Upscalers, CRTs, PVMs & RGB: Retro gaming done right!

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japtor

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Oh yeah,

Btw, I''m very interested in the new SLG HD that is for component sources. I've a feeling it will be very valuable for PS1/PS2/Wii/XBOX/XBOX360 playback combined with the Mini. At least, with its simple on/off switch I'm planning on putting one in-line on my Mini's component in.

Kinda pricey though since Arcade Forge charges VAT and with the case and power supply and shipping it clocks in at about $85.

I posted about it on the first page :p. If you check out the Shmups thread I linked there's a bunch of pic examples, and a video somewhere showing it on/off and the different scanline modes in action.
 

butanebob

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Aha! Found the pictures.





Look at the bricks! Look at the curved shape of the column! It's a MASSIVE difference, and this stuff wouldn't be visible at all without the "flaws" of a CRT.
Yep - The supposed flaws of the CRT are what gives pixel art its illusion of depth, as the column in this shot demonstrates. All of that work is lost when viewing a raw pixellated image.

Pixel fetishism is a modern phenomenon that only appeared when emulation started to gain popularity. Back in the 80s and 90s graphics were openly mocked when they appeared blocky.
 

Orayn

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Yeah,

Well stand back from your monitor about 15 feet and then look at both images.
*Shrug* The effect could still be appreciable on the right display.

I realize that getting a scaler and toggling CRT effects on a game by game basis is probably a lot more practical than tracking down a high quality CRT for most people, I was just pointing out that sharp, square pixels are not necessarily better in every case.
 

Yes Boss!

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I posted about it on the first page :p. If you check out the Shmups thread I linked there's a bunch of pic examples, and a video somewhere showing it on/off and the different scanline modes in action.
I'm definitely getting one!

I'm very pleased with my regular VGA SLG and am pretty excited to see how the Component version works.

But, I'm a bit broke now and gotta wait a month or two till I get an extra $100.
 

IrishNinja

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thanks again for the settings, dark! soon as my remote's back i'm gonna mess with em

Hearing that the XRGB blacks out while changing resolutions is kind of worrying, though, because I can think of a ton of games that do that. Sonic 2's 2P mode, NiGHTS's and Burning Rangers's menu screens, Panzer Dragoon Zwei's menu screens, Symphony of the Night's menu screens, etc. It's not as limited as you're making it sound. :\
i recently played Burning Rangers, and i wanna say it wasn't something in-game...i think it was the same for SOTN (which system though?), honestly if its just Chrono Cross i guess if that's your favorite/only game i understand, but ive played many titles with this thing, and in-game doesn't really happen for me. also - and i shouldve said this in the OP, dark's pointed it out as well - many of these shots dont fully do it justice, i think. when setup right it really does look gorgeous.
 

Yes Boss!

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thanks again for the settings, dark! soon as my remote's back i'm gonna mess with em



i recently played Burning Rangers, and i wanna say it wasn't something in-game...i think it was the same for SOTN (which system though?), honestly if its just Chrono Cross i guess if that's your favorite/only game i understand, but ive played many titles with this thing, and in-game doesn't really happen for me. also - and i shouldve said this in the OP, dark's pointed it out as well - many of these shots dont fully do it justice, i think. when setup right it really does look gorgeous.
Irish,

You can do everything that is done on the remote with the face buttons on the unit. A bit cumbersome, but it is all there!

True about image quality. None of these screen caps can do what the upscaler does at even a fraction. Compounded by cameras that make things look better or (often) worse. Getting one of the upscalers is truly a make or break moments. It is either your thing or not. All the other work-arounds just drop away once you've got the actual hardware on hand. No sense in cheaping out. Just gotta pony up to play post-CRT. ARCADE FIRST THOUGH!
 

Shadow Hog

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So what's the cheapest way to get one of these? Amazon.co.jp through a proxy service? I've never used proxy services before.

I know there's also Solaris Japan (which fluctuates a bit depending on what USD/JPY is going for - it's just under 100 right now, so about $390, plus S&H which is $20 minimum), eBay (which has a few that are only $390 or so with S&H, but might have hidden customs fees I'm not aware of), and that one guy on NeoGAF's Buy/Sell/Trade thread (although I have no idea how much he's asking; $400, I think?).
 

baphomet

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So what's the cheapest way to get one of these? Amazon.co.jp through a proxy service? I've never used proxy services before.

