Feature | Tech Up! - VD-W3 Wii HDMI Upscaler Processor

By Adam Riley 15.05.2010 21

There has been a lot of talk about whether or not High Definition graphics really do make a real difference to an overall gaming experience. Nintendo's response has always been that the uptake on television sets that actually take the required HDMI cable connection is nowhere near large enough to warrant rushing a 'Wii HD' onto the market. However, the current trend is for retailers to slash the price of 32-inch to 42-inch flat-screen HD sets, meaning the time has definitely come for Wii owners to start thinking twice about the idea of HD gaming. Could the VD-W3 Wii HDMI Upscaler Processor from VDIGI Electronics prove to be a device that placates owners in the interim until Nintendo does indeed roll out its future HD system?

Image for Feature | Tech Up! - VD-W3 Wii HDMI Upscaler Processor

The first thing to remember when looking at a device such as this is that it will not work miracles. This is not going to make your Wii exactly like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It sounds extremely obvious when written down, yet there are some who believe wonders can indeed happen. This HDMI Upscaler Processor connects to the back of your Wii console, picks up the video signal and attempts to smooth as many of the rough edges as possible in order to give a clearer, sharper, more vibrant output on 1080p / 1080i High Definition televisions.

When you open the box, everything is extremely simple to assemble, with only a small device with cables that attach to the back of your Wii, both in the standard A/V in slot, as well as in one of the USB ports in order to power it. The roughly 180g, 12cm (length) x 7cm (width) x 2.5cm (height) upscaler then merely needs a HDMI cable connecting to it and once hooked up to a TV things are nearly ready to go. The VDIGI product uses a true 10-Bit high definition video and AV grade scaler engine to let users enjoy their games with a far improved image output and up to a 1080p resolution. If something is not working properly, then the blue/red LED status will change colour or flash, and checking the small instruction sheet included will give guidance as to what the issue may be, with most problems relating to the various settings or type of TV used. To change any of the upscaler's settings, there are six small switches on the underside that can be flicked to different positions, and whilst some may find them to be quite small and fiddly to access, once set in the right way, changing them again should not be necessary.


According to VDIGI, the video lag time for the upscaler is 8ms, whilst the following video-in formats are supported: EDTV (480i/576i) and SDTV (480p/576p), with the video-out formats being 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 1280x1024, 1440x900, and 1680x1050 at a refresh rate of 59.94Hz. As well as connecting to a TV for the HD visual output (or a computer monitor using the DVI connector), though, there is also the option of either just relying on the standard HDMI-audio or slotting a separate connector cable into the device's 3.5mm stereo audio out port. The choice is yours!

Image for Feature | Tech Up! - VD-W3 Wii HDMI Upscaler Processor
Image for Feature | Tech Up! - VD-W3 Wii HDMI Upscaler Processor

New Super Mario Bros. Wii running at 480p (left) and 1080i (right)
[ Click to Enlarge ]

After trying the VD-W3 Wii HDMI Upscaler Processor with games such as Monster Hunter 3 (Tri), Sin & Punishment, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, and Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, it is safe to say the results are far better than with the standard RGB cable and it does indeed improve upon a component cable, giving the best possible experience for Wii owners using the system on their HDTV sets. It may not reach the level of visual quality found when using a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, but considering how poor Wii games look on High Definition televisions without the use of this upscaler, the improvement is very impressive indeed.


Tech Up! Final Thoughts

The VD-W3 Wii HDMI Upscaler Processor will set Wii owners back US$59.00 (roughly GBP40 / 46 Euros), whilst standard component cables can vary in price here in the UK, ranging from GBP10-25. For anyone that is using the original RGB cable, this is a must buy, whilst anyone with a component cable looking for even more of an improvement, it is definitely something worth considering.

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Good detailed article.

I think it would depend on how good your tv's native upscaler is no? I think they can vary quite a lot.


Seems worth it for those wanting to get their Wii's hocked up to their computer monitors too though.

