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FAQ: Xbox 360 Audio/Video


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#1 twistedsymphony

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 04:41 PM

Xbox360 Audio/Video F.A.Q.
If you have trouble understanding some of the terms you should check out my General A/V FAQ.

If you're looking for multimedia features please read the Xbox 360 Multimedia FAQ

--=VIDEO=--

Can I use my Laptop Screen to play Xbox 360 Games?
No... That's the simple answer, The video connector on your laptop is output only, you cannot use your laptop to play games from a console

Can I play games on my PC monitor if I use a capture card?
NO.... Capture cards are designed for recording Video ONLY. the processors in most cards are slow and produce anywhere from 1 to 4 seconds worth of lag making games completely unplayable. Professional cards with the speed you need run in the $500-$600 range and your PC might not even be able to handle them. At that point you might as well just buy an HDTV.

HELP! I get audio but no Video, what do I do
First try using a non-HD cable, try switching yours to regular TV mode and use the yellow connector, if that doesn't work borrow a known working cable from a friend, if that doesn't work try your console on your friend's TV. If that doesn't work then your console is f*cked and you should send it back to MS for repair... If you can't do that for whatever reason then there is limited success doing the X-Clamp Replacement.

How can I change my PAL 360 from 50Hz to 60Hz if I can't see what's on the screen
To change the setting "blind" follow this guide: http://forums.xbox-s...howtopic=608089

What Resolutions Will the Xbox 360 Support?
The output resolution can be set in the dashboard. The supported resolutions is largely dependent on the cable being used and the type of content you intend to view.

The chart below shows the supported output resolutions for the type of cable and the type of content:
IPB Image
Note: this chart only reflects North American Xbox 360 consoles, I don't know the AV standards for Europe, Japan, or any other region, though I'd be more then happy to make additional charts if someone could provide me with that data.

Support for these modes in games is dependent on the game. Some games (like PGR3) have been found to not support some modes.

What resolutions will game developers be required to support?
Game developers are only required to support 720p.

Does this mean I need an HDTV that supports 720p to play all of the Xbox360 games?
No. Despite the fact that developers are only required to support 720p the video encoder chip built into the Xbox360 has the ability to up-scale and down-scale games to any of the resolutions supported by the Xbox360. This means that even if a game was only developed in 720p you will have the ability to play it in 480i, 480p, 1080i or 1080p as well as 720p.

What about people with 4:3 screens? Isn't 720p a widescreen format?
Unfortunately the Xbox 360 is limited to the aspect ratio of your screen, if you have a 4:3 screen the picture will display in 4:3, if you have a 16:9 screen (or a 4:3 HDTV) then the picture will display in 16:9 There are currently no options to letterbox, stretch or crop the image (despite the fact that MS claimed there would be). Whether a game stretches, or plays letterboxed, or natively supports a 4:3 aspect ratio is left up to the game developers and changes on a game by game basis.

Why is the picture from the VGA cable washed out?
The VGA output of the Xbox 360 is naturally washed out. The reason has yet to be determined. There's nothing wrong with your Xbox 360, VGA cable, or display, that's just the way it is. Some believe that the washed out image has to do with how your display interprets color-space.

Q: I'm using a VGA cable and when I try to play games BC I get a message that says:
"This game does not support your current display setting"

A: VGA support for BC games is based on a profile to profile basis. Most Xbox 1 games will not play through a VGA video connection.

Q: When I try to play PGR3 in letterboxed mode it displays all stretched out, what's wrong?
A: There is a bug with PGR3 where it wont play letterboxed at particular resolutions, there is nothing you can do about it but use a different resolution.

--=AUDIO=--

What Audio formats does the Xbox360 Support?
Currently the Xbox360 supports mono, stereo, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Windows Audio

What Audio formats are Developers required to Support in their games?
Developers are required to support at least Dolby Digital 5.1. The other formats can be derived from that if the developer has not explicitly encoded their game in one of those formats.

--=CABLES=--

What official A/V cables are available for the Xbox360?
At launch the following cable formats will be available:
For video: Composite, S-Video, Component, SCART, VGA, "Japanese" D-Terminal, and HDMI*
For Audio: RCA (Stereo), Optical, and HDMI*

*Only on Arcade, Elite, Halo, and specially market Pro Models manufactured after July 2007

What about Digital Formats like DVI or HDMI?
Launch consoles do not support HDMI or DVI... newer models such as Arcade, Elite, Halo, and specially market Pro Models manufactured after July 2007 do offer an HDMI v1.2 port which can be converted to a DVI-D connection with a simple adapter cable.

If your console does not have an HDMI port and you want HDMI the cheapest option is to buy a new console. The circuity needed to convert VGA or Component is low quality and expensive enough that you're much better off just buying an Arcade Unit with HDMI built in and selling you old console.

