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If you can play DVDs on your Xbox or PS2 and you can find it I recommend the digital video essentials disc as a baseline for your calibration –

it’s not as good as actually getting the professional equipment in, but for videogames I’m not sure that’s practical anyway as I don’t think developers took games as seriously as studios take movies when considering such things.

I find CRTs have a certain glow to them that’s hard to match on fixed resolution displays, but most CRTs now are darker than they were in their heyday.

Edit 4-28-2021
After looking at videos comparing cheap component cables to the official Microsoft HD AV pack it looks reasonably possible that the green/yellow tint I’m seeing is due to the cable itself, which is a modded Xbox 360 component cable I got on ebay. The amount of tint I experience looks about the same as what I see in videos on YouTube. I wanted to get an XOSVP and Chimeric HDMI adapter but with both out of stock I need to be on the waitlist. I also would have settled for the SCART YPbPr cable from retrogamingcables but that is also out of stock. In the mean time I bought a set of used Monster component cables. Unmodified, direct connection, built like a tank with some of the best shielding on the market. Unless used monster cables go bad for whatever reason which I highly doubt, this should give me the absolute best picture possible over component. If that doesn’t get rid of the yellow tint I’m seeing, then I will for sure move to replacing the CPU caps. I am also hoping for a brightness increase with the monsters, but I am more set on that being a gamma curve shape issue than signal gain loss.

Edit 4-21-2021
I checked into gamma again and found out the typical CRT gamma is usually around 2.5, but the CRT gamma curve is also not “perfect” like it is for modern displays, making CRT-experience recreation harder. Due to the shape of a typical CRT’s gamma curve, a lot of the upper values will be brighter than they would be for a modern 2.5 curve, which may lend to finding the right middle ground gamma value if a custom gamma curve can’t be used. The gamma settings on my Samsung 2494 of mode1/mode2/mode3 correlate to roughly 2.0/2.1/2.2 at a high viewing angle and 2.1/2.2/2.3 at a low viewing angle (Test on a similar monitor). Choosing mode 3 for the highest possible gamma would be a reasonable starting point instead of the mode 2 I was previously using, but honestly both modes look decent in their own respects. I joined this with offsets of 128/128/(130 or 131 for blue), 26/36/26, and pre-ADC gain of between 8 and 12 depending on the game or scene. Colors look great. I still would like a custom gamma curve either at the OSSC side or in the Xbox dashboard.

Edit 4-15-2021
I think was looking in the wrong place with color gain values. I think all you need in some games is blue offset to around 131 and some extra Y and/or pre-ADC gain as usual. I would probably benefit more if the component chroma Pr and Pb gain settings did not scale outwards but rather upwards with a static baseline and I am hoping the firmware devs add that form of gain scaling which Y gain already seems to have. I have the new settings later in bold.

So I did do some calibration with that Digital Video Essentials DVD, which comes with a physical color filter for color level balance. The DVD helped me realize my monitor’s peak white gets slightly higher at a contrast ratio of 78 while I usually have it set at 75. I’m not sure which one is correct though because it’s quite a small increase and there is no increase at 76 nor 77, and level usually increases every other step while this jump skip two steps. I’m pretty sure 75 is correct because it preserves dark levels better.

I did notice a bit of color dullness in Burnout 3 compared to videos I saw on YouTube, so it’s possible my new OSSC settings below made with the DVD are a correct calibration for my specific setup but I still need to test to verify. At the least, things look better but something might be off still.

If anyone is using my monitor Samsung SyncMaster 2494SW or a similar model, here are my monitor settings:
Brightness: 100
Contrast: 75 (or 78) (78 appears to be max white level but 75 is already quite close to this level and feels like the “correct” max setting especially because it preserves dark detail better according to this test)
Sharpness: 52
MagicBright: Custom
MagicColor: Off
Red/Green/Blue: 50/50/50
Color Tone: Custom
Color Effect: Off
Gamma: Mode 2 or Mode 3 (2.1/2.2 or 2.2/2.3 gamma depending on vertical viewing angle in my case) depending on what you like. To get closer to a CRT (which has a 2.5 gamma curve), pick the gamma mode that is darkest on your display, but do note that due to the difference between gamma curve shapes of a CRT and modern display, you might not want to actually pick a 2.5 gamma value even if you have access to it. I think a gamma between 2.2 and 2.4 will probably be your best starting point in order to meet a middle ground with the brighter upper values of a CRT’s gamma curve which you can’t really replicate without a custom gamma curve at a point in your chain. I think game visibility can also be quite enjoyable at a standard monitor gamma, so it’s really up to you. I do think if you’re going to use the higher (darker) gamma setting, it is even more necessary to turn up pre-ADC gain to help some of those upper values look as bright as they would on a CRT. This gain increase of course will clip some of the white end, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make – at least until there is a way to use custom curve gamma profiles within the Xbox softmod dashboard or on the OSSC. That in addition to more chroma gain scaling options in the OSSC should make for all the customization one needs to fix the picture coming from their 6th gen consoles.
Image Size: Auto for 480p, Wide for anamorphic widescreen
PC/AV Mode: PC

And my OSSC settings that work pretty much for all games (some games will look better with a higher pre-ADC like THPS4):

480p->line2x->upsample2x->DTV mode with custom timings (below)->DVI output

Ok so bear with me on these color settings because I’m still trying to optimize things to look both correct and “good,” at least to my eyes on my monitor. I’m aware that messing with the offsets may not be a great idea and that my pre-ADC gain is pretty high but again, the picture just looks good at these settings. I just have a gut feeling things needed to be brighter but maybe it’s something else like modern game’s color and lighting design that make me feel this way.

