PlayStation 2 consoles output both component video and RGB. Component video will output all resolutions and RGB will switch to RGsB in 480p modes. More info below:
Component Video Cables:
HD Retrovision Component Video Cable – The best component cable you can buy for your PS2 or 3!
Sony Playstation RGB SCART Cable – (UK Seller, Composite Video port for light guns)
Sony Playstation RGB SCART Cable – (US Seller, offers composite video pigtail for light gun games)
RAD2x HDMI Cable – This cable works great for 240p and 480i, but is not compatible with 480p.
First and foremost, if your display (or favorite games) only supports 240p & 480i, my suggestion is to just get whichever cable is easiest for your setup. Using the PlayStation 2 is only confusing if you need 480p support and if you don’t need it, you can skip the rest of this section.
If you’d like access to all resolutions for use on a flat-screen and also need PS1 fast-resolution switching (see the PS1 page for more info), a good solution might be component video cables and the RetroTINK2x for 240p/480i games, then either go direct component video for 480p, or if your TV doesn’t have component video inputs, just use a cheap component to HDMI converter. As an FYI, you wouldn’t want to use that cheap converter for anything other than 480p, as your TV will most likely be much more laggy with 480i signals – That’s why you’d want the RetroTINK2x for those. Same with going direct component video with 480i – It won’t be as good as through the RetroTINK2x or RAD2x.
If you’d like to use an RGB cable for all resolutions (including 480p), you can take advantage of a feature called “sync on green” – When the PlayStation 2 is set to RGB output (not component), it changes from RGBs to RGsB once 480p mode is turned on. RGsB is a signal that combines the sync information with the green color line. If you’re not familiar with these terms, I suggest reading though the sync page.
There are a few ways to use RGsB and there’s a chance you already have equipment that supports it!:
Devices like the OSSC will accept RGsB from a PS2, simply by switching the input after 480p mode is selected. That’s it, nothing crazy, just toggle inputs based on 480i or 480p.
The latest version of the gscartsw will automatically convert RGsB to RGBs. That means simply plugging in an RGB SCART cable will allow you all resolutions from the PS2 when using this switch; Just make sure to toggle the correct jumpers when setting up the gscartsw.
Some 480p capable RGB monitors can accept a RGsB signal, simply by toggling the external sync button off when RGsB is enabled. Many (if not all) Sony monitors that support 480p have this option.
Extron Rxi boxes will automatically convert RGsB to either RGBs or RGBHV, without any intervention at all. In most cases, you’d just add this as the last piece of equipment before your display. This can be pretty complicated and confusing, so I’d suggest this as an expert option. All cable details are provided on the Extron Rxi page and more details are available in the (slightly outdated) video below:
Experts can modify their PlayStation 2 to always output RGBs in all resolutions. While using the above methods is much easier, this might also be the perfect choice for people who’s switches require clean csync, as both the PlayStation 1 and 2 only use luma or composite video as sync; There’s no direct csync option from the multi-out. Some models can even be modded for RGBs and still retain component video output, however most will lose component video support, as well as composite and luma.
Here’s more information: http://www.dansprojects.com/ps2sync.html
PlayStation 2 “Bad” Models
In my testing, there isn’t a “best” model PS2 to use, as all seem to output the same quality video and audio. There’s talk that some models are more reliable than others, but overall there’s only a few models to outright avoid, all “slim” models:
SCPH-9000X models are know to have performance, reliability and compatibility issues and should probably be avoided. They are easily identified by having an integrated power supply, instead of an external one.
SCPH-7500X & SCPH-7700X have some issues with both PS1 and PS2 games, but aren’t as bad as the 9000x.
More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_2_models
PlayStation 1 games on PS2
In most cases, PS1 discs can be run on a PS2 and perform identically. I’ll list the few shortcomings below, but for the most part, it’s exactly like playing the games on a PS1.
Some PS1 games have glitches when played on a PS2. Also, the later model PS2 Slim’s listed above replaced some of the PS1-compatible hardware with software emulation and should be avoided for PS1 use. Here’s a list of games with compatibility issues: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PlayStation_games_incompatible_with_PlayStation_2
So, once again, to be 100% clear: PS1 games run at the exact same resolution on both a PS1 and a PS2, regardless if you’re using composite, S-Video, RGB or component video. Light gun games also work perfectly. Please ignore all rumors that say otherwise and don’t forget that forums are always filled with misinformation.
480p & Up Supported Games
There are over 100 PlayStation 2 games that offered 480p support, however some games make it quite tricky to access these modes. If your PS2 is chipped or softmodded, you can use the GSM Selector to try and force a game to output all possible PS2 video modes: 240p, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i. Results may vary and some games won’t work at all, unless played in their original mode.
You can also try patching PS2 iso’s to force certain video modes as well: http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=417571
One thing to note: There are a few games that support 1080i, but that’s almost never a good resolution to use. First and foremost, interlaced resolutions are always a bit flickery and soft compared to progressive scan. Also, flat-screen TV’s will almost always be much laggier with interlaced sources. It’s my opinion that unless you’re using a CRT that supports 1080i, you shouldn’t even consider it as an option…and even with a CRT, I’d only consider 1080i if 480p or 720p wasn’t available.
Some PlayStation 2 games – most notably “classic” software collections – will run in 240p, giving it the look of older consoles. Some people have complied a list of those games, just for reference:
I’ve seen some people mod their PS2’s to output VGA (specifically motherboards older then GH-015. It’s my opinion that using good quality component video cables and a component to VGA converter will achieve the same exact thing, but if you’re interested, check out the links below: