HDFury3 £190

16th Oct 2011 | 08:30

HDFury3

This HDMI-to-component video adapter provides HD pictures on the hoof via analogue component

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

Like:

Does exactly what it says on the tin

Dislike:

Power greedy; Uses an always-on 1A external power supply

The HDFury3 is a clever piece of kit that allows you to get around the limitation of recording HDMI HDCP protected content from your PS3 or Blu-ray player to an analogue recording device that doesn't have a HDMI input, but uses HD component inputs.

It also allows you to connect devices that use HDMI to legacy kit, such as computer monitors or VHS players that weren't around when HDMI was invented. At £190, however, it's not cheap, so is it worth the outlay?

The size of a cigarette packet, the convertor has two HDMI v1.3 inputs and conventional analogue component outputs, with power supplied by a separate mains adaptor.

The device connects as a simple plug-fit adaptor, and converts digital HDMI to analogue component 'on the fly'. The HDMI inputs support Deep Colour and are manually or automatically switchable. A 3.5mm audio jack outputs either analogue or S/PDIF stereo PCM or Dolby/DTS 5.1, sourced from the HDMI feed.

The screen image is automatically centred for NTSC and PAL, with manual adjustment for horizontal screen position. Hidden DIP switch settings include colour depth upscaling and sync polarity inversion.

No PC needed

The device is entirely standalone and negates the need for a PC, as all the conversion is done inside. All the HDFury devices are on sale at www.amazon.co.uk, (albeit with incorrect images for the HDFury3 device), with user reviews discussing their use alongside the Hauppauge HD-PVR for copying HDMI signals.

Indeed, Amazon cross promotes the Hauppauge box, which has component HD inputs and a built-in H.264 hi-def encoder. The latter digitises a 1080i or 720p component signal and sends it by USB cable to a PC for storage as an H.264 bitstream or conversion to AVCHD. A low-cost blank DVD (4.7 GB) can record two hours of HD at 5Mbps. A BD player recognises the AVCHD disc as a Blu-ray disc and plays it at 1080i or 720p.

To check the claims made for HDFury3, I obtained an off-the-shelf sample and made test connections to a Sky HD satellite receiver/recorder, a Sony PS3 and a Panasonic 3D BD player. I used a Trulink 2 Port HDMI Splitter to compare the HD picture quality by direct HDMI connection and by component analogue conversion. There was little, if any, difference.

I also used a Hauppauge PVR, and budget Toshiba laptop, to make experimental captures and test AVCHD DVD burns of HD broadcasts, BD movie discs and online streaming services such as BBC iPlayer. Upscaled DVD video can normally only be carried as an HD signal by HDMI cable, but the unit happily converts it to HD component.

I was even able to make test recordings of side-by-side 3D broadcasts and play them back.

So is the sale of HDFury legal? Neither the HDMI Licensing LLC organisation nor the Digital-CP LLC, which licenses the HDCP copy protection used for HDMI connections, seems to have made a definitive statement.

Of course we're not advocating any unauthorised use; just checking whether HDFury3 does what it says on the tin. And it does.

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