I got into the HTPC/HT from the getgo in 2001. Boy was I mixed up then!!
Initially I purchased a VGA to component cable from "BetterCables" thinking that all was well. When it didn't work, I called BetterCable (who make great quality products) to tell them that my brand new Tosh 65H80, (at the time about $7000.00cdn).
I guess my call was the last straw. BetterCables explained that what I needed first was a VGA to component Transcoder which took care of the sync and refresh thingys.
They also put an info notice on their Web site explaining that the item that I thought would work is called a passthru cable and does not do any of those calculations.
Before ATI finally wokeup and realized that Gamers were not the only ones using their stuff, "Audio Authority" add "KeyDigital" sold the transcoders but you probably needed the help of a " Shareware" utility from www.entechtaiwan.com
called Powerstrip which was a godsend in helping to get all the timings just right for the different sizes of HD capable screens out their.
If you haven't found out how terrible s'vid looks yet, I'll save you the experiment.
I have both of the transcoders frm AA and KD. The KD has what I feel is an extra convenience in that you can use an A/B switch box to go back to your monitor. The Ati Component Dongle always had to be plugged directly into the card. Of course now with the new and improoved Catalyst program, you can setuo hotKeys to swap amongst displays.
When the ATI compdngle came out I really liked it because between it and Powerstrip I could get a nice tight 1080i deskto for my films.
I used it from the original AIW to the 700, then the 850 and now the 1300 without issues.
I know ATI has put a Component output on the back of their newew cards, but I still use the Dongle & Powerstrip. Entechtaiwan also has a few other freebie tools like Multirez which I use all the time.