PC Video Outputs

I am seeing a pattern of confusion regarding S-Video and video resolutions with a lot of users in the community, so this posting is for those of you asking things like "why can't I get HD over S-Video" or similar questions. 

 If you want anything above 800x600, you have to use Component, VGA, or DVI/HDMI outputs.  S-Video and Composite just don't support it.  Even if you can select 1024x768, it's not going to be a good picture over S-Video or Composite.

Building on this, you cannot even get true widescreen resolutions through S-Video or Composite.  Sure, you can letterbox it, or mess with the video timings and get whatever you like, but the bandwidth available over the connector just won't support good video quality at anything above 800x600.  Any "wide aspect" video coming over one of those 2 connectors is going to be virtual/anamorphic or a custom timing that most hardware doesn't support.

In terms of video quality, here's the rundown, from best to worst:

DVI/HDMI (unless you need resolutions above 1920x1200, but that's another thread)
S-Video (up to 800x600 only)
Composite (up to 800x600 only)

Comments (3)

  1. In the UK, there are an awful lot of 16:9 non-HD screens. The usual digital format for this is to use the standard 720×576 resolution (that’s the usual PAL region MPEG 2 resolution). If you look at such a picture on a 4:3 TV, it looks all narrow, but it looks correct on a 16:9 TV. If you take any of the digital set top boxes in widespread use in the UK, they all have a ‘widescreen’ mode which means they put out this anamorphic format rather than letterboxing things when showing widescreen content. (16:9 is very widespread in the UK, so an awful lot of content is broadcast in this format. Nobody’s broadcasting HD anywhere other than non-public test broadcasts in the UK.)

    Does Media Center support this standard UK wide screen format? If not, why not – it’s how the vast majority of wide screen TVs in the UK work.

    I recently bought a media center device. It’s an Evesham ebox. I bought it yesterday in fact. I’m trying to work out how to let the thing know that I’ve got a widescreen display. It’s letterboxing everything. I’d like it to stop! I want it to do what every other digital decoder I’ve ever used does, and send the content out without the bars.

    (The box is even adding bars to 4:3 content! It’s adding it on all sides in fact!)

Skip to main content