What is the best Cable to use to connect my Xbox to my TV?
In General the pecking order looks like this, with the lower quality connections to the left and the higher quality to the right.
RF Modulator << Composite (Yellow RCA) < S-Video << SCART <<< VGA/DVI-I/D-Terminal < Component (Red Green Blue RCA) < HDMI/DVI-D

A single < represents a minor superiority while << represents a slightly larger quality gap and <<< represents an enormous quality gap

How do I connect my Xbox 360 to my PC monitor?
You'll need to use the VGA cable. The Official VGA cable also includes a female/female adapter to connect the VGA adapter to a monitor with a hard-wired VGA cable. It is recommended that you avoid used or 3rd party VGA cables since they are often missing many of the small adapters necessary to hook the cable up to you monitor and whatever money you save in the initial purchase will usually get wasted buying these items separate. Some 3rd party adapters are also known to have major quality issue that diminish the image clarity and some are even missing the optical audio port necessary for surround sound. If you do decide to buy used or 3rd be sure to do your research before you make your purchase.

If you've got an HDMI equipped Xbox 360 and your monitor supports DVI-D then you can use an HDMI to DVI-D cable or adapter to hook it up. You can purchase HDMI/DVI-D cables at http://monoprice.com

Be warned that if you purchased a console other than the Elite you will either need to use HDMI as your audio source or purchase a separate Audio adapter to get audio output from the standard AV port. Elite units come with an audio adapter already. Regular Xbox 360 cables will not work because they are too "fat" and will not fit in the port at the same time as an HDMI cable. Alternatively you could modify a regular AV cable to fit by trimming away the plastic to make room for the HDMI cable.

How do I switch between my PC and the Xbox 360 if I only have 1 monitor?
You'll need to use a device called a "KVM Switch". These devices are made to switch 1 set of peripherals between multiple computers. Because of they they will typically switch a vga cable in addition to keyboard an mice, you can use them simply for their video switching capabilities.

Most LCD monitors that support DVI will have more than one port and an input switch button on the monitor itself If you hook up one device with VGA and the other with DVI you can use this built in function to switch inputs.

How do I connect my Xbox 360 to my PC speakers?
For surround sound you will need to purchase an optical audio cable and plug them directly into your surround sound speakers, if your surround sound speaker don't have an optical or coax audio port, you cannot use those speakers for surround sound and will need to buy new speakers. If they have a digital coax port you will need to buy an "optical to coax converter". If you don't have surround sound speakers or simply want to use analog audio you will only need a 3.5mm stereo female to two RCA Female.

What refresh rates does the VGA cable support?
The VGA cable can output at refresh rates of 50 or 60Hz.

My monitor has a hardwired VGA cable, will I need an adapter to use the Xbox 360 VGA Cable?
The Official Xbox 360 VGA cable includes a female-female VGA coupler for use in those situations. Not that buying a used or 3rd party unit this female-female adapter will most likely NOT be included.

What A/V cables are included with the Xbox360?
The Pro and Halo Xbox360 package comes with a single A/V adapter that includes both composite and component output, as well as stereo RCA output. It also has a socket in the connector for a digital toslink audio output for surround sound. There is a switch on the dongle to select component or composite.
The Core and Arcade Xbox360 package comes with a standard composite A/V adapter with stereo RCA outputs for audio and does not include an optical output for surround sound.
The Elite Xbox 360 package comes with 3 cables: The first is a single A/V adapter that includes both composite and component output, as well as stereo RCA output. It also has a socket in the connector for a digital toslink audio output for surround sound. There is a switch on the dongle to select component or composite. The Second is a standard HDMI cable, and the Third is an Audio breakout cable for connecting Stereo RCA and digital toslink audio while using an HDMI cable.

How do I get Digital Audio out of the Xbox 360?
All of the AV Cables (with the exception of the Standard, Composite, AV cable the comes with the Core version) have an Optical Toslink port on the dongle that plugs into the back of the Xbox 360. You will need to supply your own optical cable to connect it to your surround sound system.

My PC speakers don't have an optical port, instead they have 3 headphone jacks, or a large round connector, how do I hook up my Xbox 360?
You can't, buy a new surround sound system with an optical port... it's your cheapest option.

Are there any native A/V connections available on the Xbox360?
No, all connections are made through a proprietary port similar to the current gen Xbox. The only exception is newer units with an HDMI port do have native HDMI out though

Can I use my Xbox1 A/V Cables on the Xbox360
No the AV cables are completely different.

