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Console Image Quality Guide

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the big-screen dept.

Games 269

Jakub writes "We've posted a comprehensive guide on how to improve your console's image quality. It covers everything from the various connectors through cables to fine-tuning by modifying sharpness and brightness. Though the article uses the prolific PlayStation 2 as an example, it applies equally well to all video devices."

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I love you, Lindsay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373145)

-- Eric

Re:I love you, Lindsay! (-1, Offtopic)

Dri (16940) | about 12 years ago | (#4373154)

I thought I was a stupid fp'er.

Oh, and one more thing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373194)

I love you too Gary!

--Eric *kiss*

Somebody set up us the bum! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373152)

What you say?!

here's an idea (-1)

Trolling Stones (587878) | about 12 years ago | (#4373161)

visit [] for all your console image quality guide needs

console image quality?? (5, Funny)

matt4077 (581118) | about 12 years ago | (#4373163)

My console is text-only. Are these console-images a new feature in the Linux 8.0 that just came out?

Re:console image quality?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373190)

Linux 8.0

-5 Fucking Idiot

Re:console image quality?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373322)

Your doctor called. Your humor transplant is being rejected, please see him immediately.

Re:console image quality?? (5, Funny)

setzman (541053) | about 12 years ago | (#4373525)

Answer is yes since nearly all consoles can run Linux these days...

Improving image quality (4, Funny)

bytesmythe (58644) | about 12 years ago | (#4373167)

guide on how to improve your console's image quality.

  • squint
  • get glasses
  • stop playing with yourself

I think those would be a good start. If they don't help, try:

  • turning up the brightness knob
  • turning on the display
  • plugging in the display
  • plugging in the console
  • inserting a game

If after following these steps your image quality hasn't improved, consider taking the console back for a refund. Or better yet, just send it to me and I'll take care of it for you.

Console Image Quality? (0, Offtopic)

guttentag (313541) | about 12 years ago | (#4373173)

We've posted a comprehensive guide on how to improve your console's image quality.
I thought the whole point of a console was that you assume you're going to end up with a museum-worthy case of burn-in, and you're only viewing lines of text anyway, so you use the crappiest monitor you can find. Who needs a guide for that?

how to really improve your console's image quality (-1, Offtopic)

dobratzp (155212) | about 12 years ago | (#4373175)

Recompile your kernel with VESA VGA graphics console. Then add the following line to your lilo.conf for a 1024x768x64k graphics console:


Lame ! (-1, Offtopic)

stud9920 (236753) | about 12 years ago | (#4373193)

My Mandrake is 9.0 and was 8.0 more than a year ago !

Re:Lame ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373411)

You so stupid !

ad for monster (4, Insightful)

lubricated (49106) | about 12 years ago | (#4373195)

This really isn't about improving your image quality. This article is one giant add for monster cable. When you buy monster cable you not only pay for cable you also pay for advertising. There are other good cables out there.

Re:ad for monster (1)

Random Data (538955) | about 12 years ago | (#4373256)

But as any true audiophile will tell you cables are important. And it's really important you get the ones that are burnt in [] ... I'm still trying to work out how you do anything to a piece of of metal with negligible hysteresis.

Re:ad for monster (5, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | about 12 years ago | (#4373337)

But the article is all about Monster Game.

Any audio or videophile will tell you Monster Cable is way overpriced... and Monster Game?! Stick another name on it and up the price!

There is tons of good cable out there. Notice he didn't compare the Monster Game S-Video with the $6 Wal-Mart S-Video. Hmmm.

Re:ad for monster (3, Informative)

BaronVonDuvet (612870) | about 12 years ago | (#4373442)

I worked in hi-fi/tv sales for a number of years so spent quite a long time trying different cables. All hi-fi people agree that the cheap cable you get in the box isn't up to much and that a slightly more expensive shielded cable will give you better results. The problem is the differences are small, so most people would be hard pushed to tell the difference between a very expensive cable (such as Monster) and something cheap from Wal-Mart.

It's definitely better to have something like S-Video rather than an RF connector. However, a cheap S-Video would only look bad compared to a more expensive cable if you are using good quality Home Cinema equipment. I'm not convinced the output of a game from a console is that good. Generally you'd be better off cleaning the screen, buying a cheap connector and breaking & making the connections periodically to avoid the build-up of dirt.

Re:ad for monster (3, Insightful)

AnimalSnf (149118) | about 12 years ago | (#4373507)

I think the author of the article, Alan Dang, misspelled his name. It seems Dung fits him much better since it's also the quality of his article. Couple of points:

(1) Not a SINGLE comparison is between the same kind of cable. Every single comparison is between the regular RCA and Monster S-Video cable. What's next, comparing an optical cable with RCA?

(2) The article is completely devoid of any facts other than some really slowly loading screenshots.

(3) You need a monster cable like you need a lobotomy. Not only do many other cables found in big chain stores are just as good, remember this if you are actually considering buying one: That $20 cable costs about $2 to make, which might explain why other cables sell for so much less.

Re:ad for monster (3, Interesting)

Boone^ (151057) | about 12 years ago | (#4373539)

There's a guy here who's incredibly proud of the fact that he's "had to" spend $150 on cables to connect his bp2002 fronts. He claims that with cheap $75 cables he wouldn't be getting the same sound quality and he'd be wasting his speakers.

Nothing irks me more than people who believe that the money:quality ratio is constant. It just isn't always the case... for instance, based on pure horsepower, I'd take my $700 AMD box over a $1500 Mac.

Re:ad for monster - AGREED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373556)

Yeah, they call Monster "ultra-high-end"...bwahahaha! That's like calling Kentucky Fried Chicken a "gourmet restaurant."

Text of article (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373206)

The Basics


If you only remember one thing from this article, remember this: After the memory card, the single most important upgrade for your console is an upgraded video cable.

Some of you may be surprised to read that the PlayStation 2 and TV are not configured for an optimal picture and audio quality straight out of the box. Neither is an Xbox or Gamecube. Some of you may be familiar with upgraded cables, but be unsure about the advantages on a "regular TV" as opposed to an exotic $15,000 plasma. Others may wonder if ultra-high-end cables such as those from Monster Cable are actually better than other cables. In this feature, we'll look at these questions and try to explain some of the concepts behind video quality without being too technical. We'll focus mostly on the PlayStation 2, as it is the most popular console, but by the time you finish reading this, you'll know how to maximize your console's picture and sound performance, whether you have an AV system that's 10 years old or 10 days old. This is a comprehensive article, so make sure you're comfy before you start reading.

Background Check

The first step in tweaking your console picture quality is using an appropriate video cable, and to do this we'll need to know the supported inputs for your TV. So, you'll either need to find your TV manual or take a look at the back panel of the TV as you read this next section.

RF Connector

All of you will have an RF connector. This is the input you normally use for your TV antenna and represents the oldest and worst format available. With this connection, the audio and video signal from the console must be converted into a "Cable/Antenna" channel for Channel 3 or 4. In the process, not only is the video quality greatly reduced but your console will also be limited to reduced-quality mono sound. If this is the only connector you have on the back of your TV, we're really sorry. There's not much you can do to improve your picture quality other than buying a new TV.


