I currently run live streams of amateur sporting events, mainly inside. Currently I am using several Panasonic HS-900ks connected to a PC desktop via RCA cables and several Easycap DC60+s (USB 2.0). As you can imagine, the quality from the Panasonic's gets degraded very quickly. Some of the RCA cables are carrying video over 100ft from source to destination.

I am looking to upgrade the connections to SDI via the Blackmagic Decklink products. That said, I will need cameras that support SDI output, or purchase an HDMI-SDI adapter (~$300).

My budget is approx. $3000 for a single camera, and since I'll only be outputting the stream at 720p max for the foreseeable future (don't want to overburden end-users bandwidth), I really don't need a fancier camera then that.

Obviously there is a big price difference between a new camera and a HDMI-SDI adapter. Is there a big quality difference, or does HDMI-SDI not really lose much quality? Will it provide the same signal as a new camera such as a Panasonic AG-HPX170 P2HD that provides native SDI-output? I am not looking to output audio from these cameras, just video.

  • possible duplicate of How to connect a camera to a computer 100ft away?
    – AJ Henderson
    Mar 4, 2013 at 21:45
  • @AJHenderson This question is asking about quality loss in an HDMI-SDI adapter. It does have some similar elements, but since it already has a satisfactory answer and was not answered directly by any of the answers of the other question, I think it should stay. Mar 5, 2013 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


For amateur events, SDI may be overkill compared to using simple Component. The key for long runs is to separate the various components so that they don't degrade. There is a similar question here about long distance runs.

As for HDMI to SDI, there should be no quality loss compared to HDMI as both are digital formats supporting full uncompressed HD streams. The quality of the converter may make a difference, but there is no technical reason that you couldn't have a flawless conversion between formats. Both support both YCbCr 4:2:2 and 4:4:4, so the color spaces should be compatible either way.

  • At this point, the distance isn't a huge factor in what is really killing it. The 5-foot cable still doesn't provide the quality that myself or my clients are looking for, so an upgrade in connection is really required. Mar 4, 2013 at 21:46
  • @John - I get that the A/V output (ie, composite) is insufficient quality. That isn't a big surprise as it is standard definition and a USB2.0 video capture device is going to be lacking as well. Component is able to carry an HD feed and may very well be able to be broken out with a simple cable from your HDMI as the analog signal on HDMI is the same as the analog signal on DVI which is the same as the analog signal on VGA. It's a form of component signal and will go long distance well without needing the expense of SDI. SDI is generally a high end system for much more expensive setups.
    – AJ Henderson
    Mar 4, 2013 at 21:51
  • The HS-900k only has RCA and HDMI mini out. Are you recommending then that I try HDMI mini -> DVI -> RCA -> USB2.0 video capture device, before I splurge on SDI? Mar 4, 2013 at 21:55
  • 1
    You would want to use the A/V component output cable rather than HDMI. I was wrong about there being an analog option in HDMI. You'd need a converter to use HDMI to Component, but not to go Component out of the A/V port. The savings over SDI is going to be that you don't need a converter from component to SDI or HDMI to SDI. It does seem that Black Magic has driven down the price on SDI though. The last time I seriously priced out a setup like what you are doing was about 2 years ago.
    – AJ Henderson
    Mar 4, 2013 at 23:45
  • 1
    @pojo-guy - Newer USB specs (3+) have sufficient bandwidth for uncompressed HD. The most recent version with Thunderbolt 3 even allows for working with uncompressed 4K. 100% agree for USB 2 devices though.
    – AJ Henderson
    Nov 15, 2017 at 20:51

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