Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Retro Addict Administrator
    My location

    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    15,333
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    6
    Uploads
    14

    Displaying retro systems on modern HD TVs and LCD monitors

    CRT monitors and TVs are getting very dated and take up a lot of room. Some people still keep a large CRT TV for retro gaming, but not everyone has the room for this or wants to keep one around.

    You can get a decent image onto a modern LCD display but it can take some effort and can be more difficult for some retro systems. Over the last few years I've tried a few different hardware solutions for achieving this and will explore each and my findings in this thread.
    Last edited by Harrison; 7th August 2014 at 12:13.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  2. #2
    Retro Addict Administrator
    My location

    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    15,333
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    6
    Uploads
    14

    RGB Scart

    This has to be the easiest solution. If you have an LCD TV with an RGB scart socket then most retro systems can be connected this way. This is the easiest and normally the cheapest way to get your retro systems displaying on your LCD TV. However it doesn't always give the best image possible.

    Amiga

    The Amiga generally looks pretty good using RGB scart on an LCD TV, but it isn't perfect. It can look a bit soft, and on some TVs a bit too bright, needing some inline resistors within the scart cable, but I've never needed to do that with mine.

    Atari ST

    The same is true for the Atari ST. Generally they look pretty good and I've tested both an STFM and STE. STs tend to produce a much brighter image than the Amiga and they do need resistors inline in the cable to reduce this a bit.

    Consoles

    A lot of consoles look great using RBG scart as they were designed with this in mine. However some consoles or the cables being used present bigger issues.

    Many console scart cables were actually only ever wired for composite output and not RGB, so whilst they will work the image will look blurry, and quite disappointing on an LCD. But it is fairly easy to source a new RGB scart cable for most consoles from Ebay or some of the dedicated sites.

    One dedicated site I recommend is:

    http://www.retrogamingcables.co.uk/


    You can also buy the connectors from ebay fairly cheaply if you are handy with a soldering iron and want to have a go at making your own up. I did this for the Atari ST and Amiga.

    Consoles without RGB outputs.

    Surprising as it might be these days some consoles couldn't produce an RGB signal for scart.

    One of the biggest surprises here is the Nintendo 64. The SNES could and the later Gamecube could, but for some unknown reason Nintendo decided the Pal version of the N64 couldn't. For this you only have the option of Composite via Scart, which doesn't look very good, especially as you are already fighting the horrible full screen anti-aliasing on the system. Thankfully it does support a much better output, S-Video. You will need to buy an N64 to S-Video cable for this and due to the way S-Video works the connector's audio will be separated into 2 phono connectors. It does produce the best image possible for the N64, but you obviously have to have an S-Video input on your TV or monitor. I will explore S-Video further in another post within this thread.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  3. #3
    Retro Addict Administrator
    My location

    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    15,333
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    6
    Uploads
    14

    Scanlines

    A big issue that makes retro systems look wrong on modern displays is the lack of scanlines.

    If you look at an old CRT display you will see small black lines between each row of coloured dots on the display. These are called the scanlines and are the gap between each row of prosper dots the CRTs gun scans to generate the image.

    On retro systems graphic artists often took advantage of an optical illusion created by the scanline effect current within CRT displays when producing their graphics. They could often make graphics look crisper or higher resolution than they really were by the way the graphics were made to look with the scanlines present.

    The problem with modern LCD displays is the complete lack of scanlines, so for graphics designed specifically to take advantage of them the image looks blocky or just wrong.

    You can make your retro systems look much better using something called a scanline generator.

    More details to follow..

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  4. #4
    C64 addict Staff Moderator
    My location

    Demon Cleaner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Phobos
    Posts
    7,002
    Downloads
    7
    Uploads
    88
    Scanlines were always my best friend, always used 50% of them to make it look more authentic, like I still had it in my memory when playing in the real arcades in the eighties.

    I even didn't know that modern LCD displays couldn't even produce them?

    How is it then with plasma, LED IPS panels, same?

  5. #5
    Retro Addict Administrator
    My location

    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    15,333
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    6
    Uploads
    14
    Scanlines just don't exist in modern LCD and plasma technology. They only existing with CRT because of how the screen works and are not needed in modern technology, and as mentioned above, this is the reason old games can look really wrong, blocky or just bad on modern displays.

    With emulation you can often emulate scanlines. MAMEUI (when it was MAME32) had a built in scanline generator, but this was replaced with the ability to add overlays to the game display. You can add your own scanline images to this feature to produce this effect and make arcade games look much nicer and more authentic.

    For Consoles and Home computers you can't just emulate the scanlines in the hardware. So you have to add the scanlines to the output somehow.

    You have 2 options.

    A Scanline generator

    This is a small inline hardware which you connect your console input into and it's output into the TV. You can often adjust the intensity of the scanlines it generates to get the best image on your display.

    The SLG3000 Scanline generator

    An example of retro display output before and after scanlines are added:



    A Scan Doubler with built in Scanline generator

    Some video up-scalers have scanline generators built into them to produce this effect. These are the best solution but do cost money.

    The best of these is a Japanese made up-scaler designed and made specifically for gaming.

    The XRGB Mini Framemeister

    I will cover this in more detail in a future post as it is the overall best solution for connecting any retro system to a modern LCD display.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  6. #6
    I am Legion for we are many. Staff Member
    My location

    Buleste's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Staffordshire Moorlands
    Posts
    4,078
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    0
    Someone is building a HDTV board for the N64

    http://retroactive.be/tech_n64_hdmi.php
    A1200 Power Tower
    OS 3.9 / CGX4 / OS4.0
    Blizzard 210Mhz (overclocked to 266Mhz) 603e PPC with 25Mhz 040 (Overclocked to 33Mhz) 256Mb RAM
    ZIV
    CV64/3D
    3.2Gb HDD + 20GB HDD

  7. #7
    Retro Addict Administrator
    My location

    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    15,333
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    6
    Uploads
    14
    Very interesting. Look forward to seeing this once finished. At the moment I'm using S-Video out from my N64, which then goes through an S-Video to VGA converter and produces quite a nice picture. I will post more about that later in this thread.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  8. #8
    Below Average zapiy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    88
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Fantastic thread.. really great info there.. Not sure about the cost of that XRGB Mini Framemeister though lol.

  9. #9
    Retro Addict Administrator
    My location

    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    15,333
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    6
    Uploads
    14
    That is the issue with the XRGB, the price. But it does produce the best image for retro systems on modern displays if you really want the best. It's predecessor and in effect it's big brother, the XRGB 3 cost a lot more but has a lot more features for customisation of things like resolution, scanline generation adjustments, and loads of inputs and outputs.

    There are cheaper solutions for scandoubling for retro systems, including using something called a CBS-8220 scan doubler, which is made in China and can be purchased for around 20-30. I have one being used for Amigas and it works really well, but it is fiddly to set up. I will go into detail about this later in the thread.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


Similar Threads

  1. Modern web browsers
    By Stephen Coates in forum General Chat
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 15th August 2014, 11:53
  2. LCD Monitors
    By Stephen Coates in forum General Chat
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17th March 2009, 17:24
  3. Monitors
    By loopy in forum Amiga
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 13th November 2008, 00:31
  4. Alternative OSs for retro systems
    By Harrison in forum General Retro Chat
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 29th April 2008, 17:37
  5. Modern Amiga
    By Harrison in forum Hardware
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 23rd April 2007, 13:22

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Copyright classicamiga.com