The composite video connector is the next most common input found on TVs, and unsurprisingly this is what the PS2, Xbox, and GC ship out of the box. In this approach, the video and audio signals are sent separately. Once the signal from the console system reaches the TV, it is decoded into separate luma (a form of brightness or intensity) and chroma (color) information.

Re:Text of article PAGE 2 (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373220)

Beyond the Basics

S-Video (also called S-VHS)

The Super-Video connector was introduced a little over a decade ago, is present in almost every TV sold today, and has been included on most good TVs for the last 5 years or so. Although the S-Video connector looks like it also uses one cable to carry the video, the brightness and color run as independent signals. Doing this improves the resolution of the image itself, and more interestingly eliminates "dot crawl" and "color bleeding."

Remember when I said that composite video keeps the color and brightness information together and that the TV separates it later? What do you think happens if the separation is imperfect and a tiny bit of color signal remains in the brightness signal? The answer is "dot crawl" or "chroma crawl." With a composite cable, you end up with waving edges anywhere there is a sharp contrast in color. On the TV, this will be particularly annoying since the waving edges actually vibrate, creating a crawling effect.

Color bleeding or cross luminance occurs is another problem caused by imperfect separation of the luma and chroma signals. This specific artifact occurs when the brightness signal changes so quickly that the TV interprets it as being part of the color signal. This causes colors to appear on fine black and white details such as pinstripes. With S-Video, the brightness and color signals never mix and so you won't have either problem. Pretty cool, huh? So how does it look?

Final Fantasy X composite Final Fantasy X Monster-S

FFX composite zoomed FFX Monster-S zoomed

Using a S-Video cable will improve the color, sharpness, and "stability" of an image on any TV. Now, I should add that taking screenshots of image quality can be a problem because on the TV, the image will be blown up, you'll be sitting farther, and things will be in motion. To give you an idea of what the difference is, I've made two pictures of a paused DVD.

Titanic generic cable Titanic Monster-S

Component Video (also called Y-Pb-Pr or Y-Cb-Cr)

At first glance this may look just like a composite input. There are at least three connectors, but instead of a single yellow connector, you have red, blue, and green connectors. With S-Video the luma and chroma signals were kept separate, therefore reducing unnecessary processing (on both the source and display). Well it turns out that the color signal itself originates as two separate pieces of information. So with component video, the chroma signal is in its two separate versions, further improving the signal integrity. The component video format has enough headroom for HDTV resolutions and is as pure as the video signal can get with a DVD source and as good as it gets for games on a North American TV.

Here, things get tricky. Without spending five thousand dollars, it's impossible to take screenshots using a component connector, so you'll have to trust us. We figure that you would probably prefer that we spend that $5000 toward bringing you more PC hardware or PC/console gaming articles. With component video, the color range is expanded resulting in slightly richer and deeper images. Another way to think of it is that the colors are more accurate with greens looking greener and reds looking redder. It's subtle at first, but once you see the difference, you'll always see it. Your mileage may vary to a certain degree. The higher quality your S-Video comb filter is (the part that splits the chroma image into its two primary components), the smaller the improvement in component video.

Re:Text of article PAGE 3 (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373239)

Choosing a cable

Choices, choices

If we all had infinite budgets, wed all get a TV in the 5-digit price range, and get the best component cables money could buy. In the real world, component video cables are more expensive than S-Video cables, and composite cables are free! So what should you do?

If the best connector on your TV is S-Video, there is no debate: you should not hesitate to make this upgrade. For DVDs and games, youll notice a dramatic improvement in color fidelity and resolution, as well as the elimination of dot crawl and color bleeding. This will be true on every TV whether its a 15 or 80. Its that simple.

GT3 on standard composite GT3 on Monster-S
THX on standard composite THX on Monster-S
Pearl Harbor on standard composite Pearl Harbor on Monster-S
FFXs Yuna on standard composite FFXs Yuna on Monster-S

Weve paused a DVD and captured a video to show you what the difference between S-Video and Composite will look like on your TV. For best results, youll want to configure your Quicktime to loop the move.

Standard cables S-Video cables

Deciding whether or not to get a component video cable is a little bit trickier. Many Xbox games support high-definition or progressive scan video. Fewer Gamecube and PS2 titles support progressive scan (480p). No console currently supports progressive-scan DVD, although we always hear that its in the pipeline for the PS2. Since there are many games on all three platforms that do not support progressive scan, you will be buying component cables primarily for the improvement in color accuracy. This improvement is most noticeable in movies (both DVD and FMV) and less so in games because textures can be compressed.

If youre in this situation, its a question of whether or not you use your PS2 or Xbox as a DVD player or if you like games such as RPGs, which can be FMV heavy. Since DVDs benefit the most from a component connection, if your stand-alone player is already using your only component input, then your best bet would be a S-Video cable for your console.

What about Monster Cable?

Hopefully weve convinced you that S-Video is immensely superior to a standard composite connection, and that the primary advantage of component video is improved color rendition. Perhaps the most interesting question is whether or not there is a difference between the premium Monster Game products from Monster Cable and generic cables. We obtained a complete set of Monster PS2 products to answer this question.

Not even Monster Cable will disagree with the statement that Monster Game products are expensive. Over 40 million PlayStation 2 consoles have been shipped, and Monster Cable isnt looking to also sell 40 million PS2 cables. Like other luxury items such as a diamond or exotic sports car, squeezing the last bit of performance always seems to cost a lot. How important is that extra bit of clarity in a diamond, or the one-second improvement on your quarter mile? Thats not something we can easily answer for you. The better question is if there is any measurable quality difference between the Monster Cables and generic cables, or if its just marketing and a longer cable that you are paying for. Ive seen a lot of people on message boards say no, but after reading the next part, well explain and prove to you that the answer is yes, Monster Cables do make a difference.

Re:Text of article PAGE 4 (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373248)

A Crash Course in Cable Theory

24 karat Gold Plated Connectors with 8-cut Turbine Connector and Split-Tip Center Pin

Before we show you the results of our testing, it makes sense to go over a little bit of the theory behind cables. Designing speaker and video cable takes a lot of science and a lot of experience and empirical evidence. From a high school physics perspective, it may seem as if cables shouldn't matter very much. It's not "doing anything" like a transistor, resistor, or a capacitor -- it's just a path for moving electrons. Certainly everything has resistance and so maybe an ultra thin or a really long cable might be bad, but none of this seems to apply to 6 or 10 feet of a PS2 cable. Once you take a university physics class, you suddenly realize that there's much more going on in the real world. You have to worry about inductance and the geometry of conductors and that's just the beginning. Instead of trying to teach the physics behind designing cables, I'll just step through a few of Monster Cable advertised features and separate the marketing from the science.

Even if I had all the money in the world, I would still take a copper cable over one made entirely of gold. Why? Believe it or not, the conductivity of copper is much better than that of gold (pure silver is the best). So why are gold connectors used? It doesn't corrode very easily whereas copper and silver would. An ultra pure copper or silver connector would be awesome until it corroded and deteriorated. Since gold connectors won't corrode, performance is preserved over the long run. Regular cables use nickel connectors that aren't as inert or conductive. The oxidation that occurs with non-gold connectors is a very poor conductor. I once had an old cable that I though was defective until I cleaned off the oxidation.

