So you’re wondering if you can connect Chromecast to a TV without HDMI. Why bother buying a brand new TV when you can turn an old TV into a smart TV?
I was thinking the same thing so I decided to look into ways to connect my non-HDMI TV to a Chromecast, and I found some great options that work well.
The problem is Chromecasts all use HDMI, but not all TVs or monitors have HDMI inputs. Most people hold onto their displays for a long time. If it still works, why bother upgrading? Some people even have CRT monitors from 20+ years ago!
Natively, there’s no way to connect Chromecast to a non-HDMI TV or monitor because the ports are not compatible. But there are a few adapters you can to connect your Chromecast to a TV without HDMI.
First things first, check the available ports on the back of the TV or monitor you want to use with the Chromecast. Does it have VGA, DVI, RCA, or something else?
Can You Connect Chromecast to a TV Without HDMI?
You can connect a Chromecast to a TV without HDMI by using either HDMI to RCA or VGA to HDMI adapters. The two main issues you’ll run into with this setup are audio and HDMI’s HDCP protection. I’ll explain how to resolve those problems later on in this post.
Connecting a Chromecast to a Non-HDMI display is tricky and unreliable. There is a chance all of your efforts will be in vain. However, most of the time, people are able to get Chromecast to work with the help of adapters. Worse scenario, you’ll have to return some dongles.
How to Connect Chromecast to Non-HDMI Displays:
Here are some options:
HDMI to RCA Adapter
If your TV has RCA, the easiest solution is to buy an HDMI to RCA adapter that has HDMI input and RCA output. These adapters are fairly cheap (between $10 – $20).
If you don’t remember, RCA is the three color-coded cables that are found on the back of most TVs, even modern TVs still have these ports.
RCA ports have three cables; white for left-channel audio, yellow for video, and red for right channel audio. The adapter has one side for HDMI input and three male RCA cables that need to be plugged into the right ports on your TV.
Before you run out to buy an adapter, make sure to look for one that has external power and all three color-coded ports.
There are lots of RCA to HDMI adapters out there but most are only for audio extraction and that’s not what you want. You want audio and video. Don’t worry, these adapters are not expensive, usually between $10 – $20.
Here are some good HDMI to RCA adapters on Amazon:
Here’s the thing:
Screen mirroring on the Chromecast might still work but specific casting features might not. For the most part, it should work. However, Roku seems to be more compatible with these adapters than Chromecast, so you could always switch to Roku if Chromecast is having issues.
Audio. The most common problem people run into when trying to connect Chromecast to a TV without HDMI via an HDMI to RCA adapter is the audio doesn’t carry over. If your audio is not working using this option, the problem is most likely with Chromecast’s end.
I would double-check all the connections and make sure the adapter is receiving power and then try other HDMI inputs. If the Chromecast doesn’t work but another HDMI input does, like a laptop, the problem is most likely with the Chromecast. You could try testing a Roku or try another solution from the list below.
On that note, sometimes casting to a Chromecast works but specific apps like Netflix don’t because streaming apps require HDCP while other features do not. Either way, if the Chromecast does not work, you could connect a laptop because laptops don’t require HDCP.
In other words, you might run into issues. But it’s a place to start.
HDMI to VGA Active Adapter
Does your TV have a VGA port? Most non-HDMI TVs will have VGA, it’s the blue port you’re probably quite familiar with. Want to know something funny? I’m still using a VGA monitor as my second monitor with my computer, ha. Anyway, back on the subject.
What you want is an HDMI input to a VGA adapter (Female HDMI to Male VGA). What you need to know about HDMI to VGA adapters is both the technology and ports are different, VGA uses analog signals, and HDMI uses digital signals.
For that reason, you will need an HDMI to VGA that has an active connection, one that is powered by an external USB cable. The extra power is needed to convert HDMI’s digital signal to VGA. There are cables that don’t require power but those are scams and won’t work.
Some non-powered adapters will work on devices that have high-powered HDMI ports. I’m not sure if Chromecast counts as one. Maybe the new version of Chromecast, Chromecast with Google TV qualifies because it’s powered by USB-C. To be on the safe side, I would buy an adapter that external power. You can test to see if it works with or without external power.
Now here’s the important point:
A regular HDMI to VGA adapter can carry over video but you won’t get audio. To get audio, you will need to buy an adapter that has a 3.5mm port or use RCA cables. Luckily for you, I found a couple that should get the job done for you. You will need to run a male-to-male 3.5mm cable from the adapter to the headphone port on your TV.
Recommended HDMI to VGA Adapter:
Can You Connect Chromecast to DVI?
You can connect Chromecast to DVI by using an HDMI audio extractor box connected to an HDMI-DVI adapter and then use either the 3.5 mm or Toslink port on the box to get the audio from the Chromecast on your TV. There are lots of older displays that only have DVI ports, and some projectors only have DVI ports too.
