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Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter (& other HD options)

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:32 am
by Jagosaurus
Anyone using this converter? From the same crew who made the Toro. Box pushes 480p over HDMI with the option for scanlines & a switch to help trick non VGA games. It's pretty tempting at that price.

Ordering site for $85 shipped:

Dreamcast Junkyard Review ... i.html?m=1

Re: Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:12 pm
by Jagosaurus
Akura HDMI Adapter description I should have included in OP:
Akura is a Dreamcast HDMI box with built-in scanline generator. Akura outputs 480p video over HDMI, so you can play your f avourite DC games in high resolution on modern displays. Akura has another built-in feature called Scanliner, which adds scanlines effect to the image.

Another feature of the Akura is the RGB / VGA mode switch, which lets you play VGA compatible. All you need to do is trick the console while booting (after the beep sound). Akura is not an upscaler so some non VGA games may not work.
(using Google translate)

Okay after thinking this over, my gameroom TV does not have option to force HDMI to 4:3 although I can do this with other inputs such as component set to widescreen by a BD player. I assume I will be rolling the dice as my TV would likely try to stretch the image to 16:9. The writer(s) on the review above used the Akura in conjunction with an XRGB. I find it interesting/odd their TV does accept the 4:3 HDMI signal through the XRGB but not the Akura. This quote below from another write up by the same crew explains it better. Apparently the XRGB can decipher this odd signal correctly although it doesn't directly address most TVs putting it to 16:9 (assuming it is due to the 720x480 vs 640x480).

When booted in VGA mode however, the DC outputs in the unusual 720x480p resolution, but only uses the inner 640x480p. Most 480p signals from other consoles and devices output in 640x480p which your TV is designed to display perfectly in 4:3 mode, but many modern TVs have not been designed with 720x480p in mind, meaning the image will appear squashed when set to 4:3 or stretched in widescreen mode, making the perfect aspect ratio unattainable. If you're using a PC monitor or a TV that allows you to manually adjust the aspect resolution, such as old school analogue monitors, then this won't be a problem. Simply adjust the image manually by eye or use software such as 'The 240p Test Suit' to adjust your monitor/ TV's aspect ratio and settings perfectly to suit the DC (240p Test Suite can be easily downloaded to disk or SD card for use with GDEmu).

For the majority of you however, you've probably moved on to modern flat screen televisions, most of which won't allow you to hit the sweet spot between 4:3 and widescreen. ...

Coming back to the issue of the Dreamcast's unusual output (720x480p), this device [XRGB] allows you to play the Dreamcast in the perfect aspect ratio. ... -your.html
"Future Proofing Your Dreamcast"

I think these two products need a nod for everyone considering their HD options today:

The Honzo runs $70:
HANZO is a Dreamcast VGA box with built-in scanline generator. Dreamcast natively supports VGA output mode however you need a special cable to enable this mode. This means you can play your favourite arcade games in higher (480p) resolution on VGA monitors and modern displays like plasma and LCD screens. Hanzo has another built-in feature called Scanliner, which adds scanlines effect to your display.

This is what makes it a unique product. Apart from that it can also support the 480i RGB mode which is identical in terms of what the European Scart cable uses. However Hanzo outputs better audio/video quality than those scart cables due to the nature of those cables’ poor shielding/ground problems.

RGB mode (upto 480i) is interlaced and not progressive as the VGA mode. In the RGB mode, video is 15khz, however VGA output is 31khz, which enables clearer, sharper and more detailed images that you can't get with an ordinary composite, S-video or Scart cable.
(using Google translate)

These is essentially a high end VGA output box with some hardware switch options and scanlines. You're taking a risk on if your HD TV/monitor will like the DC VGA signal the same as you have in the past.

Their Toro box runs $80 shipped:
Toro is a Dreamcast video box with multiple video outputs. It has both VGA and Euro Scart connectors to output RGBS (composite sync) and RGBHV for maximum compatibility with displays and upscalers. So you can play both RGB Scart and VGA compatible games. Like the Hanzo, it has a built-in Scanline Generator to add scanlines. Basically it's a combination of Hanzo and Kenzei with RCA RGBS outputs and scart / rca video pass-through function.
(using Google translate)

The Toro differs as it allows you use the 480p DC VGA signal with the XRGB which doesn't natively accept VGA. It uses some sync conversion craziness to allow this 480p VGA signal to then go over SCART and into the XRGB mini DIN port with appropriate cable setup.