Expensive toys

What's this business about an 8-cut Turbine Connector and split-tip center pin? The simple answer is that this provides a tighter grip. With a tighter connection, there is less-conductor exposed to the air and more surface contact between the connectors. This prevents dust from getting in between the two connectors connector, and also reduces the TV or receiver's connector to air moisture (preventing corrosion), further improving the signal transfer in the long run. The goal is to try to create as close to a cold weld as possible. A cold weld is when you metal are compressed under such great force that they deform and eliminate any air between them.

So, having gold and segmented connectors will only do a little bit to improve your immediate performance, but go a long way in maintaining the quality of the cable over the years. One caveat, is that the Monster turbine connectors are infamous for ripping the RCA jacks off of your equipment, so be careful when attaching and removing the cables.

Re:Text of article PAGE 5 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373262)


Heavy-Duty Double Shielding

Do you remember watching Enemy of the State and seeing the part when Gene Hackman explains how he does all his work inside a metal cage? That was an example of a Faraday cage. The basic idea behind a Faraday cage is that like charges repel, and therefore a charged conductor with zero resistance will have all of its charge on the surface. The inside is completely neutral.

Every piece of wire is a potential antenna and every wire is potential transmitter. So its important to prevent interference from radio stations and other electronics. Monster Cable uses a shield consisting of 100% aluminum Mylar foil and a 95% copper braid. Together they work to simulate a Faraday cage that will absorb the energy before it reaches the true signal carrying wire. Obviously its cannot be a perfect Faraday cage since its not fully sealed with no openings, but it works to reduce spurious signals from tainting the signal.

Super Fine Multi-Stranded Copper Conductor and Nitrogen Gas-Injected Dielectric

So far weve only talked about things Monster Cable has done to prevent signal problems. Now we get to talk about what Monster Cables do for transmitting the signal. The first element is the conductor itself. Monster has chosen to go with a fine multi-stranded copper design. This in itself isnt particularly noteworthy and there are approaches that promote the use of solid core conductors. Among multi-stranded copper designs however, the purity of the conductor will have the greatest impact and Monster hasnt given any specifics. Multi-stranded designs are also more flexible and tolerant of bending that solid core designs.

The dielectric, or the insulating sheath around the wire is Monster Cables own nitrogen-gas design. Any insulator next to two conductors will create a capacitor and store energy between the two wires. You may have learned that capacitors themselves are nothing more than plates of metal separated by air or a dielectric. Not only does the absorption of energy into the dielectric cause signal degradation, but that energy can also come back into the wire itself. Think of it as the charges are sticking to the edges of the wire as they travel down the wire.

The best dielectric is no dielectric: air. Of course, since an air-dielectric would lead to incredibly fragile cables, people turn to other materials such as PVC, polypropylene, and Teflon (probably the best). In addition, dielectrics can be transformed into foam, making its composition closer to air. Thats exactly what Monster Cable is doing with their Nitrogen Gas-Injected Dielectric.

Together, these features try to keep the video signal as strong as possible, and the impedance as close to 75-ohm as possible. When impedance is mismatched, you can get ghosting in images.

And now for the most important part, will these theoretical ideas carry over into our real-world testing?

Re:Text of article PAGE 6 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373269)

The Monster Game Line-Up

Gamelink 200 - Composite Cable

(This model does not feature an 8-Cut Turbine Connnector.)

S-Video - Gamelink 300 Component Video - Gamelink 400 and Gamelink 400CVAA

The Gamelink 400 is a video-only cable that requires you to use the digital output for audio. The Gamelink 400CVAA includes the analog audio connectors for an additional $10. These component cables use silver content solder to connect the wire to the connector, minimizing signal loss.

Comparison #1: Reference Image

We begin with a test image from the THX Optimode software that's included with many DVDs today. To obtain a "true reference standard," we decoded the image on a PC using an IEEE-1180 double precision floating point decoder (64-bit). In simpler terms, we made sure that the decoding process kept as many numbers after the decimal point as possible. The rest of the images were captured with an ATI Rage Theater chip and saved as 24-bit TGA files, later converted to PNG for the web.

Reference THX image


Standard cable THX test image

Monster THX test image

The capture card had a much harder time "locking onto" the THX test signal with a standard A/V cable. We took about 50 images on both cables and every time, the standard A/V cable demonstrated poorer performance than the Gamelink 200. On the TV, the difference isn't anywhere as bad since the color patches are always in motion and so you never have a chance to see the problem quite so clearly. Nonetheless, this shows that the Monster Cable does provide a better signal to the capture card than the standard Sony A/V cable.


Generic S-Video

Monster S-Video

These two look far more similar, and you can really see the advantage of S-Video. Even a generic S-Video cable outperforms a Monster Composite cable, but a Monster S-Video cable still takes the lead. When you zoom in, you can see that there is less noise with the Monster Cable.

Zoomed-in Generic S-Video

Zoomed-in Monster S-Video

Re:Text of article PAGE 7 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373276)

Comparison #2: In-Game with MGS2 and GT3


MGS2 Standard MGS2 Monster

Since this shot in Metal Gear Solid 2 isnt as complex as the THX test image, the differences between Monster Cable and the standard cable are much less noticeable. The text on the Monster Cable is just slightly better than the excessive contrast of the text on the standard A/V cable.


MGS2 Standard S-Video MGS2 Monster S-Video

Here, we can also see some of the checkerboard noise in the glass on the left side of the screen. Again, just barely.

Comparison #3: In-Game with Gran Turismo 3 Composite

GT3 Standard GT3 Monster

If you look at the Easy Level text on the upper left, you can see that the Monster Cable is slightly sharper with less dot crawl.

S-Video GT3

GT3 Standard S-Video GT3 Monster S-Video

On a good PC monitor, you should be able to see the differences in color rendition between Monster Cable S-Video and generic S-Video. The reds on the circles in the Laguna Seca logo and the red of the Viper itself are deeper and truer. We know that Monster Cable isnt exaggerating the red from the first example.


Even though we are limited by the quality of our screen capture equipment, these comparisons, particularly the test images, demonstrate with certainty that Monster Cable offers a slightly improved picture. Of course, the jump from composite to S-Video is much larger.

Re:Text of article PAGE 8 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373283)

Cables are just the beginning


With your cables out of the way, you're only half way to getting the best video performance from PS2. You need to tweak your TV settings. Fortunately, this is much easier. Most TVs are set to have a very high contrast and sharpness out of the box. Manufacturers do this to draw your attention to their TV set while you're in the store. At home, however, high contrast and sharpness are the bane of videophiles.

The larger your contrast ratio, the greater definition there is between white and black. Unfortunately, the contrast setting on your TV doesn't affect your contrast ratio and it's really just setting the white level. "Brightness" on your TV refers to the black level and sets how dark a black signal is displayed. The best way to adjust these settings is to get a test DVD or a movie with THX Optimode, however as a general rule of thumb, most uncalibrated TVs have their contrast set way too high. This causes blooming or "smearing" of bright white edges, reducing the fidelity of the image itself. If you don't have a DVD with test images, try to find a brightly lit scene and start playing with the contrast setting to see the difference. You want to get it as bright as possible without causing blooming or losing details on a very bright surface.


