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Choosing the right display for playing our classic games isn’t as straight forward as it may seem at first. If you want to get the best quality picture there are a variety of things to take into account. This fact is compounded in the USA by the myriad of different video transmission methods we have gone through each of ascending video quality. This is a guide designed to help those that want the best video quality out of there “classic” systems (pre PS3 for the sake of this article).

Before we can talk about the correct displays to use we need to have a basic understanding of how the video signal is sent and the various connection methods used to deliver the video signal to the TV. Since we are talking about classic systems here were going to focus on analog video and not digital methods like DVI or HDMI. The difference between Analog and Digital is beyond the scope of this article so its enough to understand that classic systems output their video signals via analog. The first thing to understand is that the color video signal is split into two basic parts, Luma, or the brightness and Chroma or the color. the chroma is separated into red, green and blue which together blend to create the other colors.

btv1

Here’s the back plate of a typical modern TV (a CRT HDTV in this case). In this picture we can see virtually the entire progression of video standards America has gone through up to the digital high definition era with the HDMI port on the far right. So now will go through all the standards one by one from the connection that provides the worst picture when hooked up with a game console or movie player to the one that gives the best quality image.

rf

First we have RF and this is the type of connection most of us grew up with using early on, its also undoubtedly the worst quality connection. Without modification this is the only way most early consoles like the Atari 2600 can be hooked up. Many of us used to daisy chain systems with RF switch boxes, set the TV to channel 3 and didn’t know the difference. Basically what RF does is trick your TV into thinking your game console output is a television show. RF mixes both the Luma and the Chroma together along with the sound as well. All these signals being sent together with no separation makes for a terrible fuzzy image. This input despite its terrible quality is widely available and is present on almost all televisions. This is also due to the fact this would be where your cable line would input to the TV.

composite

Composite is a slight step up from RF. What composite did was separate the sound from the image signal helping improve image quality a small amount. This connection was found on higher end TV’s in the late 80’s and on almost all TV’s from the 90’s up. Image quality when using a console hooked up is also dependent on the TV. TV’s have filters which separate the Luma and Chroma when the signal comes in on the composite line and the better the filter the better the image quality. Most TV’s from the early 2000’s have very good filters in my opinion for composite video.

If you find the specifications of your TV or the TV your thinking about buying for classic gaming and want to know the quality of the comb filter used to separate the signals in a composite line in the three types of common comb filters are 2 line comb filter < 3 line comb filter < 3d comb filter. try to find a TV with the 3D filter or at least a 3 line filter.

svideo

S-video takes the next logical step and separates the Luma and the Chroma. This separation creates a noticeable improvement in quality of image. S-video became fairly standard in the mid 90’s and was widely available on most TV’s from 2000 up. some older Commodore monitors are S-video capable but the jack is different and is composed of two RCA jacks as opposed to a specialized S-video jack.

componant

Component again goes one step further then S-video. what component does is have three separate jacks. one transmitting the Luma as well as the vertical and horizontal synchronization (the green jack) and the other two transmitting the blue and the red color signal. Since the display knows the correct Luma levels as well as where the red and blue goes it can fill in the other areas with green. Component creates a image of excellent quality and in the USA is generally thought of as the best connection as far as analog video goes. It really became common around the early 2000’s first on high end TV’s and later became a common standard. One great advantage of component is it can support a progressive scan signal so It can transmit ED and HD images from 480p up to 1080i making it the connection of choice for systems that support those modes such as the Playstation 2 and up. Component CAN also transmit a 1080p signal as well but this is very uncommon. most TV displays only support up to 1080i over component and most devices will not transmit a 1080p signal over them as well. The Xbox 360 is one example of a device that will transmit 1080p over component but again your display must also support this.

BUT WAIT!

