Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wii Configuration

Despite my fast and furious rate of posts I thought I would take a break to list the two ways I've setup my Wii, go through some pros and cons and see what everyone else is doing.  Though perhaps I should expand it to all consoles and not get into the varied mess that is PC gaming.

Basically it boils down to screen size, clarity, comfort and availability.  So let's start with my original setup in the living room on the large screen.

#1 - Living room, Big Screen:

  • Toshiba 57" HD Projection TV circa 2003/2004.  I know it's not super awesome cool, but it's got a pretty nice picture for the age and I don't want to sink money into a new one.
  • Sony 5.1 Receiver - Around the same era and my only complaint is that it doesn't do HDMI.
  • Connections:
    • Connected via component to the TV
    • Audio is run through the receiver for that realistic Wii Sports tennis ball sound to the sides.  :)
  • Larger TV generally makes for a more enjoyable experience.
    • This is especially true with games like Mario Kart or 007 GoldenEye where you can split the screen for multiple local players.
    • Great viewing for everyone even if they aren't playing.
  • Sound is very good, but I can't say it makes a significantly noticeable difference.
  • Really fits my comfort and laziness requirements of sitting in a recliner.

  • Yeah, it's the large TV in the living room that's primarily used for TV viewing.
    • Split or picture-in-picture just isn't an option that will work for everyone.
    • The Wii U's tablet is starting to look very interesting with this in mind.
  • Somewhat more cumbersome to power up and get all the components on the right inputs.  No, I'm not buying an overpriced universal remote.
  • Some virtual console titles don't need to be played at this resolution.  It's best to stick to a smaller screen.

Overall I like this setup best, but the lack of availability when competing against TV time made me start looking for options.  We have a lower-end Samsung LCD in the bedroom, but again I suspect gaming until 2a while she's sleeping isn't going to cut it.

So that brings me to my next and current setup:

PC Monitor:

Initial Testing:
  • Dell FP2001 20" (4:3)
  • Tivoli Model Two TableTop stereo
  • Connections:
    • Standard RCA cable (480i) to the FP2001
    • Sound split from RCA to stereo
Overall this worked and was an easy way to move the Wii out of the living room and not take up another TV.  The Dell monitor even has various picture-in-picture options, though at that size it's more of a novelty.

The problem was a severe lack of clarity which isn't surprising considering it's basically the worst possible connection available.  So the search began for alternatives and went on for nearly 6 weeks when I found various component-to-VGA converter boxes.  As luck would have it I had also emailed Chalgyr and while he didn't know of any immediate resources; did turn me onto  It turns out they have an OEM-branded version of one of these converters and it's cheaper than the one shipping from China so it was a no brainer.

New Parts:
The converter box was an absolute great buy; very simple to install and has a ton of resolution and other options to enhance.  Sure, the screen doesn't look perfect (eh, it's the Wii at 480p come on), but it's tremendously better than before and makes for a great gaming option.

I've used it on both the new U2211H in 16:9 mode, but primarily play on the FP2001 in 4:3 as the sensor bar is already on it (3M stick strips) and the 2211h sits in portrait mode for long document/source code review.

I should note that the converter also handles audio which makes my purchase of the rca splitter a waste, but I'm not too concerned about that.  It also has a VGA loopback so you don't have to go around swapping cables when you want to use it for your PC.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's the initial version without the converter box.  Essentially it looks the same now, but there's a bit more wire mess behind the monitor to the right.  Also note the Tivoli speaker squeaking into the frame on the right and I'm sure you can make out the gaming website that's up on the monitor.

A tidy version of the initial setup with lo-def RCA cables.
  • No issue with anyone else wanting to use the monitor while I want to use the Wii.
  • Purchase of converter box can be used for other items.
  • Very good clarity.

  • Lack of comfortable recliner in the office.  My desk chair is pretty good, but it's not lounging comfortable.
  • Boy it's a pain to walk around the corner when I'm being lazy.
  • Gaming isolation.  This is where the WiiU comes back to mind.  (ok, maybe the 3DS too)


While each setup has a number of pros and cons I'm currently enjoying my office setup and think it works well for me.  Mrs. Incomplete does give me grief for good measure, though she's not going to play the Wii and I've left all the wiring in place so it can be moved back quickly.

What I'm really looking forward to is having a real office in our next house, moving some recliners in there and possibly a LCD TV.

So what is your Wii or any other console setup and how does it work for you?  Do you primarily use a TV, HD or not or something entirely different like a PC Monitor?


  1. Good to see you posting - and neat that I managed to slip into it. :) Love monoprice. Their HDMI cables are among the cheapest you can find anywhere. At work we'll wait until there's a few of us in need, and buy a small bulk package of them.

    I have... well gods, I'm spoiled, I'll just say that now. I buy it all at good prices and maintain my stuff pretty well, buuuuut, yeah.

    So my primary set-up is my room. In there I have a PS3, 360 and Wii all hooked up to my big screen tv via HDMI cable. I then run an optical out for my audio into my surround sound system. Needless to say, this is easily my best-looking and sounding set-up. Connection-wise, I use HDMI for the 360 and ps3, and I use component outputs on the Wii

    My addition 360 and PS3 are in the bedroom on a much smaller 720p tv, and I just HDMI both of those into it and use the native speakers.

