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Battle of the SCART to HDMI Converters – Part 1: Budget Converters

September 18, 2013

Like many other classic video game enthusiasts I have developed a very costly and time consuming obsession. It all started with a buddy of mine casually talking about getting an RGB signal out of the SNES. It led to both of us buying an SNES SCART cable and a SCART to HDMI converter/upscaler. Since then I have spent a good amount of time modifying consoles and buying cables and converters in order to get the best picture possible out of my systems.

In order to help my fellow RGBers, I’m going to compare two cheap HDMI converters I purchased. I will refer to them by HDMI1 (left) and HDMI2 (right).

SCART to HDMI 1 Device WP_20130916_063

HDMI2 is smaller with a few more features including an HDMI input and a PAL/NTSC switch.

SCART to HDMI Device Outputs WP_20130916_067

Now for some comparisons.





Camera quality aside, HDMI2 has a much cleaner picture and has cleaner audio as well. HDMI1 has very dark, vertical lines on all of the darker colors (look at the red shirt in the first picture), and has annoying humming sounds.

If you think HDMI1 looks better because of the brightness difference, keep this in mind: it is easier to turn the brightness down on your TV than it is to make a dark image source brighter. I tried playing Doom 64 through it and it was almost pitch black.

HDMI2 is better in every way in my opinion. As of now it is about $10 cheaper than HDMI1 on eBay. While it does not compare to the $400 converters, it is my current favorite in the under $100 range.

I’ll be comparing more HDMI converters in the future. If you’d like to donate your converter for a few weeks I would greatly appreciate it.

For more information on getting RGB out of your console see: “How to Get the Best Video Out of  Your Retro Consoles

  1. Colors aren’t as saturated on hdmi 2.

    • I’ll eventually capture screenshots through a capture device for proper comparisons. These pictures don’t do HDMI 2 justice. :/

  2. Compering these 2 (HDMI) to SCART to Component conversion what would you recommend? The HDMI or the Component way to go?

    • The best possible scenario would be a TV that had RGB inputs (Not many in the US). Since both HDMI and component video would be upscaled there is no advantage there other than the fact that HDMI picture quality does not degrade in the cable (No color bleeding or interference). I prefer HDMI but it would really just depend on your situation.

  3. Mike permalink

    Thanks for the review. I’m currently looking to connect my old Sega Genesis (Model 1) to my LED TV. I’ve read so many reviews and forums looking for info on this I’m not sure what is up and down any more. I’ve read that the SCART to component converters (CSY2100 and clones) are iffy on newer LCD/LED/Plasmas because most sets don’t like anything less than an almost perfect 60hz refresh rate when using component. So I’m hesitant to use a SCART to component converter seeing as how my TV might not like the signal from the Genesis.

    My question for you is whether or not you have any experience with these SCART to HDMI converters acting the same way? Did you by chance test on a LCD/LED/Plasma set?

    The other thing is that my TV has 4 HDMI inputs, but only one component input, since I have other retro systems it would be nice if I could make use of the extra HDMI ports.

    Oh, and one other question that just dawned on me. Do I need to use a Genesis SCART cable that has a seperate audio (red/white) output when using this box? Or will this SCART to HDMI converter also pass sound through the HDMI?


    • I only have experience with the SCART to HDMI converters. I have used them on two LCDs and a plasma with no issues. HDMI carries the audio. Some prefer to run it separately to their stereo systems and what not.

  4. Brian permalink

    I was looking at the SCART to HDMI converter on Amazon and was wondering if it was one of the good ones? These converters and cables are so expensive so is there a way you can send me links to actually ones your prefer? I would really appreciate it! This is one converter I’m looking at btw

  5. Per Näsström permalink

    Thanks so much for this article! I’ll be investing in that second converter shortly, im trying to introduce the SNES to a new generation and they’ll love to see it at its best 🙂

    • Awesome! There are so many good games on the SNES. I feel sorry those who have not played any of them.

  6. Josh permalink

    I have your preferred converter, and the image is stretched wide when running it to my computer. This could be a symptom of running it through the Elgato Game Capture HD, but if I run it through the monitor directly, I need to change the aspect ratio to 4:3. I figured this wouldn’t need to happen when using an HDMI cable.

    What is the setup you used with you took those screen shots, or is that just a picture of your TV?

  7. Josh permalink

    Have you noticed any input lag? I’m seeing some significant lag.

    • There is no noticeable input lag. It might be due to the fact that you are running it through a capture card.

  8. Louie Riviera permalink

    I use Sega genesis mod. 1 scart to hdmi converter model 2 19″ led hdtv, settings 720p 60hrz

    Pros for my experience: Built in slg, clean rgb output via hdmi, affordable, solid unit.

    Cons: pretty bad motion blur, inproper conversion causing offset picture, sound fade on games with multiple audio channels (sor2 sounds like shit), flickering bad flickering (eternal champions)

    Con* I’m using model 1 genesis there’s some bad rainbow banding, very pronounced. I’m going to purchase a 32x scart cable and see if it reduces banding.

    Overall for the price a good unit if you don’t care about your screen being shifted to the left cutting off text and parts of the screen, or blurry motion visuals. But disappointing. Good static images, but Sega with games like sonic and all the shmups and beat em ups, it isn’t worth for me I’m too picky. I want my Sega to look and sound and play at its top performance.

    I’m going to purchase a slg 3000 and just output to rgb and see the picture that gives me, but I will eventually save up $400 for a quality converter, you get what you pay for and I want the best experience.

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