I know there's also Solaris Japan (which fluctuates a bit depending on what USD/JPY is going for - it's just under 100 right now, so about $390, plus S&H which is $20 minimum), eBay (which has a few that are only $390 or so with S&H, but might have hidden customs fees I'm not aware of), and that one guy on NeoGAF's Buy/Sell/Trade thread (although I have no idea how much he's asking; $400, I think?).
It was posted earlier that Yakumo sells them for 39,800 yen which includes EMS shipping I believe. When I eventually buy one it will be from him.

Edit: Yakumo is a user on the forum
 

BocoDragon

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Yep - The supposed flaws of the CRT are what gives pixel art its illusion of depth, as the column in this shot demonstrates. All of that work is lost when viewing a raw pixellated image.

Pixel fetishism is a modern phenomenon that only appeared when emulation started to gain popularity. Back in the 80s and 90s graphics were openly mocked when they appeared blocky.
Interesting observation.
 

Chacranajxy

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Will I be able to see a discernible difference between an SNES image through an S-Video adapter or RGB?
Adapter? Like you have S-video going from the SNES to an adapter, and then the adapter has an RGB cable going to the TV or something?

That won't make things any better. Unless I'm misunderstanding your plan here.
 

Grief.exe

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Adapter? Like you have S-video going from the SNES to an adapter, and then the adapter has an RGB cable going to the TV or something?

That won't make things any better. Unless I'm misunderstanding your plan here.
I just meant cables, there was also an 'or' in there you might have missed.

Basically my question was, is there a significant difference between S-Video cables or RGB cables?

Relating to an SNES image.
 

Zebetite

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One question I've always had about upscalers: Input lag. Is it noticible?

It's sort of the single reigning factor that's making the choice between an upscaler and a good CRT so difficult.
 

Chacranajxy

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I just meant cables, there was also an 'or' in there you might have missed.

Basically my question was, is there a significant difference between S-Video cables or RGB cables?

Relating to an SNES image.
lol, sorry, bar exam studying has destroyed my reading ability.


Yes, you will notice a difference. It's not going to be as significant as the jump from composite to s-video, but definitely noticeable. If it's an option, definitely go RGB.


One question I've always had about upscalers: Input lag. Is it noticible?

It's sort of the single reigning factor that's making the choice between an upscaler and a good CRT so difficult.
With the XRGB-3, the lag that gets introduced is minimal. In the mode that doesn't upscale, the XRGB adds something like half a frame of lag at the most. As I recall, the figure jumps up to about 1 frame if you're scaling to a higher resolution. With the XRGB Mini, it's apparently near instantaneous, even in the scaling mode. But I don't have a Mini on-hand to verify, myself.
 

Gillian Seed

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After owning a Panasonic GT50 Plasma, I could never go back to a CRT for anything! They look atrocious! My girlfriend has my old Trinitron, and I realized how bad it really is. Even Gamecube through Componet looks like poop compared to on my Plasma.
 

DukeTogo1300

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Loving this thread. I have room for a 19" CRT + beanbag corner at the moment, but I'm subbing just in case I have to compromise in the future.

Those babies want to take my gaemz. :mad:
 

Chacranajxy

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By the way, I saw this image earlier in some other thread, but I forget what the details were behind it:

Seriously. That looks ridiculous. I think that was dark10x's shot, but I could be wrong... but in any case, what hardware was used to make this happen? Because I want it.
 

baphomet

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After owning a Panasonic GT50 Plasma, I could never go back to a CRT for anything! They look atrocious! My girlfriend has my old Trinitron, and I realized how bad it really is. Even Gamecube through Componet looks like poop compared to on my Plasma.
Without any sort of high end scaler I assure you that a GameCube looks hideous on your plasma.
 

ElFly

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Aha! Found the pictures.

[IM
G]http://i.imgur.com/1LLpZbg.png[/IMG]

[IM
G]http://i.imgur.com/NcPEkjH.png[/IMG]

Look at the bricks! Look at the curved shape of the column! It's a MASSIVE difference, and this stuff wouldn't be visible at all without the "flaws" of a CRT.
Don't think the second one is a photo of a CRT, though. Someone mentioned it's a shader filter, so who knows if in movement it will look good.

I am not convinced a CRT will look like that.

e: quick googling shows that it's a filter. So yeah, CRTs don't look like that. The scanlines alone will ruin that image.
 

