Xbox 360 HDMI/VGA/Component clarification needed

Hi guys. I now have access to a 1080p TV to which I’ve hooked up my Xbox 360 using component cables. I also have an HDDVD drive.

Now, I realize I can play games that support 1080p through the component cables, but I can’t play HDDVDs through component. So what resolution does it play the HDDVDs in when it’s set to 1080p? Does it play it at 1080i? 720p? 480p?

And I’m also thinking of getting the VGA cable, since I have a 360 that doesn’t have HDMI output, and this TV has VGA input. Does the VGA cable allow viewing of HDDVDs at 1080p? Or is that restricted only to HDMI because of the copy protection bullshit also?

You can’t play HD-DVDs through component? Or do you just mean at 1080/60p?

It should play HD-DVDs fine in 1080i. Assuming your set has a proper deinterlacer and inverse telecine capability you should notice no difference between the two when watching the 1080/24p HD-DVD format.

Component is limited to 1080i. VGA can play 1080p, but your display may or may not support this.

Exactly what Islanti said.

IF you have a 1080p television, then you should use VGA for 1080p resolution.

It should be noted that different TVs handle the VGA input differently. Reports on the
Xbox forums vary from “VGA is beautiful in my TV!” to “VGA sux!!!11”. If it does
work well and looks great, let us know the model :)

Some TVs expect 15-235 as the RGB value range while others expect 0-255. There’s a new setting in the Dashboard that lets you set the RGB color range… standard or expanded are the choices which match these ranges. Not sure WTF “Intermediate” or whatever MS added does, though.

Actually Reldan is a little more correct. The 360 will do 1080p over component for dashboard/games(if supported)/etc and 1080i for the HD-DVD. Unless your watching a HD-DVD with content over 24 fps and your TV’s deinterlacer doesn’t suck you’ll see no difference between 1080p and 1080i.

no, they’re both correct, I’m assuming islanti was onlytalking about playback of hd dvd’s.

I should have been more clear what I was responding to. Jake said that you need to use VGA if you have a 1080p TV. This isn’t true since the 360 should do 1080p/60 over component for non-HD-DVD content and 1080i for HD-DVD.

I used this handy guide over at when I was looking to buy a VGA cable. Unfortunately for me, even when I adjust the color range in the dashboard, the image on my sony bravia kdl 40V2500 and my LG 20" widescreen monitor are still washed out and muddy when using the VGA cable.

There really isn’t a good reason to rush out and buy a VGA cable if you’re already doing fine with the component connection. You most likely will notice no difference in HDDVD playback.

Thanks for all the replies guys. One thing I’ve noticed about this TV is that it looks great for high definition content, but man, ordinary DVDs looks like ass on this TV. The handy guide that ryan linked to (this)says that with a VGA cable, even ordinary DVDs are upscaled to 1080p. But with component they are shown at 480p. Does anyone have any experience with the 360’s DVD upscaling capabilities? Does it do a good job?

Since I use a 16:10 aspect LCD, I’m really using both. The picture looks absolutely awful when a computer
tries to run at 1024x768 and stretches across it, but the 360 is set to 720p and both PAL and NTSC DVDs look fine.

Someone else may be able to give you the lowdown on the 360’s abilities as a DVD upscaler, but from what I’ve read the 360 is one of the worst DVD players you can use.

I suspect you’d be better off spending the money you’d drop on a VGA cable buying a standalone upscaling DVD player, which anymore you can get for ~$50. Or save towards a Sony Blu-ray Player (aka PS3) which also happens to be one of the best DVD players on the market.

The very first version of the 360’s DVD player sucked. That’s long gone though. Look at an objective test. They’re not testing upscaling on the 360 and it still beats the PS3 upscaling over HDMI for technical accuracy. The summary comment they made: “[the 360] set the bar as a game console-based DVD player.”

That said I’ve found the 360 player to produce a great image upscaling. Frankly, I’ve found some of the poorer HD-DVDs almost indistinguishable from the upscaled DVDs. I have two 360’s hooked up via VGA (on two different TVs) for this reason.

The info here about component vs. VGA is correct - the 360 will output 1080p over component, which some TVs will accept and some will not (not every 1080p TV will accept a 1080p signal over component). If you are playing an HD-DVD, it’ll output 1080i. Due to the 24 frames-per-second (or 30 fps for TV shows) nature of DVDs, if your TV has a reasonable deinterlacer you’ll notice NO DIFFERENCE between 1080i and 1080p when watching HD-DVDs. Or blu-ray for that matter.

The 360 will only upscale DVDs over VGA and HDMI. Not component (the DVD association rules prevent this). So yes, VGA will let you upscale DVDs. The 360 actually has a phenominally good scaler in it, and does a fantastic job upscaling DVDs. The problem is, their DVD decoding software isn’t that hot. Some DVDs just don’t look right, and it has problem deinterlacing mixed still-and-video scenes (like many menus).

So the 360 is a pretty poor DVD player overall - some movies look just fine and others look totally wrong - but the scaling aspect of it is fantastic. I wrote an article showcasing some of the problems you can expect, here.

Now, don’t freak out about all those images in the article. Many DVDs look just fine. If your TV has a good video processor in it, you can get much better final output thanks to your TV picking up the slack. The link that Islanti posted shows that in their tests, the 360 failed a couple of important 3-2 pulldown tests, and those are the highly visible things you’ll notice on some DVDs.

Note also that the DVD playback stuff has seen some revisions since Jason’s article. (And the Meaning of Life DVD he tests has actual mastering problems that were fixed with subsequent tests.)

Actually watching movies, rather than running HQV, I think the image looks great upscaled to 720p on my DLP set over VGA.