There sure is a lot of difference in opinions in reference to VGA and HDMI and monitors vs TVs.  Let me put in my two cents worth and hopefully it will give some of you that are still conflicted on this subject, some answers.

I am fairly new to gaming but have been in the networking and computer industry since 1981 when the first pc came into the household, I think it was 1981 or there abouts.  Have a CCNA certification which I keep up so am not a novice in the networking and computer world..  Hey I am 68 but still like to play with electronics, so if you hard core gamers don't mind listening to me here is what I have experienced.

I have a 360 slim and  love to see if I can get a piece of equipment to work at it's maximum performance.  I am mostly into video, not so much audio, but of course we need decent audio also in gaming.  Here's what I have found.

I started with a 22 inch Samsung Monitor, Samsung 2220WM, which has a native resolution of 1680X1050.  I tried component cables and switched to a VGA cable because the picture was much clearer and the colors more vivid.  I wanted to try HDMI because the hype in the industry is that HDMI is the way to go.  The Samsung had only DVI and VGA so I purchased a HDVI to DVI cable and tried that.  The monitor would go black periodically and I would have to do a factory reset and start over.  The picture was not as clear as the VGA, colors washed out, so went back to the VGA which in my opinion was 100 percent improvement over the HDMI to DVI setup.  Had to use a Microsoft dongle for the sound in the HDMI to DVI setup also, which I didn't like, but the sound was as good as with the VGA cable.  As an afterthought I should say using the VGA i had to set the resolution to 1280 X 1024 for the best picture, any higher I would get the famous black bars top and bottom.

Still not satisifed that VGA was better then HDMI I recently purchased a full HD Dell ST2421L monitoir with DVI, VGA and HDMI.  Bought a real HDMI to HDMI cable High Performance with Ethernet (1.4).  First connected my VGA cable and it went right into the native resolution of 1920X1080 full HD and the picture was beautiful, vivid colors and sharp picture.  Switched it to the HDMI cable with Microsoft dongle for sound and booted up and it went to 480i to start with but after setting it to 1080p the picture was as clear as the VGA, but the colors were a little washed out, not near as vivid.  Had the monitoir set to game mode for both HDMI and VGA.

I have friends who use TVs and Monitors and it seems that the Monitors always have a little better video.  Hope this helps those that still have questions about VGA and HDMI.

One last thought, if any of you have BulletStorm let me comment on the problems a lot of you were having with monitors that were not 1920X1080, a lot of the monitors under 23 inches are only 1680x1050 and BulletStorm would not fill up the screen giving you the letterbox effect, black bars top and bottom, I had this with my Samsung.  After hooking up my Dell monitor I put BulletStorm in and found it had a patch to apply which I applied.  The screen filled up with the game with an awesome picture.  Don't know if this was because I was now running with 1080p on the HDMI hookup and 1920X1080 on the VGA hookup but probably so.  I now wonder if the patch I applied fixed the problem with the lesser resolutions on the 22 inch monitor.

In closing I want to say, I think the HDMI hype may be a fiction of the industries imagination and a way to get us to purchase something else.  But then I guess there are a lot of HDMI devices out there that will make it worthwhile to go HDMI for some of us one day.

Need I say that I am back to running with the VGA Cable.  If any of you, that are tinkerers like me, have had a different experience or different results than I have had I would like to hear what results you ended up with.   Thanks for listening, and I hope this helps same some of you from spending hard earned cash to find the optimum setup for your systems.


Discussion Info

Last updated July 4, 2018 Views 36 Applies to:

I use both HDMI and VGA, I find very little difference really. It's useful for carrying sound and video through one connection though. I personally use VGA and Component Cable along with a DO Cable for sound.


Colours are normally a little more washed out with VGA over HDMI. I find my HDTV applies a much more colourful image but is slightly less detailed. I think the quality of the image also depends on your resolution when gaming with VGA, I don't think all resolutions are supported from what I remember.


HDMI to DVI don't bother wasting your time with. Go either straight VGA or straight HDMI if you can.


I don't see what good using a 1.4 HDMI cable does though. The XBox 360 doesn't have a 1.4 HDMI port as far as I know unless it was amended in some of the newer revisions of the system.

Hey HitchedPluto16, Interesting reading your findings and I have had similar experiences. Though I seem to suffer from Ghosting using VGA, whether it's 3rd party or original, Messing around with the black levels seems to help a little bit but still noticeable. Even with ghosting, the image colours are crisper via VGA, I have a 50inch LG and a 32Inch LG, any Ideas?

VGA being better than HDMI isn't the normal, but for some displays it's going to look better. Also HDMI isn't a hype fiction product and standard to get people to buy newer hardware. It can carry far more information than D-SUB VGA and is of course digital. I would believe it seems to look better because it uses RGB color space format while HDMI uses YCbCr and two different schemes BT.601 and BT.709 which are better for HDTVs than for computer monitors.

It very much depends on the setup and whether the signal is handled correctly with respect to levels and color space. Those very often end up being mismatched, causing radical impairments to picture quality.

I have my Xbox 360 set up to output in RGB, and with expanded video levels (i.e. full range). My TV in turn is forced to full range video levels to match this - in fact I have two HDMI switches on two different inputs on the TV, one solely for native full range RGB sources such as my Xbox 360, and one solely for native YCbCr sources such as my BD player. This way I have absolute control over matching the source device.

I have also tried VGA from the Xbox 360, again forcing the Xbox 360 and the TV to matching settings, and the difference in the picture is very small. There is a little bit of ringing and comet trailing - which is to blame on the TV - but with the video level settings forced to match over both connections, there is no major difference in black and white levels or perceived saturation.

The video levels setting on the Xbox 360 is extremely important in getting correct black and white levels, which also affects perceived color quality. It's equally important to notice that the video levels setting does different things depending on the type of connection and have radically different effects, so there is no single correct setting. It depends on what the display expects.

One reason computer monitors tend to look better is that they don't mess around with the picture at the factory default settings as TVs do. Out of the box, TVs typically wreak havoc with the picture in order to make it look more poignant. With computer monitors having to show text and graphics, manufacturers go much easier on manipulating the picture. Doing the same things there as they do on TVs would render text almost unreadable and cause way too apparent eye strain. But a TV can often be tamed to behave more like a monitor.

I prefer HDMI. I do not see much difference with VGA  and HDMI, HDMI is just a personal preference. I have a high definition TV and a high definition head set which uses the optical port so I roll in high quality. VGA is not bad though, I only hate the heat that my VGA seems to create for some reason which could damage my TV.

My TV goes into a weird mode when a VGA source is attached - it seems to believe that it is in a kiosk or something. If the attached source (Xbox, laptop, whatever) shuts off, the TV turns itself off as well. So for that reason at least HDMI is my preference regardless of any picture quality differences.

That's power saving, which is common for the PC mode on TVs (making them behave like a monitor). It should be possible to disable that feature in the TVs settings.