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ataridave

How do you get older consoles to run well on an HDTV?...

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Like in this video, for example:

I don't get it-there's no lag in the gameplay, and the picture looks beautiful-no pixelization, and like it's in a perfect aspect ratio. And the Atgames Genesis obviously doesn't come with HDMI out; just basic RCA cables, like you can see in the video. So, how do you get older consoles, just using RCA cables, to run this well on an HDTV?
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You can't.
The best you can do is mod your systems for RGB scart and then use a hd upscaler.

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sometimes it just depends on the TV

Yeah, I've heard that it depends on the viewing angle of the TV. I know about the RGB to SCART to HDMI deal, but that's obviously not what was being used in that CNET video.

 

That XRGB Mini converter looks really nice, but it costs over $300.00 on Amazon.

Edited by ataridave

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+1 can vary. And some TVs have options to help out.

 

Problems I've seen/heard of besides the lag:

- doesn't sync at all to the video (rolling display), most Atari and some other gear outputs a non-standard VSync which analog TV handles fine but some digital gear doesn't like.

- interlaced video whether you want it or not. Especially LCDs, they tend to blend two fields together at 25 FPS (30 NTSC). This can create unwanted combing look on moving objects.

- poor pixel definition, colour fringing - on a CRT slightly fuzzy pixels tend to give the graphics a more rounded effect and help fill in the gap between scanlines but on LCDs with their more clearly defined pixels you can get ugly interpolation effects where colour that doesn't belong there appears.

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Yeah, with modern flat panel televisions, any internal upscaling they do is really only meant for you to hook up, say, an old VCR or DVD. Live action video playback has VERY different needs compared to retro gaming, and sadly retro gaming is a considerably more "niche" market than the video playback is.

 

Your only real two options are to take an old, barely compliant system to your local electronics place and test until you find a television that makes you happy, or buy a higher grade external upscaler.

 

We have a MiniXRGB/Framemeister here right now, currently connected to one television in the living room. It's a pretty nice piece of kit. Although to warn, like all specialist hardware, it can be mildly finicky depending on your source.

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In the 2600 forum, most folks say to run it through a vcr. I can tell you that my 2600 that has the component mod kit, looks better run through a vcr first. A lot of folks claim it is the difference between the resolution of a crt and flat screen that makes them look bad, but in my opinion, it has more to do with screen size. Kinda like having an ugly spouse, take pictures far away, and they look great, up close, not so much. Also, some newer TV's won't recognize the minute signals old consoles put out, hence the vcr trick. And yes, when Goodwill was putting out TV's at 10 bucks a piece (crt's), I would physically hook my console up at their store and check em. (this works better if you prepay for one or two, so they know you're not wasting their time). Mileage may vary,but barring spending the big bucks on hardware, expect it to look like a low quality blown up picture. Now, you can play with the screen size and usually get them to look pretty good, but I've never seen a game that has lots of written words that are easy to make out on a lcd.

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As said before, it all depends on your tv. But it might be a good idea to have a look at your TV's settings.

Some TV's have a setting for Game Mode. What this bassicly does is turn off all 'enhancements' and get the picture as fast on screen as possible.

If you don't have such an option then try to turn all enhancement options off by hand. These options are for example; white balance adjust, sharpen picture, etc etc... there is a lot of calculations to be done with those effects and it might slow down your image and look worse.

 

Then you got the bleeding problem. The bleeding always was there, even on CRT's but it was less noticeable. Again your TV might enhance this. Sometimes there is a difference between the different models of the same console; for example Genesis1,2 &3. Some mods might help here

 

Another point to think about, which kind of leans against the excellent comment of onemoretime is the fact that the Atari might be the hardest to get a good picture from. The build up of the video image on a Atari is done by software. And not every game did such a good job at it. Modern TV's are digital and they expect the signal to come in a standard way. Any difference might fuch it up. As said before, running it through a VCR which is Analoge might fix some of the errors after which the signal is more confirm with the TV.

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Like in this video, for example:

I don't get it-there's no lag in the gameplay, and the picture looks beautiful-no pixelization, and like it's in a perfect aspect ratio. And the Atgames Genesis obviously doesn't come with HDMI out; just basic RCA cables, like you can see in the video. So, how do you get older consoles, just using RCA cables, to run this well on an HDTV?

 

The video is probably super-imposed on that screen in post. There's no way it's that clear using Composite to an HDTV.

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Actually, when I look at the vid again, I have the feeling she isn't actually controlling the game. She does try to press at the same time as the game reacts, but often it's too early or too late. I even have the feeling she sometimes presses with no result (when sonic enters the loop for instance).

I wouldn't be surprised if the image on screen isn't from the console at all.

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She is not playing it on screen, its super imposed. Look at the right part of the screen, there is reflection on the lcd bezel. Part of the light is shown and crosses over onto the lcd but the lcd is matted not gloss. If the lcd was gloss you would see reflections from people and other lights.

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"If the lcd was gloss you would see reflections from people and other lights."