I’ll just be blunt, America got screwed. Component delivers an excellent picture but there is a method that delivers a slightly better one. this is commonly known as RGB or red,blue,green. Its the full separation of the Luma and all three sub signals of the Chroma. unfortunately the RGB standard was never really adopted in the US and in the states we have very limited options if you want to obtain an RGB capable monitor.

euscart

that is a euro SCART connector. its the standard connector found on many European TV’s and it is capable of transmitting pure RGB (most of the time, some cables lack it but its the individual cables not the standard). Japan also had a version usually known as Japanese RGB or 21 pin RGB. It wasn’t as standard as SCART RGB but at least they had some kind of RGB standard over their. (keep in mind Japanese and euro RGB cables are NOT compatible).

so in short the quality chart for the connections goes like this

RF<COMPOSITE<S-VIDEO<COMPONENT<RGB

Technically Component IS a form of RGB of which there is several. keep in mind component also supports enhanced definition and high definition signals so it is generally the connection of choice for post Playstation systems where RGB is best used for pre Playstation 2 systems. A very common form is RGBS or composite sync where four wires are used. Its very much like component except the forth wire carried the vertical and horizontal synchronization data, In component this information is transmitted on the same cable as the Luma (green cable). RGBHV goes even further and used five wires separating the sync into its own separate horizontal and vertical cables.

Euro SCART cables use the RGBS method.

One option to at least get component video out of your older consoles that do not output component but do output RGB is an external converter. I’ve heard and read a lot of good things about the csy-2100 RGB to component converter. what this does is take the RGB signal outputted by your console via a Euro SCART cable and translates it into component. there’s a converter and extra connections involved so some negligible signal loss is expected but from what Ive seen at least the csy-2100 is of good quality and will allow you to get a good component image on your TV without having to do an internal component modification to your systems. The downside (besides the very small signal loss) is having to buy separate RGB SCART cables for the systems you wish to use as well as the converter itself usually retailing for over $100.

yhea, its a little confusing. heres a video that touches the subject by “My Life in Gaming” here.

A/V EXAMPLES

I’ve put together a few examples to give a loose idea about the different qualities of video connections. I do need to point out I didn’t exactly use the scientific method here. The image you get from pointing a camera at a screen and taking a picture is different from what your going to see with the naked eye but since I lack a screen capture device that’s the best were going to get right now.

First example I’m going to use is a close up of Quick Man from Mega Man II on the NES but the only system I have on hand that will run the entire gambit of video standards is my PlayStation 2 so these images are coming from the Mega Man II PS2 port.

mmqmc

As you can see the image in RF is very blurry, especially notice the V on Quick mans head and how very undefined it is, especially at the point. Also notice all the color bleed as red bleeds into everything around it. Keep in mind this is even using a high quality official Sony RF box. I originally used a third party RF switch and the image rolled on the TV. Composite helped a good deal with the color bleeding. S-video you can start to see a little bit more detail such as the Quick mans mouth is a little more defined as well as the faint yellow line in the middle of Quick mans ear piece. Finally the component image looks really good and sharp. You can make out all the details and the shading around Quick mans mouth is more defined.

Next is an example from the PS2 game Mega Man X8.

mmex(click to enlarge)

BUT WAIT! MY CONSOLE DOESN’T OUTPUT RGB ANYWAYS 😦

Wrong, with the exception of very few game consoles (the NES and 3DO come to mind) all consoles such as the PlayStation, Genesis, Sega Master System, SNES, Ect…..do output RGB. Most consoles at their core output the images via RGB but depending on the jack connected the signal is downgraded to accommodate the method used to display the video signal. An RGB signal can be turned into any type below it. An example would be the Sega Genesis, it can output RGB. It used a proprietary video jack though so only composite cables were made in the US but in Europe they made RGB cables. An American, if they owned an RGB capable display could simply order an RGB Genesis (or mega drive as its known elsewhere) cable and enjoy their Genny in RGB. Alternatively since the Genesis can natively output RGB modifications can be made to the Genesis to provide output jacks for either S-video or component.

ISN’T VGA A TYPE OF RGB. WHY CANT I USE A COMPUTER MONITOR?

VGA commonly used by IBM PC’s since the late 80’s is indeed a method of analog RGB widely used in the USA and typically uses the RGBHV method to transmit RGB data. unfortunately it sends its signal at a much higher frequency then the frequency outputted by older game consoles. Ive seen 15htz RGB to VGA converters on eBay but I cant attest to their compatibility or quality. I can say I’ve never heard good things about them in my gaming experience.

Most of the Sega Dreamcast games can output via VGA by way of a mod to the system or using a Dreamcast VGA box but other then that only more modern systems like the Xbox360 can output RGB via the VGA standard.

Now that we have a basic understanding of how video is transmitted in classic game consoles we can start looking at what type of displays we want to use that will provide the best image and compatibility for some classic gaming. Before we look at the best options lets first look at the worst.

