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Thread: Is there a VGA Adapter for The Original Xbox?

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    Pear (Level 6) wingzrow's Avatar
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    Default Is there a VGA Adapter for The Original Xbox?

    After seeing this video on how to get the dreamcast to display in 720P through a VGA cord and an upscaler, it gave me an idea.

    Could this be done with the original XBOX? Did the original xbox even HAVE a VGA adapter?

    Video i'm talking about below

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OR1m83NbHs

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    Without building your own VGA box, no there isn't. The best signal you can get from the original Xbox is with a component cable at either 480p 720p or 1080i and the best cable for that is this thing right here:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Microsoft-HD...-/140700926706

    It allows you to have component video with stereo audio and it has a toslink connector to allow you to have 5.1 sound with Dolby Digital and/or DTS. Once you get the cable these options will show up and you have to go into the menu on the Dashboard and enable the resolutions, of course change the video mode to Widescreen not Letterbox and then select the audio output you would like. If you have an HDTV, it should support all of these resolutions.





    Now if you live in Europe and have a RGB SCART Xbox, I couldn't tell you what to do there, since I live in the US.
    Last edited by alec006; 03-09-2012 at 07:01 AM.
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    I'm not exactly sure. I believe SCART works on all Xbox models worldwide. But that type of RGB doesn't follow VGA standards so most monitors wouldn't like it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by theclaw View Post
    I'm not exactly sure. I believe SCART works on all Xbox models worldwide. But that type of RGB doesn't follow VGA standards so most monitors wouldn't like it.
    I believe it would unless Microsoft cut the pins to those connectors on NTSC AV Ports. The only problem is RGB SCART will only support up to 480i since SCART is a SDTV standard right?

    I'm not sure about 480p over SCART, but I still think the best thing to go is just go with component save alot of headaches, not to mention be able to have 480p, 720p and 1080i signals with the 5.1 audio toslink out. Also component and RGB are very close to each other in quality, so if you have an HDTV go with Component Video.

    Now all that being said, not all games will run in 720p, infact looks like only a handful of games run in 1080i. They have to support the resolution. Most games on the Xbox however do run in 480p. Widescreen is of course a hit or miss as well. Here's the list:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ith_HD_support
    Last edited by alec006; 03-09-2012 at 07:17 AM.
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    Pear (Level 6) wingzrow's Avatar
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    Bummer, really wanted to play some outrun 2006 in HD.

    Does any system besides the dreamcast have a VGA adapter? Would be cool to use that upscaling box for something besides dreamcast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wingzrow View Post
    Bummer, really wanted to play some outrun 2006 in HD.

    Does any system besides the dreamcast have a VGA adapter? Would be cool to use that upscaling box for something besides dreamcast.
    Not to my knowledge they don't and if they do, they have 3rd party crap shoots.

    Depending on your TV, it's going to upscale the 480p signal anyway to your TV's native resolution so in tern you will be playing it in upscaled "HD". Same if you have a 360, it upscales old Xbox games as well, although playing on the original Xbox to me at least looks better.

    Of course if you really wanna upscale the image using that VGA upscaler box, you're gonna have to spend some money on cables and another convertor box. It includes getting RGB SCART cables for the systems you wanna upscale (systems that support RGB SCART such as SNES, Genesis, PS2, Xbox) and getting an arcade RGB SCART to VGA box. So around $75 to $100 to get all that done.
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    The only difference needed to apply that youtube video's setup idea for Xbox, is component input rather than VGA. Assuming you could find one.
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    Gotta flash a file or two and build a specific cable but it is possible. Not sure how compatible everything is anymore.
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    Yeah seems odd from a design perspective. Allowing progressive scan by component but not RGB. Being not technically inclined, I find it hard to grasp why companies block the idea. Doesn't disabling features of that sort cost more money?

    Then again there must be reasons I don't understand. PS2, PS3, Gamecube, and Wii, are comparable. Those also "officially" support only RGB or progressive scan in normal commercial games. Not together. At least I'm pretty sure the PS2 Linux Kit cable isn't marketed or approved for game use. Even if it happens to work on certain titles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by theclaw View Post
    Yeah seems odd from a design perspective. Allowing progressive scan by component but not RGB. Being not technically inclined, I find it hard to grasp why companies block the idea. Doesn't disabling features of that sort cost more money?

    Then again there must be reasons I don't understand. PS2, PS3, Gamecube, and Wii, are comparable. Those also "officially" support only RGB or progressive scan in normal commercial games. Not together. At least I'm pretty sure the PS2 Linux Kit cable isn't marketed or approved for game use. Even if it happens to work on certain titles.
    I'd have to imagine there is a reason I can't think of a single console that does 480p or higher over pure RGB. VGA for computer monitors is basically RGB, H-SYNC, V-SYNC, +5v and GND (I might be forgetting something there) so it technically is progressive scan over RGB. Traditional RGB is simply RGB+Sync. Obviously the display and the output device would need to support progressive output so perhaps for the better part of the 90s nobody bothered as it was deemed an unnecessary cost. It wasn't like VHS and beta could take advantage of S-Video fully and Laserdiscs by default couldn't (sans late, very expensive players) so composite and RF were just fine.