What you need:
- DVI to HDMI adapter
- HDMI Cable (x2)
- HDMI Audio Extractor Box
Note: While these products are called “HDMI audio extractors” they carry video too. The purpose of the box is to separate the audio and video streams from the HDMI, converting the audio to another form, while leaving the video signal.
Converting DVI to HDMI sounds complicated but it’s really just a matter of connecting the right cables and adapters. It should work. If you’re having a hard to visualizing how this setup works, here are some pictures with steps:
(Thank you Michelle for the pictures!)
1 – Connect DVI to HDMI Adapter to DVI Port
DVI to HDMI adapters are very cheap (few dollars) and you can find them at almost any electronics store. Here’s a link to a good DVI to HDMI adapter on Amazon. Insert the DVI end into your DVI display or projector.
Bear in mind, in some cases you don’t need any other equipment, a simply DVI to HDMI adapter will do the trick. It depends on the devices you’re trying to connect. While DVI doesn’t usually carry audio, most modern graphics cards can carry audio through their DVI ports.
However, if you’re trying to connect a Chromecast to DVI, you’ll need to follow the steps below.
2 – Connect an HDMI Cable to DVI – HDMI Adapter
Next, connect a regular HDMI cable to the HDMI end of the DVI to the HDMI adapter.
And this is where the HDMI audio extractor box comes into the picture.
3 – HDMI Cables to HDMI Audio Extractor
Attach the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI audio extractor box.
Bear in mind, the HDMI audio extractor box requires external power, so make sure it’s powered up and ready to go before you plug in the HDMI cable. Make sure the HDMI from the display is connected to the HDMI OUT port of the box.
From here you could connect the Chromecast directly to the HDMI IN port of the audio extractor box or run another HDMI cable to another source like an older PC or laptop.
4 – Connect The Audio (Either SPDIF or 3.5 mm)
Now that you have the HDMI connections, you need to configure the audio. There are two options: SPDIF or 3.5mm. The most common would be 3.5 mm. Just connect a male to male 3.5mm cable from the HDMI audio extractor box to your TV, soundbar, or other external speakers.
If everything works out, you should be able to use a Chromecast with DVI with those steps.
Does DVI Have Audio Pass-through?
Geforce graphics cards with DVI can pass through audio to HDMI without the need for audio cables, a simple DVI to HDMI adapter should do the trick. It’s unclear which graphics cards support audio pass-through via DVI, but most Geforce cards released in 2010 should support it.
If it’s a DVI port on your computer, particularly one connected to a graphics card, there’s a good chance it can output audio. Most modern graphics cards tweaked the DVI ports on to allow audio pass-through.
To test if your graphics card can output audio through DVI, buy a simple DVI to HDMI adapter, plug the DVI end into your computer, the HDMI end into your TV, and test the audio.
If you hear audio from the TV, that’s great. If you don’t, well your card probably doesn’t support audio pass-through with DVI.
But here are some things you can try:
- Run a Male to Male Aux cord from TV’s 3.5mm port to your computer’s soundcard.
- Use an 3.5 mm to RCA adapter. Connect the 3.5mm side to your computer and the RCA cables to your TV or display.
- Use an HDMI audio extractor box with multiple audio ports.
Note: Make sure to check what type of DVI your monitor uses because there are five types and they’re not backwards compatible like HDMI. DVI-D is the most common.
HDCP (Copyright Protection) Issues:
HDCP is a digital content protection feature hard-wired into HDMI and DVI-compatible products. The way it works is the HDMI device encrypts the signal and then the display decrypts that signal and shows the media.
The problem is when an HDMI device sends an encrypted signal to a display that can’t decrypt it. The result will be a black screen. Every version of Chromecast uses HDCP, and some use different versions. Not to mention older TVs might not support HDCP at all because they don’t have HDMI ports.
If you buy one of the adapters mentioned below, and your TV doesn’t show any signal, there’s a good chance the problem is HDCP. Chromecasts will often show an error saying “HDCP output-restricted” and that will narrow down your problem.
Bear in mind, some TVs still can receive HDMI signals from adapters. For example, sometimes HDMI to DVI works with no problems. It depends on the type of port you’re changing and the display’s compatibility. Some adapters have HDCP removal built-in while others do not.
How do you fix it? What you need is an HDCP stripper, these are HDMI boxes that strip away the HDCP from the signal before moving it on.
Suggested product: Techole 1 in 2 output HDMI Splitter
What I would do is buy one of the adapters below, and test if it works. If it doesn’t work, you might need to connect it to the splitter above. It should work.
Don’t throw out that dusty monitor! Even if your monitor has ancient potato ports, there’s a good chance you can connect it to a Chromecast and use it as a simple media station.
Just don’t expect anything amazing from these adapters. Have you tried connecting a Chromecast to a potato display?
Let me know how it works for you in the comment section below!