DISPLAYS YOU DON’T WANT TO USE FOR CLASSIC GAMING

HD or High Definition displays in general but worst are LCD, LED, Plasma or really any flat displays. Wouldn’t it be great to play NES Punch Out on your new 55 inch HD LED TV? well you can but its going to look like crap. First of all these old consoles were made to work on older CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) or “tube televisions” at certain native resolutions. When displayed on widescreen HDTV’s (even when using black bars to the right and left) the image can be stretched and distorted. The quality can differ depending on the TV but usually it looks pretty bad.

Also old standard definition televisions had something called scan lines. if you look very closely at an image displayed on an older SDTV you will notice a thin black line every other line. Here is an example from a Super Nintendo connected to an older CRT SDTV. Keep in mind this image looks much sharper in person, the act of simply taking a picture by pointing it a screen creates many distortions.

scanline

notice the thin black lines every other line? Those lines are not present on HDTV’s so the TV stretches the lines to fill those gaps, the pixels end up looking blocky and smeared.

Lastly we have the problem of “ghosting” on an LCD, Plasma or LED HDTV. this happens because the TV cant upscale the video being outputted from the game console fast enough and a delay is created. this is not a problem on older CRT TV’s. This may throw timing of jumps off in certain games or create a ghost image behind objects in a game moving quickly. some TV’s have “game modes” that help alleviate this issue.  many flat screen HDTV’s have a rendering speed specification displayed when you purchase them. the lower the better. 5ms or less is desirable.

It should also be noted that most LCD, Plasma and LED TV’s still do not give deep black levels or dark colors as well as older CRT’s.

BUT I WANT AN ALL-IN-ONE TV FOR CLASSIC GAMING AND HD GAMING, ARE THERE OPTIONS?

Yes, but neither of them are as good as getting a dedicated standard definition CRT in my opinion. The first option is to get a device called an upscan converter. What an upscan converter does is upscale the image to the native resolution of the HDTV far faster then the scaler in the TV can. This helps with the blocky pixels as well as the ghosting/timing issue. There is also usually an option for the upscaler to create artificial scan lines simulating an older CRT TV. There are issues inherent to the upscaler option though. One is the language barrier. Most of these units like the XRGB which is very popular among gamers is Japan only and requires importing as well as finding the sometimes hard to locate 21 pin JP RGB cables. They can also be rather expensive, usually around the $300 mark making it far more economical to simply find an SDTV at goodwill for $1. I owned a XRGB2 plus in the past and I wasn’t to impressed. I much preferred using a true RGB non HD monitor. I ended up selling the unit off after a year of use. There are some rather expensive upscale converters such as one released by Ancher Bay that retailed for near $1000. I assume these would give much better upscaleing abilities.

Luckily there is a sort of middle ground. Before the widespread adaptation of flat LED, Plasma and LED type HDTV’s a number of manufacturers produced CRT HDTV’s. these TV’s used the tried and true CRT technology to display HD images and the best part is currently they can be obtained for free in some cases. mine was $14 at a thrift store.

crthdtvcrthdtv2

The current TV I’m using is an off brand Sanyo but CRT HDTV’s produced by Samsung give excellent image quality and my old Samsung CRT HDTV is one of the best TV’s I ever owned. I have to strongly recommend against Sony CRT HDTV’s though since they seem to have a higher then usual failure rate despite there excellent pictures. Many of the problems found in the flat screen HDTV’s are far less troubling here and some games look absolutely brilliant. There are still issues though. These TV’s still lack scanlines and the images produced still look chunky or off at times. This is especially noticeable when you scroll the screen. Many times the image looked great but upon scrolling the screen things looked noticeably not right. It by no means makes the game unplayable but it can be distracting if your a video perfectionist. Also some games were made using scanlines to create certain effects.

here is an example of “ghosting” which occurs even on the CRT variety of HDTV. watch the area behind Mario as he runs to see it. Its more noticeable to the naked eye when playing.

here is an example from the SNES game UN Squadron. the connection on both TV’s is via S-Video. The first TV is a modern CRT SDTV and the second is a CRT HDTV.

unssdSDTV

unshdHD CRT

The picture isn’t bad on either but you can notice the blockyness in the HD TV with the lack of scan lines. this is especially noticeable in the large A in U.N. SQUADRON. Also the pixels seem to blend better in the Unicorns hair on the SD TV.

many times on HD displays when any sort of “checkered” effect is used it looks very disorienting on an HD set. This setup will allow the use of HD gaming from newer consoles and HD movies/TV but be aware that even though many of these TV’s have HDMI ports for video no CRT HDTV was ever produced that was capable of 1080P resolution but many do go up to 1080i.