The sharpness circuitry found on your TV is primarily an edge enhancement technology designed for use with low-resolution sources. Unfortunately, this is simply adding information that doesn't really exist. Let's take a look at the logo we have the top of the screen. If run a sharpness filter to it, you might be tempted to say that the bottom image is "sharper."




Look at it again, are the lines sharper or just exaggerated? The gold gradient looks burned out. When we use a cross-hatch pattern to understand what the sharpness setting is doing, we can recognize that it is adding extra information that wasn't in the original source and is unwanted. These artifacts are called ringing. The only reason why sharpness may look better to the untrained eye is that it's harsher and grainier, which draws your attention. A high sharpness can also make aliased lines in 3D games look worse.



Original FFX image Sharpened FFX image

Look at the vertical line at the upper right where I've added the arrow. When your sharpness is too high, it begins to add an unwanted white vertical line.

Monster S Titanic Original Sharpened image

Original zoomed Sharpened zoomed

In this shot from Titanic, we can see ringing artifacts on Rose's tie and collar. Oh, and in case you're curious to know why we've had a few Titanic shots, it's because this clip is from a very high-quality, high-bitrate demo disc from DTS that is an ideal test disc. Sometimes the best demo discs are the worst movies - the budget just went to the cinematography rather than the story.

Since DVDs and PlayStation 2 games have more than enough source resolution, you should turn down the sharpness setting for a more accurate picture. Initially, this may seem to make your picture softer, but that is only because you are used to seeing the added false data. You'll quickly recognize that images will look more natural, carrying a film-like depth and detail to the images.

Again, using a test DVD is the best way to get the correct setting, however you can look for other instances of those artifacts. One of the best places to look for these artifacts is a black line on a gray background. On some TVs you may still have artifacts after turning the sharpness all the way down to zero, while others aren't as bad.

You should also configure your PlayStation 2 DVD sharpening to -2. The default "+0" setting is actually adding a lot of artifacts to your picture. The -2 setting is the true "neutral" setting.

Re:Text of article PAGE 9 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373288)

A Few Words on Audio


While Monster Cables also offer improved analog audio quality from your PS2, a digital optical cable will make a much larger difference. So, if you have a digital surround sound receiver, you should certainly consider using an optical connection. Not only will the sound be better, but youll have access to 5.1 surround sound DVDs and DTS music CDs. There are some people who will claim that digital cables are all the same since the 1s and 0s are always being transmitted if the cable works but this isnt entirely true due to something called jitter.

Let me ask you a simple question. Is there a difference between these two sentences?

Digital data is expected to run at 44.1kHz or 48kHz. Jitter occurs when the timing of the digital 1s and 0s is slightly off and the result can be a change to the character and sound of the audio. Although the words in our sentences above are identical, the timing is off. These small timing errors can have an audible difference particularly when jitter primarily affects certain frequencies.

The catch is that most games DO NOT have very high-resolution audio so jitter is unlikely to make any drastic changes to the sound quality. Moreover Dolby Digital and DTS use compressed datastreams that are reconstructed by the receiver meaning that its less sensitive to cable jitter.

A high-end digital cable will have its greatest advantage over a generic digital cable if youre dealing with conventional music CDs.

Comparing Digital Audio Cables

The problem is that the neither the Xbox or PS2 is an audiophile grade machine and so theres already quite a bit of jitter in outgoing signal. Initially, we compared the $30 3-meter Monster Game Lightwave 100, and a generic mini-plug to TOSLINK cable we had lying around. We hoped that relying on direct line-of-sight for transmission rather than using a real cable would magnify any differences, if there were any. That is, a mini-plug isnt the correct connector but for a fiber optic cable, light can still travel through the cable if its not perfectly aligned. Even so, we were not able to discern a noticeable difference between these two cables. However, when I used a very revealing piano piece on Telarcs A Window in Time (CD-80491) I was able to discern a slight improvement between the Monster Cable and the generic TOSLINK in blind testing. The improvement was barely perceptible on my audio system and my background as a pianist and long experience with critical listening probably gave me additional sensitivity that most people do not have. Even so, while I was able to identify the Monster Cable with statistical significance with 95% confidence, it was barely perceptible and I could only distinguish between the two optical cables with one track.

This is not to say that digital audio cables dont matter at all -- when we put in an audiophile-grade TOSLINK cable (that retails for just under $200 for three meters), our blind testing concluded that there was a slight improvement in transparency and a reduction in boominess on a wide-range of source material -- but even then, it was ever so slight. Still statistically significant, though. For those curious, the setup I was using was a Denon-AVR1602 in stereo mode with an 80Hz crossover. JBL HLS-610 bookshelves toed in on custom-built stands and bi-wired with 12AWG original Monster Cable and custom 5-pair 18AWG solid-core cable. An NHT SW2Si subwoofer was connected to an NHT SA-2 amplifier with the low pass crossover set 75Hz via Audioquest Type 4 cables. This isnt particularly high-end but the components work well as a whole for a very competitive sound.

With video, your variables are the console, the cable, and the TV. With audio, its much more complicated since you have to deal with speakers, speaker cable, amplifiers, pre-amps, DACs, and interconnects all playing a role. Every component is equally critical for good sound reproduction, but for most of us, there will be more benefit from improving other components in the chain, rather than digital interconnects.

So, the main advantage to using high-end optical cables on a console will just be the added durability and protection to the cable. That is, you can break an optical cable if its gets bent too much. High-end cables are designed to be flexible while resisting the excessive distortions that could cause damage.

Re:Text of article PAGE 10 (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373295)


Now that you've reached the end of this enormous article, you should now have a good idea on what you need to do to tweak your console's audio and video setup. As we mentioned at the very beginning, an upgraded video cable is the single most important upgrade for your console after the memory card. There's no excuse to use a standard composite A/V cable if your TV supports S-Video. Just remember to tweak your TV's picture settings as we've described earlier.

So what about Monster Cable? I think simple answer is to use common sense. Don't go pick a composite Monster Cable over a generic S-Video cable. Second, if you have a very old or budget TV, the extra quality may not matter to you or be noticeable. However, if you have a high-end TV and demand the best possible picture quality from your PlayStation 2, Xbox, or Game Cube, Monster Cables are they way to go. We've given you visual proof that Monster Game video products from Monster Cable really do offer something extra over generic cables.

For audio, the only improvement you can make is the use of an optical cable -- just buy the one you're most comfortable with. In terms of performance, optical cables are essentially identical. If you move your console around a lot and are worried about cracking a generic optical cable, then a more durable high-end cable makes sense


RF connector - 2.5
Composite - 10
Monster Gamelink 200 - 15
S-Video - 80
Monster Gamelink 300 - 85
Component - 90
Monster Gamelink 400 - 95


Standard Analog Cables - 40
Monster Analog - 50
Standard Optical - 70
Monster Lightwave 100 - 71
Audiophile Grade Optical Cable - 72

ALL 10 pages posted AC for karma safety :)

Record for Burned Mod Points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373329)

With the exception of "the post", this has got to be one of the funniest mod-point burners I have seen in awhile. Why bother wasting mod points on a re-post of the article? I can't figure it out.