It also might depend on the game being played, as I earlier showed that the PS2 and Gamecube versions of THPS4 are brighter and thus clipped compared to the Xbox version. So it could be possible that stock settings are good for one game but not another, and at this point I would re-iterate my idea of using your gut as a factor to help determine if things look right. If you change a setting and it feels more real or transparent then maybe lessen the significance of another idea you believed was more “correct.”

I sort of realized that the color gain settings weren’t helping much because they were adding unwanted green due to the way the OSSC scales component chroma values (increases the absolute value on the -128 to +128 scale which means both ends scale outwards, negatively and positively). So instead I found that just a simple tick to Pb offset 130 or 131 and some extra overall gain is all I need to get the picture looking great. I think it’s possible that if the option were there that positive-only scaling blue chroma gain is more correct, but the offset solution is the best I have to getting there. Sometimes I need no extra offset so I judge based on each game. This is what I usually use if I need more:

Video LPF: Off
Color space: Auto
R/Pr offset: 128
G/Y offset: 128
B/Pb offset: 130 or 131 (usually will increase to between 129 and 132 depending on the game.)
R/Pr gain: 26
G/Y gain: 36
B/Pb gain: 26
Pre-ADC gain: between 8 and 11 depending on how you’re feeling. If you want “perfect” gain without white clipping, set pre-ADC gain to 8 and G/Y gain to 39. This should look good for many games, but you may, like me, want more overall brightness and pre-ADC gain is a quick and effective way of doing this.

Old settings:
Video LPF: Auto
Color space: Rec. 601
R/Pr offset: 130
G/Y offset: 128
B/Pb offset: 130
R/Pr gain: 35
G/Y gain: 26
B/Pb gain: 47

Pre-ADC gain: 9/10/11 depending on the game or how I’m feeling. The RGB balance changed slightly when when changing pre-ADC gain, at least when I was testing with the test DVD, so the other offset and gain values would not remain perfect for all pre-ADC gain levels. I made the above settings based on a pre-ADC gain of 11 but things still look about the same at lower gain levels.

I had a run of burnout 3 with the above settings and immediately felt the color balance was more transparent and realistic compared to the other profiles I had been working on. It was hard getting everything exactly right with the color filter card that came with the Digital Video Essentials DVD (though the filter did help a lot for getting blue and red gain correct) so I kind of started eyeballing it in order to get white balance correct. That required me to touch offsets, but if there’s a better way to achieve the right colors I’m open to suggestions. I’ve seen reports that color from component is not quite as good as with RGsB but I still don’t have enough experience with different output modes and hardware to know. I want to get a SCART cable that might help me enable this in forced progressive mode but I’m afraid I’d just be wasting money when I already have a decent setup with my modded X360 component cable and OSSC. But the thing I’ve learned to accept is that I just enjoy gaming from the Xbox more when I turn the gain up a couple ticks higher than it should be, and I think that looks better than turning up gamma on my monitor.

H. sample rate: 780

This works for the SyncMaster 2494SW but your display may stretch the standard 858 timing to the correct dimension. You want to make sure games using an active picture width of 704 pixels (Halo 2, THPS4) fill a 1.333 space and games like Ninja Gaiden that use the full 720 pixels fill a 1.363 space. Some games like Burnout 3 put a border around the entire 1.333 active image in anticipation for overscan, and this will appear zoomed out on screen. You can solve this by lowering V. active to around 449 or 450 and your monitor should automatically adjust the picture to 1.333. If it doesn’t, then you may need to touch other settings like H. active or even use a secondary scaler like a DSC 301 HD if all else fails. You can use perfectly circular objects like the radar HUD in Halo 2 to verify dimensions of your settings, which once calibrated should then work for every other Xbox game.

The following settings should be adjusted for picture centeredness and, if you desire, to ensure the entire active picture of games using the full 720×480 space (Ninja Gaiden) can be seen. The sync length and back porch settings may be slightly different for your setup. There are also other ways of changing picture position in the OSSC under “sync opt.” in case these fail to work properly, but sometimes when you change a setting like back porch it won’t register on screen until you change h. sample rate back and forth.

H. sync length: 48
H. back porch: 41
H. active: 720
V. sync length: 6
V. back porch: 30 (Back porch and sync length settings may need to change slightly depending on your V. active.)
V. active: 480 (or 449 if filling the display area for bordered games like Burnout 3)
Sampling phase: 180 (this makes no difference in my case but it may depending on your setup)