View Full Version : XBox + HDTV = Picture Quality?

01-26-2002, 04:44 PM
Hi everyone,

This question is for anyone using a XBox and the HD-AV pak on a HDTV. How is the XBox picture quality on your HDTV?

The reason I'm asking is I feel like the picture quality I'm getting is not quite what it should be. It may possibly be correct since I have nothing to compare it with but I'm curious as to the quality of others. I have a 36" RCA Digital HDTV, the same as the one used in OXM issue #1 for the dream setup, I purchased this set 3 months ago just before buying an XBox. I have played DVD movies on a progressive scan DVD player and the picture quality is incredible to say the least, but when playing the XBox using the HD-AV pak and high quality component cables, I get a lot of digital artifacts that are normally associated with regular interlaced signals going through an HDTV monitor. Overall it's nothing I can't live with, I just expected quality closer to a progressive scan DVD player. I have all three connectors for the XBox, Standard, Advanced and the HD-AV pak. I also have all modes enabled on the XBox, 480p, 720p, and 1080i since my tv will support all modes. I can definitely tell a difference between the Advanced pak with s-video and the HD-AV pak using component input. I am using the best quality RCA brand of cables (I tried Monster Cable and got the same thing). So, is anyone else seeing the same thing I am?

Here is what I'm seeing so far:

DOA3: characters are smooth and clean except for small jagged edges around the edge of the characters, clothing, etc, backgrounds seem to suffer from jagged edges, dot crawling, barber pole effects, stair stepping (a straight line slanted at any angle except straight vertical or horizontal will appear to step down/up instead of being a clean smooth line) shimmering (lines close together will appear to be moving or jittering back and forth) and some things (rocks, buildings, ground or floors) will appear to have a sparkling effect when the camera moves around.

PGR: Car's are mainly clean except for small jagged lines around the edges, things like bumpers, grill's, and tail pipes, etc that have horizontal lines will appear to shimmer or move and may have the sparkling effect, buildings and roads have jagged edges and painted lines will appear to shimmer also.

Halo: Best of the bunch, seems to suffer the least from what I've been talking about, mostly small jagged edges on characters and objects, some dot crawling and shimmering in the backgrounds.

01-26-2002, 05:23 PM
I have A 43" widescreen Hdtv with pack and the picture is fantastic. With the component video cables it comes with, I think it is far superior. I compared it to my buddys 41" regular tv and there is no contest.

01-26-2002, 05:31 PM
Welcome to the forums.

It sounds like your tv might be using its internal scaler to take 480p signals to 1080i. This could cause alot of the problems you described like moiring, digital artifacts, pixel popping and shimmering. The stairstepping is just a limitation of the resolution along with games not using anti-aliasing. I'm not familiar with your particular tv but see if it has an option to show you what type of signal it is displaying. 480p etc. If it has an option to turn off internal scaler do that and look if it makes a difference. Also I take it that this tv isn't 16x9? If it is then on the xbox select widescreen, if it isn't then keep the setting at normal (4x3). This could be causing unnecissary stretching.

I'm playing on a 110" HD projector setup displaying a 480p image and I haven't experienced the problems you mentioned and believe me I would see them since the image is blown up this big. I definately see jaggies though. I am using the MS HD pack then using a high quality VGA-component breakout cable to go directly to the projector. There is another gentleman, Hugh_Jass on here that has the same setup as me and I haven't heard him complain either. You can check my website to see my setup, and I'll try and put up some screenshots with it running the xbox.

DOA3 looks the best with very minimal jaggies with an otherwise clean and perfect image. No digital artifacts. It also supports widescreen.

Halo looks good, although it isn't a widescreen enhanced game so the stretching causes more jaggies but still a pretty clean image.

Amped looks great except in the menus where you can tell it isn't progressive scan. Lots of shimmering there then all goes away once in the game. Very clean game.

01-26-2002, 05:31 PM
well you have to know that the only reason component cables are better because it splits up the color more than the rest...you cant think that using different cables will make it less jagged. Jaggies dont have a bit to do with cables...with DVDs you are filming real objects..now you cant make a world like in halo jag free because thats how they made the world. with a bunch of polygons and such being drawn...and you cant make them smooth...if you wait for a few yerars when games look better when developers begin to utalize the powerful nVidia graphics then things will look better...unless yours are really bad compared to someone elses then id say you dont have any problems...and upgrading the cables to the MS HD pack wont help either, if going from the xbox to the pack is of bad quality or something like that. Buy the GameLink 400 X. Although it will just improve the color quality, it isint going to anti-alias the picture for you

01-26-2002, 05:59 PM
I don't think he is just talking about jaggies. Yes those won't go away with higher quality cables and connections.

