Some talk about HDMI to xx.... converters had been going on in Nextoos "cheaper component to S-video converters" thread but to keep things OT I thought we should really have a HDMI to xx.... dedicated thread. After all it's getting to the point where HDMI may be the only outputs available on modern equipment
With this post I'm going to start off doing a second review on a "cheaper" such converter purchased on Amazon from Bargaincell for the great reduced price of $30(thanks for the tip tomwil). This device has no brand name but looks identical to another HDMI to S-video converter I purchased and then returned from Amazon, sold by WOW parts. That converter was ~$60 and I didn't think it was worth it to me but for $30 I'll be keeping this latest converter, even though it's basically the same converter I reviewed before
(screen shots also follow that review).
The converter does have a nice metal case and is quite compact. After being on for a while it does get rather warm to the touch, so I'd probably unplug it after use(it has a walwart but I'd probably unplug the connector from the unit itself).
I tried the converter with 2 different unconverting DVD players, a Sony 700 and Oppo 971. Truthfully I thought the Sony looked slightly better but with some slight tweaking on the Oppo(-5 bright, +2 color, +1 sharp) I was able to get to look similar to the Sony at default. I used my favorite THX test patterns but also experimented with live video and had similar results to the test patterns.
Screen shot #1 is direct S-video to S-video(no converter) this is the standard.
#2 is Sony set to 480p with converter
#3 is Sony set to 720p with converter
#4 is Sony set to 1080i with converter
#5 is Oppo set to 1080i with converter
As with the WOW converter(I believe they are both made by Lenkeng) 480p looked quite bad, odd moire patterns around detailed resolution. 720p looked better and 1080i and 1080p looked best. I say "best" because none of the patterns through the converter look anyway near as good as without the converter but watching live video the lack of resolution isn't nearly as noticeable as the test patterns.
Overall if you needed such a device(to remove CP
, enable recording WS, etc.) this one would certainly work and do a acceptable job but if you already have a good source of S-video then by all means use that, even though you may start out with 1080 going to this converter the output is no where near that and even less than regular 480i.
I was impressed with the way this converter handled black level
, I tried a similar device(component to S-video converter) sold by Monoprice(another Lenkeng clone) and than one had a raised black level so blacks were more grey than black. This converter did a decent job of passing on true black(which I'm a stickler about).