3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Nice design, with some limitations,
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This review is from: Grand HD Cinema Con Video & Aud Fr/ Computer USB 2.0 To Hdtv Hdmi (Personal Computers)
The Grandtec HD Cinema is an elegant little unit smaller than a deck of cards, with USB in and HDMI out on opposite ends. Power is supplied by the USB connection with no additional external power needed. The idea of this unit is of course to interface a computer with your home theater to act as a media player. I am running the HD Cinema with a new-generation iMac running Snow Leopard 10.6.3, running over a 50-foot high-speed HDMI cable to a Denon 2807 receiver and a 1368x768 HDTV.
Internally, the HD Cinema is its own USB hub which feeds two separate components, a USB audio interface, and a USB display adapter, whose outputs are then combined onto the one HDMI output. The audio and video components each require their own drivers, and, somewhat klunkily, they both require running separate installers (this all is contrary to some reviews I had read which suggested that Macs would simply run the unit plug-and-play with no additional drivers). My unit had apparently been on the warehouse shelf for some time, as it was supplied without any Mac driver software, but a call to Grandtec's very friendly tech support line confirmed both the need for and location of the Mac driver software on their web site.
However, that wasn't quite the end of the head-scratching either, since the Grandtec-supplied video driver turned out not to work on the 64-bit Mac OS X 10.6.3. DisplayLink, the hardware manufacturer of the internal video device, has a new 10.6.3/64-bit compatible driver (version 1.6 beta) posted on THEIR site, and by installing DisplayLink's newest video driver and Grandtec's audio driver, I successfully obtained both audio and video output.
Grandtec claims that the HD Cinema will support up to 720p resolution. The Displays panel on my system offered me higher resolutions, including 1366x768 matching my TV resolution, but 1280x720 was indeed the highest that would produce usable video. The resolution and color are both gorgeous on the TV display. In the sound department, the HD Cinema correctly passed both stereo and multi-track DTS output through the HDMI link to the receiver.
The only thing that is NOT so gorgeous about the Grandtec HD Cinema's output is that moving video is not perfectly smooth at 720p. Whenever there is large camera movement (rotates or pans that involve the whole screen or most of it) you can see slight hesitations in the video. It's just enough to be noticeable, so it's possible you'll be able to ignore it completely, but it's also possible that it might drive you nuts. Setting the display output of the Grandtec to 720x480 eliminates any lag, but of course at some cost in sharpness. If your particular collection of media files doesn't usually exceed 480p resolution, definitely use the lower display setting.
Overall, the convenience of capturing BOTH sound and video from your computer on one cable makes this unit unbeatably handy. If, hopefully, future revisions of the Grandtec HD Cinema correct some of its comparatively minor issues, it will more than earn a fifth star.
[I had intended to provide helpful web locations for the aforementioned driver files from Grandtec and Displaylink at this point, but this information has repeatedly been censored or blocked. So, I might instead just say: If you google "grandtec" and "displaylink", you should hopefully be able to find those support and download pages without too much difficulty.]