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Review - GBA/GBA SP AV Adapter
(Added 22nd July 2003)


The GBA/GBA SP AV Adapter is a new 3rd party accessory that effectively transforms your GBA into an external Audio/Video monitor. It has standard RCA inputs for both audio and video and is thus compatible with any AV device that has an AV-Out option.

Full view of the AV Adapter
inside a GBA SP.

Brief Feature List

- Specially designed for GBA/GBA SP console.
- Compatible with various DVD, VCD & Video Game systems.
- Digital menu system controlled by the GBA buttons.
- Stereo Audio Ports, Video Port & Headphone Jack Out.
- Easy Installation

What's In The box?

The only thing that was in the box was the Adapter itself. There weren't any instruction manuals or even a simple leaflet to get you started. This isn't good, because as I discovered later, the Adapter has some extra features that really needs to be documented. Hopefully, mine was just a review set, and not the final shipping product. Don't worry though, I'll explain about the other functions later on in my review.


Installation was a breeze and even my technologically illiterate grandparents could do it without a manual. To give you a better picture, however, here's my installation procedure in list form.

1. Remove whatever game cartridge you have in the GBA.
2. Insert the Adapter into the cartridge slot of the GBA.
3. Plug in one end of the AV cable (which is not included) into the AV-Out ports of your device.
4. Plug in the other end of the AV cable into the Adapter. (Note: Most AV devices follow the standard color coding where Yellow is for the video signal and Red and White for sound. Make sure you don't mix them up.)
5. Plug in you headphones in to the "headphone jack" on the Adapter.
6. Turn on your AV device and then turn on your GBA.
7. If the cables are properly inserted, you should be able to see the video on the GBA's screen and hear the sound through your headphones.

Hooked up to a NGC.
Resident Evil Zero on screen.

Using The Tuner

As you can see, the installation was extremely simple and using it isn't much tougher. Once everything is plugged in correctly and you turn on the GBA, you'll see the usual "GameBoy" flash screen on your display, followed by the video of whatever device you've plugged into the adapter.

Like I said, I didn't like the fact that the Adapter arrived without an instruction manual. Although it works the moment you plug it in, you would never know that it actually had functions to adjust the video display, unless of course like me, you pressed every button and combinations of just to see what would happen. Anyway, here is the list of functions that I've discovered.

- Button "A" will take you forward through the options, and "B" goes backwards.
-Shoulder button "L" and "R" respectively adjusts the current option chosen. As default, it controls the volume level (Note: the GBA volume control is not used).
- Button "Select" will refresh the screen, which I believe is for trouble-shooting picture issues, although I encountered none while using the Adapter.
- Button "Start" and the D-Pad do nothing.

The options that you can adjust are Brightness, Contrast, Hue and Saturation which I found very impressive as it allowed me to tweak the displayed video exactly to my liking. On its own, the picture quality was pretty respectable, considering the fact that GBA resolution is about one-fourth of a regular TV screen. Audio playback requires you to use headphones plugged in to the headphone jack provided on the adapter. It would have been perfect if they could have made the sound play through the GBA's onboard speakers, or like the TV Tuner, include a small speaker on the Adapter itself.

PS2 : Ratchet & Clank.

What Could You Do With It?

For those of you who are now thinking of getting the Adapter, here is a few of my own suggestions on what you could do with it.

1) The Nintendo GameCube has a battery pack that you can buy. With this in mind, you could use the Adapter and your GBA as a monitor for your new "trans-portable" GameCube. Cool!

2) Buy one of those combo CD/VCD discmans and hook it up to the Adapter and your GBA. Now you can watch a movie on the train or on the bus instead of just listening to music. Cool!

3) If your parents won't let you watch VCD/DVD's past your bedtime, buy a really long AV cable then hook it up to the player and the Adapter on your GBA. Find a way to disguise the wires and run it all the way to your bed. Now, when your parents tell you to turn off the TV and go to bed, you can hide under the covers and continue watching your movies with the headset on. Cool! (If you get caught, please don't tell them how you got the idea to do this.)

Family Guy DVD.


The Adapter is really a fun gadget and although not as feature rich as the TV Tuner, is really quite useful if you need an external monitor in a hurry. Thanks to Nintendo, the GBA's display is more than up to the task, and its high resolution can handle nearly any kind of video input from DVDs to home consoles. Remember, however, that unlike the GBA SP, the regular GBA doesn't have a front light, so if you use the Adapter on the GBA, you will have problems viewing the screen in dark or low-light conditions.

Anyway, my only request for future releases, or updates to this great piece of hardware, is for external speaker support and most importantly, a detailed instruction manual. Other than that, the Adapter is certainly a great product, and something that GBA gadget lovers would definitely like.

Lord of the Rings DVD (widescreen).

Premier League Football via Digital Cable Box.

** I would like to apologize for the quality of the pictures and assure you that it does not reflect the true quality of the video displayed by the Adapter - which, dependent on the source, is pretty good. If the picture is blurred, it's probably because I moved while taking the shots on extreme close up.

@ EAGB Advance 2002. All rights reserved.