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Reviews
I'm not a computer person, but this thing was easy to hook up to my TV.
-Anonymous

I wasn't sure what to use to hook my computer up to my tv - this thing makes it easy.
-Anonymous

It does what it says works right out of the box easy setup nothing extra to buy...
-Jhoye

In-Depth Review of the SW-23000 Sewell PC to TV

by Jonathan Adams
PC to TV


$89.95
$24.95

Intro

It's time to review the Sewell PC to TV Converter (model SW-23000) from SewellDirect.com. For anyone not familiar with what a PC to TV converter does for you, a PC to TV Converter is a device that takes the video (and often audio) output from your computer and converts it into a format that your TV can display. This means that you can watch your web programs, videos, etc. on your TV. These devices take a copy of what's being shown on your PC and displays it on the TV.

This particular PC to TV converter outputs a standard definition composite signal (it also supports s-video). This is the most commonly used connection for standard definition signals which means this will work with basically any TV. If you have a standard definition TV, this is exactly the type of product you would need to display your computer output on the TV.

VGA to RCA

Package contents

The package includes the PC to TV converter unit, and a six foot RCA A/V cable (composite video plus left/right audio) and a quick installation guide. This may not sound like very much, but it is, in fact, everything that you would need to connect this from a computer's video and audio outputs to a TV's composite RCA input.

Hardware

This particular PC to TV converter has a very simple design which should help make it very easy to install, even for people who don't feel extremely comfortable with computers and connecting cables. One of the main things that makes the design very simple is that all of the connections that need to be plugged into the computer are built into the PC to TV converter box. There is one cable that comes out of the back of the box that has VGA (for video), USB (for power), and 3.5mm phono (for sound) connections.

Those 3 connections get plugged into the back of your computer to get all of the signals that need to be sent to the converter. There is also a VGA port on the box itself that your monitor can be plugged into (since it had to be unplugged from the computer to make room for the connection from the converter). This allows you to continue using your regular monitor in addition to the TV. This is obviously a very important detail for anyone who wants to use their computer for more than just being hooked to the TV.

The converter itself has buttons on it that open an on screen menu (on the TV only) that allows you to adjust the settings of the picture. This will allow you to adjust the position, size, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, and flicker of the image you see on your TV.

As for the inner workings of the converter, it is a simple standard definition signal converter. Standard definition resolutions on a TV run at 640x480 pixels. This means that when you send a higher resolution image from your computer's output, like a 1024x768 image, it has to downscale, or lower, the resolution of the image. That is the only way to get a computer image onto a standard definition TV, but it does have a side effect of lowering the image quality because of the lower resolution. This is unavoidable on a standard definition TV.

Software

As is common with many video converters, this device is a complete standalone converter and does not need any software to function. You simply need to send it a VGA signal from the PC and the converter will handle the rest.

Does it work?

When I first hooked up the device I first noticed that the contrast of the picture from this converter was much better than with other converters I've used. Initially the image was flickering a little bit and did not quite fit my TV vertically, but I used the simple on screen menu from the converter and those problems were immediately resolved. I spent some time opening and closing different programs trying to get a feel for the image quality and the converter's responsiveness.

I have to say the image quality was much better than I could have expected from a standard definition signal. There also was no noticeable delay in showing what I was doing on my computer onto the TV.

From my experience with this product, I would say that it works very well and accomplishes exactly what it is advertised to do. I've put here a picture that I took of my TV while showing an image through the converter. Since it is a picture of a TV it is hard to get an exact feel for the quality of what you're looking at, but it is a fairly decent representation of what you'll get.

VGA to RCA

The image on the screen is Sewell's webpage description for this product from SewellDirect.com.

Advantages

The biggest advantage this PC to TV converter has is how easy it is to install. With the built in cables you don't have to wonder if you have the correct cables connected to it. With no need to install software, this converter can be easily moved from one computer to another without time consuming software setup. All you need to do to set the converter up is plug it in.

Another advantage is that the device is bus-powered, meaning that it gets its power from the USB connection so you don't have to plug it into a wall outlet. This can be a great convenience if you need to use something like this on the go with a laptop and you don't want to have to go searching for an outlet.

Also, the ability to adjust the image being shown on the TV was a huge benefit. As i mentioned above, I had to adjust the image a little bit to get the best quality image I could on my TV. Some other converters do not have the ability to make such adjustments and I would have been stuck with a flickering image that didn't fit my TV.

Disadvantages

The first potential disadvantage (only potential because it didn't affect me, but could affect others) I noticed with this device is that the shortest of the built in cables is only about 4 feet long. So while the built in cables can be very convenient, they may cause a problem if your computer is hidden away somewhere. Now, if this is the case, it can be easily remedied by adding a few extension cables to the ends of those cables, but then you lose some of the benefit of having the built in cables.

Since this converter is only designed for standard definition signals, it only does really well if you're sending it a 4:3 aspect picture (since standard definition TVs are 4:3 format). This means that if you have a widescreen monitor you'll have to lower your resolution to a 4:3 format resolution while you're sending something to the TV. This is a minor nuisance since you only have to change it while working on the TV, but it is slightly inconvenient.

Conclusion

For a converter that is only designed to handle standard definition conversion, from VGA to composite or s-video, this is an excellent product. It is incredibly simple to use, and provides you with enough flexibility on adjusting the picture that you can be sure to get a picture that fits your television properly.

As mentioned above, I was extremely impressed with the picture quality coming from the converter. It provided a much higher quality picture than what I've experienced with other converters designed to do the same thing. I would strongly recommend this product to anyone who needs this type of converter.

One final note I would add is to remember that this is only designed for outputting standard definition signals. As i mentioned, it must lower the resolution for it to work on a standard definition TV. This means that the picture on your TV will be somewhat blurry compared to that on your monitor. This is a limitation of standard definition signals and displays, not of this particular device. If that is an unacceptable side effect, you'll need to use an HDTV and an HD signal into the TV.


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