BocoDragon

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Without any sort of high end scaler I assure you that a GameCube looks hideous on your plasma.
Not necessarily true. Most GC games are in 480p if you have component cables, and even the basic scalers in modern sets usually do ok with that.
 

ElFly

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That's what a CRT looks like, but there aren't any scan lines so its definitely not actually on a CRT.
Not really convinced. It's a shader filter so it could be hand tailored to make slightly diagonal lines better looking.

There's no guarantee that same shader filter will look good in any other game, maybe not even in another section of FF6 SNES.
 

baphomet

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By the way, I saw this image earlier in some other thread, but I forget what the details were behind it:



Seriously. That looks ridiculous. I think that was dark10x's shot, but I could be wrong... but in any case, what hardware was used to make this happen? Because I want it.
A $250-300 Playchoice 10 PPU and a very complicated mod.
 

Timeless

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What did a typical game artist's workstation look like in the 80s-90s? I thought most "pixel art" started as drawings on graph paper.
 

Chacranajxy

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Not bothering with upscalers and emu filters until they can resolve this kind of detail:
My Garegga brother, did you see my BG shot from the OP? That was taken on a shitty iPhone 3gs camera, and I didn't even have the XRGB-3 set to scale the thing at all.
 

televator

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Personally, I'm on team RGB to CRT. You get "natural" scan lines with the improved color of RGB. Anywho, this kind of thread was overdue.
 

plc268

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I just meant cables, there was also an 'or' in there you might have missed.

Basically my question was, is there a significant difference between S-Video cables or RGB cables?

Relating to an SNES image.
Significant? It depends how sensitive you are to the picture. For most people Svideo is all they need, picture quality wise. It's leaps and bounds better than composite, and colors are nice and crisp. The problem with Svideo, on the snes anyway, is that it's hard to find a good quality cable nowadays that doesn't "checkerboard." Basically it's a pattern in the video that can show up with poor quality cables.

But, if you're going down the hole to get a scaler, you may as well get some RGB cables, and feed the scaler the best possible input.

By the way, I saw this image earlier in some other thread, but I forget what the details were behind it:



Seriously. That looks ridiculous. I think that was dark10x's shot, but I could be wrong... but in any case, what hardware was used to make this happen? Because I want it.
To get picture quality like that on the original hardware, you're gonna have to shell out a lot of money to get the NES RGB modded. Once you do, you can achieve pixel accuracy like that (as opposed to the muddled mess that composite is). That picture was most likely captured either from PC emulation, or one of the Megaman collection discs that were on the PS2/GC.
 

BocoDragon

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Maybe a bit off topic... but I'm suddenly curious how RGB -> Component converters look on a CRT.

I have a CRT with component, and I don't imagine I'll find an RGB monitor any time soon, so...
 

RadarScope1

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Great thread, Irish, and thanks for the OP. Can't believe we haven't had one before. I think there was a "retro gaming on HD TVs" thread but it doesn't include all the cool gadgets and mods we have now. I've had my sights on XRGB mini for a while now, despite having a nice Sony Wega CRT that I got for next to nothing just sitting on a shelf in my basement because....

That's a good idea.

I love me a CRT, personally. As I said in a previous post, I want a PVM.

It's just that the XRGB fulfills another need: putting your retro consoles back in the living room, on your home theater stereo, on a giant huge screen with perfect geometry.

I think its cool to have a CRT den hidden in the basement.... but maybe someday you want to play SNES Super Mario Kart in the living room during the cooldown of a party? ;) And you might actually play more retro games when they are not banished to a retro corner of your house.

There's also something really appealing about having every console hooked to one TV, and they all look great, from NES to PS4.
... of this, basically. Describes me to a T. It's nice for those you with the space or the clutter tolerance for a dedicated retro setup but I'm a grown ass man these days with a grown up living room. I want to play a few classics and do it right but I only have space for a couple modern consoles and a couple old ones at any one time.

Subbed to the thread and will probably just lurk, but I love the info!
 

baphomet

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Significant? It depends how sensitive you are to the picture. For most people Svideo is all they need, picture quality wise. It's leaps and bounds better than composite, and colors are nice and crisp. The problem with Svideo, on the snes anyway, is that it's hard to find a good quality cable nowadays that doesn't "checkerboard." Basically it's a pattern in the video that can show up with poor quality cables.

