XCM Component to VGA Review

| #games | #hardware | #rgb |

It’s astounding as time goes on that popular products, such as the XRGB line, become harder and harder to find. Even older versions. People are wising up to the beautiful picture one can get with a fine upscaling device. The days of the universal composite to VGA converter are happily coming to an end as more and more devices are transcoding component into three colors and some syncs. The question remains, though, pound for pound and dollar for dollar – what’s your best investment?

Ah, the eternal question: Can something that’s $40 treat me as good as something that is $400? Answer: No. Full stop. You think it can, close your web browser and go enjoy the world with your sweet, sweet ignorance. How I envy you…

For everyone else, this question becomes: Is something that’s $40 even worth purchasing? Let’s find out, shall we!?

The XCM Universal Ypbpr VGA Box.

My reason behind this purchase is very simple. Carrying a long time desire to emulate the wonderful experience of a Dreamcast on a VGA CRT, I seized the opportunity to purchase not only a VGA box, but a component cable for my Nintendo Wii and my non-existent 360 and PS3’s. At a retail price of about $40-$50, that makes it a pretty easy pill to swallow if you think of it as $25 for a box and cable. Never the less, even with my frugality and ability to divide by 2… I’m left a little disappointed.

For starters, unlike the XRGB line or even the low-cost component adapter the X2VGA the XCM box does NOT support progressive scan. Now, bearing that in mind… and I didn’t before I bought it, foolishly assuming that it would support 480p, any real testing of this box is irrelevant. The colors are good – I guess. The contrast is okay – I guess. The colors don’t bleed – I guess. The picture seems clear – although with the interlacing, you’ve seen much sharper edges. It’s almost like it has dot-crawl!

So with that in mind, it makes it really hard for me to review this sucker. At the very least I expected some well defined pixels, and I’m just not gonna get ’em. Whether it’s the fault of the box or not can easily be debated.

At the end of the day, I purchased it so I could take my Wii into the office for lunchtime goodtime. And the XCM delivers that promise with a (pro-rated for the cost of a component cable) of about $29 bucks. It’s certainly better than any picture you’ll get from composite and at least as good as S-Video on a standard set…

So if you’re in the market for one or more component cables and have very low expectations… it’s not a bad product. It does what it’s designed to do – I just wish it was designed to do more. If you have component cables, pass it and pick up a VGA box that’s specifically designed to do progressive scan, because 480i is for the birds. When all is said and done, I’m still going to have to buy an XRGB… but the XCM is a passable stop-gap until the time I bite the $400 bullet and never look back.

[ Feb 21 2007 ]

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