Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ripoff of the Week: Surface Tablet HD Digital AV Adapter US$39.99

One of my complaints about lower-priced tablet computers, such as my US$249 WiFi-only, 32-GB Google Nexus 7, is lack of a HDMI connector to echo the display on our recently purchased 46-inch Samsung UN46D6050 “Smart” HDTV, which has 4 HDMI inputs (and WiFi connectivity.)

• Updated 12/27/2012 for Microsoft’s claim that the Digital AV Adapter is “proprietary,” which it isn’t and my purchase of a Microsoft Surface RT table on 12/21/2012.

In researching a purchase of a Microsoft Surface tablet running Windows RT for testing Visual Studio LightSwitch HTML Client Preview 2 SharePoint apps, I discovered that the HD video out port “Requires Surface HD Digital AV Adapter sold separately”:

On further investigation, I found the price of the “Surface HD Digital AV Adapter” from the Microsoft store was US$39.99:

Update 12/27/2012: Microsoft’s What Comes in the Bundle page for the US$149.99 Surface Accessory Kit (Red) claims:


The Surface HD Digital AV Adapter Details page that opens from the More Info > link also claims the connecting cable is “proprietary.”

Pshaw! That cable is no more proprietary than a Type A to Micro Type B USB connector.

I assumed that the small connector was the micro-HDMI standard male on one end and a standard HDMI female connector used by other consumer electronic devices on the other. (A female connector is a better match for standard low-cost male-to-male HDMI extension cables.)

A quick search turned up a Microsoft Surface dual monitor setup with standard Micro-HDMI cable YouTube video segment that confirmed my suspicion:


Description: You don't have to purchase Microsoft's Surface HD Digital AV Adapter in order to hook up to an external monitor. All you need is a standard Micro-HDMI cable that can be purchased cheaply from Amazon: [for US$8.99, six-foot length.]

This allows you to have a dual monitor setup using only your Surface.

My favorite cable supplier, SF Cables, sells HDMI to Micro-HDMI cables in lengths ranging from 1.5 to 15 feet for US$6.95 to $11.95. Alternatively, you can buy an HDMI Female to Micro HDMI Male Adapter for $6.95 and use standard HDMI cabling. However, an accident might cause the adapter’s leverage to damage the Surface’s connector. A better choice is a 8" HDMI-F/HDMI Mini-M Adapter, v1.4 1080p for $5.99.

Here’s a diagram of the OakLeaf office and our home WiFi network, including entertainment devices in the living room:

OakLeaf Network DSL2

• Update 12/27/2012: The Surface tablet is no longer “future.” I purchased a Microsoft Surface for Windows RT on 12/21/2012 and have tested it with the non-proprietary (i.e., standard) HDMI cables described above. See my Video Format Conversion from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 Files for Microsoft Surface RT Tablets and Running the SurveyApplicationCS Demo Project under Windows 8 RT on a Microsoft Surface RT Tablet posts for my first uses of it.

The laptop is adjacent to a studio-quality MIDI keyboard with associated Roland and Korg rack-mount MIDI synthesizers. The laptop runs Windows 7 Premium with Windows Media Center for HD video playback of time-shifted *.mpg files from a 2.5 TB USB-3 Seagate external drive.

I use a Logitech MK320 wireless keyboard and M570 wireless trackball with the laptop, so I shouldn’t need to buy a pricey Touch or Type keyboard for the Surface. Hopefully, extra USB receivers will work OK, but I’m checking with Logitech Support to find out if these products support Windows RT on the Surface tablet.

For the details of the network configuration and my problems connecting DISH Networks VIP722k DVR to AT&T DSL service with fixed IP addresses, see Changing AT&T DSL Fixed IP Addresses to DHCP to Accommodate DISH Network’s Broadband Configuration of 8/15/2012.

Note: The runner up in the tablet rip-off department is Google, who charges $24.99 for an additional wall-wart charger:


You can buy similar chargers from many sources (e.g., the CellPhone Shop) for about $6.99.

On the other hand, Google charges $399 for the WiFi-only 16-GB Nexus 10, easing the financial strain for early adopters. The $499 32-GB version, priced the same as the standard 32-GB Surface with Windows RT, was out of stock when this post was written.


Aunt Sue said...

Thanks for this info. I am not techno savvy but can smell a rat here.