PROS / The converter comes with a powerful scaler feature.
CONS / The display menu settings are sometimes hard to access.
VERDICT / The digital converter is reliable, effective, and robust.
A VGA to HDMI converter takes the analog video signal from a PC or laptop and converts it to a digital video signal that you can display on your HDTV. There may be many reasons why you need to convert a VGA signal to HDMI. For example, you may need to give an important presentation in a meeting or you simply may want to play a computer game on a big HDTV. Whatever your reason, the Atlona AT-HD500 is the best VGA to HDMI converter to help you achieve your goal.
The AT-HD500 is the only VGA to HDMI converter we tested that includes an optical digital audio input port in addition to a standard 3.5mm stereo audio jack. This means that you can play back full digital surround audio in movies and video games from your computer. The other VGA to HDMI converters we looked at are only capable of playing back left and right stereo sound. The addition of full digital audio lands the AT-HD500 TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award.
The Atlona AT-HD500 can handle any computer analog video signal up to a 1920 by 1200-pixel display resolution at a 60-Hertz refresh rate. A built-in video scaler takes the analog signal and converts it to a high definition video signal up to 1080p. The on-screen display menu makes it easy to select the video resolution output you want. You can choose from 480i, 576i, 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p. This VGA to HDMI converter also has a Native output selection that automatically detects the factory setting of the connected computer's display, and outputs the corresponding resolution and refresh rate.
You can use the built-in on-screen display (OSD) menu to select the video output resolution as well as the type of audio input and output. The AT-HD500 can support LPCM digital audio in addition to analog stereo. Using the OSD menu you can select the audio input source and then the audio can be integrated with the video signals and output through the HDMI cable to your HDTV. In addition, there is a TOSLink (optical fiber) digital audio output port and a 3.5mm stereo output port so the sound can be sent to your home theater audio receiver.
The Atlona AT-HD500 converter seems to default to a 1080p display resolution for its output. The only way to change this output resolution is through the OSD menu. You can only use the OSD menu if you are connected to some kind of display so you can see the menu. If you are connected to a display that can't handle the 1080p output and need to change to a lower resolution, such as 720p, there is no easy way to navigate through the OSD menu – since you are connected to a display that can't see it.
The AT-HD500 costs more than the other VGA to HDMI products we reviewed, but it is worth it because it performs as advertised. With this product, you can take it out of the box, hook it up to your computer and HDTV and be watching full HD-quality content on your TV in just a few minutes. This product may not be a plug-and-play device, but it is still very easy to set up and configure.
The AT-HD500 converter for VGA to HDMI is a great solution for watching streaming content from the internet. It is much more fun to watch your favorite streamed movies and TV shows in full HD-quality through your home theater. If you have an internet connection that is fast enough to stream online content without buffering, the AT-HD500 can seamlessly play back that content just as if you were watching live television or a DVD. This converter is a great performer. We believe that it will only get better as future versions are released.
The Atlona AT-HD500 VGA to HDMI converter comes with a 5-volt power supply and a user manual. For the price, we would have liked to have seen at least a VGA cable, a 3.5mm audio cable or an HDMI included. Buying these accessories is not too expensive, but it is a slight inconvenience to have to go out and buy them before you can use the unit. The only accessories that are required for use are a VGA cable and an HDMI cable. A 3.5mm audio cable or a digital audio for connecting to your home theater are optional.
The included user manual is not very comprehensive. At only 11 pages, there is not much material beyond the basic description of the AT-HD500's front and rear panels, the PC and HD display resolutions it can handle and a list of the product's features and specifications. We would like a more in-depth explanation of how to use the OSD menu. We would also have liked more explanation about which displays resolutions work the best. For example, if your laptop computer can only display a resolution up to 1366 by 768 pixels, is it better to output to 720p or 1080p?
Help & Support
The Atlona website includes a support page with links to various self-help resources such as FAQs pages, driver update downloads, product registration, data sheets and product documentation. The website also includes a link for live online chat. The live chat can be used to get help from the sales department, customer service, return merchandise authorization (RMA) and technical support. The company also provides a toll-free number for support within the United States as well as an international number for customers overseas.
The Atlona AT-HD500 VGA to HDMI product includes a three-year warranty that warrants that the product will be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use. If there is a problem with the unit, Atlona will determine whether it can be repaired or needs to be replaced, or they may determine to return the price you paid. The company will not honor the warranty if the product is damaged due to misuse or by accident. If the VGA to HDMI unit has to be replaced, the new unit is covered under the remainder of the original warranty period or for three years, whichever is longer.
As more people turn to the internet for TV and movie viewing, products such as the Atlona AT-HD500 VGA to HDMI converter will become a more important accessory in home theaters. Adding internet content gives you more choice and variety in your entertainment. The easiest way to display that internet content from your computer to an HDTV is to use a computer that has a built-in HDMI output port. Many of the newer computers come with an HDMI output. If this is not an option for you, then you will need to convert VGA to HDMI.
The Atlona AT-HD500 VGA to HDMI product is an excellent choice for converting analog video to full high definition digital video. The video and audio signals are integrated into the HDMI output to easily plug into your HDTV. The addition of digital optical fiber audio inputs and outputs sets this unit apart from the competition because it allows you to connect to your home theater audio receiver for a more immersive TV watching experience.