RGB, Cables, Upscalers & Retro Gamers

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RGB Basics:

In a nutshell for crystal clear graphics with modern TVs you need this: 

RGB Console>Scart Cable>Upscaler>HDTV 
 
If you want to play retro consoles on HDTVs you should consider upscalers. These devices vary in price greatly. The CKITZE BG-460 runs as low $60 as seen here. It's a great budget minded upscaler. Ultimately most users are disappointed with the frame lag. Testing shows 5-6 frames of lag compared to 1 frame with the XRGB model. XRGB Mini ($300-$400) is currently one of the best video upscalers. The XRGB Mini was released to provide a simpler way to take multiple input formats and upscale them all to HDTV sizes 480p, 720p, 1080p.









Why use Upscalers?
Upscalers converts legacy low resolution video formats to HD. Most HDTV's process HD video very well as it's their highest priority. Yet, most low resolution formats are an after thought and not displayed accurately. The XRGB Mini puts much care & effort into processing low resolution video formats. 


Note: Upscalers are not needed for hardcore CRT lovers. You can find Sony PVM crt monitors for $250 or less and have direct RGB inputs. No upscalers needed. PVM article coming soon. Disadvantages: Heavy, seldom over 20", rare, fragile to ship.
 



XRGB Upscaler Inputs:
  • D-terminal (format used in Japan,easily converted to component)
  • Mini Pin / RGB (generally used with adapter for scrat cable input)
  • HDMI (2)
  • Composite with mono/stereo
  • S-video



English users may need to upgrade the firmware: English firmware support has been added. You may need to set up the XRGB Mini firmware for English however, you can find the firmware here.   English remote decal overlays are available from eBay here.      



My SNES RGB Mini VS Composite



What is a  SCART cable?

SCART stands for Syndicat francais des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radio et Television.

A growing trend for retro gamers is using SCART for clear RGB video. Current day SCART connectors can carry RGB video, composite, digital, analog, S-video and stereo audio input and output signal in 1 cable.

These were/are very popular in Europe and Japan.  The end of the SCART connector has 21 pins, so it is also referred to as a 21-pin EuroSCART connector.


There is also a JP-21 Japanese  SCART with a different pin-out. This can cause confusion with new users. Pick a side early on before investing in cables etc. Euro SCART or JP-21. Generally in the US we are using standard NTSC EuroScart designed cables.   Also make sure to avoid PAL SCART in USA

 

Displaying RGB from Consoles & SYNC (Basic list) 
Scart Adapter for XRGB Mini

Where's the XRGB SCART input?
If you use Japanese RGB-21 cables then you can use the bundled adapter with the XRGB mini. Note most users in the USA are not using this cable system and therefor can not use the included adapter cable. If you use Euro SCART like myself and many others then you must buy a Euro SCART to Mini adapter from seller retro_console_accessories on ebay
Example of Scart Adapter & 3 Consoles via SwitchBox

Where to buy Scart Cables? I prefer retro_console_accessories on ebay. High quality cables. She list sync methods and specs with each cable listing. I use these cables for all my testing and gaming setups.


SYNC: Sync is the synchronization of lines on the display. Generally speaking RGB from cables boil down to these signals = RED, GREEN, BLUE & FORM OF SYNC. You have the choice of getting sync information from the composite video output, or directly from a pin that only outputs composite sync or commonly called CSYNC.  XRGB and other upscalers can be temperamental with certain sync methods.    

NES / Famicom The NES doesn't natively output RGB but NESRGB boards can be installed. I offer these upgrades in my store here. The NESRGB board allows any sync method. Many prefer csync

SNES Original Model  All the original SNES consoles natively output RGB. Most motherboard revision are infamous for blurry RGB signals. The 1CHIP motherboard is the sharpest model often found in original SNES consoles with a UN3XXX serial number. All original models output csync.    

SNES Mini / Jr.  The SNES Jr does not output RGB. Upgrades Services are available in my store here. Once upgraded the SNES Mini outputs the best possible RGB signal, from all the SNES systems. CSYNC can be enabled. This is the preferred method when installing the RGB amp. This console can not use sync on luma cables unless it is modded for svideo.    

N64  The N64 doesn't natively output RGB. Using "sync on luma" cables will solve all "crosshatching" issues when csync is not available. methods.  Upgrades Services are available in my store here. Several  upgrade method are currently available.  Tradition method is THS7314DR based amps. This can only be installed on early serial numbers NS1XXXXX.  Later NS2XXXXX boards require a more complex N64RGB circuit. Once upgraded the N64 outputs a wonderful RGB signal.  From my experience with NS1 versions only CSYNC can be enabled on CPU-03 motherboards. Later CPU-04 revision mostly output composite video as sync.    

Sega Master System Model 1 will output RGB!  No upgrades needed unless you are wanting FM sound boards installed.    

Sega Genesis All will output RGB!  More complex setups are needed for 32x and CD addons.

Saturn Will output RGB    

Sega DreamCast Will output RGB and VGA    

PC Engine / TurboGrafx AV Composite is the best theses consoles offered. RGB amps can be installed. Contact us for a quote.    

NEO-GEO All versions of the NeoGeo home console output RGB.  

Atari 2600 UPDATE: Atari RGB will be available in my store in Aug2015.  I can also upgrade these to Composite or Svideo, see more here

4 comments:

  1. Can you recommend a good scart switcher?

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a great question. I am also searching for a good scart switcher. There are very few good quality switches available. Most are poor quality and not worth using. When I find one I will update this article.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I picked up a Genesis 1 High Definition model. Should I be using a composite video + sync or CSYNC SCART cable from RetroConsoleAccessories UK? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Either one will work. Most user prefer Csync. RetroConsoleCables UK is a great company. But.. if you are based in the USA shop with "retro console accessories" on ebay. Based in USA and hand made cables.

      Delete

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