VGA ever going to be implemented in future revisions?


 
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by BlockABoots » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:01 pm
Just reading up a bit more on the Raspberry Pi and notice this in the FAQ section...

"What display can I use?

There is composite and HDMI out on the board, so you can hook it up to an old analogue TV, to a digital TV or to a DVI monitor (using a cheap adapter for the DVI). There is no VGA support, but adaptors are available, although these are relatively expensive.

Why is there no VGA support?

The chip specifically supports HDMI. VGA is considered to be an end-of-life technology, so supporting it doesn’t fit with our plans at the moment."

They say that VGA is end of life tech yet they include a composite socket, VGA option is ALOT more versatile than just a signal composite socket not to mention Superior video quality, you can get VGA to Scart, VGA to VGA, VGA to CGA, VGA to DVI etc cables so i cant understand for the life of me why they have decided to leave out a basic connection type as VGA. Hopefully revision C will include at least pins or solder points on the PCB where you can get an R,G,B and sync signal from.

Is this ever likely to happen as at the moment, there is no real viable/cheap way to hook the Pi up to a CRT monitor or TV to get a nice raw interference free display as composite video is just that compshite!! I would happly pay a few more pounds to get a revision that has the composite socket removed and replaced with a VGA one or just pins on the PCB to get R,G,B and sync from. Is this hard to achieve?
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by WeUsePis » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:34 pm
There may be many other reasons why VGA did not make it on the Pi. Given the board size the VGA connector plus the necessary analogue circuits would take up quite some space. Look at any new computer hardware released in 2012 and you will see that the number of VGA enabled systems is rather low and mainly found only on low-end budget mainboards or graphics cards that are sold for those who need a cheap replacement.
One could also ask why the Pi has no USB3, Firewire, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt, dual-HDMI, DisplayPort,surround sound, serial, or parallel printer port. In the end it is a design compromise and I agree that compromising in favor of more recent technology is the way to go while offering one option with the composite output for those who don't have an HDMI or DVI enabled device.
That said, look around on the web for HDMI to VGA converters. They are available and also sold by Pi loving outlets such as Adafruit Industries (see http://adafruit.com/products/1151). It is a less expensive option than buying a new monitor with DVI, although I just recently picked one up for 90$. As you may already have noticed, I am located in the US, so you need to look at a merchant closer to you. And with that adapter clocking in at 25$ the "relatively expensive" claim in the FAQ may no longer hold true. In the end it all depends on your budget, but if you can spare the money for a new DVI enabled monitor you should go that route.
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by Joe Schmoe » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:40 pm
The short answer is "No."

And the short reason is "Because this chip (SOC) doesn't have VGA output". You cannot get VGA output from a chip that doesn't have VGA output (without external circuitry).

Re: your comments about composite. There has been discussion over the years about the wisdom of having composite output, but the fact is that the chip does produce composite output, so it was viewed as being costless to "bring it out". But some people have argued that it is a waste of everyone's time and - more importantly - PCB space to have that connector there. And some people have threatened to get out their soldering irons and remove it. Which they are, of course, free to do...
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by rpdom » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:14 pm
And some us actually use the composite output :-)

It's quick and easy to connect, when I want to hook up to a screen, rather than running headless.
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by mahjongg » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:30 pm
Sometimes composite output is a useful debugging tool, especially when wrestling with a cumbersome (DVI-D) monitor that requires multiple tweaks of the config.txt to start working. with it you can edit config.txt without repeatedly removing the SD-card.

Also for third world situations, where access to a monitor may be too costly, old TV's are a solution.
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by BlockABoots » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:02 pm
WeUsePis wrote:That said, look around on the web for HDMI to VGA converters. They are available and also sold by Pi loving outlets such as Adafruit Industries (see http://adafruit.com/products/1151). It is a less expensive option than buying a new monitor with DVI, although I just recently picked one up for 90$. As you may already have noticed, I am located in the US, so you need to look at a merchant closer to you. And with that adapter clocking in at 25$ the "relatively expensive" claim in the FAQ may no longer hold true. In the end it all depends on your budget, but if you can spare the money for a new DVI enabled monitor you should go that route.


I am aware of these HDMI to VGA converter but the downside to these is they are not cheap and you can go no lower than 480p resolution, why do you want to go lower than 480p i hear you ask well for retro console emulation which the Pi is becoming popular for the only thing letting the Pi down in this area is the lack of a RGB signal option from the pcb, to get the best possible analog picture and being able to connect the Pi to a old type CRT PC or Arcade monitor easily whilst still keeping an authentic low resolution display (640x480 and under).

