Are 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.
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.