Hooking EVERYTHING up to a modern HDTV - A Guide (Update for the Framemeister coming soon!)


#1

Why do we need this?

Fact is, you don’t NEED any of these things but being a wise-ass aside I can’t be the only one with tons of retro stuff that is now near useless because of my TV upgrade. I can’t even LOOK at the horrible things my new TV does to my Genesis (poor poor Sonic) so while I’ve been asking questions/ pestering people almost to death I figure why not make this a project?

The Idea:

A guide detailing the absolute BEST and most lag free way to hook in every console and have them all in at the same time. I am going to do my best and I URGE you to correct me because I’m no expert.

The guide will be written in such a way that no matter how few inputs you have there will be some options (within reason) because what my TV came with is pitiful.

So get a CRT!
The idea here is that most people have that ONE gaming TV (not the super duper hardcore you guys have everything). YES I am aware that this will lag a tiny bit when you move to last gen and ever so slightly more moving past that and that’s to be expected, this thread will cover the most lag free/good looking/cost effective method for hooking in these consoles (those looking for the totally lag free solution, make some room for that CRT) but unless you’re practicing for SFA3 on your PSX there is no notable lag introduced by these methods (your specific TV’s lag is something you’ll have to look up/test). Test a game or two out through composite (bear with the ugliness a little more) and see if the lag is tolerable, I didn’t even notice it was there.

WARNING!!
THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO FIND OUT WHICH TV IS LAGLESS!!! DON’T ASK! THIS IS ONLY FOR THE HOOKING IN OF VIDEO GAME CONSOLES TO HDTVS!!

Thank you!

The Consoles

PlayStation**3(PSX backwards compatibility/PS2 on 2006 models ONLY) and X-Box 360 2007-Present (Limited X-Box1 compatibility):**** HDMI. **This will take care of both audio and video in (from what I understand) the best possible way. ALL HDMI CABLES ARE THE SAME! DO NOT OVERPAY! (Make sure it states it is 1.3)
The PS3’s PSX backwards compatibility adds 1-3 frames of lag, you should be fine. Not like anyone is practicing for a tournament using a PSX game, right?

X-Box 360 Core and pre 2007 Pro DO NOT have HDMI. The best way to hook them up is via component and while they do go to 1080p it doesn’t look QUITE as good as the newer models with HDMI.

**Wii (GameCube backwards compatibility): **Component: It sucks but this is the only official step up from composite but it looks nice and is the best solution besides running Dolphin in 1080p through your computer (don’t ask, it’s far beyond the scope of this thread).
Please note that only one GameCube game that I know of doesn’t work and that’s Mega Man X Collection, if you have a PS2 or BC PS3 I recommend getting it for that anyhow. (D-PADZ R KEWL)

**PlayStation 2(PSX backwards compatibility ONLY VIA RETRO METHOD): Component or “retro method”: **The PS2 is capable of component and it actually looks quite nice, one or two games even go to 1080i, (in order to get 480p you have to press X and TRIANGLE at the same time right as the Playstation logo appears) except for the fact that you will lose support for PSX games and Mega Man X Collection on most TVs, if you don’t care about PSX or Mega Man X Collection (what is with that game!?) just go with component. If you DO care see the old school section it will be one of the optional steps.

**SEGA Dreamcast:****VGA: **The first thing you should know is that you have to buy an additional piece to get VGA (I recommend a box over a cable), in order to get the sound working you either have to use the “red and white” cables or a 3.5mm AUX cable (AUX necessary for some options in this guide and in recommended in general due to simplicity) as far as I know this is the ABSOLUTE best way to go and many think it almost looks as good as a 360 game. Very few games don’t work with this method and some require the “Switch Trick”.

X-BOX1:Component: Depending on the game you can actually go up to 1080i using component. The games that support 720p and 1080i are listed HERE

**GameCube(GameBoy/Color/Advance via Gameboy Player): ****Component: **So if you were in the minority and DIDN’T buy into the Wii hype but you still get that hankering to play Melee you can track down the ridiculously expensive component cables! YAY!! Upgrade ASAP as it may actually only be like 30-40$ more expensive to buy a Wii and hey! The new Zelda game justifies its existence!

OLD SCHOOL[SIZE=4](NES,SNES*,GEN**,SAT**,N64*,PSX,TG16*,JAG,SMS, ETC.)**[/SIZE]
*Needs modification
**Has a different version that needs modification/won’t work

This is where things become complicated, at first you think you plug them in with the yellow white and red cable and hope for the best, well I DARE you to tell me that looks OK and mean it (especially the N64, good god…) So let the healing begin! This section will cover home consoles from the NES:f:N64 if you see a console that won’t work this way please tell me!