BEST TV’S FOR CLASSIC GAMING

Now that all of that is out of the way lets discuss the best option available for classic gaming.

1) Import a RGB capable SDTV from Europe or Japan. This is actually the most impractical method for those of us living in the US. Japan used the same video standard and voltage (well 10v difference but its still compatible) but there RGB capable TV’s are a little rarer. RGB SCART on the other hand is fairly common on European TV’s and most EU TV’s can do our video standard (NTSC) as well as there’s (PAL). You would need a power converter though. Either of these TV’s would give you an SDTV CRT display for old games plus an RGB input for the best possible image. As a plus the EU TV would allow you to display PAL images if you ever imported any EU game consoles. Unfortunately this would cost a fortune. Consider that shipping even a smaller heavy CRT TV across the US can easily cost $100 or more. A heavy TV, even a small one from Europe or Japan would run several hundred dollars let alone the time involved and the effort in finding one and purchasing it. Although this is an option its not really a reasonable option.

2) Buy a later model SDTV. This would be the path most people take. SD or standard definition TV’s of various sizes are widely available for cheap or free. Goodwill routinely runs $1 TV sales. A lot of people favor older TV’s such as large console sets but many times the picture can look washed out on these sets from years and years of use. Some may even have images such as TV station logos burned into the screen so look out for this. Many of the earlier TV’s also lack a variety of higher quality video inputs and only offer RF and composite. My suggestion would be to look for something from around 2000 or later preferably Samsung or a Sony Trinitron. Later Sony CRT HDTV’s had reliability issues but the quality of there SD sets is very good and has high reliability. I tend to look for the flat panel screens. These TV’s will of course have RF usually two or more composite lines and at least one S-video and one component input. make sure you have an s-video and component though if you want to get the best out of SD systems like the PS2 and Wii. Classic systems should look great on these TV’s with no issues, especially the higher end Samsung or Sony displays. One thing you will be missing though is RGB  input for the very highest quality image as well as Progressive scan or 480P resolution (a method that gives a sharper image and is referenced as the “P” in resolutions, ex, 480p, 720p, 1080p) which isn’t a big loss but SD systems like the Wii support it as well as some games on the Xbox and PS2. here is the current TV I use. Its an off brand but offers the entire range (minus RGB) of inputs. I am currently looking for a higher quality set though.

sdtv

Here’s another TV that I actually recently acquired to replace the Ilo TV. Its a Samsung SD CRT and although the screen is slightly smaller the picture quality is better.

sdtvsam

If your looking for the very best SD sets though Toshiba and JVC (especially the D-series) commonly come up but the most suggested is the Sony line of SD sets namely the Trinitron brand and XRB brands

Perhaps the finest line ever produced is the the Sony KV-xxFV310 line with the xx being substituted for either 27, 32 or 36 to designate screen size. These sets are one of the last SD sets and feature everything from RF up to two component inputs as well as features such as a 3D comb filter, the best available, Dynablack technology, a built in subwoofer and a high voltage regulator to prevent color blooming. The voltage regulator is a feature not found on any other consumer SDTV.

I recently acquired the 32 inch version of this TV. despite the hype of it being so good it was almost “PVM like” I would have to disagree. The picture is very nice and it handles 480i and 240p wonderfully it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. I calibrated my set as well as I could but it could probably use a good professional color and geometry calibration (something no TV repair service offers anymore for CRT’s). Although I don’t think this set comes close to touching an image on a quality PVM via RGB it still is about as good as its going to get for a consumer SD set and and offers some advantages over a PVM such as greater screen size, availability and price. Mine was found for free locally.

3) The 3rd option would be to find the elusive CRT EDTV or Enhanced Definition TV. these sets ARE NOT HD but are capable of progressive scan at 480p. this means it gives all the benefits of a SDTV but with the added ability to display progressive scan for those older systems that support it such as Xbox, PS2 and Wii. The biggest issues with EDTV’s is finding them. Some of them are labeled EDTV in the corner but a number do not so without researching the model numbers its hard to tell. Also production of these TV’s was brief and they are hard to come across. In my time looking at different TV’s and all my thrifting trips I have come across exactly one EDTV in all my life. It was my friends who bought it around 2006 at a Kmart. I have never encountered one since but in my opinion this would be an excellent option for classic gaming since you get a newer vibrant SD set with the bonus of 480p capability. Again though these TV’s lack any RGB input ability.

