Xbox 360 VGA Cable Question

Here’s a question from a reader, Dan Patrick:

 
Hello Alan,

I’m aware that the review is a year old, but considering what I’m
planning and what you have done I thought you’d be the #1 person to ask
this question!

I am considering getting the same Sceptre display as in your review
(correct me if I’m wrong, the Sceptre X20WC), and am planning on getting
an X360 in the near future. My question is about the LCD display not
running at native resolution. You mentioned 1280×768 was the resolution
you ran the 360 at on the Sceptre, and that the image was “rock solid.”
Were you referring to the crispness of the image? I would be worried
that on an LCD display there would be a considerable loss of detail
running at any resolution lower than native resolution (1680×1050).
How’s the quality?

Also, have you had any luck running the 360 on the display at anything
higher since the recent 1080p update? The display’s website also says it
will run a component-to-DVI cable (which I have yet to find) at 1080i
and 1080p. Any experience with that claim? It seems odd that it supports
1080p (1920×1080) when its native display is 1680×1050…

Thanks in advance!

…and my answer:

 
The Sceptre monitor’s pixel grid are so fine that you really can’t see the space between the pixels no matter which resolution you run.  If running at a lower resolution, you may notice blockier edges, but that’s really only noticable if running 800×600 or lower. 
 
When running at 1280×768, I noticed no apparent blockiness, but the image was slightly softer than an image running at 1680×1050.  Run your desktop at lower resolutions and see if you can really tell a difference in how soft or blocky the image is.
 
Yes, the Sceptre says it will take 1080i resolution, but it can only physically display 1680×1050, so it will scale the signal down.  If you have an ATI card, it kind of does the same thing:  it will try to fit a higher resolution than the screen can physically display.  I have a Sony HDTV that can only physically display 1366×768, but it can take a 1080i signal, and scales it down.  The unit will not display a 1080p signal, even though it physically can handle it (since the LCDs in the unit are naturally progressive), so it comes down to the processing capabilities of its signal chips.
 
I haven’t seen a component to DVI cable, either, but that would be the only way to get a “standard” HDTV signal to the Sceptre monitor.  A VGA signal is much more stable, in terms of how the signal is oscilated, but you’ll probably never really notice.
 
Running the Xbox 360 at 1080 resolution puts much more strain on the console’s processing capabilities, anyway.  I’ve noticed some frame skipping in highly detailed scenes of highly-detailed games like Gears of War and GRAW when running in 1080i, but not 720p. 
 
If you don’t have an HDTV, the VGA cable is a much better alternative than standard TV.  The image quality is very good, even though it isn’t running at “native” resolution on an LCD monitor.
 
Let me know your experiences… I haven’t hooked up the 360 to my monitor since the update.
Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.