The explanation:

I won’t lie to you dear reader, I am NOT an expert on how this stuff works, I couldn’t tell you what’s going on in there but I’ve asked/read this thing to death and I know what combination of stuff will give the most desirable results for this particular project. If you want to know how or why, you’ve come to the wrong place!

STEP 1: Buying stuff

You will need the following things:

SCART cables for every console you will be using

SCART switcher: I found this tutorialHERE. Actually finding one is a challenge. The good part is if you find one that doesn’t have enough inputs you can always stack them.

Sync Strike

Scaler

(Optional) Scan Line generator

VGA switcher (necessary for Dreamcast+retro stuff) with at least 2 VGA and AUX inputs.

Audio Switch: I made the mistake of thinking a regular head phone jack splitter would do the trick. It doesn’t. Right now, any composite switch will work OR you can hook in the audio for the PS2 into an unassociated port on the VGA switch. I’m looking for something better though.

2- RCA to AUX ( 2 only necessary for PS2 audio with 2nd option)

All miscellaneous cables

STEP 2: Putting all that stuff together:

So you have all your stuff together, so now it’s time to make it all work for you!

First plug the SCART cables into the appropriate console/s, then plug the other end into the SCART switcher

Next, take the SCART plug not associated with a console and plug that into the Sync Strike

The Sync Strike will have VGA out and RCA audio inputs, plug a VGA cable in and plug the other end of it into the scaler and use a small converter to change the white and red audio cables to a 3.5 mm AUX one.

(OPTIONAL) Plug your PS2 component into the scaler as it allows you to switch between using the VGA port(retro consoles) and using the component input(PS2), this will allow you to keep your PSX BC while still using 480p. To get audio as well you will need to make a second AUX port with a switch (see: STEP 1). For audio, you can either use a composite switch or use a port on the VGA switch you’re not using (NOTE: I am currently looking into a smaller piece that can do this one simple task on the cheap)

The scaler will output VGA to the TV or OYBA (Optional Yet BadAss) SLG(which will then go via VGA to your TV) and… BAM! You’re all retrofitted!

(SPECIAL DREAMCAST STEP) If you only have 1 VGA port (like most people) and a Dreamcast (like some people) you will need a VGA switch. The switch should have VGA and AUX (for audio and video respectively) plug your DC into the switch with both VGA and AUX, then from the sync strike bring your AUX cable to the switcher (If you followed the PS2 steps this should be an AUX and plug the VGA coming from the scaler in the other port.
After all that plug the switcher into the TV or OYBA SLG then into the TV.

NOTES: The AUX I keep referring to is called something different on different TVs it’s sometimes called “Line In” or “audio in” and is located next to the VGA port because VGA doesn’t carry audio.
That cable you use to plug your iPod into your car? That thing.

**OVERVIEW: **(I’m using my TV as a base because I know it and it has so few inputs which makes it great for this purpose)

2 - HDMI - PS3 and 360

1- Component input 4 with switcher - Wii/PS2/XBOX1/GCN

1 VGA/AUX - If you have a PS2, a DC and the Sync Strike, you have to use a splitter (linked in STEP 1) in the AUX port associated with the Scaler’s VGA and plug the PS2 and Sync Strike audio to it, then plug the DC into it’s own VGA/AUX set. Remember that awesomeness and/or abominations may happen if you leave the PS2 on while playing a game from the Sync Strike or vice versa.

Need some clarification? Fine.
[media=youtube]dkNflsw7DUo[/media]

Trouble Systems!

These systems either require a modification of some kind or simply can’t work with the setup:

Nintendo Entertainment System: MOD IT!! or see “Alternatives”:
The NES is not only a trouble system it is THE trouble system, the only two ways you can plug it in are composite and RF and they SUCK for HDTVs. The mod is… almost completely unrealistic for anyone not named Donald Trump so this system MIGHT be where you start looking at the brand spankin’ new alternatives section.

**SNES2: **[SIZE=4]If you have ONE OF THESE you will need to do THIS to get either RGB or S-Video (But RGB is better, since S-Video can’t go through the scaler and sync strike)[/SIZE]

**JVC/SEGA Wondermega: **[SIZE=4]THIS GUY HERE will need a mod as well, of course it’s far cheaper to hunt down a Genesis 1 or 2, a 32x and a SEGA CD but I guess if you had it lying around at home and knew [/SIZE]your way around electronics you could find a way to mod it (because I can’t).

