The golden days of coaxial and audio/video cables have long passed. However, there is still a charm and nostalgia for older TVs. If you have one lying around, you might be wondering how you can still get some use out of it. An HDMI RF modulator can help make that happen.
Most old TVs and monitors lack the compatibility of handling present-day media devices, and the prices of newer TVs have increased exponentially. Buying a new TV isn’t always an option for everyone, as high-end 4K TVs can end up costing a lot.
Instead of splurging on a new TV or monitor, you can consider buying an HDMI RF Modulator. It is a neat piece of tech that can save money when upgrading your entertainment system. A modulator solves the problem of connecting modern media devices to older TVs and monitors, preventing them from becoming obsolete.
However, there is not much information when it comes to these products. Picking between them is not easy for the average consumer. To save you time, we’ve compiled some of the best HDMI RF modulators so you can buy the right one for your needs.
Be sure to check out our selection of the best budget stereo amplifiers as well to get a better experience with your media consumption.
|#||Product Name||Product Name||Award||Details|
|1||Thor Broadcast HDMI RF Modulator||Best Overall|| |
|2||Fosa Digital RF Modulator||Best Value|| |
|3||Multicom HDMI Digital RF Modulator||High-End Pick|| |
|4||Aoespy HDMI RF Modulator||Best Compact Option|| |
|5||ProVideoInstruments VeCoax HDMI Modulator||Most Versatile|| |
|6||ZeeVee ZVPro 610i Modulator||Professional-Grade Pick|| |
|Product Name||Thor Broadcast HDMI RF Modulator|
|Product Name||Fosa Digital RF Modulator|
|Product Name||Multicom HDMI Digital RF Modulator|
|Product Name||Aoespy HDMI RF Modulator|
|Award||Best Compact Option|
|Product Name||ProVideoInstruments VeCoax HDMI Modulator|
|Product Name||ZeeVee ZVPro 610i Modulator|
Last Update on 2023-10-02 at 23:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Why You Should Trust Us
Here at Appuals, we are very enthusiastic about hardware. As such, we hold everything we review to an incredibly high standard. Whether you are talking about graphics cards or HDMI RF Modulators, we test everything from functionality to value to ensure that our readers always buy the best products for their needs.
One of our leading hardware writers, Asad Khan, has years of experience when it comes to display-related hardware and audiophile gear. Whether it is old CRT TVs or the latest and greatest 4K OLED monitors, he has seen it all. He also has a passion for retro-tech and providing insights on how older technology can co-exist with our modern devices.
Under Asad’s lead, our highly experienced tech team sifted through dozens of modulators. We considered every factor such as build quality, features, quality, and overall value. To give an unbiased review, we go over all these aspects thoroughly and make sure we compare each product accordingly. Whether you are looking for a value-oriented option or the absolute king of the hill, we can help you find what you need.
What Is an HDMI RF Modulator?
An HDMI RF Modulator takes HDMI input from devices with HDMI output. This includes media players, set-top boxes, or consoles. It converts the signal from these devices into Radio Frequency also known as RF. This is then transmitted through a wire, usually a coaxial or A/V cable. These RF signals can also be received by TVs with antennas if you are looking to go towards a wireless route.
RF modulators come in various shapes and sizes with different input features. However, since we are mainly talking about HDMI RF Modulator the input is usually HDMI. So, each modulator on this list features an HDMI port that can take input from modern devices such as consoles, gaming PCs, laptops, and even Blu-Ray Players.
HDMI RF Modulators work by converting HDMI signals to RF, short for radio frequency. However, directly converting them can cause a loss of video and audio stutters or quality. This is usually due to interference. Hence, the HDMI signals are passed through or mixed with higher frequency waves to prevent. That’s where the “modulation” comes into play, hence the name.
To sum it up, it takes the signal as an HDMI input, converts it into an RF signal, and cleans up the loss of quality. The image/video then shows up on your TV without any real loss of image quality. Of course, this also depends highly on what sort of TV you pair the modulator with.
After cleaning up the quality a bit through the modulation process, the HDMI RF Modulator will output the image/video to your TV of choice. Usually, an HDMI RF modulator will feature only a single RF output. You will need a coaxial cable to connect the device to your TV. In some cases, you’ll even find an HDMI output on these modulators. That will come in handy in case you want to connect different TVs or displays from a single source.
Related Read: Best Bluetooth Receivers
1. Thor Broadcast HDMI Modulator
- DC3 Dolby Audio
- Enhanced Network Encoding
- Transmission rate has a good range
- Great audio/video encoder
- Difficult to set up initially
Resolution: 1080p | Dimensions: 4.06 inches x 2.52 inches x 0.94 inches | Connectivity: HDMI input, F-type output
Starting off our list of Best HDMI RF modulators is an HDMI Modulator from THOR. Design-wise it is a good-looking modulator with a clean matte black finish. It sits comfortably at the top of our list since it’s packed with features and the image quality is impressive.
This modulator features an output resolution of 1080p. It comes with built-in ATSC and DVB-C output support. The different encoding options make this an extremely versatile modulator. It encodes any HD video/audio signals to ATSC, DVB-C, and SDB-T RF output, preventing any sort of compatibility issues.
