1.) I've still got my last test of what phil suggested up and running. With X already started, I plug an S-Video cable into the graphics card, leaving the Component cable plugged into the graphics card. I cycle through all the inputs on my monitor. The S-Video input is in color, the Component input is in black and white. My guess is that the video card is still sending out an S-Video formatted signal, which does display on a monitor connect to a component cable, but it displays in black and white.
2.) Page 25 of the manual for my video card, a Leadtek Winfast A6200 says that the 480i mode is displayed on the monitor, only over an S-Video or D-Connector (I think a D-Connector is either a D-Sub, or a DVI connector). When I put 'Option "TVOutFormat" "Component"', the modes that that page of the manual are supported by S-Video or Composite cables. This is another thing that makes me think that the nvidia driver (or the graphics card itself) is still in some mode that only sends S-Video or Composite modes out my graphics card.
I tried to copy and paste from the manual, but it's in PDF and there are some weirdness about copying from PDF. Here's a link to the manual if anyone wants to check page 25:
3.) Here's a quote from osxdude on this thread in the Ubuntu Forums:
My nVidia card came with one of those S-Video to Compsite adapters; you actually have to change a special setting to get color. It is inside the nVidia's Advanced display properities. (on the Windows platform.)
Jus' wanted to give my part.
Which says to me that the Windows driver is doing some switching between modes. This guy is talking about switching to Composite mode to get color, but it's not a far reach to say something similar could be happening in the whole nvidia driver/ graphics card chipset for Component mode.
That whole thread, they're bitching about cables. I'm kind of extrapolating from that conversation and thinking that if I wire my component cable kind of the way an s-video cable carries color, that I'll then get color.
I realize 3.) is pretty speculative, but it's backed up by 1.) and 2.). If I'm right, I really wish an nVidia developer would look at this post and include some setting in the next release of the nvidia driver so that people with video cards like mine can put their video cards in component mode. Or, at least some technically-oriented explanation of why it is too difficult to put it in the Linux driver - even though it's already in the Windows driver. Not just some explanation crying about lack of resources...