**SEGA Genesis 3: **THIS THING kinda… sorta… well it sucks. Not only will it not work with SCART it’s also buggy, won’t work with the 32X or SEGA CD and the sound in the Sonic games is off, do yourself a favor and avoid this model.

**TurboGrafix16: **[SIZE=4]The TurboGrafix16 will require a mod to get RGB to come out.[/SIZE]

HiSaturn: This guy won’t cooperate either! Show him who’s boss with this boss mod!

**Nintendo 64: **S-Video OR Mod for RGB SCART: Do you have an S-Video port on your TV? Swell! You don’t? Well then I suggest doing THIS or paying someone to do it for you (See “Modders” section) which will then allow you to use the same method you did for all your other older consoles. NOTE: Check HERE to see if your N64 can be modded (scroll to where it says “RGB Moddable N64’s Keychart”) if it can’t you can buy one pre-modded (See "Pre-mods). VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a “004” motherboard you will need to do the mod AND get an amplified cable, it may be cheaper to just buy a pre-mod at that point.

**Switchers/ETC. **
(All switchers have been tested/verified by someone on SRK, I actually don’t buy anything until I see it cleared through here). Recommend some for any and all types please! Lagless and loseless ONLY!

Great for getting more component inputs (necessary to hook in Wii/GCN/XBOX1/PS2 (for one option) simultaneously)

Option 1 (4 inputs) - Smashbro29

Great for getting more HDMI inputs (not necessary on the whole console bit, but useful):

Option 1 (5 inputs) - Smashbro29

PLEASE RECOMMEND A SCART SWITCHER! THEY ARE VERY HARD TO FIND!

Modders/Pre-mods

This is a list of people with enough know-how who will be willing to open up your console and mod it to work with the methods described for a fee as well as pre-modded systems

Pre-mods:

  1. Has N64

  2. Has N64

  3. They are always changing but if you email them you can really get anything you want.
    Modders:

1.Gummo :email:Gummowned@gmail.com He will mod N64 for 20$ plus shipping

  1. Retro Access: The same geniuses who made the cables and sell premods ALSO do mods!

ALTERNATIVES:
So you’re not nuts about original consoles or you just wanna play some old stuff and you don’t really care how. For those of us who are less picky and particular we have something for you!

Emulation:
The Wii and XBOX1 can be modded easily to emulate almost every classic console perfectly(and you can also just hook in your PC and play that way), you will however not be making use of all the retro junk sitting around (which was the point of the thread) and I won’t cover how to hack/mod the systems because that is not the point of this thread. If you want to use your old school controller then check this site out. Though it doesn’t seem like they have XBOX1 versions.

Clone consoles:
[SIZE=4]The idea here is a console that is a “clone” of a classic one, if you don’t have one you want it might be cheaper to have a clone console or if you don’t have the space for so many consoles many of them are a few consoles in one. No clone consoles are covered as part of the guide as there are FRIGGIN’ HUNDREDS of them, if whoever sells it to you says it works with RGB SCART it should work with the old school method (no guarantees!) [/SIZE]

Move/Get some more $$:
Space a problem? Can’t buy all the fun junk you want? Well one too many smart-asses decided to let me know that “LOL YOUR HOUSE IS SMALL” and “DUDE, GO TO GOODWILL”, I’m hoping in vain that if it’s in the actual guide I’ll stop getting responses like this.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:
DanAdamKOF
Darksakul
ExtremeYoshiFan
Gummo
Kyle
Mistahsnart
RosserRooster
SGGG2
ShinjiGohan
Toodles
undamned
Zapf

These fine people put up with my complete ignorance and helped me out in all sorts of ways, this would either be totally wrong and messed up or non-existent if not for them.

Questions? Comments? Corrections? I miss something?
Do tell. Heck you can do a write up and hijack the whole idea, I just want the correct info up and available. Think this is stupid? Tell me why, random internet guy!


Component to HDMI or Component to VGA?
People with some console modding experience! We need you!
#2

I’m gonna use this thread to document progress:

I ordered EVERYTHING listed (not cheap) and I’m going to do it myself and test the VGA switch in the process, updated some links with better stuff.

Will be asking/answering questions but kinda slow because I’m gonna be on my phone 90% of the time.

Thanks for helping! Thanks for reading!


#3

I’m using this post to list what I need help finding:

More modders

A link for a good SCART switcher on the cheap

and the 2 things I will always need:

  1. Answering the latest questions

  2. Feedback


#4

Aesthetically, I’d like to suggest you change to more neutral colors, because I cannot see the black text on the dark theme.


#5

Sorry! I just tried to make it look less boring. You can change the theme? Learn something new everyday.

