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Nall3k

DCHDMI and region free DC mods

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Does anyone have these mods for their Dreamcast, and what are your thoughts? It's expensive to pay someone to do these as I have no soldering skills, but am curious if it makes a difference with HD TVs.

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Well, I installed the DCHDMI now called the DCDigital into my DC over a year ago and I've been VERY happy with it. I was using VGA output into a converter prior but got tired of having to swap my cables to s-video when I wanted to play a game that didn't support the VGA and couldn't be tricked to run in VGA. The DCDigital allows me to run all of those games without having to swap cables. I just have to change the configuration on the DCDigital and reset the DC to play such games, but it can all be done from the controller without getting up. I've not bothered with a region free bios mod since I have a MODE installed into my DC as well. Prior to that I purchased one of the region free boot up discs so I could play some of my imports without having to mod the console.

 

So I can't speak on the region free bios mod, but I can tell you that a DCDigital providing you with true HMDI output and digital audio output looks and sounds amazing on a good AV setup.

 

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I use VGA, I have a rather large collection of games. Both North American and Japanese. Not sure how many in total but it's gotta be around 50 or more and they all work. I think I encountered 1 game that didn't work. Daytona USA. But If Im being honest, it's my least favorite version of it and the game most likely doesnt work because of my DC being the Sega Sports model which doesn't play the original version of Sonic Adeventure either. Had to buy the greatest hits version or AllStars or what ever they call their  reissues, that one works.

 

DC is weird like that. Certain games wont work on certain consoles and certain games refuse to be run in anything other than stock video or hdmi. Overall VGA works for me. I was floored when I saw F355 Challenge for the first time with upgraded resolution.

 

Every game felt new to me again with VGA. There are HDMI cables and boxes specifically for Dreamcast and ps2, pretty sure Hyperkin or retrobit has an HDMI cable and connector that gives you HDMI without hardwiring it to the console. Not something I looked too far into as VGA works for me. I think it was called a pound cable or something like that. Or thats a completely different thing that does the same thing.

 

Confusing I know. But there are  plenty of options to making your DC high def.

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I'm well aware of the cheap hyperkin and pound cable solutions. But the overall image they provided was darker and muddier looking compared to what the DCDigital puts out. As for VGA, that is how I was playing most of my games until I installed the DCDigital and you are correct in that most of the games can use that and look great! But there are also a few games I did want to play that simply didn't work with VGA and couldn't be tricked into working on VGA. So I would have to unplug the VGA cable from the console and plug in my s-video cable which, was the next best option at the time. Now, I don't have to worry about that because the DCDigital has a mode on it where I can switch it to only provide low resolution output through the VGA for those games that flat out refuse to work in higher resolution modes.

 

But to answer the OPs original question. I do think that the DCDigital is worth it but as was stated it is expensive to get one installed. The kit alone is quite expensive and then if you haven't the skills to install it, that would cost additional. But I do feel that what I'm playing is the absolute best that the DC can provide at this point outside of being emulated. 

 

The MODE is more expensive but easy to install for any one that can open up their dream cast. If you want a better mounting solution and look to things, you can order up additional brackets to mount these ODEs into your systems. But in the end I'm very pleased with my DC and found that I play it much more often than I was even though it was already setup at the ready to be played.

 

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As and FYI, Stone Age Gamer has sold DCDigital modded consoles in the recent past. There was also some talk on discord about having modded consoles with MODE installed as well. Mind you, even without MODE, they are expensive, but it might be an option if/when they become available again.

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On 12/27/2020 at 11:27 AM, cybercylon said:

As and FYI, Stone Age Gamer has sold DCDigital modded consoles in the recent past. There was also some talk on discord about having modded consoles with MODE installed as well. Mind you, even without MODE, they are expensive, but it might be an option if/when they become available again.

I actually just bought their DCHDMI mod + install service yesterday. I've already mailed my DC to them, so I'm excited to see my games in glorious HD.

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13 minutes ago, Nall3k said:

I actually just bought their DCHDMI mod + install service yesterday. I've already mailed my DC to them, so I'm excited to see my games in glorious HD.

Nice. I may do this at some point down the road.

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I am considering buying a pre-modded GDEmu and DCDigital, Noctua Fan, PicoPSU Dreamcast.  I used to run mine through a VGA adapter and loved it, but as been pointed out the non-VGA games were a pain.  And honestly, I just freaking love Plasma Sword and it's not VGA compatible.

