Showing posts with label Akura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Akura. Show all posts

Hardware Review: Beharbros Akura HDMI Adapter

Beharbros have a pretty solid track record when it comes to releasing display adapters for the Dreamcast. In the past, the self-styled 'artisnal retromodders' have garnered critical acclaim with a range of hand made devices that continue to keep Dreamcasts turning and burning, regardless of how much display technology accelerates away from the natural abilities of the system. The Toro, Hanzo, Kuro, Kenzei and SLR boxes all have distinct features, and while they come at a premium, they all help Dreamcast gamers achieve optimal image quality, whatever their choice of display.
The Akura is Beharbros' latest release and while it retains the familiar aesthetic of the other boxes in the catalogue, it eschews SCART and VGA connections and instead offers an all in one option for gamers who want to hook their Dreamcast up to a HDMI-equipped display. Weighing in at $85 with free worldwide shipping, the Akura requires no external power supply and connects directly to the console's AV port, delivering a native 480p image via the use of an HDMI cable that goes directly from the box to the television or monitor.
Be aware though - the Akura is not an upscaler, it simply chucks out a 480p picture through a HDMI cable (more on this later), and a series of switches on the side of the device yield a number of interesting extra features. First though, before we delve into the more technical side of the Akura and whether this is the box for your needs, lets take a look at the physical design of Beharbros' latest adapter and just what those little switches on the side are all about...

Akura HDMI Cable + XRGB Framemeister - Plus Q&A Live Stream

The title says it all really. I recently purchased the Akura HDMI cable for Dreamcast and have been fiddling around with mixed results. By far the best quality I've been able to get out of it so far has been by pairing it with the XRGB Mini. 

Here's a quick capture uploaded to YouTube, be sure to set it to 1080p and judge for yourself.

Akura HDMI cable + Framemeister XRGB Mini

We'll be holding a live Q&A at 9am this Saturday (17th June) on our Facebook page. The format of the Q&A will be a live stream of the Japanese version of Shenmue running on original DC hardware. I fancy myself as a bit of a videophile when it comes to the DC, so be sure to tune in and ask any questions related to upscaling, capturing footage, cables, CRTs or anything else that takes your fancy. No holds barred!

For comparison's sake, here's the same footage captured using the Toro VGA cable with the XRGB Mini:

Toro VGA cable + Framemeister XRGB Mini

Remember folks: Saturday 17th June, 10am BST (that's 6pm in Japan where I live, just so you know). On The Dreamcast Junkyard's Facebook page. See you there!

Adam Koralik Reviews Akura Dreamcast HDMI Box

We've reported on the Akura from Beharbros a couple of times in the recent past (here and here), but now you don't have to settle for reading my words with your eyes - you can look at Adam Koralik show you just how awesome the Akura while he tells you with his voice! Yes, in his latest video Adam goes into great detail about the different video output signals the Dreamcast kicks out, and also tells us a little bit about his love for the Turkish version of Nutella. Oh, and there's a demonstration of the Akura in action. Here's the video:

Thanks go to Adam for letting me share his video here. Hopefully this will give those people who were considering purchasing the Akura a more practical idea of how it performs, and the features included. Be sure to check out the huge back catalogue of games related content on Adam's YouTube channel here, and you can find more on the Akura at Beharbros website here.

Akura HDMI Box Now Available For Pre-order

We recently reported on the Akura VGA to HDMI converter box here at the Junkyard, and true to form the fine gentlemen over at Beharbros have now opened pre-orders for the unit. Weighing in at $85 with free shipping, the unit isn't exactly what we'd call cheap, but for the asking price you do get the typical outstanding build quality and lifetime guarantee that the other display boxes from Beharbros have been privy to.
Personally, I think this unit looks the dog's bollocks. I've seen various comments on social media about it being expensive or there being other alternatives for a lower price...but lets be honest here. The Akura doesn't need an external power supply or any additional cables in order for the user to connect a Dreamcast - an system knocking on the the door of 20 years old - to a HDMI-equipped display.

Simply plug the Akura into a Dreamcast, and then plug a HDMI cable into the Akura. I'm not going to argue with that. The Akura is more than just a converter though - it also adds scan lines and some other lovely features:

  • 480p video output via HDMI
  • RGB/VGA switch to select the 15khz RGB mode or the 31khz VGA mode
  • HDMI connector for plugging to your TV/monitor
  • Headphone audio output jack for plugging to a Hi-Fi or TV
  • Scanliner ON/OFF switch to turn it on or off
  • Scanliner Even/Odd switch for selecting even or odd scan lines
  • Scanliner Width switch for selecting thin or thick scan lines
  • Luminosity adjustment as a bonus feature
  • High quality custom made Dreamcast audio/video cable
For the record, I do own a VGA to HMDI converter (see above), it cost me a grand total of £7 off eBay...and I must say that it works just fine. That said, I'm still totally behind the introduction of the Akura because I know that it will still be working in another 8 to 10 years, and beyond. The converter I have already has a weird buzzing noise coming out of it, the connectors are constantly falling out, and the stench of burning flesh emanates from the thing whenever I plug it in. And then there are the demonic apparitions that appear in the mirror whenever electricity is pulsing through the tiny device...but I've learned to live with them. Joking aside, the Akura looks like a decent bit of kit and the addition of the scan line generator should help people decide if its a device they'd like to own.

The Akura is due to ship from March 2017, and you can go here to pre-order. Or simply head to our Facebook group or Twitter to comment on how much you hate the fact that the Akura exists! You can also find a video discussing the Akura by Sega Scream here.

Akura VGA To HDMI Box Coming Soon For Dreamcast

Getting the best picture from a Dreamcast has always been a point of discussion in the Dreamcast community. The Dreamcast's ability to output a VGA signal has long been viewed (no pun intended) as the best way to get a crisp and clean image, and I'm not one to argue with that - indeed, when using an old-skool CRT monitor in conjunction with a VGA cable or box, the image quality is positively stunning. Not everybody has the space for a hulking great VGA CRT monitor though, and as time goes by they are becoming harder to find. Not only this, but finding HD or 4K televisions that have a VGA port is becoming more difficult as the standard falls further into the realms of obsolescence.
The options for getting a decent image out of a Dreamcast (and other older gaming systems) are getting narrower with every passing generation and the move away from analogue to digital signals means gamers are coming up with ever more ingenious ways of using classic consoles with newer televisions and monitors. However, the path to achieving a fantastic image is littered with pitfalls - I know first hand from my own recent experiences with VGA to HDMI signal converters just how frustrating it can be.

It appears that creators of the Toro, Kuro and Hanzo range of signal converters Beharbros feel the same way, and have recently unveiled the Akura VGA to HDMI converter for the Dreamcast.