SCART Hack Automatically Selects TV’s AV Mode

We’re sure there’s still a lot of folks using their original Xbox either for gaming or as an XBMC device. If you ever owned one yourself you’ll remember that you can’t turn it on with a remote control. If you have to get up and push a button on the front of the black box, as least this hack will take care of tuning the television to the correct channel. That is, if you are using a SCART adapter to connect it to your TV.

[Karl-Henrik] figured out that mapping a voltage to pin 8 of a SCART port tells a TV that the port is active, and allows it to select the proper aspect ratio. Check out the Wikipedia SCART page to see that pushing 5-8V is the signal for a 16:9 aspect ratio, and 9.5-12V translates to 4:3. So he added an audio jack to the back of his Xbox and a matching one on the plastic case of the adapter. Now just tap into the wires on the power connector for the hard drive inside, connecting them to the newly installed jack. There’s a 12V and a 5V line, just choose the one based on the aspect ratio you prefer. He uses a jumper wire with the appropriate plugs on each end to make the connection. Now the TV will automatically tune to the correct AV input when the Xbox powers up.

21 thoughts on “SCART Hack Automatically Selects TV’s AV Mode

  1. Slightly misleading title since this is selecting aspect ratio, not A/V mode.

    Incidentally, the only kind of SCART connections for games consoles that don’t do auto-switching are the A/V composite adaptors – the tiny SCART bricks with 3 RCA sockets. Why would anyone want to add functionality to one of these? Composite video is terrible. The only rational course of action would be an RGB or S-Video hack. Since SCART has pins for seperate RGB channels, it’s kind of asking for it.

  2. There are some things I could check straight away:

    1) Is the GND of the HDD at same reference voltage as the TV? If it works, the HDD might be sharing the ground with the remaining XBOX circuitry which in place should be providing ground through the SCART connector.

    2) Are SCART signals TTL-compatible? The data lines might be, however I wouldn’t be so sure about pin 8. What if the pin driving circuitry on the TV doesn’t limit current?

    Other than this, GREAT HACK

  3. I love a SCART hack :)

    When I was putting together my MythTV system I found out my B&O telly echoes all the remote control signals down Pin8 (for use by their DVD players, etc). So I broke this pin out into a 3.5mm headphone jack and used LIRC Audio on the server to control MythTV with no extra IR detectors nor other hardware.

    1. Hi sd,

      that is exatly what im planning to to. good news that it works! how do you connect your computer to the tv, rgb to scart ?
      Pin 8 also used for a rgb scart kabel ??


      VGA SCART Function
      1 15 Red
      2 11 Green
      3 7 Blue
      6 13 Red ground
      7 9 Green ground
      8 5 Blue ground
      9 8 AV Commutation (+5V)
      9 16 RGB Commutation
      10 17 Composite sync ground
      13 20(19) Composite sync
      A 75 Ohm resistor should connect pins 8 and 16 on the scart.

  4. i’ve been turning my xbox on with a remote for years. iirc, it was a $10 dongle that works with the xbox remote (also $10 used at gamestop).

    you can also use a wireless doorbell wired into the power switch. just make sure you have it set to a single ding. setting the doorbell to westminster chimes will wreak havoc on your xbox…

  5. I dont understand this “hack”, I had a SVIDEO SCART cable that I modded to RGB SCART about 5 years ago. It has aspect ratio switching functionality out of the box swapping between 16:9 and 4:3 whenever I browse pictures on my XBMC.

  6. @ brad same here. I always giggle a little and think of the Simpsons Senor Ding Dong and the poor saps who didn’t switch it to single ding before firing up the xbox for the first time lol. Great classic xbox hack tho :) and useful for other projects as well :)

  7. I still love my modded xbox.
    It plays the emulators well.

    I picked one up only about a year or two ago and proceeded to hard mod it with a bigger hard drive.

    The rest of the hacks are too well known to post about, but include:

    Removing the metal from the side vents and removing the case fins blocking the fan itelf.

    Replacing the green/red LEDs with blue/red LEDs

    I also internally installed the receiver from a logitech wireless xbox controller.

    Hacking an old xbox is fun, cheap and EASY, because the work has already been done years ago.
    You merely have to look up all the hacks and follow the instructions.

  8. @ Decius, also people are still starving in Africa, and food has been invented?

    Seriously, some people are dead broke, I have lived under the poverty level for 10 years, and I repair game consoles every chance I get (trying to start a business) and use XBMC on the original Xbox to watch my favorite movies and shows.

    I have had 3 HDTV’s, more if you count LCD’s that can take HDMI. I got them free or for a song, and sold them to pay the bills. HD is nice, but it is nicer to eat and have a roof. Take the attitude somewhere else.

    Excellent hack, I envy those in Australia/Europe/UK that have had much higher quality TV’s for decades. In the US the best I can hope for is Y Pr Pb on a TV built in the last 15 years. Usually S-Video is the best offered. I had a Softmod with VGA output for a while, but then I went to Xecuter flashed to the TSOP and haven’t looked into VGA again. I have a 360, and those do native VGA (kinda pointless because the media player is very poor, and I have a HDMI->DVI cable for my PC monitor, which is native 1280×720 pixels, a rare one that really is that many pixels.)

  9. @nubie Cool story bro, I had no attitude when I wrote what I posted. Before you vent how poor you are, I really don’t care. It’s the internet. I still have the original Xbox as well, I’m not even 20 years old yet and working :) Thanks for the life update! (I feel better now). PS. Find a better job (aka- career)

  10. I too, still use xbmc on the original xbox. I’ve also, had the doorbell hack for years (not this one though).

    For those saying, “what about HD?” The xbox has an optional component cable and spdif audio breakout box. It can handle 720p (as long as you don’t use mp4, mkv, or something else very processor intesive) no problem as well as 5.1 surround.

    Dedicated boxes (like the Boxee) are just now starting to catch up to XBMC on the original xbox.

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