It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get your old Wii to connect to your new TV, or trying to maximize the visual fidelity of your gaming experience. Either way, the Wii to HDMI converter you choose is going to have a huge effect on your gaming experience. Even when you’re able to avoid the cheap knockoff adapters that have flooded the market, you need to know how to pick an adapter that can handle the technical needs of your setup specifically.
Knockoff adapters are vulnerable to bizarre bugs and complications, like having your signal interrupted anytime someone in your home turns something on or off. In a perfect world, adapters would be a binary experience; they would either work or they wouldn’t. In the world we inhabit, there is far more grey area. You can find adapters designed for specific resolutions, adapters with mediocre signals, and adapters that work in some circumstances and not others.
In other words, you need to pay attention to which Wii to HDMI converter you pick. You don’t want an adapter that causes more problems than it solves. The good news is that even if you don’t care about higher resolutions and special features, switching to HDMI will help you out. Digital connections have replaced the default inferior analogue connections used by devices like the Wii, and anyone who’s used the analog cables should be able to tell the difference in quality.
Upgrading Your Wii and Avoiding Image Problems
In order to appreciate what it really means when an adapters promises 720p and 1080p connections, you have to understand a few things about resolutions. As a console, the Wii renders a visual signal only in 480p. It’s possible to adapt smaller resolutions like 480p to larger resolutions like 1080p, but a 480p picture won’t magically become a 1080p image just because it’s broadcast on a 1080p device. Lower resolution content can be adapted to higher resolution content, and made to look better on larger resolutions, but at the end of the day it’s still 480p.
When a manufacturer claims it will take your Wii signal to higher resolutions, what they mean is the Wii’s 480p signal will be adapted to 720p or 1080p. That’s fine if you’re going to play your Wii on a device running one of those resolutions, but with any other resolution you’re going to run into big problems.
For example, a 1080p adapter would change the Wii’s original 480p image to 1080p. But if you were running that signal to a 2K computer monitor, your computer would adapt the image for a third time. Having undergone several translations, the resulting image is almost unavoidably scarred. If you’re going to end up playing in standard high definition, then you don’t have to worry about using a high definition adapter. But if you’re going to play in resolutions higher or lower than 720p/1080p, then you’re going to want to avoid adapters that automatically upscale the Wii’s resolution.
When you avoid those kinds of issues, you’ll find switching to a digital signal has many real advantages. The Wii’s old A/V cables make use of analog signals, which are vulnerable to signal decay at every turn. The “AV fuzziness” you see when you’re looking at a Wii game connected through RCA cable, that fuzz is actually the result of RCA connections. The longer and older your analogue cords, the less you can expect of them. If you’ve been using your Wii through the analogue cords that came in the box, just by switching to a digital connection, your games will look slightly better.
Improving Functionality for Gamers
Many gamers specifically use adapters for their Wii because they know computer monitors offer superior performance compared to televisions. If you’re looking for a competitive edge in gaming, what matters more than image quality is refresh rate. Most televisions refresh their image at 60Hz, meaning 60 times per second. Gaming monitors refresh at 144Hz or higher, which includes the capability of sending literally twice as many frames per second to your eyes.
Most adapters aren’t going to let you push more than 60 frames per second (60Hz) through them. As with the resolution of your display, if you’re looking to take advantage of higher refresh rates, then you’re going to have to make sure the adapter you pick can support them. It should go without saying that you also need a display capable of supporting those higher refresh rates. But with display and adapter combined, you’ll be able to capture a more responsive experience than anything possible through the original Wii cabling.
Wiistar Wii to HDMI Converter
One of the reasons why HDMI is far superior to the Wii’s analogue cables is because HDMI cables carry both sound and video. You can appreciate that fact in the form of a 3.5mm audio jack on the front of the Wiistar converter. As simple as you’d want a converter to be, this adapter plugs directly into your Wii’s video port, thereby enabling HDMI connections. It also supports all the various Wii native display modes, including PAL 576i, 480p, and NTSC 480i.
Wiistar brags about the quality of their adaptive de-interlacing for analog signals, but this is only a fancy way of saying they’re using current techniques to ensure your signal will scale nicely for modern high definition displays. That means Wiistar’s adapter changes the Wii’s native 480p signal up to match the 720p or 1080p you want to play it on. The end result is your game looks like it should, even though it’s being played on a much larger resolution than it was made for.
Important Details to Consider
Wiistar’s adapter is designed for the average gamer, and most people will be perfectly satisfied with what it can offer. If you just want an adapter that does its job and won’t break, Wiistar can provide. As long as you’re playing on a standard HD display, you really don’t need to get bogged down in the technical details further than that. But if you’re looking to play your Wii games in something besides standard HD, then this isn’t an adapter for you.