I'm guessing a lot of American users are wondering why im so hung up on an RGB signal, well being from the Europe area of the world we had RGB Scart sockets on our TV's over here ever since about the late 80's and these where just the damn best connect for hooking your console up to a TV, i know US users go on about how good S-Video connection is but if you ever had a taste of an RGB Scart display then S-video was just a very poor second, it just didn't have the sharpness, clarity, vividness of a Scart RGB display. Which is why i kind of surprised that the Pi doesn't have an RGB video source seeings as the Pi was actually developed and made in the UK!!

So are people saying due to the architecture of the Raspberry pcb at the moment that even getting a RGB low res signal isnt even possible, forget an VGA socket?
Last edited by BlockABoots on Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by aTao » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:07 pm
BlockABoots wrote:
WeUsePis wrote:That said, look around on the web for HDMI to VGA converters. They are available and also sold by Pi loving outlets such as Adafruit Industries (see http://adafruit.com/products/1151). It is a less expensive option than buying a new monitor with DVI, although I just recently picked one up for 90$. As you may already have noticed, I am located in the US, so you need to look at a merchant closer to you. And with that adapter clocking in at 25$ the "relatively expensive" claim in the FAQ may no longer hold true. In the end it all depends on your budget, but if you can spare the money for a new DVI enabled monitor you should go that route.


I am aware of these HDMI to VGA converter but the downside to these is they are not cheap and you can go no lower than 480p resolution, why do you want to go lower than 480p i hear you ask well for retro console emulation which the Pi is becoming popular for the only thing letting the Pi down in this area is the lack of a RGB signal option from the pcb, to get the best possible analog picture and being able to connect the Pi to a old type CRT PC or Arcade monitor easily whilst still keeping an authentic low resolution display (640x480 and under).

So are people saying due to the architecture of the Raspberry pcb at the moment that even getting a RGB low res signal isnt even possible, forget an VGA socket?


VGA retro? If you want retro then use the composite out, and for true realism run that through a UHF modulator. Pong, Night Driver, Space Invaders certainly looked like they were run on a TV via ariel socket.
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by BlockABoots » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:16 pm
aTao wrote:VGA retro? If you want retro then use the composite out, and for true realism run that through a UHF modulator. Pong, Night Driver, Space Invaders certainly looked like they were run on a TV via ariel socket.


Funny you should say that as the first version of pong was actually using just a standard consumer black and white CRT TV of the time for a display, so would of defiantly been composite signal type :o

But this is where the problem lies, all arcade monitors from approx 1980 onwards would of used, R,G,B, CSYNC, GND for connection the display to the arcade game PCB. Im not sure what sort of an effect having a composite cable from the Raspberry and trying to attach it to an arcade monitor would have or how'd you go about doing it without the need of alot of maybe expensive scalers, sync stripper etc type devices in between which will probably have a massive effect on the display quality and probably create input lag. If there was a way to get just a raw R,G, B and sync video signal from the Pi it would be perfect for connection up to these old type of PC and arcade monitors not to mention old CRT TV's with Scart RGB sockets
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by mikerr » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:29 pm
Many of the decsions on the Pi were driven not by what features would be nice, but what features can be used without adding to the base cost.

I don't think its emphasized enough that DVI monitors can easily can be used with a simple HDMI->DVI lead
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by BlockABoots » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:11 pm
Well thats just it, i dont see having an RGB or VGA output would have been a far stretch considering how basic and universal a connection type it is, i mean its been common place in PC for the last...20+ years, would it have cost much more to have an RGB output implemented than the composite one we currently have?

Im sure everyone here would be extremely surprised if they bought a new mobo with onboard GFX and it DIDNT have a VGA socket on it......infact im not even asking for a VGA socket just some way (pins on pcb??) to get an RGB signal from the Raspberry. So if users want to use RGB they can just knock up a VGA or Scart cable themselves
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by Joe Schmoe » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:17 pm
BlockABoots wrote:Well thats just it, i dont see having an RGB or VGA output would have been a far stretch considering how basic and universal a connection type it is, i mean its been common place in PC for the last...20+ years, would it have cost much more to have an RGB output implemented than the composite one we currently have?


You don't seem to be getting the point that the chip is what it is. It generates what it generates.

If you are asking whether some future product of the Raspberry Pi Foundation might be based on a different chip, the answer "Yes, it might." But it won't be a Raspberry Pi - it will be something else.
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by BlockABoots » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:19 pm
Joe Schmoe wrote:You don't seem to be getting the point that the chip is what it is. It generates what it generates.

