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Quick Review of Lotharek HQ Video Cable

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4 hours ago, flashjazzcat said:

Mytek's screenshots show a significant improvement on a machine with banding, but the banding is still there.

Yes there is still some banding shown in the 65XE with a DIY cable utilizing high quality individually shielded wires. Although I think the comparison between that and a cable without any shielding what-so-ever is like the difference between night and day.

 

Whatever banding or other noise issues that are still seen with a proper video cable would be directly attributable to the 65XE's video circuitry and/or grounding. Judging by the faint wider bands that are seen with the properly shielded video cable in use, I suspect that is due to ground bounce, which is usually the result of insufficient ground planes or having too many circuits grounded far away from the point of origin (too many digital switching circuits sharing a common return ground path with the analog video circuits). Another factor which we've seen, can be due to chroma/luma cross-talk caused by the video circuit design in play, with some worse than others.

 

BTW, when I use that exact same DIY video cable with a machine that has been modified with a UAV board, there is no banding of any kind, faint or otherwise. The UAV effectively decouples the analog video circuit from the digital circuits in the Atari, as well as implementing proper chroma/luma summing for a composite signal that doesn't corrupt the luma.

 

5 hours ago, Larry said:

What (technically) is the cause of the "jailbars?"

As for what is the root cause of the jail bars seen in this image...

 

65XE_Lotharek_HQ-Video_Cable.jpg

 

It is beyond a shadow of doubt created by the cross-coupling of the chroma with the luma, and aggravated by a similar cross-coupling of the composite with the luma. Without getting too deep into the technical nitty gritty of it all, jail bars of the kind shown in the image above are directly attributable to the chroma digital clocking signal mixing into the luma analog signal, usually as a result of no shielding to isolate the two signals from each other (as is the case with the image above), or because of poor video circuit design that causes this more directly via leakage through a cross-coupled capacitor when creating the blended (summed) composite video signal inside the Atari.

 

Fact: if you use non-shielded wires that are placed close together and touching, you will get cross-talk between the individual signals. A short distance won't matter, but over several feet it can become a significant factor.

 

 

6 hours ago, Mclaneinc said:

Lets not rip the man a new one for 1 cable...

Nobody is trying to rip Lotharek, and certainly that wasn't my intention. If you wish to ignore the evidence I've presented about the fundamental problem with the HQ Video Cable, that is your prerogative. But you might want to keep in mind that no one is infallible, and even the best of them can sometimes make a mistake, and that's what we are likely seeing here. I'm pretty sure that Lotharek wasn't trying to rip anyone off, but was simply caught unaware of what makes or breaks good video cable design. Also the fact that some people's LCD monitors have no issues with this cable could easily mask the problem.

 

As for why some LCD monitors don't display the jail bars, I suspect that it is because they employ better video processing that is able to remove the chroma clocking bleed-over from the luma signal.

 

 

48 minutes ago, Stephen said:

I recognize the cable as an XBox 360 one.  I can't say if it's original or an aftermarket replacement.

Yep it looks to be based on the same cable, which I see is manufactured in China.

 

A334_1306630429743750008RSkCAw0zn.jpg.e1ffd1b6d2f9aace37e7e06ea5c39ae5.jpg

 

Sold by Newegg as well as others.

 

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3 hours ago, jamm said:

Lotharek’s product description clearly states this cable is “fully shielded” and that is incorrect - at least in the samples we’re looking at. I doubt he meant to be deceitful, but the fact remains that what he delivered was not what he advertised.

Yep it's right there up front.

 

HQ_spec.png.d980b516f61b6d0e5001fc4ad44d7380.png

 

So.... I'm thinking that these cables are assembled and delivered to Lotharek by a 3rd party who failed to disclose the true nature.

 

 

It could be worse. Look at this GameStop ad for the XBOX 360 cable they carry that looks like what the Lotharek HQ Video Cable is based upon (notice claimed digital optical output and stereo audio output - wasn't aware that RCA plugs could be used for optical output ;)).

 

GameStop_XBOX360_cable.thumb.png.fb0a54ebe264dcf5c3fb4ba7e8d358c7.png

 

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15 minutes ago, mytek said:

(notice claimed digital optical output and stereo audio output - wasn't aware that RCA plugs could be used for optical output ;))

I had (have? somewhere around here maybe still?) the same kinds of cables for my 360's. If it's generally the same as the cables I have/had/whatever, there's a TOSlink socket in the base part that plugs into the console. 

