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hloberg

$12 composite to HDMI upconverter review

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I have heard a lot of mixed opinions on these cheap composite to HDMI upconverters. So when I saw one on eBay for $12 shipped I thought I might give it a shot. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised. It's not a f18a by any means but it does do a good job of clearing up the picture on flat screen monitors.

here's a picture of the TI title screen with just composite>

 

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It's not a great picture but you can see how the letters are slightly distorted, also the colors are bleeding over each other in the color bar. here is a picture with the HDMI upcoverter.

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the letters are much more truer to size and there is less bleeding between the colors. what doesn't come through on the two pictures is the artifacing of the letters is much less pronounced on the HDMI screen than on the composite screen.

the colors on both the screens are about the same with the HDMI being a bit truer in the blue and greens with the composite a bit truer with the reds. 

Now there was some concern about if there is a delay and I can say i have felt no delay while playing Parsec or any of the other games. if there is a delay it's in the milliseconds and my response time just ain't that good. :)

As you can see in the top picture it is a bit of a mess of  wires. 2 or 3 composite in, HDMI out and a +5 power source. I'm going to hide it all behind the desk so it doesn't matter but it's still something to take into consideration.

Now, should you buy it? for ~$12, I say yes. It does increase the picture quality a bit and if you have a TV without composite, well, it's a must then. I wouldn't call it a necessary but it does help for just $12. The only point I say no is if you plan to purchase an f18a in the future. The picture on the f18a is near perfect quality this is just a close approximation.

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update after using it for about a week. I still really like this device. it was cheap and cleaned up the picture quite a bit. and after fiddling with the color setting on my TV I got the colors to actually look better than just straight composite. the only thing I don't like is that it's more wires to deal with but I guess you can't have everything. the best improvement is with the text. much clearer text, especially with the 40 column text.

and another plus with this device I can use it clear up the screen on other composite computers and game systems.

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How is it for motion tearing?  That is a huge bugaboo of mine.

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4 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

How is it for motion tearing?  That is a huge bugaboo of mine.

haven't noticed any.

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Something else you might consider are better composite cables. Standard audio cables (which appear to be what you are using) can introduce interference when being used for video. 

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1 hour ago, NISMOPC said:

Something else you might consider are better composite cables. Standard audio cables (which appear to be what you are using) can introduce interference when being used for video. 

true. I made that cable when I had an 800xl (I had did the resister snip on the 800xl to increase sharpness) and it was OK. but the 800xl does seem to have a superior VDG to the TI-99/4a.  Also there is a fix were you put a resister in the line that cleans up the signal somewhat that I haven't added.

 

one thing I meant to talk about this device is the 'best guess'. I found that different flat screen monitors do different conversions of composite, some better than others. the monitors are, essentially, emulating the look of the composite screen as it might look on a CRT. the composite signal is analog but the TV/monitor is digital so it makes a best guess of what it should look like. My Toshiba TV does a fairly good job on my SNES and when I had a 800xl. But for some reason it just couldn't get the TI-99/4a right. (Note: it does look a bit better on my LG big screen but just a bit.) But this box, being dedicated to converting composite to HDMI and up converting it to more pixels, just seems to do a better 'guess' for the TI-99/4a.  I have also found it improves the SNES a little bit too. Which means that on another TV/monitor it might not be as big a difference.

 

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