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The least Atari Friendly TV ever.

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#1 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:47 AM

Hi all,

 

I've been lurking a while to reading advice, but am a first time poster. I've just got my Atari 2600 and am so excited because I get to re-live all the memories I had as a child when I used to have one.

 

I've read many of the forums on connecting it up but not 100% sure on the solution so would like to check something before going ahead.

 

My problem comes with my TV. This particular TV does NOT have a F-type Coax input connector or component/composite input. It only has a non-screw coax out, HDMI, USB, SCART and the connection for the TV Aerial which I think you call RF input. 

 

This is the TV http://direct.asda.c...default,pd.html

 

I have plugged the RCA from the Atari directly into the TV RF input. I get a good picture and it all works but I get no sound, just loud white noise. I understand that this is because the RF inputs can't handle both so I need another option.

 

Looking at Switchboxes etc they still seem to have the F-type screw in for the Coax input so that's no good.

 

So the only option I can think of is this: Can I plug the Atari RCA into a second hand VCR's aerial input and then use the scart from the VCR to the TV? Would that work?

 

There may be a gadget or something else you may suggest but I don't understand the RF Modulator/demodulator thing. Is that an option and if so can someone point me in the right direction to the right one to buy? I assume it would go from RCA to HDMI or does that not work?

 

Any advice would be more than welcome and hopefully once I am up and running I look forward to chatting about playing the Atari again for the first time in 30+ years.

 

Many thanks.

 

Tec.

 



#2 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:09 AM

1977 technology is frequently incompatible with 2017 technology. :-)

 

Your VCR idea is a good one. Note that because of the way the image is created by the Atari, you are likely to get some lag on the modern display. I smell frustration ahead for you. 

 

If I were YOU, I would consider scrounging an old CRT from a thrift store. Better than attempting the AV equivalent of forcing a marriage between a shark and a gorilla. 

 

If YOU were ME, you'd be playing old games in emulation like MAME or Stella instead. Keep the old with the old and the new with the new. 



#3 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:26 AM

Annoyingly, I actually had one of the old TV's. You know the type it took two of us to lift. It was taking up too much room. If only I had thought ahead!

 

I'm wondering if it's worth getting a new TV that actually has a F type Coax input. It's all becoming a little expensive though.

 

Who'd have thought re-living my childhood would be so complicated. Damn you technology. :-( I'm off to buy a Rubik's Cube!

 

Regarding Emulation though. I love the idea. I just wanted to see the console again and feel the controllers and just have a bit of a nostalgia moment. I hope you understand. ... sniff!

 

Tec.


Edited by Tec, Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:28 AM.


#4 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:36 AM

I grabbed a 13" CRT from the curb one sunny trash day. Problem solved. It's still heavier than it needs to be, but it works.

 

As for the controller nostalgia, I'll bet the Atari Flashback would work with your modern telly's composite AV inputs. Also, there's a portable version that can load SD cards and plug into your TV. No joystick though. 

 

The new Atari Flashback TV console this fall is rumored to have HDMI support, fully modernized just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Atari VCS. 


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#5 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:48 AM

The flashback sounds very interesting. I'll definitely look into that. I'll let you know how I get on with the scart thing too. I might as well give it a try. :-) But I like the sound of the Flashback.

 

Many thanks.

 

Tec.



#6 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:03 AM

The flashback sounds very interesting. I'll definitely look into that. I'll let you know how I get on with the scart thing too. I might as well give it a try. :-) But I like the sound of the Flashback.

 

http://www.funstockr...k/plug-and-play

 

They're not perfect, but they're a decent approximation of the real thing. They don't come with every game ever made, but they come with a lot. 



#7 -^CrožBow^- ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:33 AM

Keep in mind that the RCA type plug on the Atari is just RF and not composite so you still have to use f-type coax adapter I'm assuming to attach it to an old VCR. The flashback portable is still composite only with the AV out connected and according to the listed specs on the Polaroid TV he listed, it literally only has 3 HDMI and 1 Scart input on it. So there isn't a composite or component..etc Basically...no analog other than what the scart provides.

 

So...here is my suggestion...

