XGA Box Review

xga.jpgAre you struggling for room? Fancy having your Xbox through your PC CRT or LCD monitor? Maybe you want a LAN party and short also of room for all those extra TV’s? Well here is something that may help alleviate these problems. You may also use the keyboard and mouse adaptor for Xbox and need somewhere to rest them like a desk, which will more then likely also result in using a monitor rather then a TV.

The XGA Box is quite a versatile unit featuring support for not just Xbox through your monitor but also anything that can plug into a composite or S-video device. Such items as your other consoles such as Dreamcast, Playstation, Gamecube, Digital Camcorder and of course the Xbox.

Upon opening the box of goodies you get quite a bit of kit for your money.

  • Multi Purpose XGA Box
  • Power Supply
  • VGA Cable
  • Stereo Cable
  • User Manual

Like many of these devices you can plug in your PC monitor into the unit with another cable which is included to go from the XGA Box to your PC graphics card allowing you to switch between your PC and Xbox (or other chosen video device). Now one gripe that always annoys me about this method, although great for changing video source without the need to fiddle around the back of your PC switching cables, you do however lose image quality from your PC monitor with the pass through. It is by no means as terrible as I have seen on other devices similar to this, however a noticeable loss in quality is noticeable and will blur the text slightly making the image look quite poor compared to the usual.

Now the people from the United States will be pleased to use this device for one reason. Not only do you get the use of your PC monitor through your Xbox which will provide a nice picture especially on an LCD screen, but this also allows you to use the High Definition that is available on many games for Xbox. Now this is great as no need to spend oodles amounts of money on a High Definition TV when more then likely you have a PC monitor that is capable of much higher resolutions then your standard TV. In this instance this device will really make it self shine. However if you live in the UK like myself, the PAL Xbox does not support the higher resolutions so you are left with the standard resolution. Now this may be great looking on the television, but you have to remember that with PC monitors capable of so much more the image will actually suffer as a result as you are sticking a low resolution image on a high resolution screen. This will show up all the nasty defects of low resolution gaming such as very noticeable jaggies on the end of polygons and lower texture quality. The image is nice for PAL Xbox’s, however the lucky people from the US will most certainly get many more benefits.

Unfortunately it does not stop there. You can only use 50hz mode on a PAL Xbox as when you use 60hz the image through the monitor goes black and white. Oh dear that is a problem as this will decrease the smoothness of the games. Again this is something that only affects us PAL Xbox users in the UK.

It is not all bad news though for us from the UK who have the PAL Xbox units. The little box of tricks does enhance the image anyway using noise reduction and 3D motion adaptive de-interlacing improving the image received.

You also have some little switches, and when I say little I mean ‘little’. You will need long nails or something to poke inside the little recessed area where the little white switches are located. This allows you to change the resolution, brightness, input and screen size adjustment. These wont be accessed hardly at all, but it could have been made a little easier to access.

Inputs include the video which are S-video and composite which should allow a huge amount of devices to be connected. Also audio connections stereo left and right can be plugged in. Then you can hook up the audio to your XGA box through your speakers be it PC speakers or Hi-Fi.

Conclusion

If you are short of space this unit will bring the needed quality and satisfaction for Xbox gaming through a PC monitor, however with the lack of High Resolution modes for PAL Xbox’s, blurry pass through for switching back to the PC source you will not have this permanently connected. This is a secondary solution and pure gamers will stick to either HDTV or their standard TV unless it is easier to use their monitor for whatever purpose.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 

  • Jill

    Hi,
    I have the problem with this box where i can only get black and white. How to i change the hz to 50 hz so that i can get colour? I am desperately trying to sort this out for my son to have his xbox in his bedroom.
    Thanks
    Jill

  • Hi

    You need to do this on the Xbox console.

    First load up the Xbox without any game in the drive. Go to the ‘Settings’ option and then ‘Video’.

    An option saying ‘PAL-60’ will be displayed. Go to this option and press A on the controller.

    You will be asked ‘Does your TV support PAL-60 mode?’, select NO and all should be fine.

  • Ewan

    Hi, great review, but do you have any idea of how well this unit works with a PS2?
    Thanks,
    Ewan

  • I would imagine the quality not to be that much different from the Xbox, but I haven’t tested that myself.

  • ollie

    i have just brought NBA 2K7 and its says ‘needs to be played in PAL 60’

    WHY NOT 50?

    IS THERE A WAY TO PLAY IT PAL 50 WITHOUT PICTURE FLASHING BLACK AND WHITE?

  • If the game requires PAL-60, then you are stuck I am afraid.

  • Mercè

    Hi,
    I have problem with my XGA BOX CONVERTER. When I use it with the PC Monitor I have no problem but when I change and connect the XGA button to use with my Play Station 2., the PC Monitor turns off itself.
    The shop change me the XGA BOX but it’s the same again.

    And I wait your news.
    Mercè

    PS.Sorry for my english.

  • Make sure your PlayStation isn’t set to PAL-60 mode.

  • Samuel Fitch

    Nice review !
    I just bought a xga box and connected it to my Ps2, but the problem is that games are coloured on my TV set and black and white on my monitor. Weird… Couldn’t find a way to change the refresh rate of my PS2.
    Any idea what’s wrong ?

  • Mickron

    I’m having the same problem as Merce When I link my screen to the XGA, it goes off, even though the sound works. How do you change the PS2 off PAL-60

  • Neljan

    I think it’s done by the individual games settings…

    In Pro Evolution Soccer 6, you have the option to start the game in 50hz (PAL) or 60hz (NTSC).

    I had a look in PS2’s system menu & the only video options it gives you is switching the component out settings to either RGB or Y CB/PB CR/PR.

    Y/Pb/Pr is an abbreviation for brightness, blue minus brightness & red minus brightness & is for NTSC televisions. RGB is for VGA/PAL.

    I would make sure your component out is set to PAL & see if the game has video settings you can change.

    Please let me know if this solved the problem or if someone has this working with their PS2, specifically with an LCD TFT monitor? I was thinking of getting one… now I’m not so sure.

  • karlo

    hi, i bought an XGA Box i was thinking work with ps2, when i connect it i receive image not bad, but is not full clearly i use a dell LCD flat panel monitor. i changes and try all the video settings and nothing please helpme? what i need to do thanks

  • adeel

    can u use this xga box to watch freeview?

  • As long as you have a separate freeview decoder box and a composite cable, then yes.

  • adeel

    would it work with a normal freeview box? ive got a wharfedale DV832B digital terrestrial reciever

  • As long as it has got composite out or you have a Scart adaptor that has composite out that you can use.

  • Johnny Vincent

    Hi, I’m a UK resident and I bought my PS2 console from USA. I have a TFT monitor (bought in the UK) that supports 1280 x 1024 resolution. My monitor goes to stand by mode whenever I hit the XGA switch. Why?