Need advice re: Dreamcast VGA boxes

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brandon_H, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. Brandon_H

    Brandon_H Stunt Coordinator

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    So, I have this crazy idea to get a VGA box for my Dreamcast, and then run the signal through a VGA-to-component transcoder to get 480p graphics on my Sony KV32-XBR400. The problem is, the first-party VGA box is rarer than a fine steak these days, and there are many third-party boxes of dubious appearance when it comes to quality.

    Which of these boxes should I trust? It appears that I can get the "Blaze," "Naki" and "Treamcast" boxes rather easily. Opinions on any or all of these welcome!

    Many thanks in advance.
     
  2. StevenK

    StevenK Second Unit

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    I have the HAIG brand VGA box and it works perfectly. They sell for about $15 off of eBay, so not too much to test out if you're worried.
     
  3. JayF

    JayF Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Blaze box and have had no problems.
     
  4. Terry_D

    Terry_D Auditioning

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    I also have the Blaze box. It works great, however, if you try to use a boot-disk for playing imports (imports only, folks!) than it may have problems. There are rumors that one of the third-party boxes can pass the signal through, but I haven't found any info on which one will do that.
     
  5. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    I've got a 3rd party one and it works fine. I've heard that some 3rd party ones are better/more compatible than the sega one. Might want to check on dc.ign.com for reviews - I think they have some on there.
     
  6. Peter Rohlfs

    Peter Rohlfs Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Panther. Works great and also has S-VHS.

    Peter
     
  7. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    The Naki does it's job too but the S-Video output on it is screwed up. It looks like a Composite ignal with all the dot crawl. I just use it for VGA and a serperate S-video adapter for the TV.
     
  8. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I have the naki too... VGA works great! But I use composite normally... [​IMG]
     
  9. Robert Mee

    Robert Mee Agent

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    I have the Naki box, and it doesn't allow on the fly TV/VCR switching which is useful for playing non-VGA compatable games on a VGA display. It also doesn't work with the Utopia boot disc.
     
  10. Brandon_H

    Brandon_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks all, for the advice. I ended up picking up the Naki box, mostly because it was a.) available and b.) cheap -- $10 at my local EB.

    Now, if I decide to continue with this experiment, I'll track down a VGA-to-component transcoder and hook it all up. I'll let you know of the results.

    One question -- When using VGA output on the Naki, does one have to use the minijack out for audio? I was hoping I could use the RCA audio out all the time, regardless of whether I was using VGA out or s-vid out. Thanks again for the help.
     
  11. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I doubt the RCA outs would function when the VGA is on but I know the PS2's digital out always stays on.
     
  12. Steve Bjorg

    Steve Bjorg Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd be very surprised if the RCA outs were not turned on. While, I haven't tried it for the Naki box. I have another box, which looks much cheaper, that keeps both mini-jack and RCA outputs alive all the time.
     
  13. ChrisV

    ChrisV Second Unit

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    I've tried the Naki box, and the RCA outs still work while in VGA mode.
     
  14. Aaron Gould

    Aaron Gould Stunt Coordinator

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    I was just wondering if anyone knows where I might pick up a VGA box in Canada... After reading several reviews, it looks like the Naki is the better of the boxes out there (aside from the Sega one of course, which is impossible to find).
     
  15. ChrisV

    ChrisV Second Unit

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    I got both the Blaze and the Naki VGA boxes off of Ebay. You just have to look for the ones that ship to Canada. I don't know any B&M places that still carry them, although there's always a chance you can find one in an EB.
     
  16. Aaron Gould

    Aaron Gould Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I just won an auction at eBay last night for a Naki box. It was $15 US ($22 CDN)... It was the cheapest one I could find on there. Hopefully its quality doesn't reflect its price! [​IMG]
     
  17. Aaron Gould

    Aaron Gould Stunt Coordinator

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    ChrisV:

    Just curious -- which of the VGA boxes do you prefer, the Blaze or Naki? Is the game compatibility rate high on both of these?
     
  18. Brandon_H

    Brandon_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I've finished my experiment, and here's my promised update:

    I got a Key Digital VGA-to-component adapter today, courtesy of Airborne Express. After a trip to Radio Shack to pick up some BNC-to-RCA adapters (I need them for my component-video switchbox,) I was in business -- or so I thought.

    The first thing I tested after firing up the Naki box was its s-video performance, which was, as it turned out, atrocious. I suspect I have a bad box, because the screen was covered with faint, horizontal lines, about a half-inch apart and sloping upward toward the right side of the screen.

    I went to the mall and bought the last VGA box my local EB had, a Blaze model. It displayed none of the Naki's s-vid problems.