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4 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

I had (have? somewhere around here maybe still?) the same kinds of cables for my 360's. If it's generally the same as the cables I have/had/whatever, there's a TOSlink socket in the base part that plugs into the console. 

Aww yes that would make sense 👍 .

 

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26 minutes ago, mytek said:

wasn't aware that RCA plugs could be used for optical output ;)

Haha, yes. There are digital audio connections through RCA connectors (mostly the orange variety), but optical? LOL

 

coaxial-digital-connection.jpg

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42 minutes ago, mytek said:

if you use non-shielded wires that are placed close together and touching, you will get cross-talk between the individual signals. A short distance won't matter, but over several feet it can become a significant factor.

Exactly what I found with the 1088XEL CoolNovelties SCART cables. 2M long and minimal shielding was prone to jailbars on RGB output.

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1 minute ago, ivop said:

Haha, yes. There are digital audio connections through RCA connectors (mostly the orange variety), but optical? LOL

 

coaxial-digital-connection.jpg

Read my reply - 360 connectors have a TOSlink connector in the plug that inserts into the console.

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If it claims fully shielded then he needs to be brought to book for that, also the reason I semi defended him was that some people were saying it was fine and many others not so wondered if systems also had a part in the working. I wasn't ignoring the evidence, just looking at all of it and there were multiple versions.

Edited by Mclaneinc
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The only video cable I ever bought for my Atari's was the one Best Electronics or B&C Computervisions (I don't remember which, this was 30 years ago) that is actually made for a Commodore 64 and 1702/1084/etc. monitors, but works with Atari's although the colors don't match up. It lasted about 5 years and I had to repair it and after another 5 again, and I just made my own. I only ever used the separate Chroma and Luma with the 1084 and it was a clean picture. I do have a Break-Out-Box I bought from MoreThanGames a few years ago, which works quite well with my upgraded SV2.1 1200XL and quality standard cables on the output. I'm very happy with it. It originally had some decals designating what RCA jacks are what, but it peeled off.

 

http://morethangames.a8maestro.com/

 

 

20200823_133606.jpg

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13 minutes ago, ivop said:

Haha, yes. There are digital audio connections through RCA connectors (mostly the orange variety), but optical? LOL

 

coaxial-digital-connection.jpg

I have a CD player and a Yamaha receiver with that style :) .

 

 

11 minutes ago, flashjazzcat said:

Exactly what I found with the 1088XEL CoolNovelties SCART cables. 2M long and minimal shielding was prone to jailbars on RGB output.

Good point, and I remember that.

 

 

9 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

If it claims fully shielded then he needs to be brought to book for that, also the reason I semi defended him was that some people were saying it was fine and many others not so wondered if systems also had a part in the working.

Yes apparently this is the case, where some monitors excel at removing the unwanted chroma bleed over from the luma signal (very nice feature).

 

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13 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Read my reply - 360 connectors have a TOSlink connector in the plug that inserts into the console.

I was reacting to Mytek's post before I saw yours, and probably while searching for that backplate image and a phone call I had to answer, other posts were made :)  Now I look better at the image, it's clearly not a fourth RCA connector, but a Toshiba TOSlink.

Edited by ivop

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One problem is that the definition of 'high quality' may be completely subjective and might apply solely to the nice plastic moulding and colour coded connectors.

 

I'm serious about this as well. I've seen a lot of A8 video cables over the years (and built a lot, too), and while it's rare that I've come across anything without at least a single foil shield, it's equally rare that I've encountered anything with individual GND wires for each signal.

 

I mentioned the 1088XEL SCART cables earlier. SCART has individual GNDs for most of the signals (especially R, G, B), and when I built DIN13/SCART cables, I would leave all the GND conductors in the cable and tie them together at the connector end. The CoolNovelties cable uses an 8 or 9 core cable, however, with a single GND wire daisy-chained to all the GND pins at the SCART end. It has foil shielding on the cable, but no shrink-fit on the DIN pins. But it looks nice on the outside, has a nice DIN13 connector with a latch, and an official-looking label on the SCART housing. In the majority of cases, the signal is fine.

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6 minutes ago, mytek said:

 

Yes apparently this is the case, where some monitors excel at removing the unwanted chroma bleed over from the luma signal (very nice feature).

 

 

It may be that the monitors that remove the jail bars do more processing/filtering on the displayed image. I've noticed that modern LCD's can give an artificial 'processed' image from the Ataris. So it may not be 'better' overall but in the case of removing jail bars it helps. ??