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
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I know it has a refresh rate of 59.94Hz but jesusraz could you notice any lag? I'm kinda considering whether or not to get this because I do play games competitively like Brawl and TvC so the smallest amount of lag would matter.

Darkflame said:
I think it would depend on how good your tv's native upscaler is no? I think they can vary quite a lot.

Sin & Punishment 2 is fantastic using it - there are still some 'jaggies' due to the Wii hardware itself, but the majority of the visual output is silky smooth and looks amazing on my 40" TV Smilie

L said:
I know it has a refresh rate of 59.94Hz but jesusraz could you notice any lag? I'm kinda considering whether or not to get this because I do play games competitively like Brawl and TvC so the smallest amount of lag would matter.

The main games I played it with were Fragile and S&P2. The former's laid back, so I wouldn't notice anything, but S&P2 is hectic and I didn't notice any lag compared to through a component cable. VDIGI does say there's an 8 milli-second lag, which is pretty nominal...I can't 100% say there's no delay on the likes of Brawl or TvsC, though. I'll ask the question for you, though, and hope I get a quick answer Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Ooh, sounds pretty nifty. ^_^ Can't really afford it at that price though. Definitely might be worth considering in the future.
Nice review! Smilie

Jim (guest) 15.05.2010#5

Heres a cheaper solution.

Don't sit so near to your TV, hey presto you don't notice the image quality being as poor.

Jim (guest) said:
Heres a cheaper solution.

Don't sit so near to your TV, hey presto you don't notice the image quality being as poor.


Smilie My glasses are really old now, so nowhere near as strong as my contact lenses. So if I'm wearing glasses and sat on the armchair opposite the TV, everything looks fine Smilie

Ikana said:
Ooh, sounds pretty nifty. ^_^ Can't really afford it at that price though. Definitely might be worth considering in the future. Nice review! Smilie

Originally it was $75, but due to user-feedback, they dropped the price to $59. Good to see a company responding to what the consumer wants!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
TheStratMan (guest) 15.05.2010#7

Seriously considering this, on my 19" Samsung HDTV at Uni the Wii fares ok using component cables. But plug it into my Sony Bravia 26" at home, well, prepare to be disgusted. Smilie

chad (guest) 15.05.2010#8

can this be used in either usb port?

chad (guest) said:
can this be used in either usb port?

Either USB port works just fine. I know that can be quite important when using USB sticks or HDDs, since certain loaders only allow use of one particular USB port. So no need to worry Smilie

TheStratMan (guest) said:
Seriously considering this, on my 19" Samsung HDTV at Uni the Wii fares ok using component cables. But plug it into my Sony Bravia 26" at home, well, prepare to be disgusted. Smilie

Well yeah, like I mention in one of my comments above, it looks great on my Samsung 40" TV Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

So it's basically a dedicated upscaler for Wii? That's pretty awesome, but a good HD TV would have a good upscaling method anyway. I'd like to see how this compares to a range of built-in upscalers.

I almost ordered one of these a month or two ago, but I wanted to wait for some thorough reviews first. There weren't any at the time. Since they started trickling out, some say it's good, some say not. Some reviews said the sound tends to crackle, doesn't upscale all Wii games well, etc. Needless to say, it was confusing.

I addition to how well it actually works, I wanted to know how much latency there was as well as whether or not it works with GameCube games (I want to play Rogue Leader, Luigi's Mansion, etc. in a glorious upscaled res lol).

( Edited 15.05.2010 20:03 by MechaG2 )

Chance favors the prepared mind.

MechaG2 said:
I almost ordered one of these a month or two ago, but I wanted to wait for some thorough reviews first. There weren't any at the time. Since they started trickling out, some say it's good, some say not. Some reviews said the sound tends to crackle, doesn't upscale all Wii games well, etc. Needless to say, it was confusing.

After writing this, I've read some other reviews now and was a bit confused by their negative issues. I think VDIGI had some issues with early models, but the newer ones have got updated firmware that rectifies any issues.

