Can You Have an Xbox and a Wii Hooked Up to the Same TV?
By Steve Lander
The Xbox and Wii video game consoles are about as different as possible. They use different controllers, different processors and have different approaches to gaming. However, they also share the same technologies for TV connections. As such, as long as your TV has two connections that are compatible with either system, you can connect both. You can even play both at the same time if your TV has a split screen mode and you're very coordinated.
The Nintendo Wii comes with a standard three-conductor composite video and stereo audio cable. While these cables are convenient, they fail to take full advantage of the Wii's ability to generate a better-than-standard-definition 480p image. To get its full resolution, you need to use a five-conductor cable that carries both component video and stereo audio.
The Microsoft Xbox is similar to the Wii in that its basic cable fails to take full advantage of its capabilities. It also outputs an analog video signal over an optional component video cable if you want to experience the best possible picture quality. Unlike the Wii, though, it can generate true HD images of up to 1080p resolution.
Since neither system supports the convenient single-plug HDMI standard, you're left with one choice -- component video. This connection uses three cables to carry the video signal and can achieve HD picture quality. However, many TVs have at best one component video input. If this is the case with your set, you'll either have to settle for a composite connection from one of your video game systems or swap component cables each time you play a different system.
If your TV or home theater receivers is out of inputs and you have room for only one system, you still have another alternative. You can buy a switch box that has multiple inputs and one output. After connecting your Wii and Xbox to the switch box, you connect it to your TV. Some switch boxes can even automatically switch themselves to whichever input is active.
Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.