You might have hoped for an easy solution if you ever needed to turn your HDMI feed into a USB connection. When tinkering with this kind of link, though, things become somewhat more intricate. While an HDMI-to-USB adapter may seem like the obvious solution, there are a few reasons why this isn’t the case.
An HDMI port cannot be changed into a USB port. In contrast to USB, which can be used for a wide variety of purposes, HDMI connections can only be used to transfer video and audio signals to a display. Connecting a capture card to a computer’s USB port enables it to record live video from an HDMI port.
As live-streaming of video games has grown in popularity, so has the demand for a user-friendly and readily available HDMI-to-USB converter. Due to HDMI’s restrictions, even a basic hookup was out of the question. While USB’s adaptability has its advantages, it cannot convert an HDMI signal without the assistance of a separate device, such as the Elgato Cam Link Capture Card (on Amazon).
HDMI-to-USB and Vice Versa – Which Works and Which Doesn’t?
Until recently, there wasn’t much hope of finding a practical method of converting HDMI signals to USB. Despite the widespread issue of converting USB to HDMI, the requirement for a high-quality HDMI-to-USB converter wasn’t substantial enough until the advent of dual monitor setups. Adding an HDMI port to your computer is a breeze with the help of an adapter like this USB to HDMI Adapter (available on Amazon). They facilitate the use of HDMI for two-way communication between your computer and an external display.
But what if the tables were turned? Imagine you wish to connect a video camera to your PC. The adaptor we described above looks like it would work; after all, it appears to have the proper plugs and sockets. It’s not quite that easy, however. While USB can function in both out and configurations, HDMI can only function in one or the other. Since the above adapter is only compatible with an HDMI output connection, it is of no use.
Here is where you need to start researching alternative approaches. In this case, a capture card, which I described at the beginning of the piece, is the product of choice. Capture card technology has come a long way in the last few years. Live video transfer from HDMI to USB can be handled rapidly with the help of products like the UCEC GAM Live Pro Capture Card (available on Amazon).
One of the many beneficial things that a capture card can do is convert HDMI to USB without introducing any noticeable delays or reductions in throughput. But if you want to move a live feed with a computer, then a capture card becomes relevant.
While an HDMI-to-USB adapter could be used in this scenario, it may not be practical to transfer data using this method. If you only have an HDMI out on your computer, for instance, you won’t be able to use it to transfer data to another computer. Despite their similarities, the two technologies cannot function together in this setting.
Why Would You Need HDMI-to-USB Conversion?
An HDMI-to-USB adapter could come in handy in several settings. Don’t assume that you can make things operate simply because a link exists. Let’s look at a couple of examples of when this sort of partnership would be a bad idea.
Display with only a USB input – Some gadgets, such as POS terminals, can only be connected via USB. It can appear to be able to connect using an adapter, but you’ll need a computer to process the signal before it’ll operate.
Trying to use an HDMI as a USB – You may believe that an adapter will suffice if you need a connection but do not have enough available ports. There is no way to fake a USB connection using an HDMI connector because the two technologies employ incompatible protocols.
These problems are inherent to using USB 3.0. They aren’t mutually agreeable enough to function this way. If you need more ports but only have an HDMI cable, you might convert it to a USB connection instead of buying a decent USB hub.
Using an HDMI-to-USB adapter enables you to record video from your computer’s connection in real-time. This could involve grabbing an HDMI signal from a game console or recording footage from a webcam. However, you will need access to a computer for this approach to be effective. Computers are required to process the signal, and software is needed to manage the results.
Capturing Live Video
You will need a computer, a good capture card like the Elgato HD60 (on Amazon), and screen recording software like OBS, which is arguably one of the most popular (and it’s free), to process live footage through an HDMI-to-USB link.
While discussing how to stretch an image to two displays, we briefly discussed High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), which is important to understand before using a capture card. What we have here is an HDMI-specific security standard. A capture card cannot be used to steal any content that is protected by intellectual property laws. Unfortunately, this means that capturing video from such services is now impossible.
To accomplish this task (convert live video), an HDMI-to-USB adapter can be used. However, this is the only limited context in which it is effective. Other problems will require a different approach. Extending the available USB ports is a popular use for HDMI outputs. This isn’t how the connection is supposed to be made, however, there are workarounds.
How to get More USB Ports if you Need Them
If you need additional ports, there are simple options available, similar to our advice on adding ethernet ports to a laptop. The most important thing is to get a good USB hub. Using a hub is a simple way to gain access to additional ports of various types. USB ports are not always easy to come by. In that scenario, choose one of these USB Docks:
The six additional USB ports and HDMI output on the Wavlink USB 3.0 Docking Station (sold on Amazon) make this a very desirable dock. The dock is better suited to PCs and older Macs due to its use of USB 3.0.
If you’re using a Mac and can only connect via USB type C, the MOKiN USB C Docking Station (sold on Amazon) is an excellent investment. It’s a handy addition that provides extra outlets for things like USB drives and HDMI video output.
Before buying one of these docking stack see if your computer supports USB 3.0 or USB C connections. To comprehend all those connections, they need to operate at a higher level, making their appropriate functioning vital.
It’s not trivial to transform an HDMI stream into a USB format. It could not be achievable at all, depending on the circumstances. A capture card will aid your computer in handling real-time video data while transmitting it through this connection. A docking station could be the best alternative if you want to increase the number of ports available to you.
Although the two cabling systems appear to be interchangeable, there are important distinctions between them. If you have a better idea of this, you can better determine what features you need in your system. The only time you’ll need a connection of this type is to record live content, such as a video game broadcast or a camera feed. Thankfully, a capture card is available to help with this issue.