The other problems he described sound more like digital video signal problems, or he is very very picky. ;)

But back to jaggies, your tv can create more jaggies than another tv. You will see more jaggies on a regular tv than you would on a tv with progressive scan connections and a 480p signal. You will see more jaggies if you stretch a 4x3 image like Halo into a 16x9 image.

I wouldn't even waste the money on the Gamelink 400x though.

01-26-2002, 07:35 PM
Your RCA internal line doubler doesn't touch a 480p signal. It passes it on through untouched from the X-Box. Don't forget the difference between the progressive-scan from the X-Box games and your progressive-scan from DVD's is that DVDs are film/video content, while your X-Box games are computer graphics.

The jaggies you are experiencing are mostly due to anti-aliasing on the graphics rather than combing (which would be a de-interlacing artifact from film-sourced material playing on an average progressive-scan DVD player) . The same happens on your computer monitor when playing graphics on a PC.

01-26-2002, 08:38 PM
I thought you could set up most HDTV's to pass every signal through the internal line doubler through its settings, even 480p. I never owned such a set so that probably just comes from bad info somewhere else.

But the jaggies aren't from anti-aliasing, they are from aliasing. anti-aliasing would help to get rid of them. ;)

01-26-2002, 10:10 PM
Hmmmm.....ok, the jaggies are the least of my concern since as I mentioned they are pretty small and only really noticable on certain items. It's the other items I'm seeing that really had me questioning the video quality, since I could see basically the same thing in the backgrounds when using the other AV paks, either composite or s-video. I've checked to see if there is a way to determine via the tv as to what mode it is currently displaying, but there does not appear to be one. I have however, gone in and turned off the 1080i setting on the XBox so that there should be no way my tv should be getting an interlaced signal. Although as Lynxfx mentioned, it could possibly be my tv trying to take whatever signal it receives and trying to scale it up to a higher resolution interlaced. I have also set the sharpness level to it's lowest possible setting when playing the XBox, and I still have a very crisp picture.

I also did not expect the XBox to display at the same level as a progressive scan dvd player, I only mentioned it so that whoever read my post would be able to tell that there is not a problem with the set displaying something in progressive mode. The tv is a standard 4x3, not the 16x9 version, which I kind of wish I had held out for, and I have the XBox settings to normal, not the widescreen or letterbox format.

And no, I'm not picky, just very demanding. ;-)

Lynxfx, I'd like very much to check out your setup. if you would, post a link to it, or if you don't want to go public send me an email.

And before someone gets the wrong idea and is thinking I'm trying to "bash" the XBox, I'm not. I think I may have a problem with my tv, specifically with the interlacing. No offence to anyone here.

Thank you to all who have posted a reply, and to those who may.

01-26-2002, 10:27 PM
Im sure he wouldnt mind, being he basically has his entire setup linked on his siggy

01-26-2002, 10:30 PM

My bad, I didn't even notice the link in your post. You'd think with my noticing everything else I wouldn't have missed it.

01-26-2002, 11:30 PM
Oh yes I would mind deeply. ;):D

Sounds good Techie. Everything you described seems right on. What you might want to do is if you have a friend that has a similar or heck any kind of HDTV and try it out on theirs and see if you notice the same anomalies. If you do then you are most likely just seeing the limitations of the games and hardware right now.

But that aside we might get to see some true 1080i games as early as March so we can really see what our xboxes can do. :D

And I don't think anyone thought you were bashing the xbox. We all like to get the best picture possible. :)

01-27-2002, 06:09 PM
Have you tried tuning your TV with "DVD Essentials" or "DVD Platinum" or something similar? It could be you have your sharpness set too high and the television itself is introducing the artifacts.

01-27-2002, 07:14 PM
yup, tried DVD Essentials, I even set the sharpness level to it's lowest possible setting, and still I have digital artifacts in the picture. I believe it's a problem in the sets interlacing circuits. I am however going to have my buddy bring his XBox over and set it up just to make certain it's not my particular XBox unit. I've contacted RCA and had a service tech come out today and look at the set. Wouldn't you know it, just my luck the guy shows up, takes one look at the set and said,

"yep, I see what you're talking, but I haven't been trained on those yet".

So, the premier service center here for RCA doesn't have anyone working for them that actually knows how to service this tv. I knew there was a reason why I bought an RCA HDTV!! :-)