You can use it as a normal VGA output box as well.

My goal is to simply play a few games in VGA mode over HDMI. I think I am going to risk it on the Akura at some point and see. I'll likely have more luck with this than trying to get my one VGA TV to accept the VGA signal out of the Honzo.

The Toro > SCART > JP21 to SCART > XRGB > HDMI out method is a bit much for me. I also don't plan on buying a XRGB just to ensure the Akura can handle 4:3 versus 16:9 on my TV so it leaves me with some risk. I do have 3 TVs to test it on. Goal is get the DC looking better on my HD TV without paying $300 for a XRGB although it seems that is the safest bet. Add another $80 for the Toro or $85 for Akura, XRGB shipping, and misc cables and you're looking at the better part of $500 quickly. :shock:

I know the easy answers are 1. buy a XRGB 2. get an old school CRT VGA monitor. What do you all think outside of those? I am by no means a video expert or guru on these products. Feel free to chime in.

Re: Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter (& other HD optio

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:31 pm
by Jagosaurus
Had a chance to watch Adam Koraliks's video review on the Akura HDMI device:

He seemed to have no issues getting it work (and even record) in 4:3 over HDMI.

Also, on my phone at the moment so I can't copy & paste from the YouTube app description but he list the 49 games that cannot be forced/tricked into VGA mode. Really nothing ground breaking on there to me. Some will miss the KoF games.

Hm... now I'm very interested. Almost all games will work & TV compatibility in 4:3 might not be an issue.

Re: Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter (& other HD optio

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:46 pm
by stickem
I'm glad I ran into this thread. I've been wondering for awhile why my scart to hdmi crap will work on one hdtv and not another as far as forcing 4:3. Most of mine are newer samsungs and work great. I had a 10 year old plasma and a newer off brand that displays like 9/10ths of the screen. I guess the moral is buy good hdtvs lol.

Re: Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter (& other HD optio

Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:19 am
by GSZX1337
Couldn't you just use a VGA adapter with a VGA to HDMI adapter like this?

Re: Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter (& other HD optio

Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:55 am
by Jagosaurus
The Dreamcast VGA is 720x480p at 60Hz. That's an odd signal.

That device is likely lookin for 31Hz at 640x480 or 1366x768. Very possible all will be stretched to widescreen if the signal is recognized at all. Unfortunately, many older LCD TVs with a direct VGA port won't even recognize the DC VGA signal :(

Then there's lag, color bleeding, and ghosting you get with gaming and constantly moving images.

You get what you pay for in this world of hunting the best resolution on flat screens from retro consoles. I personally am hesitate to spend the $300+ on the XRGB or OSSC but they're that cost for a reason. They work beautifully.

The links I provided are specifically aimed at the Dreamcast for minimum lag gaming via HDMI. The device you linked is aimed at PowerPoint presentations/corporate America from old laptops/to old monitors.

Re: Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter (& other HD optio

Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:14 am
by GSZX1337
I guess I never realized how lucky I am that my TV's VGA input accepts my Dreamcast's signal beautifully.

Re: Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter (& other HD optio

Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:22 am
by Jagosaurus
I have an older Vizio that has accepted every resolution I've thrown at it. It even will take the PAL 576i (founded that out when messing with my modded PS2). Pretty sure its VGA port would take it but not certain. I'd probably rather just invest in the HDMI product to future proof myself.

I was reading a ten+ year old RB thread on hunting PC monitors in the wild that accepted the DC VGA signal. Even back then, seemed to be trial & error.

There was also an awesome comment on that thread about needing Internet on your phone :D

Re: Beharbros Akura Dreamcast HDMI Adapter (& other HD optio

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:48 pm
by Jagosaurus
Okay, new $55 version of this box is out

Also, the HD Pound for $30 ... B07BZP7HML