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freddykrueger

Connecting old consoles to new TV

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I know this is probably an age old question and sorry for dragging up again but there seems to be so many alternatives and solutions on the market it's a bit of a minefield.

 

The costlier option seem to be things like the retro tink for instance but I was wondering if anyone has found a lower cost solution which delivers good upscaling results for the likes of Mega drive, n64 etc.  Also if anyone has a good solution for connecting my Atari vcs to tv that would be appreciated!

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You probably want an OSSC, not cheap but means you can plug many consoles into it. There’s a thread here about it too.

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51 minutes ago, Ketchup said:

You probably want an OSSC, not cheap but means you can plug many consoles into it. There’s a thread here about it too.

 

Will take a look at this - thanks!  

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What's wrong with RF?

 

For 'newer' consoles like Wii or PS2, I use a HDMI converter and am pretty happy with the results. SNES, MD and NES all go through RF onto a 55" Samsung and to be honest I'm prefectly happy with the results.

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For anything Scart I use a Scart to HDMI box. About a tenner on Amazon. 

 

For 32bit and above you can get HDMI cables for most of those machines. A company called Pound makes Saturn, Dreamcast, OG Xbox and a PS2 one iirc. 

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7 minutes ago, new666uk said:

What's wrong with RF?

 

For 'newer' consoles like Wii or PS2, I use a HDMI converter and am pretty happy with the results. SNES, MD and NES all go through RF onto a 55" Samsung and to be honest I'm prefectly happy with the results.

 

The horror!

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Fell down a YouTube rabbit hole last night - lots of expensive option such as Framemeister but saw the OSSC and retro tink all seem to get good write ups.  Someone was raving about the N64 solution EOn Super 64.

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OSSC is the catch-all option. It's still north of £100, but it works on almost everything and is rather fantastic to boot.

 

If you don't want to/can't pay that, a SCART-to-HDMI box is probably the cheapest option. Though obviously you can only connect via SCART cables there. It'll work, but picture quality won't be the greatest.

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Be aware that the OSSC will only work with consoles that can output RGB.

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18 hours ago, Down by Law said:

For anything Scart I use a Scart to HDMI box. About a tenner on Amazon. 

 

For 32bit and above you can get HDMI cables for most of those machines. A company called Pound makes Saturn, Dreamcast, OG Xbox and a PS2 one iirc. 

 

These things are really, really horrible though. Bad scaling, de-interlacing with loads of input lag. 

 

OSSC is great, but can be expensive. 

 

I'd recommend the RETROTINK 2X. There's new versions of it out. 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

These things are really, really horrible though. Bad scaling, de-interlacing with loads of input lag. 

 

I don't use one anymore  ( My tv upstairs has direct Scart for Saturn, VGA for DC, Component for PS2/OG Xbox) but my downstairs 4K TV doesn't have Scart, so I had to use it for that for my OG Megadrive, until the Megadrive Mini came out.  I was sat 3m away so it looked ok, certainly better than RF anyway :) 

 

 

 

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On ‎08‎/‎03‎/‎2020 at 16:13, new666uk said:

What's wrong with RF?

 

 

Modern TVs don't have an analogue tuner. The aerial socket is the same for digital TV so you can physically plug in your coax cable but the TV can't see it.

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On 09/03/2020 at 11:33, Down by Law said:

 

I don't use one anymore  ( My tv upstairs has direct Scart for Saturn, VGA for DC, Component for PS2/OG Xbox) but my downstairs 4K TV doesn't have Scart, so I had to use it for that for my OG Megadrive, until the Megadrive Mini came out.  I was sat 3m away so it looked ok, certainly better than RF anyway :) 

 

 

 


Dat lag though. It’s like 100+ ms with those things 

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On 11/03/2020 at 10:20, beenabadbunny said:

 

Modern TVs don't have an analogue tuner. The aerial socket is the same for digital TV so you can physically plug in your coax cable but the TV can't see it.

