Adding HDMI
April 28, 2008 5:36 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to add an HDMI output to my PC?

I am looking for a way to connect my new HDTV to my 1-2 year old PC via HDMI. I currently have a GeForce 8800 in my PCI Express 16 slot but after searching I haven't been able to find an adequate replacement card that would give me an HDMI/DVI output.

I have searched NewEgg and found that there are several motherboards that include HDMI as an onboard feature. I would obviously rather not build a brand new box for a single feature - are there any good video cards out there that can accomplish what I want?
posted by TetrisKid to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
You can convert a DVI output to an HDMI one using an adapter; because HDMI is backwards compatible with DVI there should be no loss of quality.
posted by chrominance at 5:41 AM on April 28, 2008

Here's a bunch on NewEgg. (Sorry for not including that in the previous comment!)
posted by chrominance at 5:43 AM on April 28, 2008

If your motherboard has multiple PCI-E slots, you can keep the GeForce 8800 and add a low-power, low-profile card such as an 8300/8400 just for using its HDMI output.
posted by Sifter at 7:01 AM on April 28, 2008

You can grab an DVI to HDMI adapter from Monoprice for about $2 and use one of your DVI outs for that purpose otherwise you can get a replacement or additional video card that sports HDMI already.

Are you searching for something with HDMI so that you can get sound coupled with it as well? That might be a bit more difficult to achieve.
posted by cgomez at 7:35 AM on April 28, 2008

You can use a DVI to HDMI cable, as long as you aren't hoping to play any HDCP protected content. If you are, you'll need a card that is HDCP compliant.
posted by kableh at 9:55 AM on April 28, 2008

If audio over HDMI is a requirement of yours, do some research to make sure it's well supported.

I started to go down this avenue after building several different media centers, but decided to go with an IstarHD instead. Small, quiet, good community for support. I believe it shares a software base (or hardware platform?) with the Popcorn Hour. Either of these are comparable in price with a good graphics card.

Not trying to sell you something, just that (depending on your circumstances) it may save you time and ultimately money if you went with such a device. Especially if you take power consumption into consideration.
posted by bxg at 2:54 PM on April 28, 2008

Response by poster: The problem is that my motherboard only has a single PCI-E slot so adding a low profile card is a no go (it actually came with one but I wouldn't be able to run graphics programs or most games).

I forgot to mention that I am trying to add an HDMI port not just convert from DVI since DVI doesn't carry audio.
posted by TetrisKid at 3:37 PM on April 28, 2008

You are better off feeding the video signal with HDMI and then use different audio inputs for your audio (i.e. not using the HDMI audio) because the HDMI audio does not support Dolby Digital - it's purely stereo only.

What this means is: your sound will sound much better if you use Digital Out from your sound card and then let whatever digital processor / receiver you are currently using to turn the digital bitstream into 5.1 surround sound.

Some reference materials here:

Both Audio and Video products currently on the market that utilize HDMI only passes 2.0 digital audio, and not full-blown 5.1 surround sound audio. These products include A/V Receivers, DVD players/recorders, and HDTV’s. Of course, to be fair, Silicon Image – the creator of HDMI -- claims that it can do 5.1 audio easily. However, the hard fact is that none of the connections currently on the market today are passing 5.1 audio! In an ideal world, HDMI has the capability to carry all HD video and digital audio signals including Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-Audio and SACD via one connector plus full-blown HDTV and HD-DVD signals as well.
posted by seeminglee at 12:00 PM on April 29, 2008

Don't suppose there is some kind of splitter cable that allows you to run the video portion of HDMI from your DVI port and the sound part from your sound card (assuming it is digital out)? Or is this not feasible for some technical reason?

(I'm currently running a DVI->HDMI cable for video and using the audio ports on the back of the TV with my sound card for audio, but it would be cool to just have one cable, since I am only feeding stereo audio to the TV anyway, and it is analog. Also, this would help the OP as well, since it provides the audio he's looking for).
posted by ranglin at 4:16 PM on April 29, 2008

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