But, if you're going down the hole to get a scaler, you may as well get some RGB cables, and feed the scaler the best possible input.



To get picture quality like that on the original hardware, you're gonna have to shell out a lot of money to get the NES RGB modded. Once you do, you can achieve pixel accuracy like that (as opposed to the muddled mess that composite is). That picture was most likely captured either from PC emulation, or one of the Megaman collection discs that were on the PS2/GC.
That's taken off a members RGB modded nes.
 

televator

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Maybe a bit off topic... but I'm suddenly curious how RGB -> Component converters look on a CRT.

I have a CRT with component, and I don't imagine I'll find an RGB monitor any time soon, so...
I don't have any pics, but the Genesis especially is like a whole new system with RGB on my CRT. I'm converting it to component since I'm in the USA. Once you go RGB, you never go back.

I actually first started using comp cables on my Gamecube with my old CRT. It's stunning to see the old systems put out equally clean pictures that hold up to the GC on my CRT.
 

encephalon

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I have the XRGB3. I tried an RGB cable for Super Famicom that was 3rd party - didn't work. And the only Saturn RGB I've seen was 100 USD briefly, before disappearing. It's hard to find the Japanese RGB connectors.
 

Chacranajxy

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I have the XRGB3. I tried an RGB cable for Super Famicom that was 3rd party - didn't work. And the only Saturn RGB I've seen was 100 USD briefly, before disappearing. It's hard to find the Japanese RGB connectors.
Saturn SCART cables are that expensive? Christ. Guess I shouldn't get rid of mine...
 

BocoDragon

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I don't have any pics, but the Genesis especially is like a whole new system with RGB on my CRT. I'm converting it to component since I'm in the USA. Once you go RGB, you never go back.

I actually first started using comp cables on my Gamecube with my old CRT. It's stunning to see the old systems put out equally clean pictures that hold up to the GC on my CRT.
I can imagine that Genesis is a huge improvement... Composite on that console is soooo bad.

I already have the RGB cables, so someday I'll get one of these converters, or a PVM.

Saturn SCART cables are that expensive? Christ. Guess I shouldn't get rid of mine...
There are custom built ones for ~$20.
 

Chacranajxy

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Japanese ones. Ones sold to foreign gaming enthusiasts, at that. What just became expensive is the S-Video cord though. It's ridiculous.
Huh... and I just so happen to have an s-video cable to pawn off. Well my day just got a bit brighter.
 

RedSwirl

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I posted a thread about this a while ago and they came to the same conclusion. Problem is, I don't have $500 to spend on one of these things and won't for the forseeable future. In most cases just buying a CRT is considerably cheaper.

Secondly, would you ever be able to use a single one to hook up multiple retro consoles?
 

plc268

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Yes Boss!

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Saturn SCART cables are that expensive? Christ. Guess I shouldn't get rid of mine...
Nah, they are $20. Maybe the japanese official 21 cable is $100 (perhaps, more) but really, a simple well-shielded SCART cable is less than $20. A SCART-to-JPN-21 covertor cable is about $10.

And yeah, if you have the official JPN-21 RGB cable then sell that shit off pronto and get the ghetto off-the-shelf SCART solution for a fraction of the cost. No sense keeping your money tied up in wiring when the inexpensive version functions identically.
 

BocoDragon

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I posted a thread about this a while ago and they came to the same conclusion. Problem is, I don't have $500 to spend on one of these things and won't for the forseeable future. In most cases just buying a CRT is considerably cheaper.

Secondly, would you ever be able to use a single one to hook up multiple retro consoles?
With the help of switchers, yeah. I have a powered component switcher and I mean to get a SCART one. All consoles hooked through XRGB mini.
 

Chacranajxy

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Nah, I just put in an order for one for $18.
Nah, they are $20. Maybe the japanese official 21 cable is $100 (perhaps, more) but really, a simple well-shielded SCART cable is less than $20. A SCART-to-JPN-21 covertor cable is about $10.

And yeah, if you have the official JPN-21 RGB cable then sell that shit off pronto and get the ghetto off-the-shelf SCART solution for a fraction of the cost. No sense keeping your money tied up in wiring when the inexpensive version functions identically.
Awwww.... sigh. Back to ramen and giving handjobs for XBLA points, I guess.

My life, man. My life.
 
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