    At this point I'd wager it is a matter of displays not having the hardware available to handle RGB for anything but 480i. Given VGA is analog RGB I'd have to imagine that more bandwidth was needed to handle greater resolutions and thus the sync signal was split further. Purely conjecture so don't take it as gospel as I'm not anywhere near finishing my EE degree.

    FWIW the PS2 Linux kit uses SoG for display purposes.

    http://www.xbox-scene.com/articles/vga-cable.php

    Basic instructions for building a VGA cable for the XBox. Looks pretty damn easy to me.
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    If you look closely at the instructions then you will find that you need to have the Xbox firmwared to do VGA first. In addition, you do not need a sync separation chip since most, if not all, VGA monitors can accept Composite Sync and the Xbox certainly outputs that on its own. And there's the fact that the resistor he is using to set the 1881 is for 15Khz - it needs to be halved for 31Khz.

    As for why the Xbox does not output VGA it because MicroSoft did not want to entice people to make Linux boxes out of the Xbox and allow standard computer monitors to be hooked up for that purpose (at least that is what I had read somewhere).

    Interesting thing about the Xbox - in my limited experimentations on the motherboards I come to find that the raw digital video signals, that are made into the standard analog signals by the video chip, are actually progressive scan (and this was for all games and DVD video). This had me scratching my head - if the raw signals are always progressive scan then why didn't every game support at least 480p? There are some games (Hitman 2 comes to mind) that didn't support 480p. A handful I think.

    So, one way to get VGA from an Xbox is to find the raw digital signals from the motherboard then tap into them and send them to a secondary chip to convert them into 480p RGB. Of course, there probably isn't such a chip to do that.

    Your next best bet is to find a Component Video to RGB converter. This should work pretty well except for those few games that don't support 480p (like Hitman 2).
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    Yes, but the firmware bit is a snap.

    Could probably slap in a FPGA and hijack the appropriate data for conversion but it'd probably be more worth my time to work on an XBox emulator instead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RARusk View Post
    Interesting thing about the Xbox - in my limited experimentations on the motherboards I come to find that the raw digital video signals, that are made into the standard analog signals by the video chip, are actually progressive scan (and this was for all games and DVD video). This had me scratching my head - if the raw signals are always progressive scan then why didn't every game support at least 480p? There are some games (Hitman 2 comes to mind) that didn't support 480p. A handful I think.
    Lack of documentation is part of what's holding back such ideas from success. We don't yet know exactly how consoles' internal digital video signals are formatted.

    Remember Gamecube took that concept a step further, outputting digital A/V in a format useless to average users. Instead of component direct. Every one of those now-expensive cables has a digital to analog video chip inside. While just ignoring the audio portion. It should be plausible to build HDMI converters. That'd be a digital to digital signal conversion, and 480p over HDMI is already an industry standard display mode.
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    My early experimentations were done with a motherboard with a Focus based video chip. I believe that the datasheet for that chip is online somewhere. I don't know if that would help for Conexant and Xcalibur video chips.

    Your comment also got me to thinking - I wonder if the AV chip in the Component Video cable can be used for the Xbox. I already modded one for RGB use (I even wrote up the page on how to do it yourself over at the GamesX wiki) and have another one strictly for Component Video use. I got the cables just as Nintendo was discontinuing them so I managed to get them cheap.
    The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "save us!"......and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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    The GameCube would either need that Macronix chip decapped and analyzed (assuming nobody can sneak out schematics or at least a datasheet) or have a CPLD/FPGA or something fast enough be built to reencode the video. The latter would be easier and whatever you want can be used as output allowing it to be "future proof".

    Though the market for such an item would be limited.

    Focus datasheets:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/18081081/Fs4534-and-Fs4556
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/18081078/Fs4534-and-Fs4556
    www.scribd.com/doc/18081077/Fs4534-and-Fs4556

    Probably can do something useful with the above. I just haven't read them yet and I don't think I have a Focus based XBox on hand.
    Last edited by APE992; 03-15-2012 at 02:37 AM.
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    It's a good question. I'm not sure how much analyzing the chip may help. I believe we know more about the GameCube's audio than video. I've heard of some kind of optical sound mod before. Sounds nice to have a single cable entirely digital transmission all the way from GameCube to display.
    Last edited by theclaw; 03-15-2012 at 03:45 AM.
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    http://gamesx.com/wiki/doku.php?id=av:nintendogcda

    A little messy but it apparently works.
    The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "save us!"......and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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