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Simple Q: HDMI compatibility

By Mugsy · 4 replies
Jun 11, 2010
  1. Hopefully, this is a simple question.

    I have a Blu-Ray drive in my PC, but I can't watch BR movies because I have no HDMI port on my monitor (2005 Dell 20.1" ws LCD) or video card (Radeon 3870)

    I tried connecting my PC to a monitor with an HDMI input using a "DVI to HDMI" cable, and it worked great. So I started my hunt for a new monitor with a built-in HDMI port, but everything I've found so far sucks compared to the monitor I already have (manufacturers seem to be cutting a lot of corners since I bought mine years ago). I'm thinking now I'd rather keep the monitor I have/love (great color & sound, pivots, solid heavy base, zero dead pixels).

    So my question is... I know a monitor with HDMI input will allow me to watch BR discs, can I do the same thing in reverse, replace my DVI video card with one that has an HDMI output and connect it to my DVI monitor? Or must the receiving device be HDMI?
  2. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,669   +416

    Your monitor seems to have a max resolution of 1680x1050.
    Bluray playback is 1920x1080(1080p) or 1280 × 720(720p). So unless it can be downscaled by the card or the software you are using for playback to 1280 × 720(720p) or other lower resolution I don't think you can view it on your monitor. On second thoughts I don't think the resolution should be an issue as the monitor should be able to support something that is accepted for 720p playback.

    The laptop I have has Bluray player in it and only a 1366×768 screen. So you should be able output it to the monitor. The problem might be related to HDCP.

    On the plus side it seems like the DVI output on your 3800 series card supports HDCP and 1080p resolution so you should be fine for outputting Bluray with it. If you have a HDTV that supports 720p/1080p then you may output from your PC to that instead.
  3. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 541   +59


    Thanks for the reply, but I don't think you read my post fully.

    As I noted, I already tested my 3870 with an HDMI monitor using an adapter cable, and it worked just fine, so I already know my current card works with Blu-Ray at full HD resolution. But if I keep my current DVI monitor, at least ONE of my components must have an HDMI port to play BR discs, so (I'm assuming) I must replace my vcard with one that has a built-in HDMI port.

    Plenty of TV's and monitors have less than 1920x1080 (Plasma TVs are notoriously low rez) and this does not prevent you from hooking up a Blu-Ray player to them. So there is no reason my 1680x1050 monitor can not play BR video. I already watch HDTV on it.
  4. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,669   +416

    Yeah sorry I'd already corrected my mistake in my original post.
    I'm finding some of this information out for the first time myself too :)

    Bluray content is HDCP protected. Both the card (yours does) and the display device(older HD capable monitors don't) have to support this protection technology. I think this is the problem. As I was trying to point out the connector isn't the problem, the DVI ouput on the 3870 supports HDCP, but the monitor must too. Whether its HDMI input, DVI or other connection it must support HDCP.

  5. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 541   +59

    Ah, so it looks like I must replace my monitor. Damn. :(

    If I must replace it, I'll want something bigger; at least 25.5". But I need a display that I can "pivot" to profile view for my work. After reading dozens of reviews, most new monitors I've seen within my budget (~$300) are all crap. All have either cheap 1.5watt built in speakers, poor color, a cheap plastic base that often can't do more than tilt, flimsy buttons, power supply issues... in short, junk.

    This 2005 Dell monitor I have now, though only 20.1", 12ms and 1680x1050, has fantastic color, two 2.5watt speakers, full tilt/swivel/pivot stand, and a hefty base that weighs about 5-8 pounds. Even Dell doesn't make a decent replacement for it (in my price range) anymore.
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