HDMI output on the GameCube has been around for a while. Back in 2018, we got the rather rough-and-ready GC Video Plug ‘n Play 3.0, which did the job but came in a rather ugly 3D-printed case. Shortly afterwards there came the EON GCHD adapter (and, not long afterwards, its sequel), and in 2019 a budget option arrived in the shape of the Insurrection Carby. All of these devices use the same GCVideo software, and they all have one notable weakness – updating them to the latest version of GCVideo requires some degree of disassembly.
Enter Retro-Bit’s Prism HD Adapter. It’s also running GCVideo and offers the same lovely HD visuals as its rivals, but the key difference is that it has a USB-C port on the side which means you can update it easily. It’s also running the latest revision of GCVideo (3.0e) out of the box, which is nice. Oh, and like the Carby, it comes with its own remote so you can access GCVideo’s UI more easily (the GCHD doesn’t offer this).
Like other HDMI adapters, the Prism HD connects to the GameCube’s digital AV port (make sure you have a DOL-001 model number GameCube, as Nintendo removed the digital AV port from the later hardware revision), allowing you to link the console to your HDMI-ready TV. The picture quality is a massive step up from what we’re normally used to (unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to own a GameCube component cable), making games appear super-sharp. GCVideo also allows you to tinker with various aspects of the picture (including adding scanlines) so you can mess around to get the image you truly desire.
As we noted with other HD adapters, the picture quality is going to vary depending on your TV. There’s no upscaling going on here (which means the Prism HD doesn’t introduce any lag), so your TV has to do the heavy-lifting in this regard. Not all TVs handle a 480i/480p image the same way – the process of upscaling that signal could introduce lag or produce a fuzzy picture, so you might want to experiment with a few TV sets if you have the option.
The only other real negative with the Prism HD is that, unlike the EON GCHD, it only plugs into the digital AV port. While the GCHD didn’t make use of the analogue port, it plugged into it to provide some much-needed stability; the Prism HD, on the other hand, sticks out quite far and is easy to knock. Given that the HDMI cable plugs into the end of the Prism HD rather than the side, you’ll need a lot of space in your AV unit to house the GameCube with this adapter attached. It really would have made more sense to have the HDMI port on the side.
In terms of price, the Prism HD is around the same price as the Carby (around $80), but is arguably a better option when you consider that you can update it with the minimum of fuss – and it’s worth noting that GCVideo got several firmware updates in 2020 alone. While there’s little difference between the available options when it comes to actual picture quality, the Prism HD is definitely worthy of consideration – although if you already own an adapter like this, there’s perhaps less reason to make a purchase.
The Retro-Bit Prism HD Adapter launches in March. Pre-order information can be found here.