Well after years of checking out every TV I come across at Goodwills, thrifts and flea markets I finally found one. Yes, they really do exist

edtv1

Took this image with my phone. Ironically I didn’t buy it since it was a really small screen and way overpriced but my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. This particular TV was one of those not quite flat screen TV’s. It was way to thin to be a CRT TV but still pretty thick so maybe an early LCD TV.

SO WHAT ABOUT RGB?

If you really want to experience RGB video your options are limited in the US. As I stated before the method was never standardized in the US and connections among the specialized monitors vary. The first option would be an older computer monitor that supports 15khz RGB. The most common is the old Amiga 1084 monitors. Before VGA caught on many older computers in the 80’s used RGB. Many times these monitors can be had for relatively cheap if you can find one. Your going to need to make or have someone make for you special RGB commodore cables though, or as a better route a commodore RGB to SCART adapter cable. That way you can plug in the cable and then just buy the cheap RGB SCART cables for various systems and interface that way.

com1984

One other downside to this monitor is the size. At only 12 inches its a rather small monitor but if you find one in working order they can give a very good image.

Finally the best option for a RGB monitor in the US would be the PVM or professional video monitor. The most well known are the Sony PVM’s but NEC and Mitsubishi also produced RGB monitors. These monitors were designed for use in professional settings such as broadcast studios and hospitals. they offer very good image quality, a variety of input options and also come in larger sizes then the commodore monitor. Mine is a larger 20 inch screen Sony PVM that offers composite, S-video and RGB. but other models offer more inputs such as component and even VGA.

pvmf

Keep in mind these were not built with TV tuners installed so if you want to watch TV on them you need a separate TV tuner. They can be a little hard to come by and generally sale on EBay or Craigslist for between $75 and $150 depending on model. They also do not have speakers on many models so you’ll need to find some external speakers and speaker wires like I have setup in the above picture. This can actually be a positive though since your free to find some really nice quality speakers if you wish. One thing to look out for though is screen burns or images burned into the screen or washed out screens. some of these monitors were subject to endless hours of continuous use so degradation of the unit may of resulted. If you do find a lesser used one though the image can be fantastic. Many of the PVM units also use BIN connectors on the back. They look kind of like RF connectors and are used primarily by professionals. No worries though as they all should be labeled and you can easily and cheaply find BIN to RCA style adapters that just screw into the BIN ports. The style of RGB ports on these monitors can also vary from model to model.

sog

Mine uses this parallel port looking RGB connector and the “sync on green” method of producing RGB, there are various methods its just Sony was partial to SOG, This method transmits the vertical and horizontal sync data on the same wire that transmits the green color data.  Also notice the BIN connectors to the right. these would be where you would screw in your yellow adapters for composite video. What I had done with my PVM is have someone make me a PVM to SCART cable. the standards of RGB are completely compatible but the physical connectors are different. using a female DB-25 connector for the PVM some wiring skill and a male SCART head I had an adapter made. this adapter allowed me to use easily attainable SCART RGB cables for my systems and then play them in full RGB on the PVM.

Since the PVM above was left in my storage unit I recently acquired an even newer Sony PVM made in 2005. The PVM-14L5

bvm1bvm2

This monitor is capable of doing composite, S-video and even component via the Y Pb Pr bin connectors at the rear but can also do 15khz RGBS via the same bin connectors for component (which double as RGB) plus the added forth connector to the right labeled  EXT SYNC. The monitor is capable of running both NTSC and PAL formats as well as progressive scan at 480P. It would probibly be just about perfect if only the screen was a little bigger. Mine here is 14 inches which is barely OK but a 20 inch model is out there.

here are some images I took, keep in mind this is via a digital camera just pointed at the screen so they really don’t do it justice but I feel they convey the message.

Ecco the Dolphin via S-video on a late model Samsung SD CRT TV

tvsvid

Ecco the Dolphin via RGB on a Sony BVM

bvmrgb

svidsg

bvmcomsggHere is a short guide I put together on setting up and using the Sony PVM-14L5

If you can only have one display for classic gaming I would probably pick a large PVM. If you find one that hasn’t seen a lot of use any classic system hooked up via RGB will look astoundingly good. even the other A/V ports tend to give a better quality image then a standard TV set. Many of these monitors are also capable of other region formats such as PAL or SECAM in case you were into importing Euro games and consoles. The only real downside is the lack of 480p on most PVM models. Defiantly worth the effort to track one down.

