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Getting a Better Picture from Retro Consoles

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Super Nintendo

When I can get my hands on the ultraHDMI mod board, that will be my HDTV and in game reset solution for N64. Unfortunately they are high in demand and short in supply, selling for a premium at the moment. The next batch is supposed to be shipping with new firmware offering higher resolution output than before. So I'll  wait for that , should be in the next few months.

In the mean time, I'm going to install the RGB amp needed to restore RGB to the multi-out. I have an early revision NS1 console that just needs wired up, nothing drastic. There are advanced RGB boards made by Tim Worthington and Borti that offer features like in game reset and Deblur, like the ultraHDMI does. That's tempting, but I don't like the large parasitic board and rats nest of wires. The simple RGB mod is easy and clean. So that's going to be my CRT solution.

I recently got an Everdrive64 and I'm loving it. A user uploaded an APS patch set for all the USA no-intro roms that disables the 1st pass of Anti-aliasing. When I load a game it auto patches the rom and disables the AA! The second pass still smears the image before sending it out, but even on composite the image looks sharper. I just picked up the HDRetrovision SNES Cables (no compromise RGB to Component). These are seriously great cables and from the results below, I'm definitely getting a Genesis cable next. Until the RGB amp board arrives, I figured I'd check them out on my SNES. The TV is a SONY Trinitron KV-27FS120. It has component in so I didn't need to RGB mod it. I have a busted KV-27TS29 I've been researching an RGB mod for however. The set won't turn on, I'm thinking a power supply issue. It may be worth trying to repair as a project, but that's down the road. If I do, I may as well RGB mod it while I'm in there. That's the only way to get a better picture than below...

Composite is on the left and Component on the right:compositevscomponent2.thumb.jpg.6b0ce95b52e15c451fa789eefccfe1e8.jpgcompositevscomponent3.thumb.jpg.34e258c7a7edbedb59fce755635eed69.jpgcompositevscomponent4.thumb.jpg.4195f98f6d73a7adae8b2bb4aee850cc.jpgcompositevscomponent1.thumb.jpg.719e8d5be270bae4b8772d7989223f49.jpg

I didn't us any special capture device, just my phone camera. The settings were manual so I could get comparable photos. They don't look the same as they look to my eye in person, but the comparison between photos is approximate to the difference seen in person. I can tell you the results are far more delicious in person. The increased color depth is really noticeable, and more impressive than I thought it would be. It looks better in person than in the photos.

As a side note, I got the DIY kit for SNES classic controllers from 8Bitdo. Using Nintendo's official repro SNES controller wirelessly, thanks to 8BitDo, on my OG SNES is DOPE! The lag isn't noticeable like it is on PC, raspberry pi, or the Classic edition. I was a little worried about the Bluetooth, which is slower than 2.4GHz type wireless controllers, but it aparantly isn't enough for me to notice. I'm sensitive to lag and emulators/pi/classic edition with Bluetooth controllers all produce noticeable input lag. It may just be the CRT however, no lag for video processing is probably the best reason to game on a CRT. I've been meaning to try the Pi on my CRT to see if the lag is better, but I haven't got around to it yet.

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I'm really jealous of you eurobrats and your SCART input. We could enjoy our games and movies in terrible RF, smeared composite, or not quite RGB Component. But hey, at least we could see the menu clearly! We have to mod an NTSC TV to add a SCART input, which hijacks the On Screen Display (OSD) Menu, the only part that was RGB. Wouldn't be such a big deal if I could just use a PAL TV, but noooo...You guys have to have weird resolutions and refresh rates too.

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Interesting dude! if it weren't for the Nazi's you would've had HDTV in the 40s (1000 lines of resolution as the broadcast standard)? Plans were scrapped due to reconstruction costs. Friggin Hitler!

Actually history if full of examples where politics stifles technological and scientific advancement.

Perhaps you were trying to make another point stigz?

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Nintendo 64 RGB Mod

My RGB Video Amp board came in today. This thing is bare simple - 3 resistors a capacitor and the THS7316 analog video amp chip. It was only $12 shipped. This chip doesn't have a low pass filter in the analog frequency range. It's not a bad thing to have one as it cleans out noise, but when they stack (through multiple devices in the chain) you loose detail. It should transmit a lossless signal to the multi out. The guys at HD Retrovision are obsessed with getting their cables right, so this should represent the best RGB signal possible through component to a CRT. You may notice it doesn't address sync. That's because I installed it in my NUS-CPU-03 revision N64. It is already wired up for Csync to the multi out. Later revisions removed R1, R14, R15, R16, and C22 to save cost. I recently bought another n64, a NUS-CPU-04 revision which had them removed. So I couldn't install this Mod board to that system. I would need to use Voultar's board for it, but his is around $30. This was the cheapest solution I could find. The HD retrovision cables were $70, so I'm in $82 total now. Well, plus $174 for the Everdrive v3, but that doesn't really count. I wanted that regardless. Not too bad.



Note: The antialiasing was removed using a flashcart (Everdrive64) and an APS rompatch that disables it. You could use a gameshark code also, but the flashcart makes it easier. To be sure it wasn't enabled in the baseline shot, I used my original copy of Super Mario 64. Yes I put it through a few more cycles of plugging in. Oh god the wear on the pins!

You can clearly see that the AA looses fine detail if you look at the butterflies. Component clearly retains more detail, but it's interesting how much clearer it is even over composite with AA disabled. I'm not sold on the look and there are some weird checker board patterns seen in solid color patches here and there. I'm not sure if they are due to a lack of the low pass filter or just dithering. Some games may not benefit from having AA disabled, but I think it's an interesting new look and will be fun to explore these games picking out new details I couldn't see before. The Component RGB definitely looks better. I'd be very interested to see what the advanced RGB mod board with the Deblur feature looks like, since it can remove the 2nd pass of AA. My mod board can't do that.

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