- Jun 8, 2004
Since it starts to look like Analogue NT is reasonably real, I thought this would be a good time to do an OT for it, collecting all the future discussion and impressions here.
What is Analogue NT?
Analogue NT is a high end, third party NES/Famicom, outputting pixel perfect 1080P video over HDMI, with zero lag and no emulation. Essentially, Analogue NT integrates several enthusiast hacks into one slick package. The goal of the device is to provide the highest quality, most uncompromising NES/Famicom experience possible.
What has gone inside an Analogue NT?
Original Famicom CPU and PPU salvaged from 'damaged units'
NESRGB board providing NES RGB output
Kevtris NES HDMI upgrade integrated
All new aluminium casing and circuit board designed by Analogue Interactive
Works with essentially all Famicom and NES games and accessories (NTSC)
Provides pixel perfect output at up to 1080P via HDMI
Features multiple NES colour palettes, including original and PlayChoice10
Zero lag due to Kevtris HDMI upgrade, superior to Framemeister in terms of lag
Video features (HDMI upgrade required)
Zero lag, zero signal degradation - 148.5 million pixels/second, direct conversion of video, no frame buffer
480p, 720p, and 1080p in NTSC/60Hz
576p, 720p, and 1080p in PAL/50Hz
other features: scanlines, scalers, palettes, cropping, horiztonal position, horizontal stretch, overclocking & more
Audio features (HDMI upgrade required)
48KHz 16 bit stereo audio
full panning and volume support for all audio channels
full audio chip support (VRC6, VRC7, MMC5, sunsoft 5, FDS, N106)
overclocking without audio pitch shifting
$499 for Analogue NT with component / composite output
$79 for internal HDMI upgrade
No controllers or cables included in price
As of 27 August 2015, the first batch of both HDMI and non-HDMI units are shipping out, with verified deliveries, including OP.
The first batch (around 500 units) is sold out
Analogue has said they will announce a second production soon and open preorders
Official promo pics
Custom designed black PWB with original NES CPU and PPU
gold plated, reinforced pins
precision aluminum unibody
Chittagong gaming setup with Analogue NT pics
IGN unboxing video
Official Analogue NT videos showing the HDMI features in use
Awesome image quality comparison video from dark10x
The troubled history of Analogue NT
UPDATE - Read Analogue's side of the story behind the delays here
Analogue NTs history is a tragic farce, with broken promises following over promises. It's truly astonishing to look back at what looks like string of pathological lies:
March 2014. Analogue NT was announced. It was supposed to ship 'Summer 2014'. We now know that this was not even remotely possible, Analogue paraded just an empty shell to press - no gameplay was shown. Charging the 'preorders' immediately from customers credit cards, Analogue funded the R&D and production of the product, going essentially a 'stealth Kickstarter'. Not only was this shady, but it might be illegal as well.
August 2014. On the very last day of summer, at the end of August, Analogue was forced to announce that the product is delayed until 'Christmas 2014'. They claimed that the delay was because of the the extended timeline is a result of maintaining this standard to new processes. In other words, they were trying to figure out how to make the thing. Still no footage of a working Analogue NT.
December 2015. At the beginning of December, Analogue was forced to announce that they still didn't have a product to ship, delaying the product to 'February 2014'. The reason they cited was "weve run into a consistency issue during the enclosure finishing". In other words, they had started to manufacture the shell, maybe. Still no footage of a working Analogue NT was released, but Analogue promised that "the HDMI Adapter has a slew of incredible features and a video showcasing all of them will be out on December 17th". Needless to say, no video emerged until June 2015. In fact, we now know there was no HDMI adapter, as the unit has internal HDMI.
February 2015. Like clockwork, once February started Analogue announced that they in fact wouldn't be able to ship in February, but were forced to delay the product again, now to 'April 2015'. This time they blamed port congestion - "due to this unpredictable and unprecedented congestion we have adjusted the Analogue Nt's shipping date to April 2015". Still no footage of a working Analogue NT.
April 2015. Clearly April 2015 wasn't the date either. Analogue quietly updated the date to claim 'May 2015', and reassured customers that "as soon as we accept delivery, well begin assembling and shipping" This suggested that shipping was imminent. Still no footage of a working Analogue NT.
May 2015. May came and went, with no sign of Analogue NT, and still no footage of a working Analogue NT. Shipping date was moved to 'late May 2015'. At the end of May, Analogue was forced to change the shipping date to 'June 2015'. They said "This month weve been hard at work assembling and testing." Still no footage of a working Analogue NT.
June 2015. Miraculously, Analogue managed to ship at least one Analogue NT, avoiding another delay announcement. They also finally released footage supposedly captured of a working Analogue NT.
July 2015. With no HDMI-based Analogue NTs shipped yet, and Analogue stopped giving estimates other than 'soon'. They are accepting 'pre-orders' for a new batch, which they are, naturally, cashing at check out. In mid July they announced another delay in shipping, claiming 'we see no reason we wont have all orders shipped within July and August'. The reason given for this delay was they had come to realise that they are, in fact, a small team: 'It is important to understand that we are a small team and it takes us time to assemble, test and ship each unit.
August 2015. On or about 23 August, Kevtris sent 400 Hi-Def NES boards to 'a customer', which can only be Analogue. Just days later Analogue finally starts shipping HDMI-enabled Analogue NTs. OP's unit reaches UK on 27 August. This means that Analogue was not, in fact shipping when they claimed they were. Analogue does do a first, however, and finally keeps a promise, the one about shipping in August. The final unit is glorious, and more than was originally promised.
