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Published in Peripherals

Accell's UltraVideo HDMI to VGA Adapter Review Featured

by on09 August 2012 24966 times
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As technology moves forward we find that the means of connectivity are often changing very rapidly. There are times when you will find that you cannot connect one device to another simply because the ports do not match up. We recently ran into something like this when we needed to attack our Asus EEE Slate EP121 to a projector. Although we had brought our mini-HDMI cable and an HDMI to DVI adapter, the projector did not support either. Fortunately for situations like this we are seeing more companies push out adapters that will allow you to work with older monitors especially as we seeing many newer devices that remove the VGA port and DVI port as well! So let’s take a Accell’s UltraVideo VGA to HDMI adapter and see if it can help bring your use your new hardware even with older displays. .


The Box and Goodies –
The UltraVideo adapter that we were sent had been used before so our packaging will not be in the same condition as yours.  For the most part you will get a plastic package that will give you a good look at the adapter (it is a small device) and also explain most of what you need to know about the product and how it works.  
box01Once you get the packaging open you will find the adapter, a USB cable (for power), and a small HDMI cable. That is really all you need to use this device.

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The Accell UltraVideo HDMI to VGA Adapter -
The Accell UltraVideo HDMI to VGA adapter is a fairly small and simple device. You connect one end to the VGA port on your monitor and the other to the HDMI port on your tablet or computer. It does require power, but thankfully it can be powered via USB or wall power. Accell has included a power pack that for this so there is no worries there.

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In keeping with our normal methods we quickly took the Accell adapter apart to see what was on the inside. It was surprisingly easy to take apart. Once we had the end cap off (which we were able to remove by hand without any tools) everything else just slid apart.
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Under the plastic outer shell there is a shielded PCB that has all of the hardware to make the transition from HDMI to VGA. Inside we found an iTE IT6604E single link HDMI 1.4a receiver with HDCP 1.4 and 3D support. This was an interesting choice considering that only the HDMI video input is needed. We suspect that the 6604E was used simply to make sure that there was support for HDMI 1.4a as well as HDCP (High Definition Content Protection). On the other side we found another iTE IC in the form of an IT6902E which is a VGA Triple DAC (Digital to Analog Converter). Also thrown in for good measure is a Texas Instrument PQ19-15 7 channel ESD chip to prevent damage from accidental unplugging.

There are more components on the PCB, but they were too common to get a good identity on them and one had no markings at all. In all the UltraVideo adapter appears to be a well put together device.


Performance -
Testing the performance of the Accell UltraVideo HDMI to VGA adapter was not the simplest thing to do. We could have just plugged it in and checked to see how it looked. The problem with that is that it is only a small part of the story. For our testing we wanted to see how it worked in multiple situations including powered by the laptop or tablet that is providing the video. We decided to use our Asus EEE Slate EP121 tablet Running Windows 8 as the source device and then push the video out to a Dell P2210H.

We saw no issues in straight video reproduction the adapter worked perfectly to push the video signal from our EEE Slate to the P2210H. We ran it through standard we browsing, Netflix video streaming standard video playback and even some minor gaming (Cut the Rope). There were no problems at all when the HDMI to VGA adapter was plugged into wall power or when plugged into USB power on the EEE Slate (which was also plugged into wall power). We did not start having any issues until we pulled the plug on the EEE Slate. Here we ran into a few issues that were entirely related to power management and the fact that the UltraVideo Adapter from Accell needs continuous power. We found that our battery life was significantly reduced during HD video playback (battery life was reduced to about 1hour and 50 minutes from over 3 hours) and once the batter went below 20% it would not directly power the adapter. Now this is an issue with the power management on the EEE Slate and not the HDMI to VGA adapter, but it is something to take into consideration if you are looking at this for mobile use.   


Value -
Value is another very subjective topic. What is expensive to some might be a deal to others. You can look at this topic in multiple ways. One is raw price and the other is what you get for the money. Each is accurate and both are correct ways to look at price/value. We tend to look at features, performance and real-property when we discuss value. However, we also take into account the raw cash cost of the item. At $67 the HDMI to VGA is not an inexpensive accessory. It is still less expensive than buying a new monitor or projector. However, as technology moves forward we are not sure how much value this will maintain. It is nice to be able to perform the crossover from HDMI to VGA, but there are also cables that will push HDMI to DVI which is becoming on older standard now and is on most monitors and projectors. If you do not have this option and no budget to upgrade to a completely new display then we could see this as a viable option.

Conclusion -
The technology in the UtralVideo HDMI to VGA adapter from Accell is very cool. The idea of taking HDMI 1.4a and translating that to HD output to a VGA port is very nice. As we mentioned in one case when performing a demo for a company VGA was the only option on their very old Epson projector. I was a little surprised this, but considering I was brought into for an upgrade consolation not overly surprised. At $67 per unit it is a little pricey though. If this were under the $40 level it would be much more attractive to be honest, but some of the components are not at a price point that would allow this just yet. In time we imagine these will drop in price significantly. The down side of this is that by that time the chances of needing to push from HDMI to VGA will probably be very limited making the device less needed in the market. If you do need to send HDMI video to an older VGA only display then this is a good product to handle that for you. Otherwise you can pick up an HDMI to DVI cable for less and get the same job done.

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