They are indeed pricey...but I will likely sell most of my collection and then have the games digitally.

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Posted (edited)

I recently went with both DCHDMI and MODE mods (as well as a Noctua Fan and Battery mod).  

 

One thing to be aware of with the DCHDMI - the Dreamcast has a lot of dithering (this was hidden with composite and s-video but you will absolutely notice it with the DCHDMI).  It shows up as 'dots' particularly noticeable on the Dreamcast Splash screen.  Someone said 'glorious HD' in a previous post - it definitely isn't what I would consider glorious HD (I would put that moniker more on modern Console systems).

 

Don't get me wrong - the DCHDMI mod is very nice, but it is not perfect.

Edited by AtariK2
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On 4/13/2021 at 3:15 PM, AtariK2 said:

I recently went with both DCHDMI and MODE mods (as well as a Noctua Fan and Battery mod).  

 

One thing to be aware of with the DCHDMI - the Dreamcast has a lot of dithering (this was hidden with composite and s-video but you will absolutely notice it with the DCHDMI).  It shows up as 'dots' particularly noticeable on the Dreamcast Splash screen.  Someone said 'glorious HD' in a previous post - it definitely isn't what I would consider glorious HD (I would put that moniker more on modern Console systems).

 

Don't get me wrong - the DCHDMI mod is very nice, but it is not perfect.

The dithering is something that many consoles used in the past. Even the PS2 used this to a degree. The dots on the splash screen you are talking about are indeed actually there. And I was able to see them through my VGA to HDMI converter I was using previously so it isn't an issue with the DCDigital. But the DCDigital allows for a lag free actual HDMI out solution that does look great! But it will never be HD when all that is being done is essentially doubling the graphics resolution to an output modern TVs will accept through HDMI. So you will still see all of the jaggies in the graphics and use of dithering in games. But again, if you have played the DC through VGA on a good quality monitor, these effects were known back then as well.

 

I still feel the DCDigital upgrade I did on my DC was well worth it along with the MODE and turning on the DC is almost like a whole new console experience with it now.

 

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7 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

The dithering is something that many consoles used in the past. Even the PS2 used this to a degree. The dots on the splash screen you are talking about are indeed actually there. And I was able to see them through my VGA to HDMI converter I was using previously so it isn't an issue with the DCDigital. But the DCDigital allows for a lag free actual HDMI out solution that does look great! But it will never be HD when all that is being done is essentially doubling the graphics resolution to an output modern TVs will accept through HDMI. So you will still see all of the jaggies in the graphics and use of dithering in games. But again, if you have played the DC through VGA on a good quality monitor, these effects were known back then as well.

 

I still feel the DCDigital upgrade I did on my DC was well worth it along with the MODE and turning on the DC is almost like a whole new console experience with it now.

 

Right on, well said.  One thing that I really enjoy with the DCDigital that I wasn't initially aware of is going into the Firmware settings and and setting Firmware Flavour to 'Relaxed'.  Then going to Advanced Video Settings and setting the Upscaling mode to hq2x.  I really like this filter!  

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22 minutes ago, AtariK2 said:

Right on, well said.  One thing that I really enjoy with the DCDigital that I wasn't initially aware of is going into the Firmware settings and and setting Firmware Flavour to 'Relaxed'.  Then going to Advanced Video Settings and setting the Upscaling mode to hq2x.  I really like this filter!  

I'm not a fan of those filters. I actually run the DCDigital at 960P output as it fills my modern display better in that resolution vs the 1080P which looks good, but again, it isn't quite as large on my screen display or fill up as much of the display as the 960P mode does. 

 

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8 minutes ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

I'm not a fan of those filters. I actually run the DCDigital at 960P output as it fills my modern display better in that resolution vs the 1080P which looks good, but again, it isn't quite as large on my screen display or fill up as much of the display as the 960P mode does. 

 

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, I guess.  :)

 

I've found the hq2x really helps smooth out rough edges and adds a nice crispness to text (less blurry).

 

I like the 1080P output as it preserves the aspect ratio nicely on a Desktop Monitor that I use.  I have a 70" 4K TV but haven't used the Dreamcast with it much yet.

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