NTSC XBox 360 in Europe?
August 21, 2009 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Using an American (NTSC) Xbox in Europe (land-o-PALS)?

I have a 2008 XBox 360 Elite (120GB), bought in the US, NTSC. I'd like to bring it (and my NTSC games) with me to Europe to hook up to the television (which has already been provided) in my new apartment. My landlord was unable to answer me as to whether the TV was able to accept both PALS and NTSC, or only the former.
What I'm bringing: the XBox, the games, all of the cords that came with it (the AV cable, the HDMI cable, etc), a 1000-Watt step-up/step-down transformer (so as to, I hope, safely sidestep any power issues), and the other little peripherals.
Assuming, worst-case, that the TV is not HDMI and, for whatever reason, is PALS-only, do I have the basic physical bits necessary to eke even a mediocre picture and hookup out of the whole thing? Or should I buy some NTSC-to-PALS conversion kit before I leave? Any other problems with this scenario?
Any advice from anyone who's lived in Europe and made a U.S. video game system/XBox 360 work would be tremendous. I'm not disheartened by an imperfect picture, but if I'm missing a whole component I'm eager to know. Thanks, all!
posted by ninotchka to Technology (7 answers total)
 
My experience is that pretty much all TVs made in the past decade or so can accept NTSC and PAL signals. My advice:

1) Buy a new power brick when you get there. The transformer may work, but I wouldn't risk the hardware on it when the power brick can natively accept the power and do the work for you.

2) If you have both a HDMI and a component connection, you should be fine. I bought a secondhand analog TV that had to be at least seven years old when I was in France and it took composite from a US PS2 just fine.
posted by sun-el at 1:23 PM on August 21, 2009


If the TV does not have component or HMDI inputs then you will need some kind of NTSC->PAL converter (I'm not aware if such a device exists).

A possible option -

If you have a decent computer screen available, then you could hook up to that with a VGA adapter, and use a stereo for the audio.
posted by de void at 1:27 PM on August 21, 2009


If the TV does not have component or HMDI inputs then you will need some kind of NTSC->PAL converter (I'm not aware if such a device exists).

You're unlikely to need one to hook up a US console to a European television. A very high percentage of televisions made in the last 20 years will understand NTSC natively, and the vast majority of those that don't will understand 60hz.

If the TV does not have a component, HDMI, or VGA socket, it will probably have an RGB Scart socket. If it has more than one Scart socket, it is likely that only one of them will be RGB-capable. Look for one of these cables in the shops. If your TV does have an RGB Scart input, then NTSC compatibility is irrelevant -- it will Just Work.

briefly, this is because RGB Scart is like component in that it sends its colour signals independently.

If the sockets on your TV are poorly-labelled,

If your TV only has composite, then you will need NTSC compatibility.

...I only thought to google after typing all that out. This link should have all the information you need.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:47 PM on August 21, 2009


I'm pretty sure all you're going to need is a new Euro IEC plug for your power brick, and and pretty much any decent TV.

The vast majority of SD TVs are going to accept PAL and NTSC, and pretty much any HDTV worth it's salt will accept a 60Hz 720p or 1080i/p signal over HDMI or component.

fuggeddaboudit.
posted by iamcrispy at 2:07 PM on August 21, 2009


Do bear in mind that the Xbox 360 is region-locked, though. Most games you buy in Europe will only be compatible with European and Australian consoles, and your American Xbox will refuse to read them. This is a separate issue to the PAL vs. NTSC standards and will occur regardless of the TV you hook your console up to, as it was implemented to discourage importing videogames across different regions. It's also supremely annoying, but that's a matter for a different post...

Assuming you sort out the power issue (you will need a decent step-down transformer, though, as the Xbox needs quite a lot of juice) or get a new power brick, you should be fine as long as you can make do with the games you have or buy them online from an import specialist. I would recommend Play-Asia as a pretty good source for import games. They clearly indicate the region compatibility of all their products.

As far as TV compatibility is concerned, you shouldn't have any trouble with PAL vs. NTSC unless the TV in your apartment is utterly prehistoric. Depending on the inputs available, you may need to buy a SCART adapter, but that's about it.
posted by doctorpiorno at 3:34 PM on August 21, 2009


I'm pretty sure all you're going to need is a new Euro IEC plug for your power brick, and and pretty much any decent TV.

Judging from a quick googling, the bricks come in 100-127V and 200-240V versions (as seen on the internet etc), so unless the label on the one the OP already has says something different, buying a new one is probably easiest.

Also, the exact plug depends on where in Europe he is - we have a whole bunch of different countries here, you know, and not everyone is using the same plugs (nor the same TV system, for that matter, but that's probably less of a problem these days, and others have already explained).

This thread discusses moving an XBox from the US to Switzerland (230V, PAL).
posted by effbot at 4:35 PM on August 21, 2009


If your TV is a plain, good-old CRT which doesn't have component/VGA inputs and you decide on purchasing an RGB cable, I'd advise you to get the official Microsoft one. This is because some of the SCART cables/adaptors for sale are NOT RGB-wired, for instance, the sixth one from the top in ArmyOfKittens Google link. An actual RGB cable is well worth it, IMO.
posted by Bangaioh at 5:38 AM on August 22, 2009


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