The Manhattan VGA - HDMI converter with the Dreamcast

Posted by Molokh on 2015-09-01 .
The Manhattan VGA - HDMI converter with the Dreamcast
It is indeed difficult to capture videos of Dreamcast games... The best solution is to use the VGA signal but cards that can handle this almost archaic signal become scarce and expensive. There are very good capture cards at a reasonable price, but do not expect to be able to directly record in VGA or RGB, at most S-video. As I own an Elgato Capture HD card with a component input and a VGA input I wanted to try a VGA - HDMI converter to see what happens. It is difficult to choose among all the converters produced in China. So I browsed Google and eventually found a topic on shmups.system11.org recommending the VGA to HDMI converter from Manhattan. Since it is a little more expensive than the others I could find, I was quite hesitant, but I finally decided to order it for testing.
I was a little bit apprehensive at first. That is certainly why I noticed the presence of vertical and horizontal lines, small but still noticeable. But as these famous lines are also present in direct VGA connection to my television, the phenomenon may be slightly enhanced by the converter. This said the noise reduction setting on the TV overcomed it easily.

That small problem set aside, my device had a real problem with processing the sound of my Dreamcast. The sound coming out of my TV was horribly distorded. It was unusable. I did not try anything to make it better as I never had any problem with the sound coming from my Dreamcast until now. I have serious doubts on the quality of manufacture of the device. I have not done other tests with other devices, so I have trouble giving the exact cause of the problem, but in my case it was impossible to use.

Things weren't working as expected, and something made it even worse: my first goal was to use it with Elgato Game Capture HD. But again a little problem araised here... This is just a converter, its only role is to take the VGA analog signal of the Dreamcast or a PC and convert it to digital HDMI signal maintaining the resolution of the original signal. So with the Dreamcast sending 480p VGA, you will also output the 480p via HDMI cable. The trouble is that the Elgato on its HDMI input, only supports 720p/1080p signals. So it was impossible for me to capture videos through this medium. If you try a message appears in the capture software to warn you that it is not possible to record a signal lower than 720p with the HDMI input... Unfortunately I did know it until this very moment. If you wish to use the HDMI input with VGA, you can buy an upscaler, but it is not a cheap solution. If you follow the Youtube videos of Adam Koralik channel, like me, you should know the Atlona AT-HDView.


His video is a little bit outdated as this model was replaced by Atlona HD-500 which costs between 240 and 300 US dollars. It is 4 to 5 times the price of the Manhattan. For the same price other solutions more suited for retrogaming are available from Micomsoft.

I am not really convinced by this device at all and I cannot advise you to choose this solution. After further researches I realized that only a certain series of Manhattan converters is recommended, but they may be hard to get these days. Well it did not end so badly because I could return the machine, but in case you would have had the same idea as mine, I strongly advise you to avoid this purchase and I don't think there is a cheap solution for VGA to HDMI upscaling.

For those who want to record gaming footages at the lowest price, you can use cheap converters. Although there are far from being perfect, they can still do the job properly. But with the lack of an upscaling function the Manhattan device did not do it for me. I do not recommend it because of the issues I had with sound output too.