better, coax or HDMI?

Aside from the nostalgia users get from seeing those brightly colored coaxial connectors, the everyday user will benefit from making the transition from coax to HDMI. The latter provides a stronger and faster connection making both the video and audio quality better. HDMI cables also require only one connection as opposed to two or more with coax, so they’re easier to use and more visually appealing.

Are coaxial cables still used today?

Yes, some TV antenna equipment still use the cables to this day. For those who have cut the cord but still want their local channels, coax cables are still a part of everyday life and therefore, you’ll need a converter to enjoy network content on your TV.