Getting The Best Video Quality From A Wii
The Best Gaming Experience
When it comes to video games everyone wants the best possible gaming experience they can get. One of the most important aspects to getting a great gaming experience is the video and graphics quality. By now, everyone should understand that an HDTV will provide a much higher quality picture than your regular TV screen. Unfortunately, it is not always understood that just hooking up your Wii to your HDTV with the standard composite connection will not suddenly improve the graphics quality.
In order to get the benefits out of using an HDTV you must use the highest quality video source possible. HDTVs perform best when being supplied with a digital HD video signal. Now, the Wii does not support HD video signals, but we can do a bit better than standard definition. The Wii supports a 480p video mode which is considered EDTV, or Enhanced-Definition TV.
How Can You Take Advantage of the Wii's EDTV Support?
In order to get the Wii to output an EDTV quality signal we must upgrade to a better signal format. The Wii just comes with a composite video cable. Composite is the standard yellow, red, and white RCA connector input that has been very common for many years. The Wii also supports a higher quality video format called component. Component typically uses a 5 wire audio/video signal (as opposed to the 3 wire signal used in composite). Those 5 wires are generally color coded as red, green, blue, red, and white. The first three are the video signal, and the last two are the audio signal.
The component signal format can support many different video format types including SDTV, EDTV, and Full HDTV. Even when running SDTV or EDTV formats the design and implementation of the component signal type provide the clearest image, and best color brilliance of any analog video format that is commonly used on TVs.
By using a Wii component cable we can take advantage of the EDTV video setting supported by the Wii. This will increase the clarity and color quality of the image when connected to our HDTV.
What If I Want To Go To HDMI?
Unfortunately, the Wii itself doesn't support outputting an HDMI format signal. There ARE ways of accomplishing this, however. Before we get into the methods, let's discuss the reasons why you may want to do this. There are lots of reasons, but most of them come down to a desire to use HDMI because that's what will work with your equipment. Some of us have HDTVs or LCD Monitors that only support HDMI inputs. If you're using an HDMI switch or some form of HDMI distributor (splitter, extender, or matrix) you'll also be limited to only HDMI. Maybe, you're just a big fan of the digital HDMI format. Whatever the reason, going to HDMI can be a very useful thing.
So in order to get from the Wii to HDMI we are going to need a signal converter. The composite and component signal formats that the Wii support are analog video formats with analog audio lines as well. HDMI is a fully digital signal with digital video and digital audio. A simple signal format converter can take the analog signal as input and convert it to digital for you. Now, you may see several options out there, but you have to be careful about which you use. Remember how we discussed that a component signal will give you a better picture than a composite signal? Remember that. Some format converters will start with the composite video signal and convert it to HDMI. Unfortunately, this means that we are just sticking with the lower quality composite signal. We definitely want to use a converter that starts with the component video format. This will help us ensure that we keep the video graphics quality high.
The folks over at WiiToHDMI.com have more information on performing this Wii to HDMI conversion. They have a comparison that shows the difference between using a composite signal at the 480i format and using the 480p format signal. They also sell the full kit (pictured above) as well.