 

Look into getting the 2600 at least composite AV modded. And then use something like one of these to scale the picture up to 1 of the HDMI inputs. This is basically what I'm doing with all of my AV modded retro consoles. Only I use S-video whenever possible for an even better picture. Though in the case of the Atari, Colecovision, and Intellivision systems....composite is pretty much good enough.

 

https://www.monopric...oduct?p_id=9994

 

That is literally the converter I've been using for about 4 years now on a daily basis without issues. Only issue I have if you want to call it that, is that the 1080p it puts out appears to be too weak for the two different TVs I've tried to use it with and isn't stable. But the 720p is great. Also, the blue power LED will flicker on and off as it is dying now after 4 years. But honestly that damn thing is so bright, i don't mind it burning out. Long as the converter still works, I don't care. It is also PAL/NTSC switchable so...yeah. Might look into something like that once you have the Atari AV modded for composite or s-video.


Edited by -^CrožBow^-, Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:40 AM.


#8 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:09 PM

The flashback portable is still composite only with the AV out connected and according to the listed specs on the Polaroid TV he listed, it literally only has 3 HDMI and 1 Scart input on it. So there isn't a composite or component..etc Basically...no analog other than what the scart provides.

 

I've never touched a SCART input, but it seems to me that it should be very easy to find an adapter to convert S-Video and Composite into SCART? The specs listed claimed analog-in was possible, and I assume it would be via that port. I can't find an image of the back of the unit to tell for certain. 

 

I think your HDMI converter is a fine idea. Small downsides: it needs an extra power plug, costs a little more, and might be doing some extra conversion that doesn't need to happen. It costs the same as an Atari Flashback, at least at USA prices. 



#9 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:38 PM

Thanks for the advice. I've just tried it with a neighbours VCR but it didn't work. I am in the UK and it seems like even the video players have just a Aerial in socket which the RF goes directly in to.

 

I can either go with the earlier post by Crosbow or try and find a VCR or TV with an F type socket and buy the little adaptor thing.

 

I'd have to see if I can find someone locally who does 2600 Modding I think. I'll keep trying.

 

It's a shame because the picture and game play are spot on. It's just the white noise (loud hissing) that is annoying.

 

Is there any possibility at all that something else could be causing it, like a dodgy mains adaptor or picking up interference from something else? Watching TV now all is fine again. It only happens when I turn on the Atari.

 

Tec.



#10 Jess Ragan ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:50 PM

Has this been suggested? Because you may want to consider one of these jobbies. The picture will still suck terribly, but it ought to work.

 

https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B0028MXOF6

 

Your other options have mostly been outlined here, but if you're adventurous, you can mod your 2600 for composite output, which should be just good enough for your new television set. Several such mods exist, ranging in complexity and quality, but whatever you choose, your system won't be factory spec once it's done.

 

I'm with Flojo on this one... get an emulator instead. If you have an Android TV box you can run Robert Broglia's 2600.EMU, which costs three bucks and should run nearly everything you throw at it. With better joysticks than the standard CX40. Without having to get up to swap cartridges. With an impeccably sharp picture you won't get out of any 2600.



#11 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:04 PM

Thanks Jess.

 

I appreciate it but you may have seen in my earlier post that I don't have an f-type connection on my TV. I also don't have any composite inputs on the back of my TV either. Hence the title of the post lol.

 

I'll keep you informed though.

 

Tec.


Edited by Tec, Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:05 PM.


#12 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:08 PM

I'm wondering if it's worth getting a new TV that actually has a F type Coax input. It's all becoming a little expensive though.

 

Regarding Emulation though. I love the idea. I just wanted to see the console again and feel the controllers and just have a bit of a nostalgia moment. I hope you understand. ... sniff!

 

A TV with F-type coax connector might get you part of the way there. The way the TV processes the incoming signal might not be satifactory.

 

When it comes to display technologies it's a good idea to match them to the source, and the VCS was designed for TVs that are analog in nature and have a sweeping beam. Not a matrix accessible display..

 

Emulation (and FPGA simulation) is a good thing because both techniques can natively output a digital signal, just what modern TVs like. It's easy to keep everything in the digital domain where a matrix display shines.

