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Xbox -> Vga

Discussion in 'Xbox Forums' started by IanM, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. IanM

    IanM
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    Does anyone know the best way for me to connect my PAL XBOX to the VGA input of a plasma? I also wish to have digital 5.1 sound.

    I bought the High Def AV cable with component outputs and that works fine for the component inputs on the plasma, but I want to keep them for the DVD player. The only spare input I have is the VGA so I'd like to use that. I tried using a simple component to 15 pin dsub cable, but that just appeared very green for some reason (incompatible RGB formats I guess). I tried playing with the plasma's menu options but, unlike on the component input, it didn't allow me to pick a "Component" input format for the VGA input.

    As an XBOX is essentially a PC, I expected there to be an official Microsoft VGA cable, but such a thing doesn't seem to exist. I found a couple of third party boxes, not with digital sound output.

    I considered the JS RGB SCART to VGA converter that everyone raves about, but I might mod the box to allow US games which output 720p or higher. I'd want to maintain that sort of resolution to the screen if possible which I guess would rule out anything other than the high def lead.

    This made me look at generic component to VGA converters. However they have massively varying prices which implies varying quality, so I wondered if anyone could recommend one? I know that you generally get what you pay for in this world, but if anyone knows of a hidden gem...

    Can anyone help?

    Cheers,
    Ian.
     
  2. Willy

    Willy
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    You could just hook it up with component. My TV only has one component input, but I just use this switcher.

    It works fine for component, and prog scan is fine, with no visible loss of quality.
     
  3. bxd

    bxd
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    Hi,

    If you want to access HiDef games, you'll need to get your pal X-box chipped to output a HiDef signal. Search on this forum for further details.

    If you want to feed a vga input then you'll have to use a converter to do so. The best one is probably the Key Digital CTC-A2 (model no ?) but it's quite expensive. Gordon at Convergent av may have these....... otherwise you may have to import one. Another alternative is the Burosch CON-1. Both of these will work at pal and ntsc interlaced rates as well as progressive rates, although you should check to see if the CON-1 operates ABOVE 480p. Key Digital do sell a unit specifically for X-box.

    You should also check to see how your display works (scales and displays) with computer inputs that aren't straightforward computer rates. Some plasma and lcd displays will only show vga inputs as 4:3 and may not scale them appropriate to your needs.

    If you don't want to spend much at all ... you can either but a component video switcher or use a scart switcher and use made up (component to scart) cables to make the connection.


    Brian
     
  4. IanM

    IanM
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I think that Key Digital products sound the best, albeit expensive, solution. However they seem to have two products that sound very similar - the XBlaster (at $199) and the Clear Video 2 (at $299). The X-Blaster is specifically designed for the XBOX but I can't see much difference between that and the more expensive model, apart from that the output on the latter is RGBHV rather than RGsBHV. I think that my plasma accepts either, but I'll check this evening.

    I found a review of the XBlaster (at http://www.envynews.com/review.php?ID=411) , which was generally complimentary but did highlight two problems: it can't handle 480i and the VGA pass through is pretty poor (although this doesn't matter much to me here). The inability to handle 480i does sound a problem though - I'm not sure if I'll be able to use it until I get my xbox chipped, and even then I'm not sure if I would be able to see the dashboard, which sounds a pretty annoying limitation. I don't fancy having to connect up to the component inputs just to change a setting.

    Judging from the specs, the Clear Video 2 (KD-CTCA2) has the same 480i limitation. Does anyone know if this restriction is actually as bad as it sounds? And can anyone recommend any other solutions?

    I saw that a similar thread yesterday mentioned some products on the Yorvik site (http://www.yorvik-consoles.freeserve.co.uk/) but I can't tell if they would handle the higher resolutions.

    Cheers,
    Ian.
     
  5. Willy

    Willy
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    You're ony connecting via VGA because your plasma's component input is already being used, right? In that case just get the component switcher. £35 and you're sorted.

    Obviously if you want to use VGA for some specific reason then that's a different matter.
     
  6. IanM

    IanM
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    Willy,

    You're probably right. The main reason to connect to the VGA was that I had 4 input sources (DVD, Sky+, PC, Xbox) and 4 inputs on the plasma. I wanted to get them to fit nicely, and the xbox was the only problem. If I could get a component -> VGA converter for about £50 that others have used and can recommend then that would be ideal, but otherwise I'll probably have to use a component switcher.