Re:Record for Burned Mod Points? (1)

Ari Rahikkala (608969) | about 12 years ago | (#4373535)

Especially since this is pretty useful as the article is slashdotted already... * makes an eye-rolling movement *

Ah well, I guess some mods just don't have a clue ;-). Or then my theory of Mass Idiocy (see journal) is correct...

In other news (5, Funny)

back_pages (600753) | about 12 years ago | (#4373225)

How to Optimize your Commodore Cassette Tape Drive

Tips for getting the most out of a Walmart Keyboard

Is your toast the best it can be? Read on to find out...

Super Mario Bros. Tips and Tricks - How to run AND JUMP in COMBINATION!

And finally:

Screws: Righty-tighty or do they work better if you use hammers?

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373423)

I was going to Ask Slashdot about this, but since you brough it up.
I am refurbishing my C64 and I had this expansion cartrige that speed up my floppy and allow did things such as allow quick access to directoies, recall of previous commands, etc. Do you know where I can get another one of thoses?

Re:In other news (1)

peterpi (585134) | about 12 years ago | (#4373440)

I used to spend fucking hours tweaking my C64 tape drive to load some of the more difficult loaders.

Improving Playstation 2 image quality (0, Flamebait)

tsaotsao (161192) | about 12 years ago | (#4373228)

1) Unplug Playstation 2
2) Plug in Xbox
3) Play th2x

Play what though? Black screens = No fun. (-1, Offtopic)

Viewsonic (584922) | about 12 years ago | (#4373272)

Suxbox has n0 games.

Re:Improving Playstation 2 image quality (1)

Vietomatic (520138) | about 12 years ago | (#4373350)

Halo, NFL2K3, Sega GT 2002 are examples of some good Xbox games that have nice, sharp graphics. As more and more developers turn to 720p video output, it makes my 55" HDTV very happy.

Re:Improving Playstation 2 image quality (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373463)

There are currently no games on any console with high definition output (720p, 1080i). The first true high definition console game to be released is Dragon's Lair 3d for the Xbox, and is supposed to be 1080i.

However, all Xbox games (with 1 or 2 small exceptions) are progressive scan (480p) which gives a small improvement is visual accuity over normal output (480i).

buy the PC version of the game (2)

Doppler00 (534739) | about 12 years ago | (#4373234)

That way you can up the resolution to 1280x960 or higher. As far as I know, there are no televisions that can display that high of a resolution yet. But really, they should include the option of VGA out on consoles.

Re:buy the PC version of the game (2, Informative)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | about 12 years ago | (#4373317)

There are plenty of TVs out there that display 1920x1080 (the HD standard).

Dreamcast has VGA out. (0, Offtopic)

FuShanks (513944) | about 12 years ago | (#4373319)

Yep. It sure does.

Re:buy the PC version of the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373483)

but i use linux and can't play any of the games that i want to play.

Re:buy the PC version of the game (3, Insightful)

Godeke (32895) | about 12 years ago | (#4373636)

Have to agree with you there - if you are concerned about "image quality", console gaming isn't probably where you want to be in the first place. The games are hard wired for an resolution that was last popular in gaming during the 486-early pentium era, and when you buy a modern PC with a modern video card (said video card costing 150% of an entire console, admittedly) you can have "image quality" that console gamers don't even *know they could* dream about.

(That said, I still play console games because they aren't in my home office, making it *appear* I'm not at the same computer activity I was at for the previous 12 hours working... obsessive compulsiveness I guess.)

How about this guide? (3, Funny)

wumarkus420 (548138) | about 12 years ago | (#4373271)

How about a guide on how to improve your webserver's traffic-handling capabilities.

What you really need to do (4, Interesting)

ilsie (227381) | about 12 years ago | (#4373294)

If you want to get your TV perfectly calibrated, hire a professional. Second best thing to do is pick up Avia's Video Essentials [] . I would definitely take this "guide" with a grain of salt. They gloss over one of the most important issues of video calibration, which is that you have to calibrate it with the amount of ambient light that would normally be present with normal usage.

Also, they could HEAR the difference between two different TOSLINK cables? Gimme a break. Sounds like a sponsored ad for Monster cable, whom audiophiles know is a rip-off anyways.

Re:What you really need to do (1)

terrencefw (605681) | about 12 years ago | (#4373487)

Also, they could HEAR the difference between two different TOSLINK cables? Gimme a break. Sounds like a sponsored ad for Monster cable, whom audiophiles know is a rip-off anyways.

Oh yeah... go to any high-end audio shop and they'll tell you that! As long as all the bits that go into the cable make it out the other end, there's no way it can make a difference. Good quality cables are important with analogue signals though. There's all sorts of factors which can make a very big difference. Of course this game is one of diminishing returns though. As a rule for audio components, throw away the black liquorice cables which came with the boxes and spend 10 quid on the important cables. If you spend any more you are wasting your time (unless you've spend more than 1000 quid on your CD player).

Ad for montser cable (1)

Farmer Jimbo (515393) | about 12 years ago | (#4373299)

So far (page 5) it appears to be a text heavy advertisment for monster cable.

New guide? (3, Funny)

Flakeloaf (321975) | about 12 years ago | (#4373309)

Laugh all you want, I enhanced the display on my GBA using the undocumented brightness knob and now I can see *erverything*.

Um... what's that fizzing noise?

what would have been interesting (1)

ph0rk (118461) | about 12 years ago | (#4373320)

would have been a bit on how to make a console not look like complete crap on a digital tv.

(you have to play with the brightness and contrast to make it look less ugly, and hope you've got at least s-video)

Image quality guide? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373335)

This is a mickey Mouse cable guide at best, about on par with something you'd find in EGM or something. Slashcrap at it's worse.

Re:Image quality guide? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373439)

Why is this a troll? It's an opinion on the article? Christ, you can't win around here with you mod dicks.

X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (4, Informative)

mbourgon (186257) | about 12 years ago | (#4373344)

Not sure which one to buy, but apparently (and according to everyone in the office who bought it - damn my television's 1 S-Video!) the difference between RCA and S-Video is nothing short of stunning. Not sure if the monster cable is worth however much extra they get over the Microsoft (or generic) kit, but if you have the ability, get the S-Video cable.

Now if it only helped the gameplay...

You Americans are so cute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373375)

With your crappy S-Video connectors and comparisiong between S-Video and RCA (Composite? Are you serious?)

Give me a call back when the guy who wrote this article discovers proper RGB (SCART) output.

S-Video, aha...

Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373610)

Sorry, we don't speak Nazi on this here memochat.

Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (2)

Masem (1171) | about 12 years ago | (#4373382)

The RCA/S-video switch is apparent for all systems. I've got my PS2 through my sound system to TV as to be able to either play it through S-vid or through the RCA ports, just by switching between the two external port channels on the TV, and difference is quite apparent; the RCA picture, when compared to the S-vid, is fuzzy with blurred edges, like a bad anti-aliasing scheme; a lot of small text, for example, can be blurry and the like, as well as, in 3d games, far details that can get lost.

Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (2, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 12 years ago | (#4373429)

If your TV has only one S-video connector, get yourself an A/V switch box that lets you plug in multiple sources (VCR, PS2, XBox, Camcorder, etc) and then just hit a button on the switch box to switch the source going to your TV. I bought one made by Pelican that has 5 inputs (RCA video & audio & S-video options for each input) and even RF in/out if you really need it for only $25 at Best Buy.

