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With all the excitement and hype building for the new Opensource Scan Converter, there’s demand amongst retro gamers for a readily available way to convert S-video and even composite into RGB or component video. Since the OSSC only accepts RGB and component video, gamers wanting to connect the C64, 3D0, various old Atari systems or other more esoteric hardware will need to find a transcoder. Theoretically at least, this little box from Lindy should be just what we need. At £72.94 it’s not cheap, but at least it’s readily available.
The converter ships in a plain white cardboard box with a Lindy label applied to the exterior. Inside, apart from the converter itself, there’s a simple instruction manual and a multi-region power supply. The converter itself has a button to change between composite and S-video and a switch to change between component video and RGB with sync on green output. For this price, we perhaps would have expected the much more common RGBs output too, but sync on green is all we get.
Connecting cables is straightforward and there’s no configuration options other than the output switch. For testing, we connected a Commodore 64, a classic computer that unfortunately offers no RGB output at all, to our XRGB3 initially. Regrettably, instead of a nice, stable image, instead all that was output was a picture that constantly rolled/scrolled up the screen.
Thinking the XRGB3 must be at fault we tried the unit on another television set, this time with no scaler/processor in-between. This produced the same result. We also tried the unit through the XRGB Mini upscaler, which again produced the same results. In both instances, connecting the C64’s S-video output directly to the XRGB Mini or the television resulted in an image that was perfectly stable. We reported the fault to Amazon and they immediately sent out a replacement unit, but that behaved in exactly the same way.
We even tried the unit in RGB output mode, using a Keene Syncblaster Black Box to convert between RGsB and RGBc. This produced the same result again, the constantly rolling image.
Why the unit fails to work with the C64 is a real mystery. Obviously, most of our readers will be aware that a Commodore 64 outputs a 288p signal which can cause issues with some modern TVs and video hardware. However, the converter is only supposed to be doing a very basic conversion, not scaling or otherwise processing the image, so really there should be no reason that it doesn’t work.
Based on its performance here, we would not recommend this converter. Maybe it will work with other hardware, such as the 3DO, but why take the chance? If the unit can’t work with the C64, it’s likely that other sources will have issues too and for the asking price that’s just not acceptable.