Published on February 5th, 2011 | by Greg0
HDMI Via USB: Sewell’s Magic HDdeck
Many folks with a Macbook Air suffer a bit due to the lack of built-in HDMI, and regularly want to output video to a projector or an external monitor. Other machines, such as some basic PCs, work great except for the lack of an HDMI port. Most likely, you won’t notice it until you need it, and realize that the best way to show your slideshow, videos, or photos on your home television or work screen is through HDMI. Luckily, there are some new solutions coming out, addressing precisely this problem. “We saw some earlier this year at CES”:http://www.trulytechnology.com/feature/ces-roundup-notes-part-one, and today are happy to report that they work as well as can be expected.
The “Sewell HDdeck, technically the USB To HDMI SW-31000 Display Adapter”:http://sewelldirect.com/Sewell-HD-Deck-USB-to-HDMI.asp is a fairly small box that looks similar to an external hard drive. It features a single USB input and a single HDMI output, and can send your signal to up to six simultaneous displays- on the PC. On the Mac, it can handle four. And a wide variety of resolutions are supported, up to and including 1920×1080, or 1080p. Audio is 2.1 channel (stereo), and we liked that all of the typical display options like mirror/duplicate or extend are available.
Video playback, with audio, was fairly smooth. We were disappointed in gaming performance though- there isn’t much, if any, acceleration going on, so if you don’t have a solid video card, you’ll likely be a bit bummed out. That’s probably not most the likely use case though- most gaming rigs already have HDMI-out capabilities. The unit is fairly small and portable, definitely sturdy, and boosts a sleek chrome look that compliments aluminum laptops nicely.
Overall, “at around $100 and widely available online”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FK05S8?ie=UTF8&tag=trulyobscure-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004FK05S8, this is a decent buy for those in need of an HDMI port on their PCs or laptops. Linux support would be nice, and we’d like to see some options on the unit itself to adjust volume or settings, but overall Sewell gets high marks for a simple and straight-forward device that does precisely what it should.