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Comcast HD Box to VGA-only Monitor?

 

New member
Username: Etsubucsfan1988

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-08
I have looked through the archives of this forum and can't really seem to find the answer. I have the opportunity to buy (dirt cheap) a Philips 32" CRT monitor only television that is about 8 yrs old. It is not a true computer monitor, but a monitor for television use. But I am not sure how, or if I even can, hook it up to a Comcast digital HD box. The monitor's only video input is a female 15 hole VGA plug. The audio inputs are standard L/R composite. The speakers are built into the monitor.

Can I use a HD15 TO RCA HDTV COMPONENT VIDEO BREAKOUT CABLE similar to the one shown here:
http://www.cablestogo.com/product.asp?cat%5Fid=2028&sku=29641


The website for this cable says ....
*Note: Component Video is Y-Pr-Pb encoded video which is different than non-encoded RGB and RGB/HV. The Device to which the "VGA" connector is connected, needs to support Component video (Y-Pr-Pb) for this type of cable to work. This is common for projectors. Some other displays also support Y-Pr-Pb through the HD15 (VGA) connector. Check your Plasma, Projector or HDTV manual, otherwise your picture will be extremely ugly and possibly won't have sync! In this case you need a "transcoder".

From the monitor's spec sheet (image attached), it looks like the 15 pin VGA on the monitor does support component video by pins 1, 2 and 3. Or at least these pins are designated as Red, Green and Blue. Am I wrong on this?

Would this cable work for my intended purpose or will I need a transcoder box? Thanks.Upload
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 2029
Registered: Feb-04
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Craig, as you may have already found out, RGB --- while considered a form of component video --- is not the same as YPbPr or what is normally referred to as "component" video.

The key connector pins on 15 pin VGA (aka HighDensity 15) are as you point out are #1, 2 and 3 for red/green/blue. But just as important are pins 13 and 14, for horizontal and vertical synch respectively.

On the other hand, what is normally referred to as "component" video is YPbPr, where Y = synch(v&h) on luma (b&w) + green, Pb = blue, and Pr = red. The point is that VGA and 3-pin component are different and not compatible with each other.

The only reason this component®HD15 breakout adaptor exists is for situations where the display's HD15 input supports 3-pin component signals. The quote from the website answers your question:

Component Video is Y-Pr-Pb encoded video which is different than non-encoded RGB and RGB/HV. The Device to which the "VGA" connector is connected, needs to support Component video (Y-Pr-Pb) for this type of cable to work.

In other words, the Philips monitor in question must have a "component video" switch, either mechanical or electronic, for your plan to work. Even if that hurdle was crossed, you'd still be limited to 480i video from the HD cable box.
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New member
Username: Etsubucsfan1988

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-08
Thanks for the reply. Looks like I will need a transcoder. Was hoping maybe I could just use some sort of cable adapter. Anyway will post how it goes if that's what I decide to do.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 2030
Registered: Feb-04
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Before you spend money on this transcoder, make sure your Comcast cable box will output a 480i video signal. It is highly unlikely a monitor this old will support 480p, and most certainly not 720p or 1080i. In other words, there's no need to have an HD box hooked up to it.

I hope this TV is cheap, because I have a feeling this might be more trouble than it's worth.
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New member
Username: Etsubucsfan1988

Post Number: 3
Registered: Jan-08
John,
I have attached the specs for the display. Looks like the max rez is 800 x 600. What is this telling me? Here is a link to a transcoder I found:
http://www.x2vga.com/productUpload
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 2032
Registered: Feb-04
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720p is short for 1260 x 720 (progressive scan) and 1080i is short for 1920 x 1080 (interlace scan). As you can see, none of these figures are close to any of the resolutions cited on your spec list. So seeing HiDef video on this monitor is out of the question. (Even if you could, the picture would be letterboxed on this 4:3 CRT to accomodate the 16:9 ratio of HiDef video.)

That said, the question is can you get a standard video picture on this monitor. That's a little tougher to answer. A lot depends on whether the transcoder can step down the HiDef video signal coming out of the cable box to an acceptable resolution and scan rate the monitor can use.

I cannot tell for certain if this Philips monitor is capable of progressive (non-interlaced) scan. All I can say is that all the circa. 2000 TVs I've seen with component inputs were not capable of progressive. I could be wrong, but until proven otherwise, we can assume this VGA equipped monitor can't deal with progressive scan signals either.

The VGA transcoder you cite definitely does not support 480i. It does have something called 480i Easy View ™, but that is apparently for graphics display on some games on some game consoles.

Bottom line here is that I don't think you can get a HiDef component output to work on this monitor, except maybe with the use of a relatively expensive video processor. I do think you could get this to work with a S-video to VGA adaptor. Again, this would yield standard definition only on this monitor.

http://www.svideo.com/video2vga.html
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New member
Username: Etsubucsfan1988

Post Number: 4
Registered: Jan-08
I see what you are saying. I did talk to the owner of the monitor. It does apparently accept progressive scan because he has been using it with his DirectTV HD box set at 480p. So, I guess it cannot show true HD programming, but "enhanced" TV or whatever they call it.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 2035
Registered: Feb-04
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It does apparently accept progressive scan because he has been using it with his DirectTV HD box set at 480p.

Really? So how does he have it hooked up? And once again, will your Comcast HD box output 480p?
 

New member
Username: Etsubucsfan1988

Post Number: 5
Registered: Jan-08
The DirectTV box has a VGA out female plug on the back. He has a VGA cable (male on each end) connected from the box to the monitor's female VGA. The Comcast HD boxes do allow you to select 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 2039
Registered: Feb-04
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The Comcast HD boxes do allow you to select 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i.

That's good. You're fortunate as my cable company upconverts everything to 1080i on my HD box, and there's no way to change it. So it looks like your transcoder will work. You could also get DirecTV and tell Comcast to take a hike.
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New member
Username: Etsubucsfan1988

Post Number: 6
Registered: Jan-08
Just a follow up. Got the X2VGA transcoder and hooked it up between my my Comcast HD box/progressive scan dvd player and the monitor. The picture quality is stunning. Better than I had expected. 480p on a CRT monitor looks extremely good. Since I got the monitor for $50 and the transcoder for $85, I now have a great picture in the bedroom for for under $150! Thanks for all the info John.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 2064
Registered: Feb-04
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Great to hear Craig. Come to think of it, I haven't seen 480p on a CRT before. I'll bet it does look good. Is there any difference between the HD channels and the non-HD picture wise?
 

New member
Username: Etsubucsfan1988

Post Number: 7
Registered: Jan-08
They really look good. We have a westinghouse 42 inch LCD as our main TV in our den. The lower non-HD channels look like cr*p. The non-HD digital channels (I guess thats what you call them) 100 and up look better but still not all tthat good. Of course The HD channels look great (1080i) and dvd's from a progressive scan dvd player. But all the lower channels on the 32-inch CRT look 10x better than those on the LCD, and again this is better than what I expected. In fact, I hate to say it but the CRT really looks as good or better than the big LCD. One could probably find a decent old CRT monitor out there and team it with this transcoder and have a relatively inexpensive setup. Our office about 2 yrs ago basically threw away an old but working 19inch CRT that was used for CAD. It was huge, but I am sure would have made an excellent TV this way.
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