 

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3 minutes ago, ivop said:

I was reacting to Mytek's post before I saw yours, and probably while searching for that backplate image and a phone call I had to answer, other posts were made :)  Now I look better at the image, it's clearly not a fourth RCA connector, but a Toshiba TOSlink.

I can't speak to the Gamestop cable directly - I have some MS-branded originals here somewhere. Mine are component + composite + L/R audio (so 6 RCA connectors) plus TOSlink in the base, not via a separate wire in the bundle. Here are some pics.

IMG_5276.JPG

IMG_5278.JPG

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1 hour ago, mytek said:

Yes there is still some banding shown in the 65XE with a DIY cable utilizing high quality individually shielded wires. Although I think the comparison between that and a cable without any shielding what-so-ever is like the difference between night and day.

 

Whatever banding or other noise issues that are still seen with a proper video cable would be directly attributable to the 65XE's video circuitry and/or grounding. Judging by the faint wider bands that are seen with the properly shielded video cable in use, I suspect that is due to ground bounce, which is usually the result of insufficient ground planes or having too many circuits grounded far away from the point of origin (too many digital switching circuits sharing a common return ground path with the analog video circuits). Another factor which we've seen, can be due to chroma/luma cross-talk caused by the video circuit design in play, with some worse than others.

 

BTW, when I use that exact same DIY video cable with a machine that has been modified with a UAV board, there is no banding of any kind, faint or otherwise. The UAV effectively decouples the analog video circuit from the digital circuits in the Atari, as well as implementing proper chroma/luma summing for a composite signal that doesn't corrupt the luma.

 

As for what is the root cause of the jail bars seen in this image...

 

65XE_Lotharek_HQ-Video_Cable.jpg

 

It is beyond a shadow of doubt created by the cross-coupling of the chroma with the luma, and aggravated by a similar cross-coupling of the composite with the luma. Without getting too deep into the technical nitty gritty of it all, jail bars of the kind shown in the image above are directly attributable to the chroma digital clocking signal mixing into the luma analog signal, usually as a result of no shielding to isolate the two signals from each other (as is the case with the image above), or because of poor video circuit design that causes this more directly via leakage through a cross-coupled capacitor when creating the blended (summed) composite video signal inside the Atari.

 

Fact: if you use non-shielded wires that are placed close together and touching, you will get cross-talk between the individual signals. A short distance won't matter, but over several feet it can become a significant factor.

 

 

Nobody is trying to rip Lotharek, and certainly that wasn't my intention. If you wish to ignore the evidence I've presented about the fundamental problem with the HQ Video Cable, that is your prerogative. But you might want to keep in mind that no one is infallible, and even the best of them can sometimes make a mistake, and that's what we are likely seeing here. I'm pretty sure that Lotharek wasn't trying to rip anyone off, but was simply caught unaware of what makes or breaks good video cable design. Also the fact that some people's LCD monitors have no issues with this cable could easily mask the problem.

 

As for why some LCD monitors don't display the jail bars, I suspect that it is because they employ better video processing that is able to remove the chroma clocking bleed-over from the luma signal.

 

 

Yep it looks to be based on the same cable, which I see is manufactured in China.

 

A334_1306630429743750008RSkCAw0zn.jpg.e1ffd1b6d2f9aace37e7e06ea5c39ae5.jpg

 

Sold by Newegg as well as others.

 

Have you maybe tried to see what will be a result with your both screen via RetroTINK Pro? Not sure if you have a chance to get one to test though. I use this cable with Atari 800 Pal (stock) and RetroTINK Pro with good results. Anyway, the improved shielding would help to make it even better :)

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6 minutes ago, Sugarland said:

It may be that the monitors that remove the jail bars do more processing/filtering on the displayed image.

My guess is that the opposite is the case, since the jail bars were never noticeable on TVs and old CRT monitors. I think LCD displays are just displaying all the imperfections in the signal more faithfully and unforgivingly.

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I was excited when I bought five of these Wii A/V cables last year when they were on clearance for $2 each at Monoprice.  I had a heck of a time getting one soldered to a 5pin din connector because the wires are so thin.  Video quality was bad, but I figured it was my fault with sloppy soldering.

