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Is there really a difference between Composite/S-Video and standard video for PS2?

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Is there really a difference between Composite/S-Video and standard video for PS2?

Old 07-29-03, 01:04 PM
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Is there really a difference between Composite/S-Video and standard video for PS2?

I'm itching to pull the trigger finger and make the purchase, but something inside of me says: "Don't do it - composite video won't be any better than what you've got now!!"


What do you say?
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Old 07-29-03, 01:06 PM
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I can tell the difference on my 27" Wega.

If you have a decent TV 27" or larger you should be able to tell a difference.

It's not night and day, but it is a little sharper than composite.
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Old 07-29-03, 01:25 PM
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did you mean "component"? when you say "standard", are you referring to "composite"?

4 levels:
RF (WORST - please buy a new tv...)
composite (yellow RCA plug)
s-video
component (3 plugs - BEST)

i use s-video minimum and yes, there is a difference.

Last edited by young; 07-29-03 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 07-29-03, 01:28 PM
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I can definitely tell the difference between S-video and composite.

I have the capability but have not hooked up anything Component yet to determine the differences there. I do not have HD capable TVs, but do have component connections.

Both my TVs are 27".

I'd definitely go at least S-video.
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Old 07-29-03, 01:43 PM
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There is a HUGE difference between composite and s-video. I could easily tell the difference even on a 20" TV. The difference between s-video and component is not a big difference, unless you have a EDTV or HDTV.
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Old 07-29-03, 01:43 PM
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On my 27" I couldn't tell a difference between S-video and Component on my DVD player. I just use the component to free up the other jacks.

I'd say the difference between S-video and Component is really only meaningful on larger sets or too hardcore videophiles that really no what to look for to tell the difference.
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Old 07-29-03, 01:55 PM
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Originally posted by Joshic
There is a HUGE difference between composite and s-video. I could easily tell the difference even on a 20" TV. The difference between s-video and component is not a big difference, unless you have a EDTV or HDTV.
Yup.
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Old 07-29-03, 03:42 PM
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Just dont get sucked into buying Monster Svideo cables. That I can tell you, I have not ever been able to tell a difference between using some cheapo s-video cables and monster cable.
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Old 07-29-03, 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by menaz
Just dont get sucked into buying Monster Svideo cables. That I can tell you, I have not ever been able to tell a difference between using some cheapo s-video cables and monster cable.
I second that. Though I've heard you can tell a difference on large TV's (i.e. 40" projection sets) with monster and other "premium" cables.
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Old 07-29-03, 05:23 PM
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I have a 27 inch WEGA too... non HD. On this tv, I can tell the difference between composite and S-video (pretty big), and even the difference between s-video and component (minor). Of course, you'll need to properly calibrate your set with Video Essentials or something. On my old 27 inch Quasar TV, there wasn't as much difference. If your tv has svideo in, though, you'll probably see a difference.

Still, I was content to leave all game systems on an s-video switcher, and leave component for my DVD player. But then I found a Bestbuy that marked an open component monster cable for PS2 at 19.99... snatched that up, and used a composite switcher to switch the component video, and voila, great picture, great sound (with optical out audio).

Of course, you'll need component cables to use progressive scan at all... though this is only for HDTVs, and is much more prominent for Xbox than PS2.

The cables will make a difference, even on small TVs, if a) the cable length is pretty long or b) if there's a lot of interference (a lot of other cables running parallel to it). That's when shielding comes into play. Even on composite, there is a difference between the cheapest cables you can buy and the next tier up. The only cables which don't need shielding, etc., are the toslink optical out audio cables... they're all pretty much the same.
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Old 07-29-03, 05:28 PM
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Originally posted by menaz
Just dont get sucked into buying Monster Svideo cables. That I can tell you, I have not ever been able to tell a difference between using some cheapo s-video cables and monster cable.
I agree with your opinions about Monster cables, but it would be unfair to say that there is completely no difference between Monster and generic cheap cables. If the s-video cable is longer than 10' on a large screen, you'll see slightly better video quality with Monster stuff, but most people don't need extended cables in most instances.
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Old 07-29-03, 06:54 PM
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Yes, I of course meant "component" video as opposed to "composite" - my mistake.

I guess I just can't comprehend how it can be any better, because using composite (which, I say is "standard" since that's what the PS2 comes with), it looks fantastic already!! What's going to get better??
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Old 07-29-03, 06:55 PM
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Also, since I run my A/V through my receiver, I may not even have this option since I'd need enough cord length to now run the audio portion to the receiver, and the video portion to the TV - which are side by side.

Anyone else do it this way?
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Old 07-30-03, 12:19 PM
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Does your reciever not have optical in for audio?
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Old 07-30-03, 12:42 PM
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You just have to find an S-video cable for the PS2 that doesn't have the stupid plastic plug in the middle of the cable so you can peel the video apart from the audio so it will reach.

I don't know why they put those damn things on cables to start with. I had a problem with the X-box advanced AV pack, but the thing holding the cables together was just rubber so I was able to cut it off and peel the S-video off.
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Old 07-30-03, 12:51 PM
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Whether there's a visible difference beween composite and s-video depends largely on your equipment.

