PSP to HDMI Converter with Up-scaling
Posted August 26th, 2010 at 5:22pm by Dan Birlew in Hardware. 10 Comments on PSP to HDMI Converter with Up-scaling
Ever since my purchase of a PSP slim I’ve been looking for a method of capturing video and images from games on this amazing system. Years ago I purchased a Sony PSP component cable in the hopes of connecting the PSP to my HD video capture card, which I use for work. But PSP games transmit in progressive scan mode, a format that went largely overlooked by the video capture card industry. In the old days of GameCubes, PlayStation 2 and the first Xbox, you could downgrade the signal to S-Video or, worse, composite, and record footage at 720×480 and then resize it to 320×240. This would fulfill objectives such as creating game videos for websites or grabbing screenshots, but not in the HD era. Thus, there wasn’t really a need for manufacturers to create a video card that could process progressive scan signal. The entire industry happily leap-frogged from SD to HD. So when you connect a PSP to an HD capture card such as mine, the progressive scan signal is scrambled and unrecordable.
My publisher sends me a PSP debug kit whenever I need to write about a PSP game, such as Star Ocean or Jak and Daxter. This kit includes PC software that allows you to connect the system to your PC and record game footage, from which stills can then be capped. However, the output aspect ratio from the debug kit is no bigger than the size of the PSP screen, or 480×272 pixels. Print publishing requires the highest image resolution possible, so I guess my publisher continued looking for a way to get bigger images. Tim Bogenn, the author who writes the Grand Theft Auto guides, sent me a scaling device that converts the VGA signal from a PSP debug kit into 1080p HD video, which I was then able to capture HD video from. The scaler enlarged the video and enabled me to grab video, upon which I then ran a deinterlace filter and managed to grab brilliant screens such as the ones you see in my Jak and Daxter post. So Tim’s solution works great for the PSP debug kit, but what about output from a retail PSP?
Last week I found a workable solution for the retail version. The Lenkeng PSPHD42 (repackaged and sold stateside by Pyle Home Audio) converts the PSP’s signal to 720p HDMI. The kit includes the converter, a power adapter, a PSP to VGA cable, an HDMI cable, and a stereo cable.
After connecting your PSP to the device and running the HDMI cable to your widescreen television, you then press and hold the monitor button on the face of the PSP to send the signal to the output source. The image then pops up on your monitor. At first, the PSP screen is centered in black, much as you find with a PSP component cable. However, by pressing the Zoom button on the PSP to VGA cable, you can change the aspect ratio so that the PSP screen fills up your entire monitor, without any loss in quality. The image truly looks as good on TV as it does on your PSP’s screen. The stereo audio cable allows you to run sound through a home theater system. In all honesty this unit takes PSP enjoyment to a whole new level.
As for capturing video and images from the PSP Converter, there’s a few more tricks involved. I’ve posted some sample videos below. You may notice a black border around the image. This border is sized out when the converter is connected to a television, so no worries there. Recording the signal also causes it to pick up a yellowish hue, which isn’t there when you’re looking at the output on an HD monitor. Both of these anomalies can be corrected by any video editing software, and I’ll apply those filters to future recordings. But my purpose today is to show you the difference in output. So while I can’t say that these videos are representative of what you’ll see on screen with the PSP Converter, they certainly show you how the device scales the PSP playing screen to the full size of your HD television or monitor (be sure to change the setting to 720p):
I don’t know how well the signal output looks when playing PSP minis or PSOne Classics, but I’ll let you know when I find out!