If you are asking whether some future product of the Raspberry Pi Foundation might be based on a different chip, the answer "Yes, it might." But it won't be a Raspberry Pi - it will be something else.


Well i did ask that question a few post back but hadnt got a direct reply to it. Thats all i was asking, if a new revision of the Pi could have an RGB output easily implemented...and it would see that it isnt easy or straight forward with the current architecture of the pcb.
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by Joe Schmoe » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:27 pm
Well i did ask that question a few post back but hadnt got a direct reply to it. Thats all i was asking, if a new revision of the Pi could have an RGB output easily implemented...and it would see that it isnt easy or straight forward with the current architecture of the pcb.


Well, I just want you to understand two things:

1) It's not really the "PCB" - i.e., the design and assembly of the board (something which the Foundation does have control over) - but rather the nature of the Boardcom chip itself (which they have no control over).

2) It won't really be a "revision" of the Pi. It would be an entirely new product.

#2 is also a way of saying that if you want VGA output now, you should be looking at other boards (from other manufacturers). I know they exist (with VGA output).
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by pluggy » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:50 pm
The composite is so old its fairly trivial to fudge in software from a purely digital signal which is what the Pi does. VGA is too sophisticated to fudge in software. All things being equal, the VGA system would have been killed off with the demise of CRT monitors about a decade ago. Modern LCD monitors are digital, computers are digital, and using analogue VGA is an unholy bodge.

The Graphics system produces a digital image, the VGA graphics system converts it to analog to squirt it down a cable. It gets into the LCD monitor that immediately changes the analogue VGA signal back into digital so it can be displayed on the digital screen. Its a accident of history and the fact that it cost more to put an extra connector on a monitor than continue using an obsolete system that no-one had the courage to abandon. With the advent of ARM SOCs designed for smart tellies, mobile phones and tablet computers, where VGA is a complete non-event, people are expecting them to continue the accident of history when one of these SOC's is adapted to a desktop computer.

So the answer to the question is : no, not a hope in hell, and I for one don't blame 'em for not putting it on in the first place.
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by WeUsePis » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:51 pm
BlockABoots wrote:I am aware of these HDMI to VGA converter but the downside to these is they are not cheap and you can go no lower than 480p resolution, why do you want to go lower than 480p i hear you ask well for retro console emulation which the Pi is becoming popular for the only thing letting the Pi down in this area is the lack of a RGB signal option from the pcb, to get the best possible analog picture and being able to connect the Pi to a old type CRT PC or Arcade monitor easily whilst still keeping an authentic low resolution display (640x480 and under).

I'm guessing a lot of American users are wondering why im so hung up on an RGB signal, well being from the Europe area of the world we had RGB Scart sockets on our TV's over here ever since about the late 80's and these where just the damn best connect for hooking your console up to a TV, i know US users go on about how good S-Video connection is but if you ever had a taste of an RGB Scart display then S-video was just a very poor second, it just didn't have the sharpness, clarity, vividness of a Scart RGB display. Which is why i kind of surprised that the Pi doesn't have an RGB video source seeings as the Pi was actually developed and made in the UK!!

So are people saying due to the architecture of the Raspberry pcb at the moment that even getting a RGB low res signal isnt even possible, forget an VGA socket?


To me 25$ IS cheap, but I guess that is subjective. I am not disagreeing with you on RGB which I clearly would prefer over a composite signal. And at least for me it is not a US vs Europe thing (and if, being from Europe and just living in the US I can go either way). All the cool techie stuff comes from Europe, such as the Pi and the Arduino - the Yanks here managed to bring us only the Gadgeteer, twice the price of a Pi and not even half as useful. I love Scart for its multitude of options and wish it was more popular around the world although I don't miss wrangling the big clunky plugs. As for the Pi, design decisions were made and they were not made lightly I assume. There were many other things to take into consideration and the intent was most likely also to make a design that isn't totally obsolete a few years from now. The parts selected for the Pi just don't lend themselves for implementing VGA out of the box, so HDMI and a composite output it is. I think it is clearly a "No" for VGA ever being implemented in a future Pi. If you still think it is important to have that, there is a Feedback & Requests forum here: viewforum.php?f=24 . I bet someone opened a thread for VGA already and I am quite sure the topic was beaten up quite well.

There are also USB VGA adapters, but the ones I looked at are two to three times the price of the HDMI to VGA adapters I've seen. Sorry for the bad news.
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by Burngate » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:52 pm
One thing I haven't seen answered - and I don't expect one - is what the SoC was originally designed for.
We know it is used for our dearly beloved Pi, and has been used in a set-top-box, and is (possibly) used in a phone.