Suppose you were trying to use a 4K display. The original 480p signal would be adapted to 1080p by Wiistar, and then adapted to 4K again by your TV or computer. The end result would work, but would almost certainly have obvious visible color deficiencies, blurry lines, and even lag. The same would be true if you were trying to play on an older display.
Portholic Wii to HDMI Converter
Sometimes when you pay more for an adapter, what you’re buying is branding, or frivolous features you don’t need. Other times, you pay more because you’re getting more. The difference between adapters that work “okay” and adapters that work great is in the details, and the Portholic Wii to HDMI converter gets those details right.
Ease of use is up to par, requiring you to just stick the adapter in the back of your Wii and connect to an HDMI device. It uses the same modern decoder technology as Wiiholic, ensuring your signal is accurately processed so you won’t end up with blurring, lag, or fuzzy lines.
Like with Wiiholic’s adapter, the Portholic Wii to HDMI converter changes the Wii’s 480p output to standard high definition of 720/1080p. And like with Wiistar, you’ll find a 3.5m audio jack on the front of the adapter, giving you the option of getting your Wii sound without using an inferior analogue cables.
Important Details to Consider
Plenty of manufacturers don’t undergo the great difficulty of individually testing their products. If they did, consumer costs would probably go up in most cases. That means inevitably there will be some small quantity of adapters created with a manufacturer’s defect, and those defects often don’t get caught until a consumer has bought them. That leaves you facing the hassle of returns.
Portholic offers a lifetime warranty, in large part because they’ve taken the time to test their product before shipping them out. In other words, you won’t have to worry about an adapter being dead on arrival. And even if you do get unlucky, Portholic’s warranty can help you out. That’s much more than some brands can say.
KCOOL Wii to HDMI Converter
Like the other members of this list, KCOOL’s adapter supports all Wii display modes, analogue and digital alike. With a product that’s about as plug and play as you can get, you’ll find cutting-edge signal processing, and a convenient 3.5 mm audio socket to help you eradicate your virtual enemies from the privacy of a headset.
But what really sets KCOOL apart is because it’s a 480p adapter. In other words, it doesn’t try and change the video signal from the Wii. Consumers who don’t know how to pick an adapter would probably look at this product and quickly decide against it simply because it says 480p, which isn’t a high resolution. Those consumers would be making a serious mistake.
KCOOL’s adapter doesn’t try to change the Wii’s 480p resolution, it reproduces it identically through a digital signal. It doesn’t de-interlace or otherwise alter the video signal at all, instead aiming to faithfully convert it into HDMI.
As a result, you can expect better video quality relative to anytime you played your Wii with analogue cables, and better video quality if you decide to run your games on higher resolutions. You can also expect that quality experience to remain the same regardless of the resolution you end up using, provided only that your system can support it.
Important Details to Consider
Some HDTVs have issues with older formats, like those used by the Wii. If you plan on playing on a high definition TV, you’ll probably end up having to explore your Wii settings menu to toggle between default resolutions settings. In nearly all cases, you should be able to solve conflicts between a HD display and your Wii through the Wii settings.
But there is one sticking point. The KCOOL adapter needs a direct connection between the console it’s using and the device it’s being displayed on, whether it’s a monitor, projector, or TV. That means you can’t use a splitter, switch, or any other kind of intermediary in the connection between the Wii’s adapter and your display.
Choosing Between 3 Great Adapters
If you’re trying to take your Wii and connect it to a 720p or 1080p television, you can grab the Wiistar Wii to HDMI Converter without worry. It will get the job done. You won’t have to worry about a poor connection, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not the adapter will work with your TV. It’s easy to use and hard to break. As long as you’re not trying to play in more obscure resolutions, you’re not going to have to worry about having a problem.
Going with the Portholic adapter makes sense if you want to be protected by a warranty. If you care enough about the Wii that you’re purchasing an adapter, then you probably want your adapter to last at least as long as your Wii. You don’t want your adapter kicking the bucket, leaving you and your devices high and dry. With Portholic’s testing and warranty, you know you’re covered.
And if you’re looking for the best possible image quality regardless of the resolution of the device you’re using, then you want KCOOL’s Wii to HDMI Converter. Because KCOOL’s converter keeps the original 480p signal of the Wii intact, you’re less vulnerable to the losses in image quality that occur when signals are translated multiple times. Just remember to steer clear of this adapter if your A/V setup requires you use a splitter between the Wii and your devices.