Apart from the video options, the Thor Broadcast modulator features AC3 Dolby Audio support to ensure a comfortable and theater-like sound experience. Sound is a major part of an entertainment system and having a modulator with good sound support is always a plus.
Handy Peripherals: Best PCIe Wi-Fi Cards
Good sound support is not the only highlight. The key feature of the Thor Broadcast is its network capabilities. This is a networked modulator and encoder. To put it simply, It takes HDMI signals from any device and broadcasts audio/video signals. With its wide range of transmissions, you can easily send audio and video signals over long distances.
The Thor Broadcast is a great overall pick. It is versatile and offers good compatibility with most devices. If you don’t mind the price and need a modulator that gets the job done without any issues, this is the one to get.
Second on the list is an economical option, the FOSA Digital RF modulator. With an affordable price, the Fosa modulator is hard to beat. It has 1080p video output resolution and is very easy to set up initially. Due to this, this modulator ensures a comfortable experience.
This modulator is a plug-and-play device with no initial setup required. It is best for solving a quick display problem without worrying about different technicalities. It has a simple digital display on the front with regulators to control audio and video signals.
More Peripherals: Best Osu! Tablets
The only downside to this modulator is the lack of an HDMI input port. This modulator takes AV input rather than HDMI. Though this can be solved by an HDMI to AV converter. But apart from that, the Fosa Digital Modulator does not disappoint.
The Fosa modulator is a great choice. With a low price, plug-and-play, and good user experience, it is a good modulator. The lack of HDMI input might be a turnoff for some people. Overall, it is a good value option for your home entertainment system.
Multicom 1080 HDMI Digital is our premium pick for Best HDMI RF Modulators. Multicom is a company centered around HD encoders and modulators, so they know what they are doing. It is an exceptional piece though it does cost a bit. But if you are looking for a more premium and long-lasting option, I would recommend the Multicom 1080.
Let’s talk about the features. The Multicom modulator comes with the MUL-HDENC-C-100 encoder that ensures good-quality video and audio transmission. It works by encoding HDMI signals to a coax cable output. This encoder eliminates the use of any type of set-up boxes or media player.
Apart from the good encoding, the Multicom modulator features AC-3 Dolby Audio support. It provides crisp sound with no loss. So, you can comfortably enjoy a movie or a game without having to worry about sound quality.
Remember though, high-end video is nothing without a good internet connection. Get yourself one of the best ethernet cables so you can quickly download any media that you would want to run from this impressive HDMI RF modulator.
Overall, the Multicom modulator is a great pick. It has great value for money and comes with a lot of great features.
The Aoespy HDMI RF Modulator is the best plug-and-play device on our list. It is a great entry option for someone who just wants to solve a simple display issue. This Aoespy Modulator is a simple plug-and-play device.
The Aoespy RF modulator is easy to set up and connect. If you do not want to get into the technicalities of a modulator, then this modulator is definitely for you. It is really handy and portable.
The portability allows you to take this device anywhere. You can take it to work or a friend’s house for a gaming session. Another use case is that you can set it up with your car’s entertainment system. Since this device is so compact, it adds a lot to the overall versatility.
Read More: Best USB 3.0 Hubs
Apart from the portability, the Aoespy also comes with 1080p 60fps video output which is neat if you want to play some games.
To summarize, the Aoespy modulator is built to solve a quick problem. The low price point, 1080p 60fps output, and portability make this a good pick. While it lacks any real bells and whistles, it gets the job done quite well.
The ProVideoInstruments VeCoax HDMI Modulator is the modulator to upgrade your entertainment system. With its built-in 8-channel amplifier, you can transmit audio and video signals across your whole house which is further improved with an audio amplifier making sure you have crisp and high-quality sound and video.
Apart from well-built-in amplifiers, The Vecoax features a MPEG-2 HD encoder providing clean 1080p video and AC3 Audio Support for crisp audio. It is the ultimate duo to turn your home entertainment into a mini theater.
The Vecoax is on the expensive side, as it is more of a premium option. I would not recommend this to someone just looking for a quick port fix. If you want more control and optimization over your channels or do not want to compromise on quality. The Vecoax Minimod is a good pick for you.
Next on our list is another modulator from ZeeVee. It is the ZvPRO 610i blade-2. If you want premium video and do not want to compromise on the quality, then the ZvPRO 610i is the perfect fit for you as it comes with all the features you would expect from a modulator at this price point.
The built-in amplifier is more than enough for long-distance transmission with ranges up to a quarter of a mile. This allows you to easily connect devices across large distances. Pair that with the excellent reproduction of image quality and we have ourselves one of the most impressive HDMI RF modulators out there.
However, it’s not going to be for everyone. This is especially true since you have to take the difficult setup process into account. Sure, this one is geared toward professionals, but that also means it’s not easy for the average consumer to take advantage of it. It’s also likely a tad bit overkill for most scenarios.
With that said, if you are in a situation where you need a high-end professional-grade HDMI RF modulator, then this is the one to buy.
