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X-BOX to computer hookup

Old 08-06-02, 09:20 PM
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X-BOX to computer hookup

XVGA: Xbox on Your PC

Today weíre previewing the first VGA adapter made specifically for the Microsoft Xbox video game system. This device (Iíll call it the X VGA Box) allows you to connect your Xbox console to a computer monitor.

The X VGA Box is a very small accessory, much in the size of the A/V packs, comes in a transparent dark black enclosure and itís smaller than an standard Xbox controller. Well, I donít know if thatís a good indication Ö

The X VGA Box has no manual, since itís very easy to use. In the case you need instructions, here is a diagram of possible connections found in the back of the product box.

Plug & Play installation.
No need of external power supply.
Works on both PAL & NTSC video game systems.
Automatically detects NTSC/PAL system mode.
Built in video input and AV output.
Two VGA connectors.
Audio input jack (PC to X VGA Box)
Audio output jack (X VGA Box to speakers/headphones)
Off-On switch
Source button
Double scan conversion (31.5KHz for NTSC, 31.25KHz for PAL).
The X VGA Box has an extensive array of inputs/outputs and switches.

You have two main buttons on the X VGA Box. One button (ON-OFF) allows you to switch between the Xbox and the VGA signal from the computer, while the other button lets you switch the video mode between composite, S-video and component.

The X VGA Box includes a VGA pass-through function that lets your computer and the Xbox be connected simultaneously, so you donít have to disconnect your monitor from your video card every time you want to play with your Xbox. Just flip the switch to change between the two and chose which one is displayed on your monitor. The X VGA Box also includes an audio pass-through, so the sound from the computer and the Xbox can be also connected simultaneously.

Dual Display:
If this wasnít enough, the X VGA Box also features an A/V out which is exactly the same as the Xbox one. So you can connect your Xbox to a TV and/or audio amplifiers in the same way that you always use your Xbox, while still remaining connected to your computer monitor and speakers/headphones. The X VGA Box automatically detects NTSC/PAL system mode and display the video

The Pass-Through and Dual Display features allow you to have the device hooked up to your TV and monitor at the same time with the ability to change between the two video sources (PC or Xbox) with a little switch.

When I hooked up the X VGA Box to my monitor, I was expecting to be blown away with the graphics. Finally I could connect to my monitor the mighty Xbox, the video game system that has the best real-time 3D visuals on this planet. What happened? Well, the truth is that I wasnít impressed at all.

For this test I used my own computer monitor, the Samsung SyncMaster 753DF, the first CRT flat panel monitor, kind of WEGA of pc monitors. It has a great contrast ratio and brightness and has 16,9Ē of visible area.

The on screen visuals had vibrant colors that a regular TV canít produce and the picture was very clear, with a contrast ratio only seen on high-end TV sets like the Panasonicís Tau line. I got a better image quality than the one found on a TV, but at the same time the visuals were not as good as what you get with PC games running on your computer monitor.

I asked myself, ďIs this device not up to the task?Ē, ďWhatís the problem?Ē The first approach could be that the signal is degraded because of being processed in the X VGA Box one more step than in a direct connection to a TV. If you read my previous article about video signals you know why this happens. But I was not pleased with this explanation.

Jaggies Everywhere
I couldnít understand why I was seeing jaggies everywhere on my monitor while at the same time (with Dual Display on) I had an image on my TV free of jagged edges. Suddenly, the visuals displayed in my monitor started to look the same as those stills the developers release. After a moment of thinking I realized why I got these visuals which were better than TV graphics but, simultaneously, they were not as good as weíre used to with PC games.

The Horrible Truth:
Besides the high resolution it can show, a computer monitor has a greater detail compared to a standard TV at a 640x480 resolution. And when I say standard TV, I mean a TV that doesnít feature HDTV. No matter if you have your Xbox hooked up with S-Video to a standard Sony WEGA, you wonít get the level of detail found in a monitor.

So what it seemed as the main advantage of a monitor, ended up being the cause of the letdown. The TV blur is no longer here, but because the Xbox games are displayed at 640x480 on the monitor, the level of detail makes visible some things you couldnít see on a TV.

Now I realized that on PC games we avoid this by just increasing the resolution, so when you play a game like Unreal at 1024x768 you get a sense of a better image quality than in lower resolutions. But I couldnít do this now, this time because of the device. You should know that this is not the final retail version of this hardware, which is supposed to also let you switch to component video signal.

While I havenít been able to test a ďfull scene anti-aliasingĒ Xbox game (before you ask, there is no Xbox game with that feature yet), Iíll update this preview once I can test it with Unreal Championship or Malice, or any Xbox game that will feature full scene anti-aliasing.

The X VGA Box is a wonderful device. Itís not perfect, but itís the best VGA solution around, because is the only one made specifically for the Xbox and is cheaper compared to other VGA converters. The A/V pass-through function is probably the best bonus feature and the ability to have a dual display is also great.

Whether the X VGA Box is worth buying depends on your existing audio/video setup. If you already have a CRT based HDTV, you wonít get a better image quality. But if you play your Xbox on a regular TV (and of course have a computer) this is must-buy. The X VGA Box will be priced between $40 and $50 depending on the territory. The price and the image quality definitely makes the X VGA Box the best choice of the VGA adapters in the marketplace.

Place does matter:
Should you buy this X VGA Box? Well, thatís a hard question to answer, however I think that you should ask yourself another question. Once Xbox Online arrives, Where are you going to have (or already have) your broadband connection? In your living room with your TV set, or in your bedroom with your computer? Several gamers are living in college dorms with only a computer and a broadband connection.

Before the Xbox, consoles were mostly in the living room with the main TV, and broadband connections were in the room where computer is. This accessory may end up being a must-have for any Xbox gamer, because the Xboxís broadband feature is a first time in the industry. Itíll change the way we play games, and so, the way we use our gaming systems.
Old 08-06-02, 10:04 PM
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Does this makes Halo look better???

What's the difference putting this into a monitor versus a TV????
Old 08-06-02, 10:11 PM
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Re: Wow!!

Originally posted by kar10
Does this makes Halo look better???

What's the difference putting this into a monitor versus a TV????
Well, yes and no. The image has better color and is sharper, maybe too much sharper. It appears to 'square' images a little bit. A computer monitor is so much sharper than a TV, and the games were designed to be played on a TV, so sharpening them that much will cause a 'squaring' effect.

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