Originally Posted by JarodL
Let me get this straight.
1. VGA is the only way to output 1080p on the 360
2. Component looks better then VGA
On some TVs yes. On others, VGA may be better. TVs vary in how good their component versus VGA input quality is.
3. Component only does 1080i
Sounds to me like the 360 is essentially a 1080i machine.
This is incorrect
. HD DVD disc are 1080p. When we output 1080i, we are still outputting a progressive signal, albeit using 1080i field order. Digital TVs will convert this back to 1080p, assuming that is the resolution of your set.
VGA is useful if your TV does a poor job of interlace to progressive conversion. If so, then VGA can bypass this circuit in 1080p mode.
Is the 360 capable of having a digitial out (HDMI) or is there a hardware restriction?
The console itself is digital and the signals before output can go to any format. However, the machine as shipped, sends out the signals in either component or VGA. Both of these signals are high fidelity and the former is used in broadcast world. VGA signals can go well above HD scan rates for example, and has a more robust shielded transmission line than DVI/HDMI do with their twiste pair. VGA/Component also do not have any form of copy protection which means that you avoid the headache of HDCP handshake.
Don't get me wrong, it is nice to have HDMI. But people hear words like HDMI and "1080p" and assume anything else is not good. Such is not the case.