All-Purpose Cultural TV and Video Guide


I want to create this guide to help others with Televisions and Video connections.

First off, I going to skipp the issue of HDTV lag since poonage already wrote a HDTV FAQ. It is a great guide and I want this guide to complement poonage’s guide and I might reference to it a few times, but I not trying to replace it.

First Analog connectors and signals

RF connector
RF stands for Radio Frequency.
This is your standard connector for 90% of the Televisions out there in the world.
RF also is subject to the most image quality lost and interference.
RF uses ether Twin-lead or coaxial cable the most common is coaxial. Games that uses a RF Switch usually broadcast on Channels 2 or 3.
RF is also used for Antennas on Digital TV with the ATSC standard instead of NTSC.

An NES RF Switch

Composite video Not to be confused with Component video.
Composite video is recognized by a yellow RCA jack, sometimes accompanied by a red and white audio RCA jacks. Composite is the next most common connector.
This connector is what Gaming systems used most often.
Used with DVD players, Game systems and various set top systems.
The Video information is separated from the audio to reduce signal degradation.
It is not unusual for the yellow video RCA jack to be connected to 1 device and the Red and White Stereo audio jacks are connected to a 2nd device like a stereo or a amplifier.

From this point forwards all the other Analog connectors uses RCA jacks for Left and Right audio (except SCART connectors).

** S-Video** Not to be confused with the video tape format S-VHS
Separate Video, also known as S-Video, Y/C, and sometimes incorrectly referred to as S-VHS or Super Video is an analog video transmission scheme, in which video information is encoded on two channels: luma (luminance, intensity) and chroma (color). The Separated luma and Chroma reduce some interference. Capable of transmitting 480p (analog). S-Video used a version of Mini-DIN as its connector.

A Female s-Video Connector

Component video Not to be confused with Composite video.
Component Video is a video signal that has been split into two or more components and is a analog format. Component can refer to luma and chroma spiting or RGB (Red, Green, Blue) / YPbPr

* Y carries luma (brightness or luminance) and synchonization (sync) information
* PB carries the difference between blue and luma (B ? Y)
* PR carries the difference between red and luma (R ? Y)

Component video is capable of carrying signals such as 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p, although some gaming systems will have their own limitations.

Three RCA Cables ether output in RGB or YPbPr

**VGA **
VGA or Video graphics array is often used for Computers. VGA is made obsolete by DVI, which is the new standard on PC Monitors. First introduce by IBM in 1987. For our purposes we focus on VGA as the connector a 15-pin D-sub and not the original VGA resolution of 640×480. A few gaming system supports these such as the XBox 360 and the Dreamcast, other systems would require converter to display in though VGA. Many HDTVs have a VGA port.

SCART (Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs) is a 21-pin connector for connecting audio-visual (AV) equipment together, Also known as Euroconector or EuroAV in Asia and EIA Multiport in North America.
In Europe, SCART is the most common method of connecting AV equipment together, and has become a standard connector and not common else where in the world.
SCART is becoming obsolete with the introduction of new digital standards such as HDMI. SCART transmists Audio, Video, Data and can have AV equipment daisy chained together. SCART is not Bi-directional and can not support non RGB (or YPbPr) signals. Due to high voltages, hot plunging SCART connectors are not advised.


Digital Video Connectors

Now we continue with Digital video Connectors
The Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is a video used to provide very high quality on images on display devices. DVI is capable of transmitting both Analog and Digital video. DVI was made to replace the aging VGA connector. Usually DVI only transmit video with out audio, but some PC Video Graphics cards can also send audio though for DVI to HDMI adapters. If a PC’s DVI output does not support HDMI audio, an adapter may be required to combine the DVI video signal with analog or digital audio. The Number and type of pins used depends on the use of the DVI cable. Capable of 1440 × 900 (WXGA+) @ 60 Hz and 3,840 × 2,400 (WQUXGA) @ 17 Hz.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data. Used by all HDTV sets, and the preferred connector format for the PS3 and Xbox 360, At the time of writing no version of the Wii supports HMDI. HMDI is backwards compatible with DVI

The newest Digital display connector, intended to replace DVI, but DisplayPort replacing HDMI is highly unlikely. Displayport is not compatible with DVI or HDMI although some PC video graphic cards can display displayport signals out of DVI (Dual Mode) ports which are marked with DP++ logo can transmit Displayport signals though specially made passive adapters. No Game systems support Displayport, Computers, Macs and some mobile devices can use displayport.


