Featured

An introduction to vgvideoquality

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

This is a blog dedicated to finding the best video quality out of pre-HDMI video game consoles on HDTVs. No, this blog is not going to tell people to stick composite cables into their HDTV and fool people into thinking you can’t get anything better. That would be ridiculous because there are vastly superior options to composite out there. I cannot believe people would use composite if they have a Framemeister. At least use S-Video (preferably RGB)!

I do not claim to be any sort of rival to any other pro-RGB retro gamers. In fact, I watch many of them. I’m just here to spread the word and let it be known to most retro gamers.

 

Custom Super Game Boy Palettes

First off, the Game Boy palettes aren’t entirely accurate, due to the Super Game Boy’s limitations, and they are more accurate to the Game Boy store kiosks. Next, this list will be updated when I come up with new ideas for palettes. I will soon upload a video on how to enter these into the Super Game Boy for anybody who doesn’t already know. I have only tested these codes with the Japanese Super Game Boy, so I am not sure if these will work in the North American or PAL versions.

Original Game Boy Palette: 1982-6232-6390

Inverted Greyscale Palette: 2433-7065-5242

Original Game Boy with Improved Contrast: 1982-6232-6435

Review of the CVS287 SCART to YUV Converter

Composite and RF are bad video connections. That is why retro gamers are trying to find better video quality solutions. This is one of them. This basically converts the analogue RGB signal coming from the console into something that many non-European televisions can use. That signal is Y/Pb/Pr, more commonly known as component, and while it is not as great as RGB, it is still an amazing video quality standard.

Let me begin with a warning: Your HDTV might not like the signal from your retro console being connected via this device. This is not a fault of the device itself, HDTVs are just picky on what signals they like to receive. I would only recommend using this on a CRT or a Samsung HDTV. This device only converts the RGB signal into Y/Pb/Pr; it does not upscale.

Now that we have that out of the way, the image looks amazing. This is definitely the best way to play your old consoles on a CRT that does not accept RGB input. It is only $50 US (excluding shipping, which depends on your location), too, which makes for a sweet deal, and for the quality this device provides, I cannot complain. One minor note is that some do not use the correct colours, and that can be changed by adjusting the potentiometers.

Now, one glaring negative about this device is that it does not output audio, which is a real issue if you care about the audio at all, but the audio can be added with a relatively easy modification, or you can buy an adapter, but the one I have is really finicky, and most of the time, the image would have a pinkish tint. Another thing I should note is that you will need to buy real RGB SCART cables to use this. SCART is an all-purpose format and can carry composite, S-Video, Y/Pb/Pr, and RGB, as well as audio. Composite and S-Video through SCART will most likely not work with this device.

Overall, it is a nice converter, and it is a lot better than the generic SCART to HDMI boxes, which tend to have input lag, and many of those are dysfunctional, not working with many SCART cables, such as many of the cables made by retro_console_accessories, and I do not think RetroGamingCables.co.uk cables work very well, either. This is no Framemeister or OSSC, but for the price, if you game on a CRT, it is worth it. Also, be sure to use high-quality component cables, as many of the lower-quality ones introduce noise.

Notes: 1. I have not tested composite video as sync or luminance as sync. Composite sync (also called CSYNC, boosted sync, clean sync or raw sync) works very well with this device, though. 2. Super Nintendo consoles’ composite sync is off-spec and does not work with all HDTVs. Sony, Vizio and Panasonic TVs are known to cause issues with the Super Nintendo’s sync signal, and what happens when using incompatible TVs is that they will only show a black screen but will recognize a sync signal.

Clearing Up Some RGB Misconceptions in North American Consoles

Here are some misconceptions about RGB that need to die, and why they should.

Misconception #1: You need to mod all your consoles to use RGB.

Truth: No, you do not. The majority of popular consoles after the NES to the Dreamcast will natively support (and take advantage of) analogue RGB. The only notable ones that don’t are the N64 and SNES Mini. Your Master System, TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine, Genesis/Mega Drive, SNS(P)-001 Super Nintendo/SHVC-001 Super Famicom, Neo-Geo AES, Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn, Neo-Geo CD, and PlayStation all support RGB without modification. Hell, some consoles afterwards support RGB, even though analogue RGB at 15kHz is not ideal for these consoles: the Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Misconception #2: It would easily cost $400 to get into RGB.

Truth: You can get RGB equipment for far less than that. If you want something that will contend with the Framemeister, you could pay $200 for the Open Source Scan Converter. If you prefer CRT televisions for gaming, you could buy a PVM or a SCART to component converter.

