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Published on February 5th, 2011 | by Greg

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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.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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