PC Mag - 4/5
PC Mag said:The Analogue Nt is one of the most expensive game systems you can currently buy, and it's very limited in its scope. However, it also does exactly what Analogue claims to do, and it does so just about flawlessly. Judging a practically bespoke, very specific, solid aluminum, enthusiast-targeted game system for its $500+ price tag and inability to play any non-NES or Famicom games would be like judging a sports car for having poor cargo space and fuel economy. This is a console for hardcore NES fans with deep pockets who embrace the idea of authenticity in experience from start to finish more than purely the end result. It's the gamer version of an obscenely expensive turntable and speaker system.
GAF's own dark10x has posted the first ever in-depth review of Analogue NT here he did together with a friend of his (JT). It's awesome, super detailed and technical, and includes an much more detailed timeline of events than what I have posted. Check it out at his Retrogamingnr blog.
Critique and controversies
Image credit - Retrogamingnr blog
UPDATE - Read Analogue address the critique and the solutions they offer here
Lies, lies, lies.
Clearly the biggest controversy around Analogue NT has been the broken promises, which have later revealed to be blatant lies. There was no way Analogue ever intended to ship the device in Summer 2014, despite their claims to the contrary. Especially damning was their broken promise of showing a functioning unit on 17 December 2014 - which could not have existed since they only showed a video in June.
HDMI bait-and-switch - Final unit is superior to original promise
Analogue originally claimed to ship an external HDMI converter with Analogue NT. They talked about it as late as in December 2014. For one reason or the other, they did a stealth switch to an internal HDMI unit based on Kevtris HDMI NES mod. This was clearly a much superior solution, but it has upset customers who passed on the HDMI upgrade initially.
It might scratch your cartridges. - Analogue offers free adapters, fixes second run cart slot
A poster in this thread had a problem with cartridges scratching, however OP doesn't. Recently more posters in this thread reported scratching problems on their *gasp* Gimmick cartridge. Your mileage may vary. Analogue announced an adapter free of charge to customers with this issue. Also, they attempt to fix it for second run.
RGB Scart output is overly bright, due to missing capacitors - Analogue provides new cables for free
The review from dark10x and JT shows that the Scart cable Analogue ships with the device results on an overly bright picture and no sound over Scart:
Retro Gamer said:Analog audio is output through the RCA stereo jacks on the rear of the NT only, and the RGB conductors are un-metered and wide open, resulting in a brighter than expected image. This issue is not present over the component output because the NT uses entirely different pins in the AV out for component video versus RGB.
Analogue acknowledged and has fixed the issue, and will send new SCART for free to people experiencing the problem.
It's either HDMI or RGB, not both. - Analogue converts for free, researches other solutions
After HDMI units shipped it emerged that choosing to have an HDMI unit means you can't output RGB. This was never communicated by Analogue, and has upset players who wanted to have the option to play on a CRT directly out of the box. The root of this problem is that Analogue swapped their HDMI solution halfway through the project when their own HDMI development apparently had failed. The initial plan they sold was having an external HDMI upscaler. While the Kevtris solution is vastly superior compared to the original plan for those wanting only HDMI, people wanting HDMI+CRT are out of luck. Analogue has offered to do conversions between HDMI and RGB for free, and is looking into developing further solutions.
Compatibility issues with HDMI kit - Updated with flash cart such as Everdrive
Some posters have reported that certain games seem to not work on the HDMI unit. GAF buyers report at least Paperboy and Castlevania not booting. This problem has been acknowledged by Kevtris, who has promised to update the firmware of the HDMI kit. Analogue has not commented this, and the logistics of a firmware update are unknown, however using Everdrive seems to be an option, according to Kevtris. The root of this problem is that Analogue swapped their HDMI solution halfway through the project, and due to the massive delays shipped products the minute they got the HDMI kits from Kevtris. An update has been released now by Kevtris, it can be loaded using an Everdrive.
Several posters have reported connector problems. Some games won't boot up properly directly, but seem to work when played through an adaptor or Game Genie, indicating that there might be a connector quality issue. The connectors also seem to be loose, so pushing a cartridge will freeze the unit.
How can it cost so much?? This is Alienware territory!
I am certainly no stranger to Alienware! Analogue NT is positioned as a luxury product for a very small target market. Considering it contains a NES, a new motherboard, as well as NESRGB and Kevtris HDMI NES upgrades integrated, the price seems a little less crazy.
Who would even be in the target market of Analogue NT?
I believe Analogue NT targets a very narrow luxury market, people who
want to play NES games
want a slick looking device instead of NES or Famicom
can't be arsed to get an NES RGB board ordered and installed
can't be arsed to also get an HDMI NES upgrade board ordered and installed
can't be arsed to order a Framemeister
want to play both NES and Famicom games with a single device without adapters
Analogue NT is not emulation. It contains the original NES CPU and PPU, and works essentially with all games and accessories, providing arguably the highest quality NES experience possible.
But, Framemeister or XRGB!
The method Analogue NT uses in its HDMI upgrade is superior to Framemeister / XRGB as it doesn't introduce any lag. Framemeister supposedly adds 1.5 frames of lag.
So, is Analogue NT real finally now, after all?
Analogue NT is real, finally. OP has a unit now at his hands.
What's your verdict?
Analogue NT is absolutely spectacular. It's most certainly the best way to play NES, regardless of whether you prefer CRT or flat panel. The device is incredibly well built, runs original hardware accurately, and the image quality is phenomenal.
Should I order one?
YES. Well, when you can. Analogue will produce another batch. Just expect unreliable delivery estimates, and you will eventually have the nicest NES built by man. Of course, you could mod also a toploader NES with Kevtris Hi-Def NES kit for cheaper. But if you want one slick, polished package, Analogue NT is definitely the way.