The support of HDTV is becoming the more wanted option as there appear more home devices that can reproduce high-quality video of that format. To have an image of the maximum quality, such devices are usually attached to the video source via the so-called component or YPbPr connection. The YPbPr signal sent to the input of a TV-set or plasma/LCD panel is directly translated into RGB + sync signals and applied to the ray-cathode tube or the matrix of the display device.
A logical question arises: why don’t we use RGB + HV (Horizontal/Vertical Synchronization) from the start instead of YPbPr? Because when DVD technology was only emerging the component video signal was accepted as a standard for digitization and compression with the MPEG-2 algorithm. Thus, all home DVD players output a color-difference YPbPr signal, not RGB; the RGB is converted from YPbPr, either inside DVD players (with some unavoidable distortions), or by displaying devices themselves. Since modern high-quality home display devices like CRT, plasma or LCD TV-sets and video projectors are equipped with improved YPbPr-RGB converters and feeding them a component signal is the best choice. The quality you get this way allows watching HDTV video, for example.
Since the personal computer can serve as a possible source of video signal, no wonder the support of the component output by modern graphics cards becomes the more demanded option, especially with the expansion of the HDTV format. Today we’re going to review a special version of the RADEON X600 XT created by ASUSTeK Computer, and one of the distinguishing traits of this product is its capability to attach to video display devices equipped with a component video input.
In fact, graphics processors from ATI Technologies have been able to output a component video signal since the RADEON 8500. It was easy to implement the new standard – the driver performed all the necessary conversions, re-programming the card’s DAC in an appropriate way, but a special adapter, usually purchased optionally and not included as an accessory, was required to actually connect a display device with a component input. ASUS took a different approach to developing its Extreme AX600 XT/HTVD. We’ll discuss this approach shortly, but first let’s take a look at the card proper.