Not in my case. I have a 2018 Samsung 55" 4k model and there is an RF and coax for satellite on the One-Connect box. It's about as simple as it was back in the day. 

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On 08/03/2020 at 12:33, freddykrueger said:

I know this is probably an age old question and sorry for dragging up again but there seems to be so many alternatives and solutions on the market it's a bit of a minefield.

 

The costlier option seem to be things like the retro tink for instance but I was wondering if anyone has found a lower cost solution which delivers good upscaling results for the likes of Mega drive, n64 etc.  Also if anyone has a good solution for connecting my Atari vcs to tv that would be appreciated!

 

@freddykrueger

 

It is a minefield, and there's no one-size-fits-all option. After looking at the Retrotink X2 video it seems pretty capable - more so than I'd assumed. That said, it's firmly pointed at the US market & towards collectors who have a shit load of old consoles with their old composite and S-Video cables knocking about. The poor bastards never got RGB SCART.

 

Looks as though you can buy brand new cables for some systems that let you use the Retrotink's Component connection (which you'd do by using the 3 RGB sockets plus the composite signal for sync). You could buy these cables or even build your own, if you were of a mind, but that'd be either a) expensive, b) time-consuming or c) both.

 

If you're in a PAL territory, are mostly into 16-Bit systems or later, and use SCART cables for RGB though, the OSSC is your 'man'. I'd save up and get one ASAFP.

 

However, to answer your second question and why Retrotink might be the better fit for you... yep, there's an incredibly easy mod to turn RF into Composite that's possible with SOME old computers and consoles.

 

 

As the resistance and capacitance is different on other machines, you would need a mod. You can get a kit for the Atari 2600 that comes either with or without a pause button mod. I think the estimable Ms. Mad Lemon - an absolute retro mod genius - has a tutorial that would be broadly suitable, as well. If you fancied tackling it yourself, of course ;)

 

 

In summary, if you have a lot of old 8-Bit micros and early consoles that only have composite as an option, a handful with RF you don't mind doing cheap mods to, or are invested heavily in consoles that don't support RGB output without modding (or all the above) buy the Retrotink X2

 

If the bulk of your console collection can do RGB SCART without being modded, and/or your main display device has a composite-in, or you have so few composite-only machines that a cheapo upscaler is fine, go for an OSSC. It's a pain in the arse whichever way you slice it, and you might just want to save up and buy both OSSC & Tink if you have a large (and growing) retro machine collection.

 

Maybe list out your retro consoles and we can be even more specific, looking at modding possibilities and the like? :)

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Serious question but at what point does all this become too much hassle?  I can understand the fun of playing Frostbite on an Atari 2600 using a 40 year old controller, but surely emulation is exactly the same and a million times easier?

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19 hours ago, dumpster said:

Serious question but at what point does all this become too much hassle?  I can understand the fun of playing Frostbite on an Atari 2600 using a 40 year old controller, but surely emulation is exactly the same and a million times easier?

 

For some people, myself included, this actually adds to the fun.

 

I use a Framemeister and a Hydra 2 (a 16 port mega RGB scart switch that costs a fortune but is brill) and have about 20 consoles in a permanent set-up.  Every time I add a new console to the collection, I really enjoy getting it RGB modded (if possible), getting it connected to the Framemeister and then spending hours tweaking the image settings in the Framemeister to get it as close as possible to a traditional CRT image.  It's handy that the Hydra 2 has 2 SCART outputs with one going to the Framemeister (and then onto my big plasma TV) and the other going to my CRT.  That makes is really easy to compare the images and tweak the Framemeister.

 

Once it's all set up I can then play on the original hardware on a big screen knowing that it's as close as possible to the 'original experience' from years ago.

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20 hours ago, dumpster said:

Serious question but at what point does all this become too much hassle?  I can understand the fun of playing Frostbite on an Atari 2600 using a 40 year old controller, but surely emulation is exactly the same and a million times easier?

 

Emulation isn't exactly the same, games can often look incorrect, have glitches and -most importantly- tonnes of input lag. 