--=DISPLAYS=--
What's the difference between the different display technologies? Which one is best for me?
The article on Audioholic's website has a good current coverage of the different display technolgies availble today, what their benefits and shortcomings are. If you're buying a new TV soon, READ THESE FIRST :http://www.audioholi...logiesguide.php
http://thoughthead.com/55

What's the Best TV to use with the Xbox 360
The article on TeamXbox's website is hands down the best for picking out a quality HDTV for use with your Xbox 360. You can read the article here: http://features.team...ide-to-HDTV/p1/

Any further HDTV discussion should take place in the new HDTV forum here on Xbox-Scene:
http://forums.xbox-s...p?showforum=358

--=TECHNICAL=--

What's the Pinout of the AV port so I can make my own cables?
http://forums.xbox-s...howtopic=596642

How do I convert the Japanese "D-Terminal" cable to VGA?
http://forums.xbox-s...howtopic=472728

--------------------------
If there are any inaccuracies, or pressing questions that should be added please let me know and I will make the appropriate changes beerchug.gif

Edited by twistedsymphony, 18 December 2007 - 04:54 PM.


#2 Ickypoopy

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 05:13 AM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ Jun 30 2005, 05:52 PM)
What WMV HD DVDs are available now?
"T2 Extreme Edition", and several IMAX films (Amazon, Coral Reef Adventures, The Discoverers, Dolphins, and Speed). An HD version of "Digital Video Essentials" is also available  in the WMV HD format.
You can find example clips of WMV HD video on MS's site.

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www.ms.com = Morgan Stanley not MS wink.gif


#3 twistedsymphony

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 01:39 PM

QUOTE(Ickypoopy @ Jul 1 2005, 12:24 AM)
www.ms.com = Morgan Stanley not MS wink.gif

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GAH! that always get me laugh.gif

#4 dcware

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 06:30 PM

All i want to know is this:

Will the UK get HDTV capable X360's? Or will ours be locked down to 480i



#5 twistedsymphony

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 07:05 PM

QUOTE(dcware @ Jul 1 2005, 01:41 PM)
All i want to know is this:

Will the UK get HDTV capable X360's? Or will ours be locked down to 480i

View Post



Well, you will definitely NOT be locked down to 480i... PAL resolution is 576i/p

Considering MS is requiring developers to make all games in 720p I can't imagine that they would force you to use a lower resolution. The video encoder scales up and down from that.

Most likely you will have the options of 576i, 576p, 720p, and 1080i.

The real question is will the 720p and 1080i resolutions be 50Hz or 60Hz.... from what I've read it would seem europe is resistant to adopting HD standards and the standards that they'll be using haven't been completely locked down yet. From what we know so far you WILL get HD games... we just don't know all the specifics yet.

#6 dcware

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 09:26 PM

Well, with the current XBOX we can't enable anything other than 576i, 576i 60hz and 576i widescreen. Which sucks.

#7 twistedsymphony

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 09:50 PM

QUOTE(dcware @ Jul 1 2005, 04:37 PM)
Well, with the current XBOX we can't enable anything other than 576i, 576i 60hz and 576i widescreen. Which sucks.

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Yeah I know sad.gif Though from what I understand the current gen PAL Xboxs are capable of outputting in HD it's just that they don't provide the options on screen to change them (do to cost cutting through licensing). So if you temporarily softmod it you can change the option and then undo the softmod... viola you have an un-modded PAL xbox with HD capabilities biggrin.gif
more in-depth tut here: http://www.xboxworld...89&page=1&pp=30

MS is REALLY pushing for a strong following in Europe. They understand they have little to no chance in Japan so they see concentrating on Europe this next generation as one of their top goals. With that in mind they can't afford NOT to support HD in europe wink.gif

#8 twistedsymphony

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 02:04 PM

updated the FAQ with new info from here:
http://www.winsupers...x360_inside.asp

-Confirmed 7.1 audio support (though not required for developers).

-Confirmed that you will be able to connect to a regular windows XP machine through "Windows Media Connect"

-Confirmed the ability to use streamed music (from a LAN source or USB device) as in-game soundtrack.

-Confirmed that the Xbox guide would allow you to view media information about a DVD or CD that is currently playing.

#9 fahrenheit

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 12:48 AM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ Jul 2 2005, 10:01 AM)
Yeah I know  sad.gif  Though from what I understand the current gen PAL Xboxs are capable of outputting in HD it's just that they don't provide the options on screen to change them (do to cost cutting through licensing).

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I don't know about licensing? I have a different theory.

The MS dash is universal software that can be updated via Live, its the same for all regions, its merely the eeprom that dictates which features are enabled/disabled in the dash software. MS saw the potential problems of allowing people to change between PAL and NTSC (a crucial feature needed if PAL users where to be able to access the HD resolutions). If consumers were able to change from PAL and NTSC, without multiformat capable displays, then MS was going to be landed with a enormous amount of calls for help by people who could no longer see their displays (after all, people do like to fiddle with settings they know nothing about). So the feature was abandoned. The HD packs that were available in PAL markets, although capable of 576i were not HD as advertised and quickly recalled.