I addition to how well it actually works, I wanted to know how much latency there was as well as whether or not it works with GameCube games (I want to play Rogue Leader, Luigi's Mansion, etc. in a glorious upscaled res lol).

I don't know about latency...but I can check some GameCube games if I get chance. Hadn't thought of that actually - thanks for mentioning it Smilie

Martin_ said:
So it's basically a dedicated upscaler for Wii? That's pretty awesome, but a good HD TV would have a good upscaling method anyway. I'd like to see how this compares to a range of built-in upscalers.

I can ask the question for you and see what they say...I could only go off the one HDTV I have and Wii games looked awful through the standard Wii cables, looked much better using a component, and even better still using this.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Good reviews probably came from peoples who have tv's with relatively poor built in upscaleing, bad reviews probably came from people with relatively good built in upscaleing.

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

jesusraz said:

The main games I played it with were Fragile and S&P2. The former's laid back, so I wouldn't notice anything, but S&P2 is hectic and I didn't notice any lag compared to through a component cable. VDIGI does say there's an 8 milli-second lag, which is pretty nominal...I can't 100% say there's no delay on the likes of Brawl or TvsC, though. I'll ask the question for you, though, and hope I get a quick answer Smilie

Ok, thanks.

PlainGameX (guest) 16.05.2010#15

My Wii looks shit on the 50inch plasma tv in my living room so this will make it better? Mario looks all jaggy like a Playstation1 why doesn't the Wii have smoothining like xbox or PS3?

I run mine through component, but it depends entirely on the TV. My 32" Samsung runs them beautifully, with very vibrant colours and smooth edges, but my 22" Bush looks crap and really washed out, whilst my 360 Elite looks amazing on it.

This would be a good buy for anybody stuck with a TV that doesn't display 480p well.

Add me on anything. I'm always looking for new friends/opponents/town visitors/chances to appear more popular than I actually am.

It would also help things since only one cable runs up to your TV instead of having 5 due to component.

MechaG2 said:
I almost ordered one of these a month or two ago, but I wanted to wait for some thorough reviews first. There weren't any at the time. Since they started trickling out, some say it's good, some say not. Some reviews said the sound tends to crackle, doesn't upscale all Wii games well, etc. Needless to say, it was confusing.

I addition to how well it actually works, I wanted to know how much latency there was as well as whether or not it works with GameCube games (I want to play Rogue Leader, Luigi's Mansion, etc. in a glorious upscaled res lol).


for our experience, some users expect it will turn your wii games to something look like xbox360 or ps3, for those users, they will said vd-w3 not good; however, for those expect improved grahics, then they will say good, as in overall, picture will look sharp, clear, better color, hdmi connection, zoom in out to remove black bar, blah blah and etc.
from the spec, vd-w3 have 8ms video response, you will not notice any lags if you play it as usual, for gamecubes games, if they are running at 60hz 480i, then it should be upscale to higher without problem.

Darkflame said:
Good reviews probably came from peoples who have tv's with relatively poor built in upscaleing, bad reviews probably came from people with relatively good built in upscaleing.

the fact is not, we have users using their latest sony bravia, or any latest model hdtv, they also impressed with the vd-w3. from our experience, I think the most important point is what you expect for vd-w3, just like what i have replied above. This is the truth.

I would add that anyone using this should definitely set their television to 'game mode' or 'exact scan' or whatever the equivalent is on your television. You don't want this thing adding it's 8ms response on top of whatever your television adds.

FK (guest) 24.08.2010#21

this is fucking a scam. ever since this shit came out a lot of pic's and videos are all Mario and not even a video or pic showing other games that are on the wii. The wii has great hardcore games like no more heroes 1/2. Resident Evil 4, Monster Hunter Tri, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame 4 and many more. And out of all those not even one of them people are showing the VD W3 can do for them and its funny how long the VD W3 has been out long enough for people to upload more videos or pic's to those games! Go on you-tube and you'll see nothing but Mario. People stay away from it because posting just Mario games on this thing is a scam. Save your money. Fucking piece of shit.

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