    I think that your link might be broken though because the switcher I saw didn't seem to have component input/outputs. Also it was a manual switcher and ideally (being lazy) I'd want one that switched automatically (or possibly by remote control). I generally keep the xbox switched off (because it's noisy) so I'd want it to take priority when it's on and otherwise for the DVD signal to pass through. Is that how your switcher works, because if so then it sounds like what I'd be after?

    Cheers,
    Ian.
     
  7. Daithi

    Daithi
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  8. Willy

    Willy
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    It's a video switcher, but handles 75ohm, so is fine for component. I wasn't sure about it, but I took some advice on this site and it really does work. I can't tell any difference between component going straight from Xbox to TV (Tosh Strata), or Xbox to TV via switch box. It does progressive scan perfectly.

    Unfortunately for you, it's manual switching. I think I saw one for about £50 that had a remote, but can't remember where from. Somebody on this site suggested it - search for "component switch box" if you can be bothered - there have been a few threads on this.
     
  9. IanM

    IanM
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    Thanks again guys.

    Daithi,

    That Digital-X sounds similar to the Key Digital XBlaster but a lot cheaper. However it doesn't mention resolutions higher than 480p. My display has 768 vertical pixels so I'd like to be able to make the most of 720p US games in the future. It did clarify the dashboard issue for me though. It sounds like the dashboard won't be visible, but games will because the PAL XBOX will automatically shift to 480p. This makes me feel a bit better about risking the Key Digital display.

    Willy,

    I did a search and found that you'd already done the work for me! I really want auto-switching or possibly remote control if the box isn't too ugly and it doesn't seem that there's a cheap box that fits those requirements. After thinking about it I realised that I don't want to pay too much for a component switcher because I plan on upgrading my amp when I can afford it to something like a Denon 3803, which will probably have a decent switcher built in.

    So I've got the choice of the (pretty expensive) Key Digital box or waiting until I get an amp and using a manual switcher in the meantime (or possibly an automatic SCART switcher in conjunction with the Advanced AV rather than the High Def cable). Decisions, decisions...

    Cheers,
    Ian.
     
  10. Willy

    Willy
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    Here's the one with the remote that was suggested to me: http://www.letsautomate.com/10610.cfm?CFID=49954&CFTOKEN=9791792. It was suggested in the thread that I started asking for a component switch box. It looks to be about £35, and says it does support 75ohm, so should be fine for component.

    I didn't go for it because nobody had actually tried this one out yet (the one I actually got was recommended to me by a guy on the Edge forum who was already using it, so I figured it was a safe option). However, at that price it may be worth you giving it a go.

    Anyway, good luck whatever option you go for!
     
  11. encaser

    encaser
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    The box doesn't have component inputs on it, but does have composite - are you getting terms and/or connects mixed up?
     
  12. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    MS deliberatly broke the xbox so it couldn't work with a VGA monitor.

    If you just want to hook it upto a plasma screen [and not
    a VGA monitor] then its pretty simple:

    Buy PlasmaVGA and use a standard RGB Xbox cable.

    http://www.rgb2svideo.com/ <- PlasmaVGA [Note this only
    works with plasma screens and NOT VGA monitors].
    Or pick up one of these from AA:

    http://www.audioauthority.com/aacconsumers/9a62detc.html

    and use a hidef cable.

    I've got plasmavga and is pretty good, but my Xbox is NTSC which enables all the hidef modes and when you've played with hi-def you don't want anything else so mine is hooked up via component running in 480p or 720p.

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  13. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Read the FAQ - PAL Xbox won't output anything other than 480i unless you mod it and select US region on the EEPROM.

    On recent PAL consoles you don't even get the options anymore, as it as a bug that MS released on early xboxes, if you upgrade to xbox live you'll lose the hi def settings. I have both an NTSC xbox and a PAL one.

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  14. olaiho

    olaiho
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    There is a REAL Xbox VGA hack available. Currently it only works with v1.0 machines.

    It includes chipping your Xbox and flashing the mod chip with a new, hacked bios that forces the video chip to output progressive RGB instead of component. In addition you need to build your own VGA cable (quite easy).

    From what I have read, the picture quality achieved with this hack blows away all available VGA boxes. It's real RGB VGA straight from the source.

    BR,
    Olaiho
     
  15. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Forget Xbox Live though.

    Neil.
     
