Review: StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio

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Review: StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio

HDMI ports on computers can be incredibly useful – the ability to transform your HD TV into a huge monitor has excellent uses from watching movies to playing games on the big screen. Or for work, you can also use HDMI to display presentations on TVs and projectors.

If your laptop or desktop PC doesn’t come with an HDMI-out port then the StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio is very useful, since it effectively transforms a USB port into an HDMI one.

Another benefit is that even if your PC comes with HDMI, you can use this adaptor to extend your desktop over an extra monitor – a worthwhile feature if your graphics card isn’t up to the task.

While some people use a DVI to HDMI cable to connect their PC to a high-definition TV – because DVI ports are far more popular than HDMIs on computers – the DVI can’t handle audio.

The StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio, as the very long-winded name suggests, can handle audio. A small feature perhaps, but it’s very valuable if you use your TV’s speakers when watching media via HDMI.


This is a useful product, although if you have a decent graphics card that comes with HDMI and can support multiple monitors then you’re not going to need it.

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Review: LiteOn External Blu-ray Disc Combo

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The LiteOn External Blu-ray Disc Combo is an easy way to add Blu-ray playback to your computer. Its slim, stylish design makes it especially useful for small media centre PCs.

Setup was easy – all we had to do was connect the drive to two USB ports (one for data, one for power) and our test computer was ready to read and write Blu-ray discs.

The drive itself is slim and light enough to carry around, and when connected to a laptop with HDMI out, it makes an excellent portable Blu-ray player that can be connected quickly to a HD TV.

The drive comes with Cyberlink PowerDVD software, which allows playback of 3D Blu-rays. It’s a good program with well implemented internet features, turning the LiteOn External Blu-ray Disc Combo into an incredibly versatile device. Its 3D Blu-ray compatibility and the fact that it runs almost completely silently will be big draws for dedicated movie fans.

This drive can also read and write to a huge array of disc formats, including BD-ROM, BD-RE and DVD-RAM, which makes it a great purchase for much more than just home entertainment. When it comes to playing Blu-ray movies, performance is unaffected by the fact that the drive is external, and high definition content looked incredible on our test monitor.

If you’re interested in playing full-screen high definition material – especially in 3D – remember that your computer needs enough graphical power to keep everything running smoothly; underpowered computers will lead to stuttering. A fairly recent machine with a dedicated graphics card will have no problem playing back Blu-rays though.

Another thing that’s worth noting before you buy is that your monitor must be connected to your PC via either DVI or HDMI, because Blu-ray playback isn’t possible over a VGA cable.

Reading and writing Blu-ray discs took slightly longer than with internal drives, but in our eyes the convenience of the external drive makes up for the disparity.

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