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Monoprice Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter Review

by July 15, 2009
Monoprice Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter (whew! now theres a mouthful)

Monoprice Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter (whew! now there's a mouthful)

  • Product Name: Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter
  • Manufacturer: Monoprice
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: July 15, 2009 02:20
  • MSRP: $ 37.20/each (less if you buy in bulk)


Input Video Signal: 1.2V p-p

Input DDC Signal: 5 V p-p (TTL)

Output Video: HDMI 1.2 + HDCP 1.0/1.1

HDMI Connector: Type A (19 pin) female.

Video Connector: 3 RCA Component

Audio Connector: 1 RCA Digital Coax / 1 Digital Optical Toslink

HDMI Video Amplifier Bandwidth: 1.65Gbps/165Mhz

Frequency: Up to 165Mhz

Supported Resolutions: 480i thru 1080p

Size: 91mm (w) x 22mm (h) x 75mm (d)

Shipping Weight: 0.12 Kgs

Operating Temperature: 0 degree C to 70 degrees C.

Operating Humidity: 10% to 85% RH (no condensation)

Storage Temperature: -10 degrees C to 80 degrees C.

Storage Humidity: 5% to 90% RH (no condensation)

External Power Supply: 5V DC @ 2A

Regulatory Approvals: FCC, CE UL


  • Price
  • Easy Setup


  • Occasional Video Distortion


Monoprice Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter Introduction

Monoprice has a singular reputation in the industry for price leading offerings. If you are looking for something on the cheap (cost-wise, not performance-wise), Monoprice at some point will be recommended. I've used many of their products in the past and have had no problems recommending them to friends and family and to listeners of the AV Rant podcast. They have offerings that cover nearly every possible problem, situation, or conundrum. If you've got some sort of connection problem, they've probably got a box that will fix it.

With changing technology, people often come up with problems that require very specialized solutions. My parents were just such a group. In their desire to refrain from spending money on High Definition TV, they've retained their SD DirectTV box. While the box does have component video and digital audio outputs, it, of course, doesn't have HDMI. Not a problem right? Just have the receiver do the upconversion? Well, no, their receiver doesn't upconvert to HDMI, just to component. So they have to switch TV inputs from their upconverting DVD player/Blu-ray player and TV. An inconvenience? Sure but one they have lived with for a while. As a surprise, I decided to spring a component to HDMI converter on them so they could put the TV remote away. They were thrilled (once I explained what it was, before that is was more of a resigned sigh and the "not another gadget we don't know what to do with" look).

Build Quality

Mono_comp.JPGThe Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter arrived well boxed and damage free. At only a few ounces, it would be hard to damage it in shipping without some sort of massive expenditure of energy on the delivery company's part. The box is small but sturdy with an aluminum case. On one side there are component video and a TOSLink and coaxial input and the other has an HDMI out, a port for power, and a small switch. The unit feels heavy for its size which conveys a sense of quality.

The Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter uses an HDMI Profile 1.2 port which will give you all the connectivity you need in a device such as this. While that would, theoretically, allow the passage of DVD-A and SACD information, you couldn't get it into the box through the S/PDIF connection. The converter is compatible with 480i/p, 576i/p, 720p, and 1080i/p video formats, but does not scale so you'll need to make sure your device resolution is one of these formats. If it is not, you will likely not be able to get a quality picture out of it (or any picture for that matter).

Setup and Use

Mono_HDMI.JPGI set up the box between the satellite box and Denon AVR-1909 receiver. The Denon my parents have only does HDMI video switching (no audio) so I maintained the audio connection directly to the receiver. In all honesty, the audio is not nearly the issue here. I suspect that 90% or more of the people are buying the Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter for the video conversion alone. They'd be just as likely to buy the box without the audio. The Denon receiver is connected to a Samsung plasma via HDMI.

One of the nice things about a box this small and sturdy is that you feel comfortable setting it up nearly anywhere. I placed this one behind the receiver so that I could use the shortest (and least expensive) HDMI cable possible. I got one from Belkin that is a foot or two long. Perfect for this application. Now, the Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter needs power so I plugged it directly into the back of the receiver. These outlets are often unused and low voltage devices that don't need to be on except when the receiver is on are a perfect fit. There was also and unexpected benefit that I'll detail in a bit.

The real question when you set up a box like this is the HDCP handshake. If that doesn't happen correctly, you are pretty much dead in the water. The Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter had no such problems whatsoever. The HDCP handshake was as fast or faster than the one with the Oppo DV-983H upconverting DVD player. That's pretty much all you could ask for in this situation.

The picture was in no way improved or degraded from the normal SD picture my parents experienced. I A/B'ed the connection a few times (obviously, switching took some time) and things seemed about the same. I did run into one problem. Occasionally, the picture would be very dark and unwatchable. At first I thought it was a problem with the cables or the cable box, but it turned out it was the Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter. I unplugged it and plugged it back in and the picture was fine. It turned out that powering the unit from the receiver really worked in my favor. When I left, I gave my parents instructions to cycle the receiver off and then on again if they ever had a bad picture. Now those are instructions just about anyone can follow.

Mono_light.JPGThere is a light on the each side of the box to let you know that it is receiving power. There is also a switch near the HDMI port. With the switch to one side, the light on the HDMI side turns red, when you flip the switch, it turns blue. According to Monoprice, this is in case of an HDCP handshake problem (I didn't experience any problem regardless of the switch location). They recommend you leave the switch in the blue orientation. This of course begs the question as to why there is a red setting at all but I'll let that one slide. I'm sure there is some engineer somewhere that has a very long, very convoluted reason. From a setup standpoint, the lights on the unit are sort of bright so I was happy that I had placed the Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter behind the receiver. Out in the open, you're definitely going to notice them.


The Monoprice Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter is a singular product with a singular purpose. That does not, however, mean that it is unique. In fact, if you do an Internet search for HCO0101 you'll find the exact same product (minus the branding) from a number of dealers and Chinese wholesalers. What you'll quickly discover is that Monoprice beats their prices in every case (at least in every case I found) and that includes the wholesale prices. While the box is a bit quirky especially with the video aberrations, it isn't something that I feel is totally fatal to the box. It is a "buyer beware" note but for what it does, I can't help but think that people would still purchase it. I'm thinking of getting one for myself for my Xbox 360. My Denon AVR-2307CI doesn’t like to upconvert the component input from the Xbox to HDMI so I could use the Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter to do it for me. For less than $40, I could simplify my setup for my wife and kids while only adding the possibility of having to cycle off/on the receiver occasionally. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Monoprice Component & S/PDIF Digital Coax/Optical Toslink Audio to HDMI Converter


Monoprice, Inc.
9477 London Way
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Ph: (909)989-6887


About Monoprice, Inc.
Monoprice is a premier discount online importer and distributor of consumer electronics and computer industry accessories. Established in 2002, Monoprice, Inc. (DBA. MonoPrice.com) specializes in the wholesale distribution of world class cable assemblies for the computer and high technology industries. MonoPrice.com offers a wide range of products from standard PC products and LAN cables, to custom cable assemblies and wiring harnesses. With the growing world economy, MonoPrice.com overall management philosophy is to deliver high quality products in less time and at a lower cost. Their huge inventory is ready for immediate delivery.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Video PerformanceStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Ease of Setup/Programming/IntegrationStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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