Making the most of your Xbox 360 on a computer display?
October 14, 2006 5:55 PM   Subscribe

What's the best computer display available for connecting an Xbox 360 to?

I'd like to buy a 30" Apple Cinema HD display, and connect an Xbox to that, but I can't find any concrete information on whether it is possible at the moment. While searching some people have referenced to these products DVI-male to DVI-female and component adapter and VGA to DVI conversion box. Does anyone know if these work and what the quality is like? If not anyone got any other ideas?

Failing that, what other large (~30") HD flat paneled displays are available that the Xbox 360 will work with? Preferably looking for something that looks pretty sexy and minimalist.

And last question, are there any products that will allow you to switch between your computer and console without having to unplug the cables?

Thank you for your time and effort,
posted by Sevenupcan to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: The last link doesn't seem to work, my apologies. Try this, VGA to DVI conversion box.
posted by Sevenupcan at 6:02 PM on October 14, 2006

I'm not sure if it's still the case, but Dell's screens previously used exactly the same TFTs as the Apple screens. I have the 20" widescreen version and it's excellent. Unlike the Apple display, though, it has lots of different inputs.. VGA, composite, SVideo, and DVI, and even does picture in picture. It was also a lot cheaper. The Dell 30" display is the same and again cheaper than the Apple. Of course, it depends whether you want a black bevelled TFT or a silver bevelled TFT on your desk.

However, are you buying such a screen just for the Xbox 360, or is that just one of many things you want it for? If you only want a screen for the Xbox, get a regular HDTV LCD display.. it'll be significantly cheaper and have the right connectors. I can get a 32" TFT HDTV for under a third of the price of a 30" PC TFT.
posted by wackybrit at 6:21 PM on October 14, 2006

The problem with the Apple and Dell screens are that they aren't 1080i displays. I have yet to find a 30"+ widescreen LCD with component and DVI inputs and 1920x1080 or better resolution with the kind of response time I want from a computer monitor (8 ms or better).
posted by solid-one-love at 6:48 PM on October 14, 2006

I have a few Xbox 360s and have two of them connected to Dell 2407WFP 24" displays. These are, in general, great displays and I think a steal at an average price of $700 or so. As the previous poster mentioned, they have a crazy amount of inputs for a "computer" display, and the quality and design of the monitors is quite nice. The displays also feature a couple of USB ports and a number of memory card reader inputs. I have my 360s connected to the Component inputs, while my computers are connected to either the DVI-D or VGA ports.

But here's the thing about these (and probably any) LCD computer display: they're almost *too* good. They reveal imperfections in games that more-forgiving standard and HDTV televisions don't resolve. For example, in a simple game like Uno on Xbox Live, I can see the JPEG-like compression used in the game artwork.

The high-definition-ness and widescreen format of 360 games helps, but games do look a lot nicer and "smoother" on my Sony HDTV CRT.

Part of the issue may lie in the fact that LCDs have a "native" resolution (the Dells happen to be 1920x1200), which is not a standard HDTV resolution like 1080i or 720p.

The default, native resolution of the Xbox 360 is 720p (though 1080p output resolution is a rumored forthcoming feature), so for now, if quality is the utmost concern, you'd be well-off purchasing an HDTV LCD display (probably not one designed for computers) that has a native resolution of 720p. The 360 will just "fit" better on the display, and not have to scale or up-res images appearing onscreen. Unfortunately an HDTV LCD will, inch-for-inch, cost a lot more than a comparable "computer display", so it really comes down to how important the video quality is to you.

I'm very satisified with my Dell 2407's on the 360, though, and of course they do make a 30" model with identical features, but are of course a lot more expensive (though still cheaper than Apple models and more flexible).
posted by wubbie at 6:57 PM on October 14, 2006

Response by poster: Well this is my situation, and I'm guessing maybe a lot of other people have a similar situation?

I'd like a screen size of roughly 24-30 inches for a combination of things. General computer use, entertainment ie (movies/television) and console use. I have a 25" standard tube TV, which was pretty good for it's time and still is pretty decent. I will either sell this to help towards the funding, or use it for terrestrial TV as HD channels aren't available on standard TV in the UK (at least I don't think they are).

So what I was thinking it would be nice to upgrade and while doing so nail a couple of birds with one stone.

I'm currently looking at Dells screens and they look quite promising, like you said they have lots of different outputs. It is a shame about the black bevel but considering the price and features, it shouldn't bother me too much.

What scares me most is the term HD (High Definition). Am I correct in thinking that this is a phrase used to categories specifications? For example how the phrase "broadband and narrowband" are used? So a HDTV would produce a picture quality an par with a PC TFT that runs at 720p and 1080i?

Forgive me if I'm talking utter rubbish!
posted by Sevenupcan at 7:02 PM on October 14, 2006

If you want a display for multiple uses (computer, movies, consoles), you really can't go wrong with one of the Dells, then.

HDTV resolutions 720p and 1080 and can be described just like monitor resolutions. 720p is 1280x720 and 1080i is 1920x1080.

Unfortunately these are not the native resolutions of any computer LCD that I know of, which are typically designed to native resolutions that are common to computers, like 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 1920x1200, etc.

The result is that your device's pixel count doesn't match the LCD's pixel count exactly, so it has to re-map or re-scale the pixels to fit the screen, and you get jaggies.

HDTV LCDs (the ones NOT designed to be computer displays but can still function as one) of course have default resolutions of either 720p or 1080i. The 360 will look fantastic on these displays because the resolutions will match perfectly (especially 720p).

However, if you connect your *computer* to one of these HDTV LCD displays, you have to make sure your video card can output at these special resolutions. I imagine with all the advancements ATI and Nvidia have accomplished, this shouldn't be impossible -- but then you may not be able to drive your computer at its highest possible resolution, which can far exceed what HDTV is capable of.

So, ya either gotta sacrifice some visual quality on the 360 side, or on the computer side. I'd choose depending on which you use more often. That's the downside of fixed-pixel displays like LCDs. If CRT monitors were still in vogue, this wouldn't even be an issue, but no one really makes CRTs anymore so they wouldn't have the modern inputs you'd want.
posted by wubbie at 7:30 PM on October 14, 2006

And don't waste your money on a Apple or Dell 30" LCD if you don't have something with a Dual-Link DVI port. It will look like complete poop, running at 1280*768 instead of it's native 2560*1536. Each real pixel represented by a 2x2 square of pixels. The Apple store shouldn't sell 30" Displays to people with Mac minis, but they do.

Do yourself a favor and buy an 720p LCD TV for under $1000 instead of a 30" Cinema Display for $3000.
posted by blasdelf at 11:12 PM on October 14, 2006

Response by poster: I have a 17" Powerbook G4 which should handle either an Apple or Dell 30" LCD, but I'm reconsidering my options anyway. I think that I'd rather have a top quality TV that's bigger and better quality (for terrestrial tv and consoles) for less money and stick with my powerbook for now until I can upgrade to an 20-24" iMac or something else. It's a lot of money and I'd like the best of both worlds for it :(
posted by Sevenupcan at 4:25 AM on October 15, 2006

FWIW, has a 32" HDTV TFT display (resolution is like 1368 * 768 or something) with PC input for £399.99 including VAT and it has good reviews. Been considering getting one myself. The Xbox players in the reviews seem to all say it's great.
posted by wackybrit at 5:48 AM on October 15, 2006

Response by poster: Wow. Pretty good offer, thanks for pointing that out. In case anyone else is interested in using your Xbox 360 on your PC monitor check out this thread. A few examples of what the quality is like.
posted by Sevenupcan at 11:18 AM on October 15, 2006

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