Grandtec GEZ-1000 VGA-to-TV
Over the last couple of years, I’ve become accustomed to my notebooks having TV out. My first couple didn’t but my last three did have either composite or S-Video out and it would come in handy every once in a while. It definitely wasn’t a deal breaker when shopping for notebooks as it was more of a perk. Even when I had it I would only use it a few times a month.
With my latest notebook, video out is not an option so I decided to look for an adapter that would allow me to output to TV without too much fuss and that was reasonably portable. I wasn’t surprised to find that there aren’t many choices. There are a lot of PC to TV converters on the market but many of them require an AC adapter and tend to be a little larger than I’d like. I was originally hoping for a single cable even though I knew that probably wasn’t technically feasible.
After much searching I finally found something that comes extremely close to what I was looking for. Better yet, the product was reasonably affordable and ends up working pretty well.
The Grandtec GEZ-1000 is a VGA to TV converter. It takes a standard 15-pin VGA connector and converts it to either a composite (RCA) or S-Video connector. Better yet, all of the cables are integrated to the device so there’s no way to lose the cables. The device also has a VGA passthrough connector so you can be connected to a TV and another monitor simultaneously. The device is fairly small measuring 4” x 2.25” x 1.25” in size.
The Grandtec GEZ-1000 supports the following resolutions and refresh rates:
- 640x480 @ 60/72/75/85Hz
- 800x600 @ 60/72/75/85Hz
- 1024x768 @ 60/70/75/85Hz
- 1280x1024 @ 60Hz
The device also has a true 24-bit A/D converter for true 16.7 million color conversion and supports NTSC operation.
Here’s a shot of the connectors:
The beauty of the device is that it requires no special drivers and is purely plug and play. To get around the power issue that most of these types of devices need, the GEZ-1000 uses a standard 5v USB port for power.
Using the GEZ-1000
You simply plug the VGA plug into your notebook’s VGA port and plug in the USB plug into an available port. You then plug the composite or s-video into your TV, VCR, or other video device. You should know that you will need either an additional s-video or composite cable to connect to your video device as the connectors on the GEZ-1000 are female.
You then go into Windows’ Display Control and enable secondary monitor. Depending on the brand of your notebook you will have different options on how to use the secondary monitor. Some notebooks can enable the the VGA output using the Fn keys. For Sony TR owners like myself, that’s Fn + F7.
Depending on the video chipset, you may have various cloning options and desktop extension modes. In the case of the Sony TR that I’m using, you can do both although I tend to use it in desktop extend mode. I’ll run my notebook at native 1280x768 resolution and run the TV out at either 800x600 or 1024x768.
Here’s an example of the extended desktop with my web browser being shown on my TV.
I typically use the device to display photo slideshows and video presentations to friends and family. The quality is very good. For instance, I can encode DV straight to smaller sized WMV (Windows Media Video), DivX or MPEG files and the playback quality on TV is excellent. Luckily, the TV automatically anti-aliases video so it looks smooth and nice.
Final Thoughts and Comments
This is a great product and I was surprised how easy it was to use. It simply works. At first I was upset that I needed extra cables to use the device but it makes sense why you need to provide your own cable. You don’t want to get stuck standing right next to the TV when trying to watch stuff. Being able to use longer cables makes it more flexible.
If your notebook doesn’t have TV output and you need it then this is a great product to get especially for those who travel a lot. Everything is integrated and it’s also pretty affordable. The device only costs $49.99 and is widely available at online vendors like CDW or TigerDirect.com.
For more information about this product please visit GrandTec’s website at http://www.grandtec.com/ultimateEZ.htm