 

hmm... you mean like you see at 1:40? Besides if you look at the frame of the TV at the left side you can see a line of reflection there. And as the image on the screen changes, the reflection changes as well. Granted, you could easily use a filter so the reflection stays visible. Even the reflected line in the TV frame can be edited in. But it's way more easy to just play a recording on the screen and act as if you are playing it.

 

Either way, and what's more important here is the fact that they probably messed with the image and what you see isn't what you get.But if you have the right TV with the right setting or setup you can still get a decent image. Please take note of the word decent because you are working with equipment of 25 to 35 years here. If you don't like it then get yourself a hacked Xbox, playstation 3 or any android device with hdmi output and run some emulator.

Edited by DrWho198
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This was from several years back and I was demonstrating it on a DLP TV, but the point is the same using the same Sega Classic Console (as well as the handheld) as in the Newegg demonstration:

. The camera makes it look better than it looks in real life, plain and simple.

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I use my Samsung DVD recorder, DVD-R135, that has a HDMI output that does a great job!

 

Composite & S-Video inputs.

 

You can press the progressive scan button to go from 480p-720p & 1080i.

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This was from several years back and I was demonstrating it on a DLP TV, but the point is the same using the same Sega Classic Console (as well as the handheld) as in the Newegg demonstration:

. The camera makes it look better than it looks in real life, plain and simple.

 

Gotcha Bill. (Yes, I am now newataridave; I had to re-register.) I really wish some HDTV manufactuerer would address the issues associated with playing retro consoles on HDTVs. I mean, what are retro gamers going to do when all the CRTs have died? 4K is already close on the horizon, and I don't know how longer used TV and TV repair shops, and thrift stores, will continue to sell used CRTs.

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I don't know about the Firecore; maybe the video is hiding the imperfections you'd see in person. Video processors like the XRGB-Mini are pricey, but they're the best way to upscale the image. It also helps to get the best output possible from your consoles, even if that requires modding. My 2600, 5200, and 7800 are all S-Video modded for this reason.

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Exactly, get the best output you can from the console (mod if needed) and feed into the best video processor you can get your hands on. Consoles modded here for exactly the same reason :)

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Gotcha Bill. (Yes, I am now newataridave; I had to re-register.) I really wish some HDTV manufactuerer would address the issues associated with playing retro consoles on HDTVs. I mean, what are retro gamers going to do when all the CRTs have died? 4K is already close on the horizon, and I don't know how longer used TV and TV repair shops, and thrift stores, will continue to sell used CRTs.

 

Locally none allows it anymore. Goodwill banned CRT TVs at the start of past July and Salvation Army have refused for a while. Other smaller thrift shops and flea market don't carry it either. It's probably a coincidence but I saw a lot more CRT TV at yard sale this year than usual.

 

Get a VCR while you can, VCR (without actually playing tapes) could last a long time compared to CRT TV and VCR usually works as old non-compliant video to more compliant video converter.

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Gotcha Bill. (Yes, I am now newataridave; I had to re-register.) I really wish some HDTV manufactuerer would address the issues associated with playing retro consoles on HDTVs. I mean, what are retro gamers going to do when all the CRTs have died? 4K is already close on the horizon, and I don't know how longer used TV and TV repair shops, and thrift stores, will continue to sell used CRTs.

Retro gamers with old consoles constitute something like .01% or less of the TV-buying public. That means maybe 1 out of 10,000 buyers would make use of retro-console-compatible inputs. This is terribly small and no manufacturer is going to allocate resources to designing a feature that would not contribute to improved picture sharpness.

 

And if they did, marketing wouldn't know how to present (to the general public) a feature that degrades picture quality. Furthermore, marketing and corporations in general are more interested in the future and not the past. Playing in the past is limiting and everything is an unchanging history.

 

And assuming an input marked "retro-composite-ntsc-rf" was implemented by marketing & engineering, it would never get past the bean counters. The cost of the PCB real estate, RCA connector, extra tooling, extra parts, and software additions, r&d.. All that.. It could potentially add as much as $20 to the final production cost. Totally unacceptable in today's rigid corporate cost-cutting structures. Not to mention that $20 is a make-it or break-it differential for most customers. All for what benefit?

 

The best way forward involves two things:

 

1- A low cost RF/Composite - to - vga/dvi/hdmi/component (or whatever is in vogue at the time). This has to sell for less than $50 and must be lenient with what it accepts as input. It must also interpret and process the signal like the old-school electronics did. This means having an on-screen menu with many adjustment points. Think emulators with NTSC-artifacting options and settings. Since this a dedicated function box being made in low-volume and for the specialty market this would be great microcontroller+FPGA project. There are already is a small simple board that takes the Apple //e aux-slot video and converts it to component video.

 

2- Emulators themselves. Simply run your roms on hardware that already interfaces with contemporary displays. Like a PC or modern console; thus bypassing any need to convert the video signal. And by doing this you reap many other benefits which have been discussed in other topics.

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