Composite Video, S-Video and Media

I invested a chunk of this weekend messing with my home media
setup.  It all began when I became aware of a problem with the
display on my MCE PC, in the midst of Simon’s Birthday Party – I was hoping to play some background music and scrolling pictures
during the party, but the display turned a horrible shade of gray when
I switched on the media center, so had to stick with just music.

I suspected that my NVidia
graphics card in my MCE PC may have been bad (I spend a lot on it, so I was
rather bummed at the time), but it turns out that adding a multifunction switch box
to my
setup recently was the root of the problem. I added the switch box so that I
could switch audio and picture outputs from my DVD,
XBox and MCE to my TV and sub woofer system. Prior to the introduction of the switch box I
had been using the multifunction support of the TV.  Seems my
switch box does a shit bad job of converting a crystal clear s-video to a not-so-clear composite signal.

So, this evening I popped down to my friendly Best Buy
store and purchased a couple of s-video cables. I wired my DVD and MCE
direct to switch box as s-video (XBox remains composite for now), and also used the s-video output to
the TV, so the switch box is no longer converting from s-video to composite
video.  This fix has made the gray problem go away, and now I have
a much clearer picture.

Continuing on the media theme, I have been tagging and and adding album
art to my entire MP3 music collection – I’m almost done.  MCE now
displays all albums with covers, which looks pretty.  I’ve also
been using the time to populate my new IPOD with plenty more music,
which I can play in the car this week.

Talking of IPOD… I recently purchased an IPOD interface for my car, and it arrived this
week, so I installed that as well this weekend.  The cassette
adapter, which I was using to play my music in the car was
dreadful sounding in comparison to this new interface.  The
interface connects my IPOD to my car audio system via the CD changer
cable in the trunk.  So I have had to forgo the CD changer, but I
do not need it now that I have 40GB of music to choose from

One thought on “Composite Video, S-Video and Media

  1. Chris Hynes

    I believe the ordering of connection quality is like this (best to worst):
    <br> – HDMI/DVI-D
    <br> – Component/VGA
    <br> – S-Video
    <br> – Composite
    <br>
    <br>If your equipment supports component inputs (i.e. is HDTV ready), I highly recommend using them. There is a noticable increase in quality just by switching to that interface. Also, you get a 480p+ signal, rather than the standard 480i.

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