 

Perhaps a partial solution is to use emulation. But yet still build some sort of hardware collection. That's what I do with all my Apple II stuff. I use Emulator Applewin 90% of the time. The other remaining 10% is for sentimental journeys with real hardware. There's really no rules or regulations. Just try and find a balance that works for you.


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#13 -^CrožBow^- ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:09 PM

 

It's a shame because the picture and game play are spot on. It's just the white noise (loud hissing) that is annoying.

 

Tec.

 

I didn';t think you were getting a picture at all? Are you saying through the VCR method or some other method you are at least getting a picture? If so I must have missed that spot.

 

Because if you have a decent picture and static white noise, the RF needs to be adjusted along with possible a fine adjustment through the channel options on your TV possibly. But usually the white noise and a decent picture is because the RF needs to be adjusted just a tad.

That is done internally through the RF Modulator I believe and requires the use of a plastic small hex driver for just this purpose.


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#14 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:24 PM

Apologies if I didn't make myself clear. This is what I did Crosbow.

 

I have plugged the RCA from the Atari directly into the TV RF input. Most UK TV's seem to just have the aerial input and not a F-type Coax input like on the US TV.s.

 

I plugged directly into the TV and then did an analogue search. It found my Atari on Channel 36. I inserted a game and I was away. I played for about 10 minutes WITH full sound and was extremely happy. Then there was a white hissing noise that became louder and louder over the course of a few minutes.

 

I thought perhaps it had lost the signal a bit so I tried fine tuning manually between ch 35-37 but it made no difference. So I tried disconnecting, turning everything off. and doing a new search. Again it found the Atari on Channel 36 but the white hissing noise is constant and so loud you can't hear the gameplay.

 

If I turn down the sound I can play the Atari in silence but it's only the sound that seems to be the problem.

 

Tec.



#15 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:25 PM

If what you say is correct Crosbow, I just have to work out a way of adjusting the RF. But wouldn't know where to start. Do you mean on the TV or on the Atari?

 

Just to be clear. What I call the RF input is where I put the aerial into the back of the TV. This is not an F-type screw in one like on satalitte boxes but a push in one like in this picture. This is NOT my TV but just an example. I have the slot that says "ANT" and I have connected the Atari to that.

 

Would an RF Modulator work?

Attached Thumbnails

  • ant.jpg

Edited by Tec, Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:24 PM.


#16 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:27 PM

Regarding Emulation though. I love the idea.

 

If you get into emulation I'd suggest starting out with Emulator Stella. It's been in development since 1996 and is so feature rich you probably won't need anything else. Consider it your new Virtual VCS. It has TV effects so you can get some fuzzies, or razor-sharp rendering. It supports a lot of bank-switching schemes - cartridge memory layouts for the layperson. A technical debugger if you're interested in seeing how a "game program" works. It even has a nice rom selector screen.

 

But most of all it just works. And it works consistently. It's in active development and if you have questions, the devs are around to answer them, right here.


Edited by Keatah, Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:30 PM.

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#17 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:59 PM

If all you care about is playing the games, Stella is the way to go. Like Keetah said, it will play anything you throw at it (which can't be said for the Flashback). You can play with original controllers using a 2600-dapter or one of the other similar adapters out there. You can play all the games you will literally never be able to find on cartridge, as well as new games as they're being developed.

 

Stella can't recreate the warn fuzzies you get from plugging an actual cart into the slot and flipping that switch to on, but it's got everything else pretty well covered.


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#18 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:13 PM

It's kinda the warm fuzzy's I was going for. The main point of me getting it was to re-live my childhood really. Call it a mid life crisis if you like, but it's hard to explain the joy I got when it came in the post. It reminded me of Christmas day 1979 all over again. Brilliant.

 

It sounds stupid I know but hearing the pac man music again and holding the controller and seeing the cartridges, fantastic! I'm gonna love it all over again.

 

Even my wife who doesn't play games as she doesn't like the modern stuff said she would definitely play these with me cos she played them in the arcades.

 

So excited.

 

If however I can't get it working then the other options will be ok, but won't quite be the same. No offence to emulators etc. I will certainly consider them.

 

Tec.



