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RCA to HDMI Converters

In this article I’ll go through and test three RCA to HDMI converters, technically two RCA to HDMI and one HDMI to RCA. Having a converter like this is like a bridge between the videos from a VCR to a capture device that only inputs from HDMI.

As more and more capture devices cater for a HDMI signal, you may find you will need a device like these simply to capture from an old VCR.

 RCA to HDMI Converters

Initially I was using the CM401 when transferring any tapes and if you look on Amazon you will notice there are quite a few different brands out there.

Let’s have a look through two of these converters and see their results.

The third device is for downscaling a larger HDMI signal to a lower quality composite signal. I can’t imagine a scenario where you would need to use that combination.

Simplecom CM401

There seems to be quite a few variations of this same device available.

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The fact that these devices say they do 1080p upscaling really just means it will connect with a high definition device that can output to 720p or 1080p. That’s it.

They don’t magically sharpen the video image.

That’s not to say they’re bad, it’s just don’t expect miracles.

The build quality is a cheap plastic casing but durable for its purpose.

The input signal will only receive from a composite connection.

Output will be to HDMI connection.

Along the side we have the mini USB power connection, which can be powered via a USB port on your PC. There is also the up scaling switch to increase the size to 720P or 1080P.

Tendak 3RCA AV to HDMI

A slightly higher value version is the Tendak AV to HDMI. If you have a VCR that has S-Video output then this device is possibly the better option for you.

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The reason I say possibly is due to how light the final video signal will appear. Personally I don’t mind it and you can see for yourself in the video samples below.

The Tendak converter is made of a metal aluminum and feels weighty.

Along the back there is the power connection and power lamp.

CVBS/S-VIDEO switch – When selecting between composite and S-Video the current input will appear in small writing on screen.

720/1080P switch – Allows you to change between an output screen size of 720 or 1080.

Audio – If you wanted to record the audio separately you can via this device.

HDMI – The output connection it will use.

Along the other side there is:

S-VIDEO CONNECTION – input for S-Video connection.

COMPOSITE CONNECTION – Yellow for video, Red/White for stereo audio.

Device Connections

For the test I decided to use the AVerMedia C875 because when connected through HDMI, a composite signal will stay in the right dimensions (eg: 720×576). This is probably due to the RECentral capture software set to 720×576.

Connection with the CM401 is easy, but be aware you need your own composite cables to connect as the CM401 does not come with spare cables. Male to Male RCA cables are the requirement.

USB connection can be powered via a USB port on a computer or laptop.

The Tendak on the other hand does come with RCA cables and even an S-Video connection alongside the 5V power adapter.

Initially I thought the lamp was possibly similar to the ezcap 283s where clicking a button once would change the lamp to indicate a different setting, but no, it’s just a power lamp.

While the device is on (but not connected via HDMI) I did wonder if clicking the switches would change the settings regardless.

For the Tendak test I did go with S-Video connection.

While connected to the capture device (AVerMedia C875) I am able to change the settings on the S-Video/Composite switch and clearly see which input signal is being used, that being said it doesn’t stay on the screen for very long.

It’s like looking for subtitles on a busy screen.

Side by Side Comparison

Because I’m using the AVermedia C875 its capture software is RECentral.

In the advanced settings I can change both the Video and Audio recording source to HDMI.

Both devices I recorded the same video for half an hour.

First up is the CM401.

While this image does look oversaturated, that can always be corrected in an editor. The density does look a tad dark for my liking but again can be corrected at a later stage.

Next up is the Tendak which looks like it has blown out and overexposed the head. The density can too light for certain scenes. Again, bringing the density down using an editor is an easy fix.

The video test above shows the clips side by side.

Personally I like the Tendak for the first train clip, but the second train clip (at the 30 sec mark) I prefer the CM401 for the greenery.

TTX Tech HDMI To AV Converter

So what happens if you go the other way around – HDMI to composite AV?

The results are, how can I put this, absolute garbage. I bought this to simply show the result.

The only place I could find that seems to be the distributor of TTX tech equipment is a company called innexinc. Not sure if they made the product, in fact I doubt it.

I can’t see any reason why you would need to buy a device like this. Downscaling a HDMI signal from your PC (or any console for that matter) to a composite input like an analogue TV, does seem pointless.

Closer inspection of the HDMI to AV we can see it is identical to the CM401.

This time, the input is the HDMI signal.

Output is through a composite signal Yellow for Video with Red and White for the audio.

Power is from a mini USB connection either connected to a USB port on a computer or if you have a USB power adapter.

There is an option to switch between NTSC or PAL.

I showed my son YouTube through an old TV and he thought it was hilarious.

There is a real strain on the eyes just trying to read the names of the videos. But who am I kidding, I need glasses in my sleep just so I can see what I’m dreaming! So everything is a strain.

This signal is coming from 1080 downscaled to 480.

I decided to perform a test using the ClearClick Video2Digital 2.0. I did try the ezcap 271 as well but it would only pick up the audio.

As I mention in the video, this doesn’t reflect the quality of the ClearClick. That’s a good device..

This is to do with the quality of the TTX Tech.


So if money is not a problem then the device I would get is the Tendak AV to HDMI.

I prefer the sturdy build and I think it offers more value for your money considering it supplies the cables. If you have a VCR that has S-Video out, you have the option to use both composite and S-Video connections.

On the other hand the CM401 appears to have huge positive reviews showing that people love its simplistic and easy of use manner.

In the end, converters like these are to be used with devices that capture via HDMI. Like I said at the start, these are used as a bridge between a composite VCR (or signal source) to a high end HDMI capture device. If you haven’t already bought a HDMI capture card then you won’t need one of these.


Author: Matt

My name is Matt and I'm a bit of a nerd for software that helps people digitize cherished memories including photos and home videos.