Although… which colors are the issue?

And… I switched so nevermind.


#6

Just black.


#7

I JUST finished.


#8

This is a fairly inaccurate statement, there have been revisions of the cables(v1.3 now has networking support) and there is also the issue of cable quality. Granted it should /never/ be an issue, but improper contact could lead to less of data(very unlikely, but possible). I buy cheap cables, but you need to make sure to purchase the right version. 1.3 preferred, but 1.2 will suffice.

I don’t mean for this to come off as offensive, but I do know a few people who have bought the wrong cables and couldn’t use 1080p, so I feel it should be noted.


#9

Offensive? I made this whole thing to get the right info! Good work! I’ll update just as soon as I get on a computer again! Unfortunately its late and I had to pry myself away.


#10

Few things I like to add

I do like to point out the PS3 can play PS1 titles, even the non backward compatible to PS2 Units.
2. the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and Dreamcast does have native/ near native VGA options, there possible to be more systems that are VGA compatible.
Mayflash makes a VGA cable for the PS3 and Wii, and Microsoft has a VGA adapter for the Xbox 360.
3. Component(Link to Wiki Article) Does displays up to 720p with the exception of Current/ Firmware updated Bluray (movies) players.
The PS3 will still display menu and games in 720p for component cables even if Bluray movies will not.
4. VGA is native to the Dreamcast, minus a few minor key components (resistors, capacitors, diodes a on/off switch and a VGA socket), that is where the VGA adapter comes into play.
Here is a guide by mmmonkey on a internal VGA for Dreamcast. http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/console/sega/dc-vga.htm
5. Older systems can take advantage of a Composite (Yellow, Red, White) or Componet (YPbPr) Cable to VGA adapters that been on the market for a while.
http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-COMP2VGA-Composite-Converter-Computer/dp/B00006B8EI/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1322464926&sr=1-2


#11

I have to make that bit about PSX compatibility clearer, I knew that…
I’m only covering the best way to hook these things in. HDMI is the best for PS3/360 right?
As for the Wii, does turning the component into VGA actually do anything differently?

The other info: Thank you! And a few questions about #5
Is there any additional lag introduced by that kind of thing? Any model recommendations?
Will a component version solve the "invalid signal"issue on PS2?
How much of an improvement is there with one of those adaptors? Is the the BEST solution?
Any recommendations on a VGA switch? The more inputs the better.


#12

can you go more in depth about the SCART converter


#13

I would. I just don’t know jack about it. I’m gathering info myself.


#14

DarkSaul, those whatever-to-VGA adapters aren’t gonna do anything to improve the video, so you’ll want to hook those connections directly into the TV, unless your TV is extremely terrible at handling those inputs for some reason. Transcoding a low-tier signal to a high-tier signal (examples: S-video to VGA like that box, Composite to S-Video adapter plug) does nothing to improve the signal. Garbage in, garbage out.

I’ll put in my $.02 and say that almost every retro system can output 15khz (low-res) RGB video, whether directly (examples: Genesis, SNES, NeoGeo), through simple modding (ex: N64), or through thorough modding (ex: TG16, NES, Game Gear). Thing is, basically every region has RGB-capable TVs, except the USA. So, odds are, you’ll need to use a RGB to Component transcoder to hook it up. Component compresses RGB’s color information a little bit, but it’s nothing to worry about. And I know a lot of TVs say “RGB” for the VGA input, but nearly none of them can accept a 15khz input signal.

There’s a few good, sometimes overlooked, middleground options for if you want better quality video from your retro consoles without dealing with RGB. For example, you can S-Video mod (usually very easy) a few consoles like the Genesis, NeoGeo, Colecovision, 2600. Or another example, find another console that has better video, such as buying a Famicom Titler console to replace your NES (which has S-video out-of-the-box (and can actually output RGB with an easy mod)).

Also, a lot of consoles that output Composite also output S-Video, so at the least you could buy a S-Video cable for a SNES or N64 (same connector as a GameCube), Saturn, whatever, and have much better video from those consoles. S-Video separates the chrominance (color information) and luminance (brightness information) into two signals, and the chrominance being on its own means you eliminate basically all of the artifacts you get from Composite video. It’s not quite as vivid as RGB or Component, but going from Composite to S-Video is the biggest improvement you can make with retro consoles IMO. Going from S-Video to Component or RGB isn’t as noticeable of an improvement (but it’s still a good improvement).