More Niche Stuff: Best Indoor Helicopters
Big and powerful modulators like these often have overheating issues and the built-in cooling systems are usually noisy. You do not want fan noises in your workspace. The Mini blade-2 solves this problem by integrating a fanless cooling system which eliminates the noise and keeps the modulator cool.
The ZvPRO 610i modulator is easy to set up initially without the need for any software or driver, though it does offer web-based software if you want more control. The software allows remote access to this modulator, allowing you to control the channels from anywhere around the globe.
The ZvPRO 610i modulator is the perfect pick for professionals as it offers tons of premium features and remote access and does not compromise on quality.
Do I Need an HDMI RF Modulator?
By now, hopefully, you are aware of how an HDMI RF Modulator works. Most of the time, it is a cheap and easy way of taking advantage of that old TV that you have lying around. If you want to get some use out of it, picking up an HDMI modulator is a good choice. Considering the recent rise of retro gaming and hardware in the past few years, it’s an easy way to get the old-school experience without wasting a lot of money.
More Retro Tech: Best Retro Handhelds
There’s another niche use case for these modulators. They can be used to separate audio and video signals from such as cameras, portable VCRs, satellite receivers, or even from computers. It then turns these signals into VHF TV signals. This works well for TVs that don’t have a composite video output.
Many HDMI RF modulators are also popular for distributing a single signal from something like a TV player to hundreds of TVs. However, those products are more catered towards professionals, and won’t be found as easily with retailers.
In most cases, if you have a TV that only takes a coaxial cable as an input, then you’ll need an HDMI RF modulator if you want to use it with modern devices. At the end of the day, it’s cheaper than buying a brand-new TV after all.
How We Picked and Tested
Usually, when we’re putting together a “best of” article on Appuals, we put every product through a rigorous and tedious testing process. Selecting the best of the best HDMI RF Modulators among the myriad of options available online was no easy task. This is especially considering the fact that most of them are professional-grade options, and feature information that is confusing to the average consumer.
As such, we decided to compile our list based on ease of use, the setup process, and overall result in terms of image quality. Everything else was just marketing fluff. Keeping these three things in mind, we were able to compile six of the best HDMI RF Modulators out there.
Of course, some are more expensive than others. This doesn’t necessarily mean that expensive RF modulators aren’t worth it, it’s just that a good number of them might not be worth it for you. Most people reading this already have a niche use case, and further confusing them with utterly expensive options would not make much sense.
Despite that, we still included a few high-end options for the odd reader that is looking out for some professional gear. After we cherry-picked six of these modulators, we decided to test them based on different metrics.
The most important to us was image quality. It’s fine if a modulator can just provide a simple output, but if the image quality is bad, then the experience is not worth it. As such, we made sure that every modulator on our list would not get any complaints from the average reader.
The modulators were then ranked based on ease of use, setup process, and again, the quality of the image output. After extensive research and thinking, the above list is what we ended up going with.
The modulator market is confusing, and it is filled with technicalities. For a new buyer, it can be overwhelming and hard to find a good option, And the saturation of the market does not help as well.
To make your life a little easier and help you find what you are looking for, our team tested dozens of modulators and sifted through tons of options to ensure you get the right product.
And after investigating, we have compiled a list of factors that you need to consider before buying an HDMI Modulator
Video quality is a big factor when it comes to buying an HDMI RF modulator. So, it is a good practice to always check video output in the specification area.
When it comes to quality everyone has preferences. Now, most modulators have 1080p video output which is usually adequate for most people. But if you are looking for the top-notch 4k experience, it can cost premium
RF modulators come in different varieties with different input and output supports.
And speaking from experience it is a real hassle if you buy something and end up finding out it does not support your device. So, it helps to research a bit about your TV’s connectivity and the ports and input options it has. Most options we included in our list have HDMI to AV and Coax support so you can check them out too.
Value for Money
Like everything, the prices of HDMI RF modulators vary a lot. There are options under 100$ while other costs more than 500$. Surprisingly the prices do not relate to the quality of the modulator at all.
It usually depends on what your problem, in particular, is but it is still wise to read the feature list and see if it has value for money and if the features match the price. It is a good practice to compare the features with the cheaper ones and see the value you are getting for that extra money.
Best HDMI RF Modulators - FAQs
Usually, you’ll find that RF modulators are still used in conditions where a display requires an audio/video signal through a coaxial cable. Most modern devices these days don’t have an RF port, so an HDMI modulator is crucial. They are also widely used in stadiums, hotels, malls, airports, etc.
RF signals can be converted to HDMI signals by using an RF to HDMI adapter/converter. These devices do the opposite job of an RF modulator. They take input input from coaxial cables, and the output is carried to your device by an HDMI cable. Projectors are a common use case.
You can easily hook up an RF modulator to an older TV by using the right cables. Connect a coaxial cable from the TV jack to the RF modulator. Then, connect an HDMI cable from the modulator to your source (DVD player, Console, PC, etc). You should now have a working signal.
An HDMI modulator transforms input from an HDMI signal and outputs it in the form of an RF (antenna) signal. This allows you to view the image/video from the source device in full resolution, even on older TVs.