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ACML

Inexpensive S-Video or Composite to HDMI video up converter

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Many of us have finally given in and bought modern LCD, LED or plasma televisions only to discover as an afterthought, DOH! there is no S-video input on these new TVs! Yes, they still have composite, but that's not much better than RF modulated channel 3 NTSC. What to do? I bought two inexpensive s-video to HDMI up converters and they can be had for less than $40.

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On the left is a C&E or Portta, etc. It is sold under several names, but they are the same, just silk screened with "your campany here" name. They are on Amazon and Ebay. http://www.amazon.com/Portta-PETCSHP-Composite-Converter-Upscaler/dp/B003NS0UUQ

 

On the right is a Etek City up converter. I bought mine on ebay for $25.99. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Composite-CVBS-S-video-AV-RCA-R-L-Audio-to-HDMI-Converter-Adapter-1080P-/371187519709?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item566c8010dd

 

Both have S-video, Composite video, and left & right audio inputs. The Etek city (right) also has a HDMI input. They both up-scale to 720P and 1080P output. I've attached a comparison between the two and a direct connect S-video to my Samsung that has both inputs.

 

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Pure S-video C&E Portta Etek City

 

The C&E Portta is noticeably darker and the Etek City matched much better with the Pure S-video. The Etek City had a little ghosting on the trailing letters, but the camera is exaggerating it a bit.

 

will continue comparison on next entry (see below).

Edited by ACML
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post-27335-0-10703800-1427778559_thumb.jpgpost-27335-0-58841400-1427778580_thumb.jpgpost-27335-0-17463000-1427778602_thumb.jpg

Pure S-video C&E Portta Etek City

 

In plain text mode all three look pretty good. Pure direct S-video being the best as its the source straight out of the monitor jack. There was a little vertical banding on the C&E Portta and the Etek City matched Pure S-video a bit better.

 

So, to me, the Etek City ($25.99 on Ebay) is a great buy. It also seems to have a little better build quality and the extra HDMI input is a nice touch. It gives you the option to use it as a switch between modern video (computer, blu-ray, etc) and your trusty Atari Computer. The external power supply seemed of better quality and the cord was a bit longer than the C&E Portta. On a previous thread, I recommended the Portta, but that was before I tried the Etek City. Someone reported that the Portta just didn't like the 130XE video signal at all, but both units I tested worked pretty good with a stock Atari 800 and 1200XL (with ClearPic2002). So, your mileage may vary. If you buy it on Amazon and you don't like it, return it.

 

Heck, with these little converters, your Atari can display on the same computer monitor you are reading this on.

Edited by ACML
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I have the Etek City and it works reasonably well.

I use it mainly to play PAL on my NSTC TV and it does a reasonable job.

I also use it to play SVideo for my NTSC 7800, for some reason my TV does not like that signal.

 

It is not perfect, if I connect to it my GameCube I can see purple (or was it cyan, can't remember) dots where transparency should be in the GC intro screens, not a biggie just something that happens.

 

Only thing is that to preserve ratio your TV must be able to force 4:3 over HDMI (some do, some don't).

 

So far I used it on an NTSC LCD TV to play PAL CD32 SVideo , PAL GX4000 composite , NTSC 7800 SVideo, PAL CDI composite.

The CD32 is a little on the bright side, the rest are instead fine.

 

I did sample testing via SVideo for some other consoles to see how it fared and only the GC had that "purple/cyan" issue.

 

Interestingly it supports 1080p/720p at 50hz output and my LCD TV accepts 1080p50 which makes it pretty decent for PAL.

Interlaced screens looks a little off, from time to time you can see the "scanlines" being off sync but nothing major really.

 

I wonder how long before the internals are actually used to perform HDMI mods on consoles/home computers directly?

Edited by phoenixdownita
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Someone reported that the Portta just didn't like the 130XE video signal at all

 

That was me. I bought the Portta converter off Amazon and it was totally unable to read the signal from my NTSC-based 130XE. I tried with two different TV sets and it didn't make a difference. Also, the Portta was inconsistent in selecting signal type. About half the time it read the NTSC signal as PAL.

 

I'd love to hear from someone who has managed to make the Portta converter work with an XE.

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I'm surprised composite or s-vid is upscaled to 720P instead of going out HDMI as 480P which is what it basically is I think.

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I read it as it needed to be used with a tv that could force 4:3.