My understanding of the way Broadcom works is that Nokia or other large manufacturer talks to Broadcom, and together produce a chip with exactly the features they want.

But if it was designed for a phone I wouldn't have expected a composite output.
And if it was designed for a set-top-box I wouldn't have expected a camera input, or a USB otg port

But it has both.
So who comissioned this SoC, and what for?

I don't expect an answer
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by W. H. Heydt » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:10 pm
BlockABoots wrote:Well thats just it, i dont see having an RGB or VGA output would have been a far stretch considering how basic and universal a connection type it is, i mean its been common place in PC for the last...20+ years, would it have cost much more to have an RGB output implemented than the composite one we currently have?

Im sure everyone here would be extremely surprised if they bought a new mobo with onboard GFX and it DIDNT have a VGA socket on it......infact im not even asking for a VGA socket just some way (pins on pcb??) to get an RGB signal from the Raspberry. So if users want to use RGB they can just knock up a VGA or Scart cable themselves


It's already been stated: The BCM2835 chips doesn't have VGA on it. ANY VGA solution would entail additional hardware (not just the connector), which would add cost and consume PCB real estate.

The most recent computers I've gotten (and not all THAT recently) don't have VGA, though they do support DVI-A.

I would also like to point out that one of the nearest competitors to the Pi (the Cubieboard), was supposed to have VGA, but those people have backed off and are (supposedly) only going to offer it on an add-on card.

I have from time to time suggested that some third party company might make an additional card that would contain power supply, power switch, powered USB hub and HDMI-to-VGA converter that could be be mounted in a case with a Pi, but I don't know of anyone attempting anything like that.
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by W. H. Heydt » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:14 pm
Burngate wrote:One thing I haven't seen answered - and I don't expect one - is what the SoC was originally designed for.
We know it is used for our dearly beloved Pi, and has been used in a set-top-box, and is (possibly) used in a phone.

My understanding of the way Broadcom works is that Nokia or other large manufacturer talks to Broadcom, and together produce a chip with exactly the features they want.

But if it was designed for a phone I wouldn't have expected a composite output.
And if it was designed for a set-top-box I wouldn't have expected a camera input, or a USB otg port

But it has both.
So who comissioned this SoC, and what for?

I don't expect an answer


I suppose it's possible that Broadcom took the requirements from multiple sources and decided that it would be cheaper to design a single "general purpose" chip, rather than several specific purpose ones. It has been mentioned that the BCM2835 actually has a second camera interface, but it's not connected in the Pi design.

It wouldn't be the first time a company took that approach...all those requests for unique calculator chip designs resulted in a single general purpose one...the Intel 4004. That's the grand daddy of CPU chips and SoCs, after all.
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by Cloudcentric » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:04 pm
If one looks at Android Tablets, you may notice a few offer HDMi Output.

VGA is an Analogue format, therefore circuitry must be implemented to allow this, cost and space implementations.

"A digital system is a data technology that uses discrete (discontinuous) values. By contrast, non-digital (or analog) systems represent information using a continuous function. Although digital representations are discrete, the information represented can be either discrete, such as numbers and letters or continuous, such as sounds, images, and other measurements."

HDMi and DVi is a digital format, so I can not see any way Analog VGA will ever happen !

Maybe this would suit the OP http://apc.io ??
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by malakai » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:13 pm
Is this ever likely to happen as at the moment, there is no real viable/cheap way to hook the Pi up to a CRT monitor or TV to get a nice raw interference free display as composite video is just that compshite!! I would happly pay a few more pounds to get a revision that has the composite socket removed and replaced with a VGA one or just pins on the PCB to get R,G,B and sync from. Is this hard to achieve?


Don't these posts always just boil down to cost. Regardless of how superior or inferior.

The argument is, "I know I can get things to do what I want but the way to do this costs so much. Can't the makers of the Pi wave a magic wand buy pretty much the same components to achieve what I want and sell it to me for one tenth the cost of these products already on the market. Especially once you consider all they have to do is remove a component I don't want."
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by chorlton2080 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:36 pm
I also thought this was an issue initially, but despite having my RPi hooked up to a HDMI screen I almost never use it - I simply remote in using SSH or VNC. I've used my wireless keyboard only once!
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by Jim Manley » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:46 pm
Broadcom, as its name implies, makes a broad array of products for a wide-ranging (and rapidly-growing) stable of electronics products manufacturers ranging from mobile devices, to digital video recorders, to Internet video streaming set-top boxes, among many others coming down the pike that I can't talk about here (one of the benefits of working in SillyCon Valley is having high friends in low places, as well as low friends in high places :) ). Broadcom creates specific devices by combining core technologies it has developed in particular configurations, and some features come along with others, such as HDMI and composite video and audio output from the VideoCore IV equipped GPU in the BCM2835 SoC used in the Pi.