Misconception #3: RGB only provides a subtle difference.

Truth (okay, this one is kind of opinion based): Maybe between S-Video or component! The difference between composite and RGB is a night and day difference, especially on a Sega console. RGB lets you see what the console is really capable of.

RGB

RGB is the single best video output option. RGB comes in many forms, like how 240p and 480i RGB typically comes out of a SCART connector or a Japanese 21-pin connector and how analog 480p and higher come out of a VGA connector. HDMI usually uses a digital form of RGB and displays 480p and higher. All mainstream video game consoles after the NES, besides the N64, NTSC GameCube, and NTSC Wii output some form of RGB. The NES, N64, Atari 2600, and NTSC Wii can be modded to use RGB, and the NTSC GameCube can theoretically be modded for RGB, but nobody has RGB modded one yet. However, mmmonkey has provided a guide on modding a component cable to output RGB on the GameCube.

If you are interested in RGB, here’s a bunch of information you need to know. Sync is a signal used to tell the television or monitor all the information it needs to know, and there are many types of sync. Sync-on-composite is exactly what the name implies. Same with sync-on-luma and sync-on-green. Composite sync is not the same as sync-on-composite as composite sync is separated from any video signal, and horizontal and vertical sync are basically composite sync separated into two sync signals.

VGA
This is a VGA cable and most VGA capable devices use 3.5mm headphone jacks for audio.

Component Video

Component is the second best option for video games consoles. Component video is Y/Pb/Pr and can be thought of as an even more separated S-Video. Y/Pb/Pr is a compressed form of RGB (which I will get to tomorrow) and comes in a couple different forms. The digital equivalent is Y/Cb/Cr and is used in HDMI if you so choose. There is no colour bleeding, and even the analogue form, Y/Pb/Pr, supports high definition. Y/Pb/Pr is also slightly sharper than S-Video, but a tiny bit less than true RGB.

Every mainstream console PS2 to the Wii U supports component video, and all of them support enhanced definition (480p) or better, except the PAL GameCube and PAL Xbox (sorry PAL gamers, you were screwed over as far as higher resolutions go). Even the Super Nintendo can be modded for Y/Pb/Pr video output at 240p and the occasional 480i.

Component.JPG
Component cables use these three cables for video, and you can use a composite A/V cable for audio, or a separate set of RCA audio cables.

S-Video

S-Video is the third worst and is third best in terms of pre-HDMI consoles. It looks okay on an HDTV and looks good on a CRT. The design of the plug sucks, but the video quality is better than composite video because S-Video separates the luminance and chrominance. The colour is still a little compressed and has a bit of bleeding, but it lacks rainbow banding, dot crawl, and a really blurry image. If your console or computer outputs S-Video, whether it be modded or not, it will most likely look pretty good. You will definitely notice the difference between composite and S-Video.

I would recommend that you at least use this connection with your consoles and computers. All mainstream consoles, except anything before the Super Nintendo, some PAL N64s, any PAL GameCube, Wii, or Wii U, and anything after the NTSC-U and NTSC-J Wii U support S-Video. Many earlier consoles can be modded to output S-Video, like the Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Atari 2600, NES, etc.

1024px-S-video-connection
Credit to Evan-Amos for his picture of an S-Video connector, because I don’t have one.

Composite Video

Composite video is the second worst choice for video game consoles. I would not recommend using it unless you need to, like if your equipment doesn’t support anything better. Composite video is the same deal as RF, only there’s less snow and white noise, as the video and audio are separated, and you also don’t need to tune into channel 1, 2, 3, 4, 95, or 96.

Composite video blends the luminance and chrominance together to output video in one pin. This results in an image that looks like ass on modern televisions. It looks okay on a CRT (unless it’s a Sega console or a CGA card for early PCs) and it is better than RF, but even for a CRT, there are superior options I will get to in the next three days. The audio quality is amazing, and that will be applicable for all upcoming entries.

Here are a few ways to remember composite video sucks: CVBS = (c)omposite (v)ideo is (b)ull(s)hit (mine), the video cable is yellow because it’s piss-poor quality (not mine, but a YouTube commentator’s), and police sketches are called composite sketches (AdamKoralik on YouTube)

*I do not have any stigma against Sega consoles and early PCs, except for their composite video output.

One note I would like to make that seems to confuse many people: component and composite are NOT the same thing! Component cables use one green cable, one blue, two red, and one white; one red is for audio, the other is video. Composite cables are one yellow, one white, and one red.

Composite.JPG
Composite video separates the audio and video, and does not use a specific channel, like channel 3. This eliminates some of the interference associated with RF.