Suggestions for the best CHEAP VGA to HDMI converter?

LAst year I got a bunch of photo and video stuff at a yardsale (a guy down the street was moving to NYC to work on that Whitney Huston biopic and sold me as much of his old gear as I could haul away for $50 - mostly nice stands and a bunhc of filters that don’t fit any camera I own) and one of the things I got was a last gen, 1080p Atomos Ninja Star. There’s no way I’d be able to afford CFast cards, but I could probably swing a CFast to SATA adapter and a 1tb SSD and use it to make lossless recordings straight from hardware. If I go that route, I won’t have much left over for getting the VGA output from the scaler converted to HDMI, and since the price range for active converters (the kind that actually work) is all over the place I really have no idea what’s actually decent in the sub $50 range (or better yet sub $30).

480i s-video to HDMI would be great, but I can also upscale to 720p VGA. Quality for the price is more important than resolution - upscaling in software usually works better but the old scaler seems to deinterlace better than any software I’ve tried so it’ll be a tradeoff either way.

Anyone have any favorites to recommend?

Ended up going with a used Ocean Matrix OMX-CV-HDMI - only a little more expensive than a no-name, budget converter and hopefully being marketed as a low priced converter for professional installations means it will actually have halfway decent picture quality.

Honestly I was pretty happy with my cheap ~$8 USD VGA-HDMI box but I also don’t have a setup where I could honestly discern any difference.

Neither do I, but I usually use the output from it as raw footage, and I start to notice differences once things get digitized and scaled up. I use a sub $10 HDMI to component converter to hook old consoles up to an old HDCRT sometimes and it looks great, so I probably spent an extra $20 for no reason.

I just know that the cheap USB capture devices I’ve used are really hit and miss - some of them are almost indistinguishable from much more expensive hardware and others in the same price range are almsot unusable.

I’ve gotten really good results from EXTRON VGA to HDMI upscalers.

I see some Extron RGB-HDMI 300A in your price range on ebay, which I own and can personally recommend.

A little bit higher but still in the <$100 range is the Extron DSC 301 HD, which has composite, VGA, or HDMI input and HDMI output. I use this one all the time and highly recommend this one.

Both options are professional quality, and give you full control over the image. You can resize, reposition, and adjust the picture settings like hue, saturation, brightness, contrast.

The main reason they are so cheap is because they usually don’t come with a power supply. They take standard +12VDC but the connector is not the typical barrel jack. Here is a link to the screw terminal connector you need.

My favorite thing about these scalers is that can be controlled over serial. They can take a 3 terminal version of the power connector on the back for RS-232, but the DSC301HD also has a mini-usb port on the front. I have written an openFrameworks application that allows all of the geometry and picture controls to be controlled via MIDI and OSC. Here is a link to my github repo for the project. I control it from my desktop at the moment but my plan is to migrate it to a Raspberry Pi very soon.

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