Here is my latest PVM a PVM-20M2U. This set has a larger screen then the 14 incher and is of similar quality overall but it lacks the ability to display 480p or up which is fine by me since I’m going to use it for pre 480P consoles. I particularly like the easy to reach controls on the front and two RGB/component inputs on the rear

Here are a few more CRT centric videos I have put together.

If your interested in learning more here’s a great article I highly recommend reading http://www.tested.com/tech/gaming/456719-best-crt-retro-games/

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19 Comments

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong but using the Sanyo CRT HDTV in your post for NES gaming certainly will work but the light gun will not. I was not able to get mine working. Do you know if it’s the HD technology or the flat screen that makes it incompatible with the light gun?

    • I only used that TV for my NES post at the time because it was convenient but I do all my NES gaming currently on a none HD Samsung SD CRT TV that is also flat screen. The flat screen is definitely not the reason your light gun is not working. Its the HD aspect that’s preventing the light gun from working. I’m guessing that the lag created by the HD TV upscaling is preventing the light gun from working right. I don’t know if that’s the case for all HD TV’s but I know its the reason the light gun does not work on most. It should work flawlessly though on a flat screen SD TV (flat screen as in the flat screen SD CRT).

  2. Reblogged this on The Martian Oddity.

  3. What model # is that ilo tv u have?

    • I don’t remember. I got rid of the Ilo TV months ago. it was mostly a stop gap TV until I found something better. it was OK but not great. ultimately the colors started to bleed. I currently use a nice Sony BVM monitor for most of my classic consoles. Its small but the picture is great. I’ll love to find a larger 20 inch model. I also have a newer Samsung CRT TV that looks and functioned better then the Ilo.

  4. the red, green and blue have also information about the brightness

    • from Wikipedia

      “PBPR (or component) is converted from the RGB video signal, which is split into three components: Y, PB, and PR.

      Y carries luma (brightness or luminance) and synchronization (sync) information. Y = 0.2126 R + 0.7152 G + 0.0722 B Before the advent of color television, the Y axis on an oscilloscope display of a video waveform represented the intensity of the scan line. With color, Y still represents intensity but it is a composite of the component colors.
      PB carries the difference between blue and luma (B − Y).
      PR carries the difference between red and luma (R − Y).

      Sending a green signal would be redundant, as it can be derived using the blue, red and luma information.”

  5. Nice article!

    Allthough the professional monitors offer extremely fine dot-pitches and super-crisp pictures, I personally prefer a lower dot-pitch where the pixels can blend a bit together. It gives a somewhat anti-aliasing effect, reducing the hard edges which a pixelated picture often have. On the other hand, the color is something I take really serious. Very many CRT TV’s, especially in the mid to lower ends, have crappy washed-out colors. Vibrant colors is an integral part of any retro videogame, so it’s absolutely critical that the color-response is as good as it can get.

    What I curently use is a Commodore 1701. Having the cirquits based on an old mid-end professional (JVC) monitor, it has excellent colors and the image is clear enough (allthough the CRT itself is not exactly profesional-grade).

    • thanks! I suppose the term “best” can be rather subjective and some of it depends on personal preference. I really like the Commodore 1701 as well. they even have that none standard s-video input. I have a few myself but there all unfortunately in storage far from me ATM. there getting a bit harder to find these days.

  6. Could you possibly make a guide showing the Y Pb Pr bin connectors process as well as how to use said Y Pb Pr bin connectors with SCART? I actually just purchased the exact same Sony PVM-14L5 a while back and I want to start using it for retro gaming. Would be cool if you could also explain the region hassles regarding SCART EURO & JPN.

    • Good Idea, I made a video that I hope addresses a few of your questions. Let me know if it helped. https://youtu.be/rew4ijsWoXM

        • Maek Labul
        • Posted June 26, 2015 at 15:29
        • Permalink

        Video was very helpful! I pretty much have all the info I need to game on my PVM.
        Was wondering though, is there any way to play retro games with progressive scan (when showing Super Ghost ‘n Goblins, it was on interlace), or was it not possible at the time?