    I had to fiddle with some dipswitches on the Key Digital converter to get it to play nice with my Sony Wega XBR, but it took little time to find out what the problem was. I've tested Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Soul Calibur, Tennis 2K2 and Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour, and found the graphics to be very improved. There is a slight overscan problem -- most noticeable on MvC2 -- and the sharper pictures exhibits some shimmering, stair-stepping and otherflaws not noticeable with s-video (most noticeable in Tennis 2K2, where the net shakes and shimmies rather badly.) On the flipside, some details now jump out at me that I never noticed before. The Aurora Borealis on MvC2's ice-floe level looks simply beautiful, but I never saw it in my 22-plus hours of playing the game before.

    All in all, frankly, the improvement probably WASN'T worth the time and expense, if only because my DC is rarely used these days. But it was a fun experiment -- and my success already has me wondering if it's worth picking up a wireless keyboard and mouse, another Key Digital box, and an extra-long component-video cable, so I can play "Counter-Strike" and "WarCraft III" on a 32" hi-def monitor in 5.1 Dolby Pro Logic II surround. . .

    Thanks to all for their kind help and advice.
     
  19. Allen_Appel

    Allen_Appel Second Unit

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    I wanted to relate my own Dreamcast VGA tale. I recently won an eBay auction for a Madness Gameware DC-VGA Adapter ($18 w/s&h). The adapter has a 15-pin serial VGA port, as well as S-video and composite outputs for tv connection (which you can switch on the fly), a volume control and two headphone jacks.

    Unfortunately, my Mitsubishi 46807 HDTV doesn't have a straight VGA plug, as later models do. I could either further convert the VGA signal to component with another adapter (about $100, cheapest) or find a breakout cable with RGBHV connectors (about $80, cheapest). Well, after much googling, I found pccables.com, and they had a 3-foot RGBHV cable for ... $13.00! I about wept. Total with shipping was $18.58. Also, since they were out of stock of the 3-foot length, they told me I could wait a week or get a 6-footer for no extra charge. Um, I'll take the 6 foot, thanks. This is a great cable, well-shielded, certainly better quality than the official PS2, Xbox and GameCube component cables I have. It came with BNC-RCA connectors as well.

    The difference it's made is astounding. Now, I previously believed that the DC was a superior console to the PS2 (I've only had the DC for a month, the PS2 two years), but this brings the graphical quality up to Xbox standards. Yes, it's that good. Ecco, Jet Grind Radio, Shenmue, Tennis2K2, Soul Calibur, every game I've played looks fantastic. You can see a hint or two of jagginess to some things, but overall the quality is near-high-definition.

    If you have a Dreamcast and a nice monitor, you owe it to yourself to get a VGA adapter (several brands easily found on eBay). If you do have a tv that accepts RGBHV, a cable from pccables.com is a fabulous deal. For around $100 ($40 adapter & cable, $40 Dreamcast, $20 for JGR and Test Drive: Le Mans), you've essentially bought yourself the Xbox bundle.
     
  20. Allen_Appel

    Allen_Appel Second Unit

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    I wanted to relate my own Dreamcast VGA tale. I recently won an eBay auction for a Madness Gameware DC-VGA Adapter ($18 w/s&h). The adapter has a 15-pin serial VGA port, as well as S-video and composite outputs for tv connection (which you can switch on the fly), a volume control and two headphone jacks.

    Unfortunately, my Mitsubishi 46807 HDTV doesn't have a straight VGA plug, as later models do. I could either further convert the VGA signal to component with another adapter (about $100, cheapest) or find a breakout cable with RGBHV connectors (about $80, cheapest). Well, after much googling, I found pccables.com, and they had a 3-foot RGBHV cable for ... $13.00! I about wept. Total with shipping was $18.58. Also, since they were out of stock of the 3-foot length, they told me I could wait a week or get a 6-footer for no extra charge. Um, I'll take the 6 foot, thanks. This is a great cable, well-shielded, certainly better quality than the official PS2, Xbox and GameCube component cables I have. It came with BNC-RCA connectors as well.

    The difference it's made is astounding. Now, I previously believed that the DC was a superior console to the PS2 (I've only had the DC for a month, the PS2 two years), but this brings the graphical quality up to Xbox standards. Yes, it's that good. Ecco, Jet Grind Radio, Shenmue, Tennis2K2, Soul Calibur, every game I've played looks fantastic. You can see a hint or two of jagginess to some things, but overall the quality is near-high-definition.

    If you have a Dreamcast and a nice monitor, you owe it to yourself to get a VGA adapter (several brands easily found on eBay). If you do have a tv that accepts RGBHV, a cable from pccables.com is a fabulous deal. For around $100 ($40 adapter & cable, $40 Dreamcast, $20 for JGR and Test Drive: Le Mans), you've essentially bought yourself the Xbox bundle.
     

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