Feel free to skip this part if you like:
---
First off, it helps to understand what's going on. The signal to your TV is expressed in two forms: luminance and chrominance.

In the beginning of television, there was only luminance. This is just a signal telling the TV how bright to make each "dot" as the raster travels across the screen. This is also known as black and white television.

When color TV was invented, it was accomplished by sending a second signal along with the first one. The chrominance signal basically tells the TV which color to make each "dot". This has no brightness info with it, it's just a pure color type of signal.

Combine the two and you get color TV. Now, we go back to when color TV was invented again. The way they actually did it was to include the chrominance information superimposed on the same signal by modulating the signal with a subcarrier. This allowed for backwards compatiblity, in that the B&W tv's didn't see the color signal at all and so didn't get confused and display wonky things.

This subcarrier is important in understanding the difference between s-video and composite video. The subcarrier is actually a 3.57 mhz sine wave, which is phase modulated with color difference signals (R-Y and B-Y).

Now, in order to display color TV, this means that the composite video signal has to be split back up to luminance and chrominance and then the chrominance must be demodulated and processed back with the luminance to create normal color. The splitting means filtering out the color subcarrier from the luminance signal.

---
Okay, you probably skipped the above. This is where you need to read now.

Filtering is not perfect. Never will be. Theoretically can't be, in fact. The upshot of this is that there will always be a small amount of color subcarrier present in the filtered luminance. There's other tradeoff's to this design, like the fact that the color signal's horizontal resolution has to be limited to half of the luminance's resolution (Nyquist's Law states that aliasing will occur if it isn't), the color signal is compressed when it is modulated, losing some of the color definition. The hardware that does the separation is called a "comb filter".

Now we get down to the meat of it, composite video is basically identical to the signal you get off the air waves (after it's brought down to normal frequencies). With composite video, the picture is only as good as the comb filter. Some hardware is better than others.

S-Video separates the chrominance and luminance signals onto separate wires, thus eliminating crosstalk. This takes the filter in the TV out of the equation entirely. In the case of a video game system, this is probably a substanially better signal than composite, because the video hardware in most consoles is quite capable of generating the luminance and chrominance signals independantly, and so they're never mixed together. In other cases, such as some DVD players and all VCR's, this may not always be the case. For a DVD, the data is stored as.. well.. bits. The DVD player may be a good one which generates the signals separately and keeps them separate all the way to the S-Video jack. In some cheap players (mostly older ones), cheap hardware has been used and the signal is generated by the decoder as a composite signal. Then a cheap comb filter has been added to give an S-Video output. In some cases, this means that the quality of the S-Video is noticably *worse* than the composite, because you're just using the cheap comb filter in the DVD player instead of using the possibly better comb filter in the TV. In the case of VHS, signals are stored as composite analog signals anyway, so again, it's a matter of choosing which comb filter you'd prefer to use, the one in the TV or the one in the VCR.

Component is another beast altogether, and involves sending three separate luminance signals... one each for Red, Green, and Blue. There's no crosstalk involved. Component is almost always better than any of the other methods, and can use various signal methods to provide better resolution and so forth. This is why it's required for HDTV type connections, usually.

So, short answer is that with a video source that's entirely generated like a video game system, the S-Video will almost always look better, if they designed the game system right. All modern game systems are done right, AFAIK.

What does "better" mean? Sharper, more clear colors. Less crosstalk and aliasing into the brightness signal means that your pictures edges look better. The difference can be subtle if you have a very good comb filter in your TV, but if you do have that, then you have an expensive TV. A lower end, cheaper TV will show a much greater difference between composite and s-video.

Last edited by Otto; 07-30-03 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 07-30-03, 01:33 PM
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Originally posted by Toad
I guess I just can't comprehend how it can be any better, because using composite (which, I say is "standard" since that's what the PS2 comes with), it looks fantastic already!! What's going to get better??
Really? My roommate has his PS2 hooked up to my 36" VVega with composite cables, and I think it looks like garbage...extremely soft. I keep bugging him to upgrade to s-video or component, but he's unwilling to make the investment.
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Old 07-31-03, 09:45 AM
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Slightly off-topic - those of you with the 27" Wegas, do you have HORRIBLE geometry on your TVs? I've yet to see a Wega with perfect geometry. My 27" Wega has a horrible bowing problem on the bottom of the TV (it curves down and to the left) and I won't even get into my 36" XBR... I will never buy a Wega again.
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Old 07-31-03, 10:47 AM
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I've never noticed any thing wrong with my Wega. But I'm also not a videophile and might just not be noticing minor imperfections
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Old 07-31-03, 10:52 AM
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my 34" xbr had nearly perfect geometry out of the box. maybe you need to orient your TV in an east-west direction (with the tube facing north or south) and also remove and magnetic sources that may be near your TV.

you can also go into the TV's service menu to adjust geometry. sony tvs are well known for having great service menus, so each person can adjust the tv to their liking.
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