      • not with original hardware for the most part. the SNES just wasn’t capable of outputting 480P or higher. It can be achieved by using a newer clone system like the Retron 5 but that’s more like emulation or possibly an expensive upscaler but if your using clone systems and/or a $300 upscalers you may as well play on a large screen HDTV and not a CRT PVM

        • Maek Labul
        • Posted June 28, 2015 at 06:44
        • Permalink

        I have another question: is there no substantial quality loss when using a converter? I’m pretty ignorant on the subject, but I’ve heard this was the case with things like HDMI splitters and whatnot.

      • are you talking about an upscaler to play retro games on a HDTV or something like a RGB to component converter? something like a framemeister which is a $300+ upscaler to player retro games correctly on a HDTV does not introduce signal degradation from what I understand. some RGB to Component converters do but its miniscule and it will still look better then say S-video even with the signal loss. keep in mind using a RGB to component converter still will not let you play say, SNES games in progressive scan. As for HDMI splitters and the such they all probably introduce some quality loss but the cheap $20 ones from china is going to far more then a quality one. If you already have that PVM and don’t mind the small size I’d recommend just playing your old systems in RGB. It really doesn’t get much better then that.

        • Maek Labul
        • Posted June 29, 2015 at 00:26
        • Permalink

        I meant using the SCART converter you used in the video you posted.
        I’ve heard of latency issues that arise from converters of any kind being used, but they may very well be superstitions. Which is why I’m asking you.

        Speaking of upscalers, I never plan to use them given the fact that I already own a PVM, but I was wondering if there was a significant increase in quality from using a CRT over an LCD TV. Yes, I’ve seen the pics outlined in your blog post above, and yes, I’ve seen that comparison shot showing the waterfall in Sonic (2 or 3), but I’ve also read opinions stating the contrary.

        One opinion in particular stated that comparison screenshots were useless given that many effects a CRT has on a game’s image is lost when viewed from an LCD screen. What I find odd about that is I see a noticeable difference from your comparison screenshots. To use an example, if two people were streaming Ghost and Goblins for the SNES on a streaming platform such as twitch, would there be a difference in in image quality when one is streaming from a PVM using S-Video, and another streaming from an LCD using S-Video?

      • well, maybe I used the wrong term, its not really converting the signal at all its just rerouting the wires and signal in a way that allows the RGB card lead to interface with the PVM so since there is actually no signal conversion happening there is zero latency. now as for signal loss there is always an amount of siganl loss when a cable is extended or a signal has to pass through somthing but it varies on the quality of the device its passing through. with this setup the signal loss from the short distance between the console and the PVM plus the good quality cables and simple pass though is mostly negligible and as far as I can tell completely undetectable.
        The biggest issue with LCD’s is the latency that occurs. latency issues aside if were just talking about pure quality I guess it depends on the model. most of the issues occuring is because most LCD’s are HD and the HD factor is what makes retro consoles look terrible on an LCD. comparing early SD LCD’s to a PVM isn’t very fair since in my opinion the early LCD’s which are SD are not very great in quality where a PVM is a top of the line CRT. I also believe LCD sets may have some scaling issues with retro games as well.
        short answer is I think a retro game such as ghosts and goblins will always look better and play optimally on a CRT but if your a complete A/V fanatic I think the horrors of retro gaming on a standard def LCD or Plasma set are probably over stated. (keep in mind I say standard definition)

        • Maek Labul
        • Posted June 30, 2015 at 15:47
        • Permalink

        Thank you, this was all very useful information. Is there any literature out there you recommend so I can learn more? As of right now, I only superficially know most of what’s going on. Anything hardware related at all is above my head at the moment and I would like to rectify that. If you have any software related literature to recommend as well, I wouldn’t mind knowing about that either.

      • I learned about this stuff the same way you are. Mostly by going to retro game and A/V forums and asking tons of questions, that and searching the internet and youtube. The link at the end of my article is a good read http://www.tested.com/tech/gaming/456719-best-crt-retro-games/ also the Neo Geo forums have a large group of users that are really into PVM’s. search there for info on PVM’s and RGB. My Life In Gaming on youtube has a cool series of videos explaining RGB but they focus on using upscalers for play on modern HDTV’s and not PVM’s but its still an intresting series to watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43dzrCAfU3A&list=PLTNBVisVMbSR1ZDDQRgjg6S9D2YQ4rwnZ


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