The BCM2835 was developed primarily for the Roku 2 series of Internet digital video streaming set-top boxes, of which millions have been sold over the past few years. So, the development costs of the SoC were paid for by Roku, who determined what the features and specifications would be. As such, you have to realize that video set-top boxes are designed to be connected to TVs, not computer monitors, and there have been virtually no TVs with VGA inputs for a variety of historical reasons, some of which were discussed above. Composite is perfectly adequate for less-than-high-bandwidth Internet video streaming of cartoons, sitcoms, game shows, sporting events, and other very casual content that's in no danger of winning any awards. So, the Pi designers were completely constrained by what was already baked into the BCM2835 SoC, as low cost is its number one feature.

Given the SoC's video focus, it's actually pretty amazing that the Pi is as much of a computer as it is, and even moreso when one realizes what the GPU is capable of - 24 billion floating-point operations per second (gigaFLOPS). That's over 100 times faster than the fastest supercomputers on the planet just a couple of decades ago ... for less than a millionth of the cost and in volumes of millions of units. The $50,000 Silicon Graphics Iris 2400 3-D graphics workstation I did my postgraduate work on could only manage 30,000 Gouraud-shaded (smoothed) polygons per second - the GPU in the Pi can blast 40 million of them out the HDMI port without even getting warm to the touch, for a fistful of dollars.

As for SCART, I've done years of software development for European video set-top boxes and digital video recorders (odds are you're using my software if you're reading this from the East side of The Pond as they're in 18 European countries). The SCART connectors are from what we engineers call the Frankenstein Era, when men were men and electrical power only available during thunderstorms was controlled via knife-edge switches - there's more metal in one of those connectors (just a male or female one) than a 19th Century railroad locomotive. One of the reasons for all of that metal is because of challenges in preventing radio-frequency interference (RFI - well, TV frequency interference, in this case) both within the cables and the devices to which they are connected. Even VGA connectors and cables designed using more modern materials and configurations require very careful manufacturing quality because of the fragile analog(ue) signals mentioned by other posters. There is no cheap way to handle SCART/VGA style analog(ue) signals, period.

HDMI was developed for TV content display using digital technology, and since the digital computing industry was providing everything needed to do this, it was a no-brainer for them to adopt DVI-D (the precursor to HDMI) for their displays, and they abandoned the much more expensive and troublesome VGA and SCART faster than a hound who's surprised a skunk.

So, the reason that there's no VGA output on the Pi (and never will be) is because its constituent technology was designed specifically for TV content, not computing display. If you examine the so-called potential "Pi-killers" dribbling out of Asia that do have VGA output, you'll quickly discover that they cost at least two to three times as much as the Pi, and that's no accident.

If you really can't afford an HDMI display, just go to any corporate or government recycling center that is taking in millions of early-generation DVI-D equipped computer displays (many of which have the now-unpopular 3:4 aspect ratio that is of little consequence to anyone doing computing). DVI-D to HDMI adapters cost less than $3 even in retail electronics parts suppliers such as Fry's in the U.S. In at least the U.S., http://www.Freecycle.org provides links to local e-mail groups where people with excess things to give away (such as DVI-D and early HDMI displays) list them, and people with needs can connect with the offerers to pick up the materials, or list their needs.
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by Pete6 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:31 pm
VGA ain't gonna happen. The chip does not support it. Forget it. It's a dead technology anyway.

The composite video costs nothing to implement because it is built into the chip - so it's there and will probably stay.

HDMI is the way forward and most PC monitors have either an HDMI input or a DVI connector (that's just a cable converter).

Anything else is really a minority sport and will have to be handled by the afore mentioned converters.
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by Cloudcentric » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:27 pm
Actually my Hannspree UK 1080P Freeview TV has VGA / Scart / HDMI / Compsite..

Many TV's came with VGA prior to the implementation of HDMi, but as I said above it is more cost effective not to implement Analogue Output on a Digital Device.
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by BlockABoots » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:37 pm
Well the Samsung LED TV i bought about 18 months ago still had a VGA socket on the rear.....
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