The posted images are from my 46" Samsung LCD TV. To me, its looks pretty good. I need to try it on my Dell 24" IPS monitor.

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Only 2 buttons on Etek:

 

1) cycle input: composite -> SVideo -> HDMI

2) cycle output resolution: 720p50 -> 720p60 -> 1080p50 -> 1080p60

 

That's it. No autoswitch.

It allows to set the out res whatever the input is also wrt PAL/NTSC. 1080p50 is suppoertd by my LCD so that is what I use for my PAL (720p50 instead does not work on my TV so can't use that)

 

Force 4:3 is a feature of the TV not this converter, its output is natively 16:9.

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this looks like it works great with our A8's. But what about if we hook it up to our STs? Do we have a still have a Hz conversion problem?

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Terms like "expensive" can be subjective. $800 for an oil change I would consider expensive, but some people own cars that cost that much to have it done. They probably think I drive "cheap" vehicles with "cheap" service, while what they do is just what normal wealthy folks like themselves do.

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The StarTech is a lot less expensive than the XRGB Framemeister, but the XRGB can certainly do much more for the video output.

By the way, it's also a matter of priorities. Some people might put more importance on having an expensive vehicle than a nice home or good food.

Some people might just spend waaaay too much on their Atari computer habit...

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Well, the StarTech does work well though.

I would love to see an image of what it looks like with various examples (default text screen, a game, The Last Word 80 column text, ect.). Be even better if it were shown with EtekCity on same monitor and from same source as used with StarTech.

 

-Michael

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I started working on this, but apparently my EtekCity converter has died. I can't get any output from it anymore.

So, here are samples on a CheeseBox and the StarTech. Oh, I also couldn't seem to get the files to attach for some reason, so I stuck them on a remote server.

 

Basic on CheeseBox:

Basic-CheeseBox.jpg

 

Basic on StarTech:

Basic-StarTech.jpg

 

SDX on CheeseBox:

SDX-CheeseBox.jpg

 

SDX on StarTech:

SDX-StarTech.jpg

 

LastWord on CheeseBox:

LastWord-CheeseBox.jpg

 

LastWord on StarTech:

LastWord-StarTech.jpg

 

Archon on CheeseBox:

Archon-CheeseBox.jpg

 

Archon on StarTech:

Archon-StarTech.jpg

 

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Picture quality is very important, but for me critical is the reaction time.

Unfortunately the most of new TVs and video converters introduce so big latency, that you can forget about playing games...

Has anybody experience with the "Framemeister"?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Framemeister-N-XRGB-Mini-Upscaler-Unit-DP3913547-From-Japan-/181327242059?hash=item2a37f2234b:g:2t0AAOSwgQ9VtMzk

With the price over $300 it can not be considered cheap anymore, but I wondered if it is really as good as they advertise it.

 

 

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True the delay on some of these converters can make you question if some miniature artist doesn't like inside the box and hand draws the frames and uses a video camera to resend the image to the modern display.... and the modern displays also have latency issues of their own... to be honest even some of the most expensive monitor class hdtv displays really suck and not only lag but you can go in and adjust the sound to match up with the picture because the decoding can be out of sync.... the system plain sucks for anything except streaming a/v....

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I started working on this, but apparently my EtekCity converter has died. I can't get any output from it anymore.

So, here are samples on a CheeseBox and the StarTech. Oh, I also couldn't seem to get the files to attach for some reason, so I stuck them on a remote server.

 

Thanks Panther :)

 

The StarTech looks really nice :thumbsup:

 

 

Currently I have an EtekCity, which does a fair job, but obviously not perfect, and not as good as the StarTech. Tried the Portta, but that was a complete waste of money (didn't work well at all). The EtekCity has gotten to be more difficult to find. So I did a search and thought I'd try a unit being sold on Ebay for $40.60 with free shipping from China. I just received it yesterday (2 weeks after placing the order). It looks to be very well made, having a case made entirely out of metal. Testing will be conducted tomorrow.

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Ebay Listed as: Composite AV RCA / S-Video to HDMI Converter UHD 4K*2K UpScaler Adapter US P5K4 (I think they also have one with a euro AC adapter as well)

 

Ebay Store: TomTop Shop (found it even cheaper here: LINK)

 

I'll post some screenshots soon.

 

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols
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Both will certainly look a lot better once I get my hands on some UAV boards. Looking forward to the output from that unit. UHD support will come in handy in the future.

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