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Dreamcast VGA Box

From Sega Retro

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Fast facts on the Dreamcast VGA Box
Manufacturer: Sega
Made for: Sega Dreamcast
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Dreamcast
JP
¥7,000Media:DreamInformation Vol01.pdf[1] HKT-8100


The Dreamcast VGA Box (ドリームキャストVGA ボックス) is a peripheral for the Sega Dreamcast which allows the system to connect to a monitor supporting the VGA video standard.

Using a VGA box is considered by enthusiasts to be the definitive way of playing a Dreamcast, as it allows the system to output a 480p video signal without the graphical compromises. Though VGA support has been a feature of the Dreamcast since 1998, the standard was at the time, somewhat impractical, as most televisions lacked a VGA port to interface with the console. This means all Dreamcasts shipped with RF or composite video cables, which, although functional in sending a picture to a screen, are unable to deliver the clearest possible picture.

Today televisions and computer monitors have converged, meaning the use of VGA is no longer as uncommon. The Dreamcast's support for VGA is often considered ahead of its time, as many models of the PlayStation 2 and GameCube cannot output a comparable video signal (without modifications). This is even true of some later revisions of the Wii, where composite is the only option.

Not all Dreamcast games are compatible with the VGA Adapter, namely SNK ports such as Garou: Mark of the Wolves. The majority of games can be forced to use the VGA box by using software such as the DC-X. Given these issues (and that on its own, VGA also only deals with video, not audio), the VGA box has extra ports, doubling up as a way of displaying composite audio/video and S-Video should the need arise.

Despite hinting at a western release, Sega only released its official Dreamcast VGA Box in Japan, although the device is compatible with all versions of the Dreamcast worldwide. Third-party alternatives are therefore far more common in North America and Europe.

Component Video

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VGA adapters are a parallel alternative connector to display high end resolutions. Component video connectors found on sixth generation consoles can use 480p. For instance, PlayStation 2 works in component but the signal is worst because like its predecessor it displays its anti-aliasing problems unless on RGB or 720p compatible games. The GameCube and Xbox do not have this problem. The VGA adapter also permits a 480p function on a specialized HD-TV compatible monitor with a VGA connector, or with a 100 dollar plus video converter. The video converter splits the signals sent from VGA to YPbPr colors. Like with personal computers, these VGA connectors are usually only compatible with monitors and projectors.

Compatible Games

Physical scans

Dreamcast, JP
VGABox DC JP Box Front.jpg
Cover

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 File:DreamInformation Vol01.pdf, page 12
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