I’ll also say that for 480p (and up)-capable retro consoles (GameCube, PS2, Xbox, Dreamcast), you can’t use a resolution above 480i from RF, Composite, or S-Video, so you’re basically missing out on half of the 480p (and up) games’ sharpness by not using Component or VGA (or possibly RGB? a bit unsure on this). There’s sites out there like www.HDGames.net where you can see which games support 480p, you might already have a few that do.

A few more random things, most non-VGA Dreamcast games can be tricked into running over the VGA cable with some sort of shenanigans with switching the VGA switch while it’s booting (my friend’s shown me before, I dunno the details). Certain Dreamcast bootdiscs can force VGA as well. There’s a PS2 .ELF you can use with modded PS2s called GSModeSelector that can scale PS2 games to 480p, 720p, or 1080i. It’s a bit weird and imperfect, it applies NO filters to the video, so you still see every pixel, some certain video settings don’t work with certain games, and some games are completely unplayable with it (such as the beatmania IIDX series, I’ve tried all of them :(), but for the games where it works fine, it’s a big improvement. Even making a 480i game output in 480p makes it look a lot more vivid on my TV (Sony XBR800). Also, I remember reading before on SRK that PS3s running PSX or PS2 games introduce a few frames of lag, even in 480i mode on a CRT (meaning the cause is somewhere in the emulation/BC mode), just something to keep in mind.

I’m gonna leave out hardware scalers, scanline generators, etc. entirely as I have no personal experience with them.

OK this ended up being a lot more than $.02. I might watch this thread and nerd-out in it some more heh. I’ve been working with video signals ever since I built my first supergun as a teenager, now I have a job as an engineer with a company that makes video processing devices, so I’m a bit of a know-it-all, for better or worse :stuck_out_tongue:

edit: if you wanna be hardcore you can buy a RGB monitor/TV for your retro games and forgo your HDTV entirely, I recently bought a Sony KV-25XBR which supports 15khz RGB! But that’s not an option for everyone.


#15

Its all about the the scaler and yes you will have lag 1-3 frames
Scart= if your not from europe you wouldn’t know so don’t feel bad Japan also has a version that a little different called RGB21

Scart is great for old systems prior to component cables It separates Red, Green and Blue

This thread is not really necessary because I have covered it in the T-SLG thread with the help of undamned I think we have covered everything so anyone needing to understand the process should review it

SmashBro read the thread and apply it here if you want. I’m sure if anything is off me or undamed will correct it


#16

Yeah I totally agree with DanAdam go with s-video and call it a day. I dont want to sound harsh but I have explained scalers to death to you and it looks like its going over you head. so either go with s-video or do some reading on scalers from other sources maybe they can explain it to you better There are tons of information out there to more dedicated forums on these matters


#17

Ok. First things first. I’m not that sensitive guys! RosserRooster, I’m looking for the best way without any soldering/hacking/major hardware mods and please, sound harsh. I really really REALLY just want everything to be 100% accurate. Don’t give me the detailed explanation, don’t tell me how it works(ordinarily I love that stuff but this time I just need simple idiot-proof directions), just tell me what works and which input/s I need in the end and is the picture quality increase so much greater that it’s worth the extra lag?

Some questions for DanAdamKOF:

  1. What if I don’t have S-Video? My TV doesn’t have it at all(though I have this composite switcher that does and while it seems to work as the video signal it doesn’t look better), I can’t be alone on that.

  2. Your RGB to component idea is great! The problem is the only switcher I’ve managed to find has 4 inputs.

  3. Is there a list somewhere with exactly which consoles support which options?

  4. Any tips on alleviating that “invalid signal” you get with PSX games on PS2 while making it look as NOT crap as possible?

  5. Recommend switchers for all of your methods. The idea is to have everything hooked up at once!


#18

If you want to do this without hacking, things are gonna get a bit trickier. As for needing everything hooked up at once, you could just daisy-chain switchboxes. So if for example you need 8 component inputs hooked up at once, you can use one two-input switchbox, whose inputs are each connected to the outputs of two 4-input switchboxes.

As for not having S-Video, that really sucks lol. Check out this page I made a few years ago to show why: http://www.freewebs.com/danadamkof/CompvsSvid.html
(the S-Video image is a tiny bit noisier than it should be due to how my capture card setup was back then)

I’ll hook you up with some more answers later :slight_smile:


#19

RGB SCART is best for everything p much.

Oh wait, that’s a EU thing.

/superiority


#20

Freakin’ European people…

DanAdamKOF:

There’s nothing you can do to get S-Video is there? Because right now that is looking like the only option for N64.

I read that NES can’t do anything above composite without a mod (and a few people told me too) so I’m looking into those SNES/NES systems that might support it but so far it looks like they all suck.