As for the quality of S-video, I find the picture vastly sharper and clearer than using RCA video. When I was living at home still, my mom's TV had S-video. I hooked up the Dish Network receiver using both RCA and S-video to compare both. The S-video blew RCA away. The RCA video image appeared kind of grainy and especially so with the on-screen guide. This was using the generic S-video cable that came with the Dish Network receiver and nothing hyped-up at all.

Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (1)

troc (3606) | about 12 years ago | (#4373481)

If you want a decent picture on a normal (not HDTV etc) TV then I'd recommend moving to Europe and using SCART for your connections - beats S Video hands down ;)

I realise that's not really a useful suggestion mind you.

Oh well.


Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (1)

terrencefw (605681) | about 12 years ago | (#4373577)

Ummmmm... SCART is just a multiway connector which carries (optionally) Composite, Audio, S-Video, RGB and switching signals. You can't say that SCART beats S-Video because SCART is a type of connector, where is S-Video is the format of the video signal. If you've found that "SCART" is better than S-Video then you're probably watching the picture via the RGB signals, which are close enough to how the your VGA monitor gets its signal.

Look at the SCART pinouts [] for more details.

Most consumer kit only provides/accepts signals on the Composite and Audio pins, and maybe S-Video on recent kit. Some decent cable/satellite boxes and DVD players may be switchable to send RGB too. Your TV might ignore RGB inputs too, in which case it'd fall back to the composite signal on one of the other pins.

Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (1)

EulerX07 (314098) | about 12 years ago | (#4373645)

And how does SCART compare to component (Y-Pb-Pr) input? Component input is available on non-hdtv's (for exemple toshiba projection tv, keyword is colorstream).

It would probably be wiser to buy a tv with component input (new toshibas hdtv have two component inputs) than to move to europe and try your other standard.

Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373484)

As soon as the world realises that SCART/RGB is the way to go the better.

It will only cost you about £6 for the cable for most consoles and gives you full 3 channel R G B for
your TV

Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (2)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#4373503)

Not sure which one to buy

Seeing as the linked article is a giant "Monster Game/Monster Cable" advertisement, I'd assume that the author wants you to use them.
I wish they would have put more of a reason why to use that brand with comparisons of it to other brands of cable. This is what really leads me to believe that it is an advertisement more than an article.

Also, do you see this as /. worthy? Its almost like learning how to build a computer from scratch. I think most of us know how to.
I guess it'd be a sectional article, but there is no section for tech or games.

Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (2)

Apreche (239272) | about 12 years ago | (#4373587)

Totally agreement. The difference you get in audio or video quality by using different cables is very very small. Surely the crappiest of cables will have lots of interference and noise. But if you get a decent shielded cable from radio shack the difference between that and the most expensive fancy cable is so small that it's not worth the dough.
As for the S-Video, yes using S-Video does make a huge difference. Using component cables, however, makes just as big a difference. Especially on the gamecube. FYI the cube has two A/V outs on the back. One is analog and one is digital. the analog one can be fitted with anything from a coax to an s-video cable, the digital one can be fitted with component video out. I don't have a tv with s-video in, let alone component in, but we went over to the auditorium on campus with the component digital out and hooked it up to a 1024x768 resolution LCD projector. HOLY CRAP!
Holy crap! It was every bit as good as if we had a huge gas plasma. Can't wait for Godzilla destroy all monsters melee. Use that projector and get us some 20 foot long mothras!

Re:X-Box hint - buy the S-video adapter (1)

Bilestoad (60385) | about 12 years ago | (#4373551)

Don't EVER waste money on "Monster Cable". It is bullshit and you are paying for all the pretty packaging and 2" thick filler and covering. In the end it's all copper and it doesn't have to be thick to be good. Try or some other professional supply store for the cables the professionals use for less than the suckers at Best Buy have to pay.

This concludes the Monster Cable sponsored.... (0)

thealpha (308746) | about 12 years ago | (#4373362)

part of our program, please come back again when we will present, "How to Make Your Gaming Snacks Taste Better", sponsored by Cheez Whiz.

How to improve image quality .... (1)

mustangdavis (583344) | about 12 years ago | (#4373368)

Step 1: Go to your favorite electronics store or web site

Step 2: Remember to bring $15,000 cash or a couple credit cards that haven't been maxed out with you

Step 3:Purchase 50" plasma HDTV

Step 4:Get TV into your house (or better yet, my house if you don't have room)

Step 5:Throw Play Station into trash

Step 6:Buy stupid expensive cables if you have any money left after buying the TV

Step 7:Plug Xbox into new kick ass TV

Now you have better picture quality!

Re:How to improve image quality .... (2)

iapetus (24050) | about 12 years ago | (#4373397)

...and all you have to do is wait for some good games. :b (Just kidding, XBox fans, please don't regale me with tedious lists of games past, present and future...)

I'm quite happy with my current gaming setup, though, which runs the XBox, PS2, GC, Dreamcast, PSX, N64, Saturn, SNES, Megadrive, Jaguar, 3DO, and Atari 2600 (also the DVD player and satellite TV) through a *big* switcher box into a projector, which gives a nice bright 68" viewable screen. Only one thing missing from the setup - a fridge full of beer within arm's reach...

Re:How to improve image quality .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373432)

If you purchase a 50" plasma HDTV without buying "stupid expensive cables" you might as well throw it in the trash as well. Your picture is only as good as your source material and connections.

Great plan except (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373634)

I got my new XBox and all the games seem to suck.

But on the plus side, the picture quality is *just excellent*.


Comprehensive? (3, Funny)

tubs (143128) | about 12 years ago | (#4373370)

posted a comprehensive guide on how to improve your console's image quality.

Dear Sirs,

I cannot find any information on your site about my "Scart" connection, which is the only other input my TV has - surely such a basic connection should have been covered in your "Comprehesive" guide to improving image quality.

Yours Faithfully

No, you don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373418)

This is comprehensive if you're American. The poor little souls don't get to use proper video systems like RGB SCART. The guy seems pretty impressed with S-Video, but then I guess small things...

Re:Comprehensive? (0)

shepuk (588339) | about 12 years ago | (#4373451)

This was a U.S. article. You only get SCART connections on european teevees.

Re:Comprehensive? (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 12 years ago | (#4373509)

Yeah, I got some gold plated(it only cost a couple of euros more)scart cables for my tv, and the image has never been better. I have S-vido and RGB connections, but I've been told that Scart is better, so I never tried them.

Is that true?
Also, do european versions of gamecube, xbox, etc come with scart connectors? (my dvd player does)

Re:Comprehensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373544)

gold plated(it only cost a couple of euros more)scart cables for my tv

Yeah. I've found that the JVC gold plated SCART cables are good value for money, and they also do a rather useful "flat" cable (Like a ribbon cabe). Having said that, in most cases any fully wired SCART cable should be fine for 95% of the population, and still be better than S-Video.

Also, do european versions of gamecube, xbox, etc come with scart connectors?

Dunno about the rest, but you can indeed by a Sony Playstation -> SCART convertor. I should imagine you can get them for the Gamecube, XBox etc. too.