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1 hour ago, WizRider said:

 

For some people, myself included, this actually adds to the fun.

 

I use a Framemeister and a Hydra 2 (a 16 port mega RGB scart switch that costs a fortune but is brill) and have about 20 consoles in a permanent set-up.  Every time I add a new console to the collection, I really enjoy getting it RGB modded (if possible), getting it connected to the Framemeister and then spending hours tweaking the image settings in the Framemeister to get it as close as possible to a traditional CRT image.  It's handy that the Hydra 2 has 2 SCART outputs with one going to the Framemeister (and then onto my big plasma TV) and the other going to my CRT.  That makes is really easy to compare the images and tweak the Framemeister.

 

Once it's all set up I can then play on the original hardware on a big screen knowing that it's as close as possible to the 'original experience' from years ago.

 

I also have a really similar set up. I have a gscart switcher with two out's into a PVM and the other into the OSSC and an HDTV. 

I also completely agree that half the fun is getting all this stuff working and looking and playing nicely! 

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On 12/03/2020 at 18:12, dumpster said:

Serious question but at what point does all this become too much hassle?  I can understand the fun of playing Frostbite on an Atari 2600 using a 40 year old controller, but surely emulation is exactly the same and a million times easier?

 

I use an Atari 7800 with a Harmony cartridge*. I've used Stella a lot in the past and I really like Activision Anthology with its unlockables and whatnot, but nothing really recreates sufficiently the feeling of using an actual Atari.

 

*great for playing colour-fixed 60hz games on a PAL unit.

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On 12/03/2020 at 18:12, dumpster said:

Serious question but at what point does all this become too much hassle?  I can understand the fun of playing Frostbite on an Atari 2600 using a 40 year old controller, but surely emulation is exactly the same and a million times easier?

 

This happened to me , i have an XRGB mini and it was just a pain faffing around with things just to play on a modern display. I now play old stuff on old CRTS and if i need to i play old stuff on new tvs with a MiSTer. Im now happy not obsessing over profiles for each console

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On 12/03/2020 at 18:12, dumpster said:

Serious question but at what point does all this become too much hassle?  I can understand the fun of playing Frostbite on an Atari 2600 using a 40 year old controller, but surely emulation is exactly the same and a million times easier?

 

I emulate pretty much everything now but I can see benefits to both. For some formats there are actually modern applications that help to make the games you download from emulation sites playable on original hardware - years ago, I used TAPWAV and WAVPRG to create audio files for a few C64 games, then burned them to CD and recorded them to tape (because I didn't have the means to plug a tape recorder into my PC.) It sounds daft today but being able to play those games on the C64 hardware was pretty fun. :) 

 

On the other hand, emulation is close enough that I can be happy with the results, and the modern conveniences are a welcome trade-off for any small inaccuracies. It also helps if you can get as far away from "playing a SNES game on a PC keyboard" as possible; whether that's with a mini-console, 8bitdo controller, a cable to output your PC's display to your telly, or whatever.

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Yeah it is absolutely not an either/or thing.

 

I'm mostly emulation on YouTube because what I do is about what you should be playing of old games in 2020, and emulation is how 99% of those people are going to do it.

 

But equally, those like TV's Chinnyhill who are pure machine put in a fantastic amount of work for fantastic result for a slightly different audience. 

 

There's very much room for both, with the mini consoles being a sort of middle ground and the fancy chip based NT ones even more so.

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On 12/03/2020 at 13:44, Colonel Panic said:

As simple and as crappy looking!!

How can you improve on nostalgia?

 

It was what it was and sprinkling modern magic on it you may as well go down the emulation route.

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RGB isn't modern magic, it's how I connected everything post-NES to by TV. And using a device to digitise RGB instead of using crappy internal TV software/hardware to do it is just getting the best picture possible.

 

If you don't notice/care, then fine, but don't be silly with the "may as well emulate" argument! Nostalgia isn't an extra 150ms of input lag.

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