    I have my computer and another really old HD tv (again, 720p but this is a much wider, very heavy tv that when it dies, I will need a small army to get it out of there) that just has a DVD player and a 1/2 usable ps3 (it doesn't read discs, but it can still use internal stuff, so I play downloaded games and netflix on it). My PC does run two monitors, but I use it strictly for PC activities.

    I've never particularly cared for the portrait view on my monitors - but at work I use 2 or 3 widescreen monitors in landscape view and that's just what I'm used to, but one co-worker runs 3 monitors, 2 in landscape and one in portrait like you have there, and loves it.

  2. Hey, good to hear from you and to be posting some. Mostly been lurking and marking conversations for later review. Also hard to pass up monoprice too; I suspect there will be orders for years to come.

    Sounds like some pretty good setups especially with streamlining them with HDMI. I think you're running out of TV's and connections.. :)

    For PC monitors that U2211 does get a bit slim in portrait so I usually prefer to use them in landscape and a 4:3 in portrait. I'd really like to get two of those in landscape and a 3rd 4:3 in portrait, but my dock can only handle two. At this point it's not worth the hassle of moving cables and the wii sensor bar.

  3. Good checking in and getting to see the post. :) Would now be a bad time to point toward the Sega sale on Steam and see if we can't make it even harder for you to get through more games? *grins*

    As for your setup, makes sense given the situation. I love having an alternate room or two to go to. Love my family, but between my wife and three kids, it's sometimes tough to find an unoccupied corner of the house to game in. :D

  4. LOL, I did notice the two Indie bundles the other day and heard about the Sega sale, but hadn't looked yet. Oh great, some stuff is 90% off, HOW CAN I NOT BUY THEM?.

    Hm... Dreamcast collection is calling my name. Really all I care about is Crazy Taxi to get some good nostalgia on. A good friend and I logged tons of hours on when it came out on the dreamcast and had some good times. My only concern is the removal of the Offspring tracks for royalty purposes. Then again, the original track selection was limited and did get repetitive.

    Damn chalgyr, not sure I can pass it up for $2.24..

    Time to lock the door and get back to Gears 3, right? :D

  5. Chalgyr: You got the entire Sega collector pack??!!! Man you're game hoarder. :)

    Pretty sure I'll get Crazy Taxi and maybe Sonic DX individually, but am going to skip on the bundles right now.

  6. ROFL - man, I was baaaad. Between that and the classic D&D sale they had at this weekend... don't tell the wife! LOL. Yeah, I started looking at titles in the Sega collection I was interested in, and added them up, and was like - nearly the same price as the whole pack. My poor hard drive... I'm actually going to have to start watching storage space on it for the first time since getting it! LOL

    I haven't played it yet, but one of my buddies really liked Alpha Protocol. I like the company that made it, but the reviews on the game were always pretty middling, but it's 90% off - so $2 on that deal.

  7. I should probably create a new post instead of adding unrelated stuff here, but yeah, I got Crazy Taxi and played for 3 minutes while my toddler was tearing up the office. (bad parent!)

    Holy crap, who cares if the music is different, this game is just as great as before. Plus it has native controller support and worked very well with my 360 pad. (rumble too)

    Action is just as crazy, chaotic and fast as before and it runs well on a laptop.

    FTW Sega!

  8. ROFL - new post, taking this one in a new direction - it's all good, though your thoughts about the game in a new post would be cool. I remember playing the hell out of that game once upon a time. now that I have it again? Must play! :)

  9. You were pretty bad with all the games, but that is/was one heck of a deal. Looking forward to hearing some thoughts or reviews.

  10. that I'm getting back to a slightly normal schedule(if there is such a thing right now!), I see you had what appeared to be some coffee in that picture.

    Was that regular cream, French Vanilla, Hazelnut, or something else in it?

    Also, glad to see you got the monitor setup working. I've been debating on buying an extra power plug, and video/audio cable set, for the Wii so I only have to move the system, and not all the cables every week I want to record footage from it.

    I remember you and/or Chalgyr mentioning before for cables, but I have not had a use for it lately...with my 2002 19" television or 2004 32", though my PC monitor would work nicely I'm guessing.

    So to answer, "So what is your Wii or any other console setup and how does it work for you? Do you primarily use a TV, HD or not or something entirely different like a PC Monitor?"
    I currently have the Wii upstairs on the 32" so Mrs. Coffee can use it for Netflix during the day, and when I record data/game-play, I usually bring it downstairs to the computer room and hook it up to my 19"(maybe 20") television and split it over to the computer.

  11. @Coffee: Good to hear from you!

    That's correct, it's my usual Melitta with cream that I rarely deviate from. With prices the way they are I've certainly been looking for alternatives, but there honestly isn't much in the stores here that's much cheaper that isn't the base folgers/maxwell house type of stuff.

    I'm with you on the extra equipment thought. I suspect if/when there are more little gamers in the house and it needs to be moved frequently I'll pick those up.

  12. @Coffee - it's good seeing you posting and commenting more again. That real-life thing's a time drain, isn't it? :)

    I really like the ability to just move a system and not mess w/ cables. I have 3 tvs in my house, and I do that with all of them but my wii (because of the sensor bar, plus the living room is really the only place w/ room for standing up and using the motion controls properly) - but I much prefer having the cables there and hooked up to the tv's so that's all I have to do if I want to bounce my PS3 from living room to den to bedroom.