So once again, the same issue arises with the 360. How will they deal with this? Will they have a little setup wizard that runs and asks the user what they would like for display settings? Will they have a dialogue that asks the user to confirm that they can see their displays after a change from PAL to NTSC, or vice versa and then have it time out and return to default if no response is made (much the same as Windows does with refresh rate changes etc). Or will a PAL console only work at 576i/576p@50Hz, 720p@50Hz and 1080i@50Hz?

These are still unknown questions and without seeing a screenshot of the 'System' page of the dash, its all just guesswork, but peoples HD buying decisions in PAL territories depends on this vital information. It can't come soon enough.

Edited by fahrenheit, 29 July 2005 - 12:52 AM.


#10 twistedsymphony

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 04:50 PM

Why would the need to include a pal/NTSC switch to allow for HD resolutions in pal regions?

they could have simply labeled the resolutions 480p60 720p60 and 1080i60
they wouldn't have to confuse anyone with terms like NTSC and PAL.

Not to mention if the video chip is capable of outputting 576i50 then I'm sure if they wanted to they would have no problem making it output HD resolutions at 50hz...

besides don't most European HD sets handle both 50 and 60Hz?

Believe me NO company is going to take away a feature like HD resolutions because they're worried about getting a few phone calls laugh.gif

#11 fahrenheit

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 12:36 AM

Many HDTV sets emerging in the European market (including Australiasia), only support 576p/720p/1080i@50Hz. That caters fine for broadcast, but is useless for gaming. People are getting caught out and will continue to do so as more and more people purchase HDTV's prior to the consoles launch. Thats why MS needs to hurry up and tell us what is going on. Ideally, the 360's video encoder, will be able to output anything and everything whether it be 50 or 60Hz, but at this point, its likely to only be 60Hz.

You're labelling example is fine, yes, PAL and NTSC need not be mentioned.
So why wasn't that example implemented on the current Xbox then? Licensing? How?



#12 twistedsymphony

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 06:49 AM

QUOTE(fahrenheit @ Jul 29 2005, 07:47 PM)
...
So why wasn't that example implemented on the current Xbox then? Licensing? How?

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In the current gen MS didn't care very much about the European market (it's not speculation, it's a fact. If you look at their business plan for the Xbox around it's launch they outright said they weren't putting much effort into that region). The amount of hoops any company has to go through to release a product in Europe is ridiculous when compared to the US and Japan...

It's a licensing/cost issue because for every format they want to support (progressive scan, 720p, 1080i, etc) they have to pay royalties. Considering they're lack of a strong European commitment, and the fact that they'd have to pay a separate set of royalties for those formats at 50Hz then they would at 60Hz... added to the fact that they'd need to get all those signals approved by the European governments... it wasn't worth it to include HD as a feature in Europe.

Fast forward to today looking at the next generation, they see Japan as an unobtainable market (or at least one that they're not able to completely conquer for another generation or two), they however see Europe as a very viable region to take the #1 spot. They've changed their tune and plan on placing heavy support in Europe next gen to swing the region in MS's favor over Sony.

#13 fahrenheit

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 08:19 AM

720p, 1080i, 50 and 60Hz - these are all video standards, not brands. They are industry standards, not tied to lobby groups that require membership and paid royalties, like MPEG and DVD.

The reason MS has including HD for PAL this time is simply because of the outrage of PAL gamers when they were denied part of the Xbox's basic functionality, thanks to poor design decisions, ie. the universal dashboard software and its relationship to the eeprom.

#14 d_kay

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:51 PM

How about the VGA output. If I choose to output 720p, what will appear on a computerscreen? or can I choose a XGA/SXGA resolution myself?.

Say the game supports only 720p. If I connect it to my SXGA LCD monitor, which natively only supports SXGA. I sincerely hope the X-box sends the 720p as a SXGA signal in a letterbox format (with black borders above and below) so my monitor doesn't have to stretch it.

Or will the games alternatively also support SXGA/XGA?

SVGA = 800 x 600 pixels
XGA = 1024 x 768 pixels
SXGA = 1280 x 1024 pixels


#15 twistedsymphony

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 06:42 PM

Outputting in 720p and having your monitor interpret that depends COMPLETELY on your monitor's ability to interpret HD signals...

Though recent reports site that with the Xbox360's VGA adapter the video encoder will be able to scale the game's resolution to any standard resolution from 640x480 all the way to 1920x1080.

So if your monitor supports 1280 x 1024 and you have the 360's VGA cable you'll be able to output at that resolution. Also much like the current gen Xbox (except now supported throughout ALL games, not just select games) you'll be able to choose fullscreen, widescreen, or letterbox for your output.

So in short yes you'll be able to output at 1280x1024 letterboxed. beerchug.gif




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