  16. Willy

    Willy
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    My switch works just fine with Live.
     
  17. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    But do you have a hacked bios?

    Neil.
     
  18. Willy

    Willy
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  19. Willy

    Willy
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    Don't know to be honest - I didn't do my chipping and all that stuff.
     
  20. IanM

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    Neil,

    Thanks for the advice. I had read your FAQ, which is why I wasn't sure that I could use the XBlaster (which doesn't handle 480i) until I had the box chipped. However the German site stated that "The PAL XBox automatically recognizes the X-VGA Box and games start directly in 480p" when connected to their product. I must admit that it sounds dodgy - I can't believe that they are telling the XBOX to use 480p when the High Def lead can't.

    Frankly I prefer to go for a set-up that is recommended by someone else (especially a moderator) so I'll probably be looking at that copperbox site.

    A direct VGA implementation does sound tempting though...

    Cheers,
    Ian.
     
  21. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Then I'd say no. Hack the bios and you get banned :)

    I know if happened to me.

    Neil.
     
  22. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    I doubt thats the case either otherwise every man and his dog would have hacked up a cable to do it. I certainly would !

    The AA stuff is fantastic, but pricey. Remember it will still be 480i being displayed through it though and it won't do hi-def modes. However, even with this the picture on a plasma is usually pretty fantastic anyway. Also its worth ordering AA stuff from AA themeselves as they will put in a 220V DC adaptor.

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  23. IanM

    IanM
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    Thanks Neil,

    What setup would you recommend for the best picture quality and flexibility? I want to be able to play on-line with the best quality picture, which seems to imply a US XBOX. However I have several UK games and would also want to use them (and to play magazine demo-discs).

    I guess that if I modded the US XBOX to play PAL games, then I wouldn't be able to play them on-line. Is this true? It seems that the best solution is probably two XBOXes - one US and one PAL, with neither modded. However I also like the thought of being able to play from the hard-drive, which is only possible with a modded box.

    Are there any mods possible that still allow XBOX live to work? If not, then are there any likely to appear in the near future (now that Live is truly "Live")? Or is the fix with XBOX Live theoretically impossible to work-around?

    I think I'll wait a bit and see if any "Live-friendly" mods turn up.

    In the meantime I'm using the RGB passthrough on my Sky+ box to feed the Advanced AV cable from the Xbox to the screen. This works nicely in that the XBOX takes priority when it's on, but Sky+ takes priority when the Xbox is off. However I cannot turn the XBOX on/off remotely because there is no power button on the DVD remote. Does anyone know if the XBOX recognises a power on/off code and if so then how to implement it (using a third-party remote if necessary).

    I realise that I've wandered (and waffled) a bit off topic here - I'll post a couple of separate threads if there isn't much response.

    Cheers,
    Ian.
     
  24. NeilMcRae

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    Your best option is to buy a US Xbox ;-) But you can get what you want by using a mod chip just make sure you install a switch. I'm considering buying another xbox just for emulation/hack purposes. If you run hacked bios with the mod off, a number will stop working and Xbox Live will detect the hacked bios and ban you. So alot of the nice hackables on xbox make live a no go zone.

    Neil.
     
  25. Daithi

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    The Matrix chip can be set to always on or to alternare on/off with each eject. The chip comes without a bios, so you need to flash it yourself (easy to do). As long as you flash it with a bios that points to a dashboard not using the default name you should have no problem with live, but you'll need to remember never to try and connect to live while booted into the modded bios. If you do your machine will be banned.
     
  26. MontyUK

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    Do all the usual mod chips work in US Xbox's too ? This is the route I'm considering, so I can get Hi-Def visuals, but I'd like to be able to play PAL games as well on my US machine. Can I just get it chipped as normal ?
     
  27. Jason S

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    All the usual chips work in the US X-Boxes, the hardware is exactly the same it's just the BIOS that dtermines if it's US (NTSC) or Euro (PAL), and the PSU.

    As Neil has said, be careful with the mod chips and live. I made the fatal mistake of disabling the mod chip but leaving my eeprom set to NTSC (when I have a PAL Xbox) :suicide: It's easy to lose track of what's set where, and what it was originally.

    So now I'm currently banned from live until I fix it (which is easy enough, just waiting for an key part...)

    The only other thing to consider is the power supply, I don't believe the PSU is autosensing so you would need a stepdown transformer or another PSU mod.
     

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