Eon Launches $200 Component to HDMI converter for Xbox

Eon Gaming has just launched pre-orders on a plug and play device for the original Xbox, that gets you dual HDMI-out, separate audio-out, as well as a network hub.  This device appears to be designed for people looking to participate in and stream LAN tournaments;  If you’re someone who runs events like this, it might be the easiest method of linking everything together – At more than TWICE THE COST of separate devices.  Check below the links for all the info you’ll need:

Pre-Order Here ($190):
Stone Age Gamer:
CastleMania Games:
Xbox2HDMI ($32):
HDMI Splitter + Audio extractor ($28):
Network Switch ($19):
HDMI Cables:

First, the good:  This device is a basic analog to digital converter that takes whatever resolution your Xbox sends to the Component Video (YPbPr) ports and converts it to HDMI.  It doesn’t scale or buffer the image at all – What goes in, comes out…just as HDMI, not YPbPr.  And that’s a good thing!  No buffering means no possible lag added.  Also, since it’s a dongle and not a cable, there’s much less chance for interference (although this needs to be tested to know for sure).  And lastly, including a network hub is a pretty neat feature that might help LAN party setup easier.

BUT OMFG THAT COST!?!?!?!?  Let’s break it down what it would cost to do the exact same thing on your own right now…

Let’s start with the network switch, as that’s the easiest:  You can get an 8-port switch for less than $20 and a 5-pack of cables for $12.  It’ll do that exact same thing and rather than daisy-chain each Xbox together, you’d just all plug into the same hub.

Now let’s talk HDMI output.  And we’ll start with the built-in splitter.  While I think having this functionality built-in is cool, I reviewed an amazing HDMI Splitter that cost $28, is PS3 compatible, has an impressive audio DAC (for the money) and offers two different digital audio outputs.  You can use that splitter on EVERYTHING, rather than just one device.

And for the HDMI signal itself – It’s just an analog-to-digital converter (ADC).  That’s it.  If you already own decent component video cables, you can get a cheap DAC for $21 that does exactly the same thing.  If you don’t have any YPbPr cables (or have unshielded, low-quality ones), then you can get DAC’s designed specifically for the Xbox that do an excellent job.  Electron Shepherd is offering one for $32 that will match or surpass any one out there.  Chimeric Systems has one that’s more expensive, but offers separate digital audio out.  And if you’d like both HDMI AND analog outputs, the Behar Bros sell their Xedusa for $65 that worked the same.

That means if you’d like the same exact functionality, you’re paying under $100, as opposed to $190.  And if you’d like the Xedusa instead, it’s about $30 more – Still far less than the Eon solution.  That said, if you’re someone who runs tournaments and you can get them at a bulk discount, I’d be willing to bet this would make setup much easier.  As long as they’re properly-built, perform well and are safe to use…

…but all of that is in question.  First, they’re powering the ADC, splitter and network hub from the A/V port.  Have they made sure that won’t cause harm after long-term use?  There’s nothing in their marketing suggesting they’ve tested for this.  I hope it doesn’t result in a bunch of blown-out Xboxes.  Next, their build quality has always been poor, resulting in a bunch of units that stopped working…or just arrived defective.  Voultar tried warning everyone about their products years ago, however Eon’s marketing seemed to overshadow that.  Credit where credit is due though:  Their marketing is excellent.  And that’s thanks to all of us over-paying for their adapters.  So you’ll have to make a decision:  Do you want to support a marketing company and fund their next over-priced toy, or fund people in the retro gaming scene who are trying to bring you the best performance at the cheapest price they can?

That’s an easy answer for me…


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