Firestick to Old Projector

Firestick to Old Projector: a reader (from Rome) asks…

Dear Chris, I have a problem, can you help me to find best way to connect Amazon Firestick to my projector for video signal ( Benq PE5120 ) and to my home theatre for audio signal 5.1 ( Yamaha DPS-A1 ). For audio connection I’d like to use optical signal for taking advantage of 5.1. I’ve attached photos of my projector and receiver connections.

Saluti! Based on the pictures you supplied, I see that your projector’s video inputs are limited to only analog versions: S-video (round 4-pin plug), composite video (yellow RCA plug), and VGA (15-pin). Your Firestick is a digital video appliance, so you’ll need something to convert the video signal from digital to analog in order to use the Firestick with your projector. You’ll also need something to extract the digital audio with an optical output to send audio to your receiver. Both conversion and extraction can be handled by a single device (see below).

Of the video input plugs on your Benq projector, the best option is the 15-pin VGA port (the one with the blue insert, not the black one). VGA can support up to 1080p video resolution (1920×1080 pixels), while the composite and S-video ports only support standard definition television (720×480 pixels).

Based on your pictures, you’ll need the following equipment to connect your Firestick to your home theatre system:

  1. a digital video converter/audio extractor box such as this one for 22,35 €
  2. a standard VGA cable such as this one for 7,99 €.
  3. an optical cable such as this one for 5,99 to 7,39 € (depending on length).

Now to clearly describe how to connect things up:

  1. Plug the Firestick into the HDMI IN port of the converter/extractor box, plug one end of the VGA cable into the converter/extractor box and the other into the blue 15-pin D-Sub IN port on the Benq projector. Set the projector to use the VGA port as the source, then power down the projector.
  2. Plug the optical cable into the SPDIF OUT port of the converter/extractor box, plug the other end of the optical cable into any available optical IN port on the Yamaha receiver. Set the receiver to use that same optical IN port as the source, then power down the receiver.
  3. Plug the converter/extractor box’s included power cable into a wall outlet and the converter/extractor box, then power up both the Yamaha receiver and the Benq projector. Don’t forget to supply power to the Firestick with its included microUSB plug.

You should obtain good video quality on the projector screen, and you should obtain Dolby 5.1 digital audio from your surround-sound speakers. You want to follow the specific order to power up the devices in #3 above to make sure that the video and audio are “authorized” (HD Copyright Protection or “HDCP”) between all components.

Nota Bene: I found an online manual for your Benq PE5120 that shows a DVI-I connector (which is digital), but your picture shows an apparently earlier version of that model. If in fact your projector has a DVI-I connection, you would swap out #1 & #2 items in the equipment list above with this converter/extractor box for 17,99 €, and this HDMI-to-DVI cable for 9,79 €. The video connection (instruction #1 above) will change slightly: plug the HDMI end of the cable into the HDMI OUT port of the converter/extractor box, and plug the DVI-I end of the cable into the DVI-I port on the projector. Set the Benq projector to use the DVI-I port as source.

About HDCP: This is best described as circuitry that all devices have (devices which use digital video/audio). This circuitry is designed to protect content from being used unlawfully and came about years ago with Digital Rights Management legislation. The idea is that artists (musicians, film makers, etc.) didn’t want their works stolen by digital piracy.

How this circuitry works is by devices like your Firestick, the converter/extractor box, and your digital receiver exchanging authorizations (aka “handshaking”) to approve each other to play/display protected content like movies, TV shows and music. This handshaking usually occurs when equipment is first powered up or connected. If the devices cannot successfully authenticate, they won’t pass the protected content from one to the other.

Since your video projector uses analog video, there’s no digital rights circuitry there. The handshaking for digital video is only between the Firestick and the converter/extractor box. For digital audio, handshaking occurs between all three devices (Firestick, converter/extractor box, and receiver).


  1. Hi Chris, you seem to be an amazing font of knowledge so I hope you can help me.
    I also have a Firestick to Projector query but with the added complication of a 5.1 Surround Sound system inbetween.
    Equipment – Amazon Firestick, Sony BDVE2100 DVD Home Theatre System and Infocus HD8606 Projector.
    Everything was working fine in my cinema room in London until Amazon pulled their Prime app from the Sony system in Nov 2019. They offered a discount on a Firestick but I already had two.
    The problem was the Sony system only has RCA input and an optical cable input…no HDMI input. The HDMI output feeds the Projector. I’d obviously like to connect the Firestick to the Sony system and enjoy the 5.1 surround sound. I think I need a converter which will take the Firestick HDMI digital input signal and convert it to RCA whilst also allowing a digital feed to the projector via HDMI. Will this allow 5.1 surround sound or is that only available with a digital feed? Would a converter which also provides an optical output (to connect to the Sony system) be a better solution?
    I don’t really understand what ‘pass through’ means and therefore don’t know if it is relevant in this case.
    If I can’t get this to work, I think I’ll have to buy a new DVD surround sound amp to drive my existing speakers which may work out quite expensive.
    Links to the manuals for the Sony & Infocus equipment and also a few converters which may or may not work are below.
    Hope you can help advise on how best to connect up my equipment.
    Many thanks, Neil

    • Hi Neil, thanks for providing lots of detail and links to the online manuals, saves me a lot of time researching your situation!

      Your situation is similar to others, and yes, you need a box (let’s call that a ‘breakout box’) that will extract the digital audio from the HDMI interface and send it (via digital optical cable) to the Sony system. You don’t want to use the RCA connections as that’s only 2-channel analog stereo audio. The optical IN port on your Sony system is the one to use, as it passes Digital 5.1 audio. And you’re correct, ‘pass through’ doesn’t apply to your situation, that’s for audio/video systems that send both video & audio out the HDMI OUT port and don’t process the audio to play through the system while sending the video out the HDMI OUT port.

      Either of the breakout boxes you chose from Amazon will work, the Toslink/SPDIF optical port on the breakout box should be connected with a digital optical audio cable, the other end of which goes to the Sony’s Digital IN Optical (TV) port.

      If you have multiple HDMI video/audio sources (say, a cable or satellite box, the Firestick and something else), then the 3×1 HDMI switch is the one you want (I’d choose this anyway since you never know if you’ll add equipment in the future). If the Firestick is (and will be) your only video source, then the other box will do.

      Connect an HDMI cable from the breakout box’s HDMI OUT port to the projector’s HDMI IN port (1 or 2). Connect an optical cable from the breakout box’s Toslink/SPDIF Optical OUT port to the Sony’s Digital IN optical port. Power on your projector, and power on your Sony system. Make sure your Sony system is set to use the optical source. Connect power to the breakout box, and finally, connect power to the Firestick’s microUSB port and plug the Firestick into the/an HDMI IN port on the breakout box.

      The reason to plug in the Firestick last is for HD copyright protection – all the devices connected must ‘see’ each other in order for them to validate themselves with each other, otherwise they won’t pass protected content. This is Digital Rights Management (DRM) in action and has always been a bugaboo for getting disparate pieces of home theatre equipment to work together. If a piece of equipment isn’t connected and powered on when you connect the Firestick, it won’t see it and validate – validation only occurs when you first connect and power on the device.

  2. A quick note: reader John H. was having trouble with getting his Firestick signal down 50′ of HDMI cabling to a projector. He swapped the 50′ for a 30′ and the problem went away. Even though the HDMI spec says that 50′ is the maximum length for a reliable signal, I’m guessing that the diminutive Firestick simply doesn’t ouput as strong a signal as other HDMI source devices.

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