20200823_151737.thumb.jpg.eb52aa7db753ff457403b492b1e333a8.jpg

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@bob1200xl Video capture to lcd TV/monitor.  I've had 3 XEs out recently, and they all have pretty much identical video.  My 600XL is pretty much the same, but yes, when I switch between XE and XL, I typically fiddle some with the color/tint.  Fiddle *much more* with an 800.  But I also have XEs and XLs that produce the vertical banding.  Shielding is a good thing, but I think there is more to the story.

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4 minutes ago, Brentarian said:

I was excited when I bought five of these Wii A/V cables last year when they were on clearance for $2 each at Monoprice.  I had a heck of a time getting one soldered to a 5pin din connector because the wires are so thin.  Video quality was bad, but I figured it my fault with sloppy soldering.

I really doubt it was your soldering. Because either you made a connection or you didn't. No connection would = no workey, whereas connection made = works. I think the real reason for poor quality video had more to do with no shielding, thus it would appear to be the same situation as the HQ cable. But I've said my piece on that enough times already, and now its time for me to move on to other things :) .

 

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4 hours ago, bob1200xl said:

The 130XE overdrives LUMA on a CRT monitor in s-video mode unless you terminate with 75 ohms.

Bob brought up a good but separate point in this post.

 

First of all here is an example of the 75 ohm terminating resistors, and where they should be located.

 

4863.THS7314_video_line_driver.thumb.jpg.bf9e104c6ab26160a8a8d84a714e657e.jpg

 

I would say that all modern TVs and Monitors will already have these resistors inside. Also many of the later era CRTs will as well. This distinction is important, since adding another resistor if one is already incorporated will greatly diminish the video brightness.

 

Another thing to note where video transmission is concerned, is the impedance of the transmission line (the shielded cable or coax). It's important to have a 75 ohm impedance coaxial cable in order to match the source and the end impedance, otherwise you can see the signal getting reflected back upstream, creating what is known as a standing wave. In simple terms this means that there will be a power loss to the signal exiting vs. where it entered giving you a dimmer image. Basically a bunch of wires bundled together will not create the impedance you are after, nor a good video transmission line.

 

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Fun fact: both the SNES and N64 did not have the 75Ω series resistors inside the machine. CRT monitors could cope with the signal, but once LCD displays were introduced, the image just sucked. Overdrive on luma especially. Simple solution was to solder a 75Ω resistor to your composite video connector. Here's the only one I still have (and use).

 

SNESN64Cable.jpg.0a2d1c0126d663d73ffe352599a4c801.jpg

 

The resistor is shrink wrapped. The shielding is not. Each signal is separately shielded. I made a couple of them (with everything shrink wrapped), and gave them away.

 

 

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I guess the best solution is something like Gunstar showed: some king of short converter from Din 5 to RCA for each signal, then you use good quality standard video cables to make it to the TV or monitor...for example a couple of rca/rca for audio and minidin4 to minidin4 or rcalumma rcachroma to minidin4. That way you can get a good quality Svideo cable from many sources. 

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15 hours ago, flashjazzcat said:

My guess is that the opposite is the case, since the jail bars were never noticeable on TVs and old CRT monitors. I think LCD displays are just displaying all the imperfections in the signal more faithfully and unforgivingly.

I have a 65XE connected via S-Video to a Trinitron TV. There are jailbars. I'm using some generic cable, but always thought that they were inherent to the machine itself. Sort of like on C64, where you need LumaFix do negate them.

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16 hours ago, Brentarian said:

I was excited when I bought five of these Wii A/V cables last year when they were on clearance for $2 each at Monoprice.  I had a heck of a time getting one soldered to a 5pin din connector because the wires are so thin.  Video quality was bad, but I figured it was my fault with sloppy soldering.

20200823_151737.thumb.jpg.eb52aa7db753ff457403b492b1e333a8.jpg

Just a guess by looking at the photo, I think the video signal wires have twisted pairs with the white wires (there a few of those)

 

No quite as good as shielding, but if all the white wires are grounded, you should have a better picture using one of these.

 

Obviously you would need to confirm this with a meter first.

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8 hours ago, TGB1718 said:

Just a guess by looking at the photo, I think the video signal wires have twisted pairs with the white wires (there a few of those)

 

No quite as good as shielding, but if all the white wires are grounded, you should have a better picture using one of these.

 

Obviously you would need to confirm this with a meter first.

Yes that looks to be the case. So probably the white wires have a color stripe paired to the wire of the same solid color. Better then non twisted, but still not as good as shielded. Mainly they would be better at rejecting common mode noise, such as 50 or 60hz powerline frequencies.

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