#19 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:31 PM

It sounds stupid I know

 

It's not stupid at all. That feeling that comes with using the actual hardware is part of the experience. In some cases it's even the easier option (Stella is easy to set up, but some emulators are more trouble than they're worth). There's no one perfect solution. I have tons of carts in my collection, but I also have Stella on my computer to play games I don't own or try out new games and I have a Flashback portable for when I want to play on the train.


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#20 -^CrožBow^- ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:36 PM

No...the adjustment I'm talking about would require you to open up the atari. There is usually small hole in the metal box of the RF Modulator themselves. inside is a coil or sorts (I honestly am not an engineer so I don't know the actual term), but using a small plastic hex driver (They make these specifically for this purpose), you adjust it slightly left to right. Since the video and audio both go through the RF and you lost the Audio, that tells me that the TV can't sync both because the RF is just a hair off. I've fixed another 2600 in this manner long ago and a colecovision as well about 6 or 7 years ago.

 

I don't have one near me to take pics and show exactly what I'm talking about...but maybe someone else here does.


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#21 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:11 PM

That sounds fantastic Crosbow. If any one can show me what do to, I'll go ahead and do it. 

 

Definitely worth a shot.

 

Tec.



#22 -^CrožBow^- ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:32 PM

I figure it can't hurt to try right?

 

This video is awful quality, but it does give you a good idea on what I'm talking about. I'm sure if your search a bit more on youtube you might find something better. There is another that shows a guy making adjustments off the large red coil but that isn't where I'm talking about. Additionally, the guy in the other video was using a metal hex key set...which is a NO NO because the metal hex key will do two things:

 

that coil is winded around...so using metal inside of it, will cause the metal to heat up...and throws off the adjustment because the metal hex key will change the signal by the shear fact it is metal. Again only a plastic made hex driver should be used.

The second reason is that using metal inside to adjust the ferrite core, you can easily crack and break the ferrite inside. That is also bad...

 

But yeah, the guy in this video shows making the adjustment on an atari clone through the side of the RF modulator itself, and this is what I'm talking about.

 


Edited by -^CrožBow^-, Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:33 PM.

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#23 Tec OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:51 PM

Brilliant. I will try this tomorrow and let you know how I get on.

 

Thanks so much for your help. :-)

 

Tec.



#24 davyK OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:31 PM

I'm surprised using the VCR didn't work. I had my 2600 rigged up like that for ages (I'm UK based too). I plugged my 2600 into the aerial socket in the VCR and then used composite leads (red,white,yellow) to connect the VCR to the TV. That's assuming the VCR has a composite out of course. I then made sure the VCR was switched on (easy to overlook!!!!) and the source selection on the TV is set to the composite in (AV3, Av4 or something like that). Worked fine. You have to tune the VCR to the 2600 first though and that can be fiddly - especially if you don't have a remote for the VCR - but it might still be the best way to work with a modern TV if you get it working.

 

With modern TVs I don't think the 2600 generates a strong enough signal which might explain why the sound isn't right - it's as if the TV can't lock in on the signal. The TV might be able to lock onto the VCR signal better.

 

I even used that method to connect the 2600 up to a projector in work for a big screen office Kaboom! high score competition.

 

I use mine with a CRT now though.


Edited by davyK, Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:39 PM.


#25 alex_79 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:01 AM

The lack of sound might happen if, for example, the console is PAL-I standard (for UK and Ireland), while the TV is PAL B/G (most of western Europe). Modern LCD TV are usually multistandard, that is you can select the TV system (PAL-I, PAL-B/G, SECAM-L, SECAM D/K, NTSC M, etc..) of analog rf input. So maybe the TV is set to the wrong standard.

Or it might just be not tuned correctly. There's usually a "fine tune" option too.

Finally, the audio inductor in the 2600 console might be misadjusted (but that's unlikely to happen unless somone fiddles with it)

 

Regarding the rca to F-connector adapter, that's just for US and it's completely useless in Europe where the TV aerial socket is a "Belling Lee Connector" and, since it was already standard in the '70s, consoles already came with the correct plug. No adapter required. In Europe the F connector is typically used for SAT TV.

And even if you can find a PAL TV using the F-connector for aerial input, that wouldn't solve anything. The shape of the connector is irrelevant.







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