Re:Comprehensive? (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 12 years ago | (#4373567)

Sweet, thanks muchly.

Sharper image looks worse (5, Insightful)

papasui (567265) | about 12 years ago | (#4373371)

I like a little bit of a less than perfect image on my tv because it gives it a little bit of an antialiased look smoothing out some of the blocky edges that you get when you tweak everything. Sure a nice sharp image is great for 2D stuff but just the little bit of blur looks nice for 3D.

Re:Sharper image looks worse (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#4373444)

My thoughts are the same. With a little blur, you see the 3D image more rounded, and the sharper you get, the more blocky and pixelated you notice it.

Another option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373511)

You could always smear vaseline on your glasses.

Useless article (3, Insightful)

a3d0a3m (306585) | about 12 years ago | (#4373380)

Ok, here's what the article says in 1 paragraph as opposed to their >5 pages. Use A/V cables over RF, use S-Video over A/V, and use Component over S-Video. Also buy a monster cable if you can justify the expense to your wife/parents. Then, turn down the contrast and sharpness on your TV and PS2 because they do nothing to add to the image. The end. Was any of this a no-brainer to you? It all was for me.

Re:Useless article (2)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | about 12 years ago | (#4373532)

Well the one thing I learned, was the +0 sharpness setting on the PS2 is actually still effected, -2 is the actual neutral settings. Of course I don't watch DVDs on my PS2, I have a dedicated DVD player with component outs and S/PDIF.

SCART? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373394)

Do they not have SCART in North America? SCART has all these connections they talk about, in the same cable. It includes seperate R, G and B, VSync and HSync, seperate left and right audio in the same cable.

Re:SCART? (0)

shepuk (588339) | about 12 years ago | (#4373514)

No, they don't. SCART is a european thing. Just to complicate matters, not all SCART leads are created equal. Although the connectors are specified to carry composite, RGB, S-Video, and stereo sound all down one cable, very few of them are fully wired. The cheaper ones you get for consoles only have the composite video and audio pins wired up - you usually have to pay extra for a fully wired RGB version. It's a bit of a minefield for console newbies; most of the* faqs cover this topic in depth.

PS2 Beats XBox Again! (5, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 12 years ago | (#4373399)

the prolific PlayStation2

...And here with my XBox churning out two novels and an ice sculpture a year, I thought It was prolific!

Damn M$, And thanks, SlashDot, for setting me straight yet again!

Prolific PlayStation 2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373402)

"I don't think it means what you think it does." Inigo, "The Princess Bride", William Goldman

PlayStations have children?

You may looking for "ubiquitous".

Slashdotted already? (4, Informative)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | about 12 years ago | (#4373409)

I can't even get to the article, but it seems pretty simple.

Don't use the composite video cables that came with your system. All kinds of TVs from 19" on up now ship with S-Video and even Component inputs (JVC ships a 20", 25", and 27" TV with component-in), so if you're anywhere near being in the market for a TV, there's no reason why you shouldn't be getting one with those inputs. $25 gets you the Sony-brand component cables, ditto for Nintendo (although you have to order them off of Nintendo's website). XBox component cables have been a little cheaper, $20 at most places, but the cables themselves look kind of cheap.

While the difference between S-Video and Component isn't quite as pronounced (I mostly only see the difference in the colors, not in the fidelity of the picture), the difference between composite and either of the upper-tier inputs is enormously pronounced. On larger televisions in particular (32" and up), you can see very pronounced scan lines and blurriness of the image when using composite cables. The Nintendo Gamecube can give you a great demonstration fo this fact. The back of the unit has the standard video-out and then the "digital-out" port where the component video hooks in. You have to have both jacks connected and active, since the video is only fed on the component port, and the analog audio is still fed along with the composite video. Hook up both signals, turn on a game, and just flip back and forth between component and composite. You'll see what I mean.

That article is spreading fud. (2, Interesting)

delay (134063) | about 12 years ago | (#4373414)

In the past I also believed that I could improve my VCR's image quality by using chinch or scart instead of the antenna-cable. It appears to be common knowledge that by using better cables the image quality improves. However that is just the theory. I read an article where a german electronics-magazine (was it "Video"?) really checked the signal's quality using all kinds of cables. They let both human testers rate the quality, and they also checked it with expensive gadgets. The result was surprising: Neighter the human testers, nor the devices would see any difference. The quality was the same, so matter whether they used the antenna-input, chinch, scart or even rgb-cables.

I believe that the "screenshots" in this article are fake. A little blur in Photoshop helps them to sell their expenisive cables.

There's a real cult around expensive cables, especially amoung the audiophile croud. It's simply ridiciculous that some people who have a 5000$ stereo spend 1000$ on the cables. There is no difference in sound. A copper-cable's resistance is the same, no matter wheter you payed 20$ or 300$ for the cable.

Please slashdoters. Don't believe that crap.


Re:That article is spreading fud. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373471)

The result was surprising: Neighter the human testers, nor the devices would see any difference.

I can tell you that the difference between RCA and RGB SCART is pronounced and very, very clear. Even on my old 14" portable its imediatly obvious when I switch between the two.

As it happens my Cable TV box can be switched between Composite and RGB outputs (SCART has seperate lines for each, no problems). Composite output removes the snowing and ghosting interference you can get with RCA, but the colour is about the same. However, when you switch between Composite and RGB....the colours are cleaner, sharper and brighter. Edges are well defined. There is no colour smearing. The picture is steady.

In conclusion : RCA sucks. Composite sucks too. RGB SCART kicks your Composite ass from here to next Tuesday, steals your lunch money and throws your gym kit over the fence. Its that good.

Re:Confusion over terms. (1)

psleonar (99125) | about 12 years ago | (#4373559)

"RCA" is a physical cable type. Composite and RGB are electrical methods of encoding image information. Both Composite and RGB can be expressed on RCA cables - the former uses one cable, the latter uses three. SCART, being a multi-pin cable, can carry darn near anything over it's physical wires, depending on how the pins are wired at each end. It's possible to carry a Composite, S-Video, *or* RGB signal over SCART, as well as analog audio.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373626)

Lets not get pedantic, though. I thought it was fairly clear from the context that when I was refering to RCA, it was refering to the RCA Composite output that 99% of all devices out there have.

As for the SCART cable, well, yeah, I point out that its possible to carry both a Composite and an RGB signal over a single SCART cable. I have to admit, I have never seen anyone using S-Video over SCART, possibly because S-Video is mainly an American thing, and SCART is mostly a European thing, and they don't tend to meet in the wild.

RGB over SCART still kicks RCA Composite all over the playground :)

Re:That article is spreading fud. (2)

jandrese (485) | about 12 years ago | (#4373526)

They couldn't tell the difference between RF and S-Video cables? Were they all umpires? What was the source material? A 10 year old VHS tape? About a year ago I swapped out the old RF only TV for a modern TV with all of the good connectors. For the PS2, the difference was phonominal. I was able to see a whole new world of detail that was previously obscured by the blur. I was finally able to read the tiny little labels on equipment in Armored Core 2. I wasn't actually expecting such a noticable improvement in the picture quality either, which is one reason it came as such a big shock. As for Composite vs. S-video, my roommate and I have a setup where the output from the TiVo can either run through S-video or Composite (which is sent through a VCR). When we accidentally leave it on composite mode, even my roommate notices immediatly. The colors wash out on the composite path.

