reviews\ Jul 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Wii2HDMI Review


I have to give credit to Neoya for honesty. The Wii2HDMI converts your Wii’s display port to HDMI, and when asked if the device can deliver true HD visuals, the company answers, “There is no obvious difference if you compare the HDMI signals with the 480p signals displayed under the best conditions.” While you’ll have to keep dreaming of a Wii that wasn’t designed for obsolete TVs, Neoya’s Wii2HDMI has more uses than you might expect.

Let’s get some technical info out of the way. A composite cable (a.k.a. the red/white/yellow cable that came with your Wii) sends all visual information through the yellow-tipped wire and maxes out at a resolution of 480i. A component cable achieves resolutions all the way to 1080p by splitting information among three wires (red, blue, green). HDMI is fully digital for the best quality. Digital uses binary code instead of analog’s electronic pulses, which can be degraded by bad cables and electromagnetic interference.

You may have spent $200 on a fancy HDMI cable with gold tips and nitrogen-gas injections (seriously), but it means nothing unless the source can actually output to the cable’s capacity. The Wii can only output a signal up to 480p. That’s it. You can buy new cables or hack the little white box, but it will never give you more than a 480p source-image. So, what good is an add-on that can’t make your system HD?

If you have yet to upgrade from the cheap composite cables packaged with your system, the switch to HDMI will ensure that you see your games in the highest quality possibly. Not all component cables are made the same, so you may see lapses in quality between the chintzy dollar-store models and the highter-priced offerings from Nintendo or Monster. This divide becomes more and more drastic as the image gets blown up for bigger and better TVs. With HDMI, you can go straight to the best option, and HDMI also offers the benefit of digital audio.

I said that the Wii can never obtain a resolution higher than 480p, and technically that is true, but some TVs have upscalers (a.k.a. upconverters) built in to their HDMI ports. Instead of blowing pixels up to larger sizes, upscalers attempt to digitally enhance the image. Unfortunately, none of the TVs accessible to me at the time of testing had this feature.

A decade ago, households often had more TVs than people. Many families are now investing in a single, high-quality TV, but you can find a computer in every room. This makes the Wii2HDMI especially handy for kids, roommates, or anyone else who has ever fought over the TV or got yelled at for a late-night gaming session. Even without an HDMI port, converters for the VGA and DVI inputs on modern monitors are very common and inexpensive. For sound, the Wii2HDMI has a standard 3.5 mm jack to connect your speakers.

Wii2HDMI is not the revolutionary product that will turn your Wii into an HD gaming machine (when you find it, say hello to the unicorns for me). But, if you want the most reliable image, have built-in upscaling, or want to play on your computer monitor, Wii2HDMI is perfectly solid.

You can learn more and buy Neoya's Wii2HDMI here.


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