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Old 03-18-2018, 09:18 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Gamers & EEs: RCA to HDMI Conversion?

My son wants to connect a Wii (not Wii U) to (A) a PC monitor, or (B) his laptop for better graphics. The output signals from the Wii cable is carried by three conductors terminated with RCA connectors (red, white, and yellow). This device shown here on Amazon physically appears to have the correct interfaces to make the connections, BUT! The disclaimers make it sound like its purpose is for output only. It claims it is not for a game console (although it looks exactly like what he needs). And, it is not a signal converter. NOTE: I am not savvy enough to know if I require signal conversion and/or simply the right adapter, or what.

Can the SDopers tell me exactly what I need to make the connection. Should I be searching for (A) something identified as "RCA to VGA" (instead of "VGA to RCA"), perhaps, to interface with the monitor? And, (B) regarding the laptop interface, I wager he'd need RCA to HDMI - assuming that's even a thing?

Please advise!

Last edited by Jinx; 03-18-2018 at 09:19 PM.
  #2  
Old 03-18-2018, 09:33 PM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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Firstly, note that there are actually component RCA cables (RGB, yellow for audio) for the Wii which give a better picture. You may want to buy these as a first step. It's better than the resolution the composite (red, white, yellow) cables. You'll still need a converter however.

https://www.amazon.com/Nintendo-Comp.../dp/B000M5ZIVY

Is one example.

To connect to a monitor it depends on what the monitor has as available connections. However, searching for "RCA (or "component cable") to VGA/HDMI/whatever" would be the more correct way of doing it yes.

To connect to a PC you need what's known as a capture card. PCs generally don't have graphics inputs, only outputs. These are rather pricey (>$100). The most popular one now is the Elgato. But unfortunately the newer models on the market (old were discontinued) only have HDMI inputs so you'll need an HDMI converter.

Note that capture cards are LOSSY typically, especially USB ones you'd use in a laptop. Desktop PCI-E cards are a bit better, but you will never get better quality connecting a console to a computer, only worse (at best, the same as direct output). They also introduce significant delay which can make action-focused games much more difficult due to the latency between the game outputting the image and you seeing it. Capture cards are more intended for recording video footage via a splitter while still playing the game on the TV/monitor itself.

The only way to get better Wii graphics on the PC is to use an emulator such as Dolphin and use its options to upscale the game (or download HD texture packs and such). However, this generally requires a very good gaming computer. It's also difficult to find a DVD drive that can successfully read Wii discs, so you'd be stuck finding duplicate copies of your games through means I'm not going to discuss here.

Last edited by Jragon; 03-18-2018 at 09:37 PM.
  #3  
Old 03-19-2018, 07:07 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jragon View Post
Firstly, note that there are actually component RCA cables (RGB, yellow for audio) for the Wii which give a better picture. You may want to buy these as a first step. It's better than the resolution the composite (red, white, yellow) cables. You'll still need a converter however.

https://www.amazon.com/Nintendo-Comp.../dp/B000M5ZIVY
Is one example....
I appreciate the suggestion, but sticking strictly with Wii -> monitor, my son found this inexpensive converter that seems like the right converter from RCA (input) to HDMI (output). Note: He already has a HDMI - VGA cable, so I think he'll be set to display a Wii on a monitor with this converter. Do you agree*?

*Note - one last concern: His HDMI connector has 8, recessed pins (that look male, sheltered within a USB-like connector) BUT the output connector on the converter in question seems to have 20 pins in a row (possibly female, but hard to tell - even when zoomed in). What do you make of this? Shouldn't a HDMI connector have one standard male pin configuration...and one standard female pin configuration with which to interface?

Last edited by Jinx; 03-19-2018 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:41 PM
markn+ markn+ is online now
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Note that just passing a signal over an HDMI cable and/or feeding it into an HD TV won't necessarily produce better quality video. If the signal going out on the composite cables is crap, it's going to remain crap after you feed it through more equipment. (In fact it's likely to look worse.) I don't really know anything about the Wii, but Jragon's suggestion to try component cables sounds like a better first step, if your monitor has component input.

Last edited by markn+; 03-19-2018 at 07:41 PM.
  #5  
Old 03-19-2018, 08:48 PM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
Note that just passing a signal over an HDMI cable and/or feeding it into an HD TV won't necessarily produce better quality video. If the signal going out on the composite cables is crap, it's going to remain crap after you feed it through more equipment. (In fact it's likely to look worse.) I don't really know anything about the Wii, but Jragon's suggestion to try component cables sounds like a better first step, if your monitor has component input.
Yes, you can't do anything about the resolution without fundamentally changing the cable connected directly to the Wii. No simple converter will ever improve the picture. You need a component (aka YPbPr) to make anything better. The absolute only thing converters do is let you connect to displays you normally wouldn't be able to with that device.

Think of it like a pipe, HDMI is a very large pipe you can push a large amount of data though, while composite is a very small pipe that can only handle a little. Even if you attach the big pipe to the small pipe, you're still fundamentally limited by the amount you can push through the solid pipe. Component isn't as large of a pipe as HDMI in the Wii's case, but it is larger than composite, and will improve quality.

Upscalers like the one Jinx linked do improve things with modern displays a little just because it's using a slightly different upscaling algorithm (in hardware) than the TV will, but it's still fundamentally just putting a little lipstick on what it's given. The Wii can't output anything better unless you provide it a better cable.

That said yes, all you need is a super cheap converter like the one you linked to simply connect to a monitor. I'm just warning that it won't be any better quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
*Note - one last concern: His HDMI connector has 8, recessed pins (that look male, sheltered within a USB-like connector) BUT the output connector on the converter in question seems to have 20 pins in a row (possibly female, but hard to tell - even when zoomed in). What do you make of this? Shouldn't a HDMI connector have one standard male pin configuration...and one standard female pin configuration with which to interface?
I can't visualize what you mean here, so I can't really help.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:52 AM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Let's leave RCA connectors out of this. They're a red herring.

The video output of an old-style WII is... a Nintendo-specific connector, into which a cable block with RCA connectors slots into.

This RCA connector cable can be removed and replaced with a smallish converter brick which plugs into the WII's special video connector and outputs bog-standard HDMI at 720p resolution (or better). You plug an HDMI cable into the converter and plug the other end into an HDMI-compatible monitor (PC monitor or TV) and Bob's your dad's disreputable brother.

My cite is the fact we've used just such a converter since we bought a WII about 8 years ago.

(NB: The Amazon link may not be the exact item we bought, but it looks identical. These things are practically commodity items, and damn cheap.)
  #7  
Old 03-20-2018, 01:29 PM
awldune awldune is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnoitall View Post
Let's leave RCA connectors out of this. They're a red herring.

The video output of an old-style WII is... a Nintendo-specific connector, into which a cable block with RCA connectors slots into.

This RCA connector cable can be removed and replaced with a smallish converter brick which plugs into the WII's special video connector and outputs bog-standard HDMI at 720p resolution (or better). You plug an HDMI cable into the converter and plug the other end into an HDMI-compatible monitor (PC monitor or TV) and Bob's your dad's disreputable brother.

My cite is the fact we've used just such a converter since we bought a WII about 8 years ago.

(NB: The Amazon link may not be the exact item we bought, but it looks identical. These things are practically commodity items, and damn cheap.)
I have a similar converter and it works.
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