Display Resolutions and Screen Scanning

First I will cover scan types
Interlace and Progressive scans

In interlace, the different images are drawn on the screen, one produce even number scan line the other odd.
The reason for this is that interlace scan video takes less bandwidth for broadcasting (measured in megahertz) and storage space on analog recordings. Interlaced video also takes less bandwidth on digital images. Taking advantage of the persistence of vision effect to show motion and reduce flicker, the human eye unable to truly see the difference and it has the effect of reducing flicker. For example Interlace scans 50 fields every second (25 odd and 25 even) to create a 25 frame per second video. Only traditional CRT-based TV sets are capable of displaying interlaced signals, due to the electronic scanning and lack of apparent fixed-resolution. Resolutions that are interlace has an " i ’ at the end. Example 480i.

In progressive scans, all the scan lines are drawn at once, each frame is slightly different from the last creating an illusion of movement (persistence of vision). Progressive scans lack the flicker and the sometimes visible scan line effects interlace has. Used in CRT and LCD screens

Advantages of progressive scan

* Absence of visual artifacts associated with interlaced video of the same line rate, such as interline twitter.

* No necessity in intentional blurring (sometimes referred to as anti-aliasing) of video to reduce interline twitter and eye strain.

In the case of most media such as DVD movies and video games, the video is blurred during the authoring process itself to mask flicker artifacts when used on interlace displays. As a consequence, recovering the sharpness of the original video is impossible when the video is viewed progressively. An excellent, but rarely employed countermeasure to this is when display hardware and video games come equipped with options to blur the video at will, or to keep it at its original sharpness. This allows the viewer to achieve the desired image sharpness with both interlaced and progressive displays. An example of a video game with such a feature is Super Smash Bros Brawl, where a "Deflicker" option exists. Ideally, "Deflicker" would be turned on when played on an interlaced display to reduce interline twitter, and off when played on a progressive display for maximum image clarity.

* Offers much better results for scaling to higher resolutions than equivalent interlaced video, such as upconverting 480p to display on a 1080p HDTV.

Scaling works well with full frames, therefore interlaced video must be deinterlaced before it is scaled. Deinterlacing can result in severe "combing" artifacts.

* Frames have no interlace artifacts and can be used as still photos.

Disadvantages of progressive scan
A disadvantage of progressive scan is that it requires higher bandwidth than interlaced video that has the same frame size and vertical refresh rate.

Display resolution

Televisions are of the following resolutions:

* Standard-definition television (SDTV):
      o 480i (NTSC uses an analog system of 486i split into two interlaced fields of 243 lines)
      o 576i (PAL, 720×576 split into two interlaced fields of 288 lines)

* Enhanced-definition television (EDTV):
      o 480p (720×480 progressive scan)
      o 576p (720×576 progressive scan)

* High-definition television (HDTV):
      o 720p (1280×720 progressive scan)
      o 1080i (1920×1080 split into two interlaced fields of 540 lines)
      o 1080p (1920×1080 progressive scan)

Computer monitors have higher resolutions than most televisions

Aspect ratio
The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of the width of the image to its height, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon. The Two we are going to concern ourselves about is 4:3 and 16:9.

4:3 is standard for SD resolution TV sets and have a almost square shape.
16:9 is a longer rectangle shape, common with wide format movies, HDTV Sets

With television, DVD and Blu-ray, converting formats of unequal ratios is achieved by adding ether cropping off the “extra sides” of the image, by adding black bars horizontally or vertically, or stretching the image.

Your Choices to connect you gaming system to a display will ether consist of

Composite video
Component video
SCART (mostly Europe)

Which one is the better format? What you should ask which format is better for your purposes.

Older systems such as Atari 2600, NES, SNES, Genesis and so on (original hardware) are better off with RF or Composite since they are native to that system and does not require a high resolution screen.

While Current gen systems are better off with HDMI, VGA and Component Video because of the actuate RGB reproduction, clear image free of distortion and support for higher resolutions. Note that the Wii does not support HDMI.

5th/6th generation systems (32/64/128 bit eras) varies with different systems.
I will have more information later when I can find the documentation on the various systems specs.

For those with HDTV Displays HMDI is the defacto Standard, but many people who experience NOTICEABLE lag and can not get Commercial-grade HDTV Displays are better off with a VGA connector.
Xbox 360 VGA HD AV Cable
3rd Party Wii/PS3 VGA Cable
Reference from The New Definitive HDTV Lag FAQ
Dreamcast can also display VGA via a VGA Box (not a converter) or with a hardware mod

Other considerations
Dreamcast - Only can display VGA on selected game titles.