As for Monster cables, I think they're a rip off. They're made for the same people who buy $5,000 stereos for their cars. If it's more expensive it HAS to be good right?

Re:That article is spreading fud. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373548)

Not all cables are the same, differences in copper quality, cable inducatance and capacitance all make a difference in the sound that finally makes it to the speakers. It's diminishing returns though, as with anything related to audio/videophilles

With this in mind, you can pay as much as you like with cables, I generally go middle-of-the-road since I don't have superhuman hearing and my TV isn't the bext on the market.

On-topic - The difference between RF and RGB quality is simply amazing. S-Video is a lot better than RF/Composite is probably better for us who have UK PS2's and use them for DVD playback, since DVD-RGB playback isn't supported. :-(


Re:That article is spreading fud. (2)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | about 12 years ago | (#4373613)

I believe that the "screenshots" in this article are fake. A little blur in Photoshop helps them to sell their expenisive cables.

You have got to be kidding me. They're not faked. While the lay person may not be able to see a big difference if you show them a composite signal, and then a component signal... put the two side-by-side and it's night-and-day. Really. Don't believe me, go check it out for yousrself the next time you're in an electronics shop. Use a DVD.

There's a real cult around expensive cables, especially amoung the audiophile croud. It's simply ridiciculous that some people who have a 5000$ stereo spend 1000$ on the cables. There is no difference in sound. A copper-cable's resistance is the same, no matter wheter you payed 20$ or 300$ for the cable.

While I agree with you, it's a diminishing-returns kind of thing. There are guys out there who will insist that they can hear the difference between 1"-thick copper and regular lamp-cord. Maybe that's even true - in an anechoic chamber. If you've got even so much as a set of curtains in that room (or worse yet, a square listening room), that difference is gonzo.

Having said that, I sprang for a $20 component cord for my PS2, which is hooked to a Sony Wega 27". I'd say a 30% difference in colour saturation and clarity, easily (I'm a graphic designer by trade). Composite is really fuzzy. But the difference between my $20 component cable and an $80 Monster component cable (with no audio!) is probably less than 5%.

Now, to those who say the fuzziness provides a nice 'soft' look... yup, that's true. It depends on the game, and how badly it flickers (say, Armored Core vs. Silent Hill, the former being brutal). Luckily the Wega lets you adjust the sharpness through a method called Velocity Modulation. I turn it on and off depending on the game.

So that's my 2 pesos. As for this...

Please slashdoters. Don't believe that crap.

I agree. Check the cables on your tv/system/games. Buy to taste. But don't tell me it's a scam, it's just not true.

Re:That article is spreading fud. (1)

paulcammish (542971) | about 12 years ago | (#4373637)

Im afraid I REALLY have to disagree with that.

Iver here (in the UK) we have a number of Scart pinouts, some of which include RGB (aka Component), Composite & RGB and Composite. Right now I have my PS2 hooked up to my TV via the RGB connection, and I really do get a monitor quality picture with the RGB, compared to Composite.

In fact, the cable I use has a switch in line to enable/disable the RGB output, forcing the TV to drop back to Composite, and there is a very noticable degridation - along the lines of 15" monitor versus a 15" TV - 'jaggies' on non-antialiassed games are VERY noticable.

Composite is along the same quality as normal RF, nothing much noticable there, however S-Video is an improvement, but not quite as good as RGB.

I use the same RGB scart on my VCR and cable set top, and also get a substantially better picture than Composite or RF. Everything is sharp, and it really shows up the codec loss in some things on digital cable.

Looking at the Pics (very slow) id have to totally agree with their claims in the quality of picture improvement.

If anyone wants any more info, i can have a go at providing it...

Some missing points (4, Informative)

MetalHead666 (532749) | about 12 years ago | (#4373460)

This was a fairly good guide, but not as comprehensive as one could wish.

As one reader noted it would have been interesting if they actually wrote about something other than cables, eg how to set up your TV/HDTV/projector to make things look as good as possible, how VGA-boxes compare and so forth. And as far as I am concerned, Monster Cable are not by far the only manufacturer of high-end cables. Interact make some good stuff too, and about a million Hong Kong-manufacturers have different budget variants that will improve your results, if not by as much.

More specifically, a note that while MC do produce S-Video cables for all recent consoles, the PAL GameCubes do not support this kind of output, and thus a little test of RGB-Scarts wouldn't have been such a bad idea, eh? Especially considering that more people have Scart/Euro-connectors than S-video on their TVs, and that an RGB-Scart is easily on par with S-video output.

Since most people also only have one "good" Scart input on their TV set, a little write-up on different Scart-splitters and how they affect the quality would have been nice too.

Well, well, just a few thoughts. I guess we'll have to test these things ourselves, seeing as they who wrote the article are sponsored by MC and not interested in alternatives, which the consumer always is...

my experience with a ps2 vga adaptor (4, Informative)

Sarin (112173) | about 12 years ago | (#4373467)

I had a spare 21" monitor here, so I thought it would be nice to buy a vga adaptor for my playstation 2.
It's definately not worth the money:

-some games were black/white, it had something to do with the pal/ntsc switching of the console.
-the games that were displayed in color were in some sort of scanlined resolution on the monitor with a very low refresh-rate.
-there was no way to tweak the settings.

A couple months later I bought a better scart adaptor for my television set, which made the image a lot clearer and I gave the monitor to my little brother.

IIRC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373571)

Don't you require a sync on Green monitor to correctly use a VGA display with a Playstation?

Nifty S-Video trick (3, Interesting)

droopus (33472) | about 12 years ago | (#4373552)

Ok, we know S-Video is better: I use it from the HP P3 500 (movie box) I have behind my big screen to the TV's S-Video input.

But buy S-Video cables? Hey they are 'spensive. But there's a great substitute, and you probably have one in your basement right now.

Old-style Mac ADB (printer/modem) cables are perfect as S-Video cables: same pin arrangement. (Sound of 5,000 /.'ers running for the box o' old cables in the basement)

Funny that in my house, a PC is connected to a Toshiba projection screen via an old Mac cable. B) Yep, Apple just keeps on giving.

What are you doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373615)

What are you doing?
Reading Slashdot, it a great site where they post links to other websites and then we all have a great debate about what the site might have contained since it usally does down, due to the heavy traffic, and only the first 1% of the people gets to see what it says. :)
It's all good clean family entertainment you can trust.

Wires do matter! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4373653)

Well, I can't get through to the article, but judging by comments so far they seem to be saying that different types of cables make no difference. This is pure bunk. Numerous double blind test have been done in the A/V community and people can tell the difference between different interconnects.

People cannot, however, tell the difference between differenct types of speaker wire. It seems that as long as you use a sufficient gauge (I use at least 12 AWG) Home Depot bulk speaker wire sounds the same as exotic stuff.

I also understand that they are testing with Monster Cables. Monster cables are extremely overpriced for the quality you get. If you have good equipment, you will notice a difference with nice interconnects though. I personally use Better Cables [] and Rhino Cables [] in my system. Both offer a much better price/performance ratio than Monster
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