Retro AV Thread |OT| RGB, CRTs, Upscalers, and More

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ShinJohnpv

ShinJohnpv

Member
Oct 25, 2017
790
Lots of info, thank you. I know very little about this stuff as is, I mostly just plug my Wii with component cables into my TV for Gamecube games or use my shitty av to HDMI converter for PS2. Both look VERY dark and dull. Not sure what option works best for that.
So a lot of TVs don't do great jobs at upscaling 240p sources (which will be a few PS2 games, not many GC games). They should do ok jobs with 480i and 480p though. When you say AV to HDMI converter I assume you're using composite with your PS2? That's probably a big part of it. If you don't already have them I would highly recommend grabbing some component cables cables for your PS2. HDRetrovision makes some, and you can also use PS3 component cables on the PS2 (stay away from 3rd party ones most of them are made pretty crappily, with the exception being HDRetrovision).

In your case I would recommend trying something like an OSSC or Framemeister. Like I said the GC/Wii solutions right now are just 480p so you'd be in the same position you're in now, which is relying on your tv to upscale from 480i/p. That's why I would also say to skip something like the retrotink or rad2x. Since both of those are again only going to 480p (which you can get out of the Wii).

The framemeister will give you more options IMHO, and will work with more tvs, but it's also more expensive. It's currently around 340 bucks, and it's also end of life because the main scaling chip in it isn't being made any more, so they're making what they can with the supply they have left. I also think the framemeister handles 480i much better than the OSSC, but I personally can't stand bob deinterlacing, the up and down motion stands out to me like a giant vibrating sore thumb, but to others its a lot less noticeable. The framemeister will also let you plug in, composite, and s-video along with RGB and component. Since the framemeister is an upscaler, it has a framebuffer, so its able to output everything at 60hz so you don't run into weird refreshes or incompatibility issues. It also means you can do somethings with zooming and stretching the image that a simple line doubler can't.

The OSSC is cheaper and going to run you like 150 - 200 depending on where you order it from, and if you get it with a remote and power supply, etc. The OSSC is a line double and not an upscaler (its accomplishing a similar thing but in a different way) so you have 0 lag with the OSSC (framemeister ranges about 1 frame to 1 1/2 frames depending on what you're doing). Though compatibility between different tvs and the OSSC can be spotty. Since its just line doubling you end up with some weird resolutions and sometimes off spec frame rates that some modern digital tvs just don't like. So you can run into an instance of your tv only taking line 2x mode for a 240p source and you're back to just 480p. Plus the OSSC only does Component and RGB in. As I said before I am not a fan of the OSSC's handling of 480i sources but it does handle 480p (which it line doubles to 960p) better than the framemeister upscales it. I do believe you can google ossc compatibility and find a google doc with people saying what tv they have and if it works with the different 2x,3x,4x, and 5x modes of the OSSC.

Though do realize that in a modern setup the different modes need to compatible with everything in the chain. So if you have an AV receiver that everything runs into, it also needs to be able to handle the signals coming out of the OSSC.


I hope this helps you a bit.
 

ibrahima

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,561
You may have seen this in other locations but I figured it would be worth posting here that Marqs has announced a new version of the OSSC; the OSSC Pro.

Original announcement link here


Write up from Smokemonster at RetroRGB here


Highlights below

ISL51002 video ADC:
* improved sync processing robustness
* reduced sampling jitter with DPLL
* fine-grained video LPF
* automatic sampling phase adjustment

Cyclone V FPGA (5CEFA5F23C8N):
* higher performance and more resources
* hard memory controller
* large number of IOs

Clocking and memory improvements:
* Si5351C clock generator for accurate output pixel clock generation (framelock or free-running)
* 512MB LPDDR2 RAM and 16MB QSPI flash

New AV inputs:
* HDMI
* SPDIF (optical)

2×20 pin GPIO connector for future expansion possibilities such as:
* composite & s-video input module
* secondary video output (e.g. VGA) module
* latency tester interface module
* game controller port module (for using OSSC Pro as a dedicated FPGA console)

The processing modes enabled by the HW can be split roughly into three types:

1. Pure line multiplier
* both active and blanking lines multiplied – basically what original OSSC does
* simplest mode with least latency

2. Adaptive line multiplier
* visible lines are multiplied but horizontal & vertical total matched to standard timings
* high compatibility with minimal latency overhead (1-30 lines typically)
* enables some new output configurations such as 4x240p/2x480p in standard 1080p frame

3. Scaler
* higher flexibility via LPDDR2 utilization
* HQ deinterlacing
* non-integer scaling
* rotation
* refresh rate conversion
 

Wamapoke

Member
Apr 11, 2018
1,160
Marqs - 'It's a different model in different price category which isn't going to replace the original one'
 

Fuzzy

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,166
Toronto
This SmokeMonster video mentions this from his story that wasn't quoted here in the post above.

Marqs posted concept pictures, a block diagram, and a list of the intended new features. He even has hardware add-on PCBs planned that will allow tinkerers to upgrade popular FPGA dev kits like the DE10-Nano, for those who can’t wait for the final product.


Being able to make/buy add-ons for the DE10-Nano can be a less expensive way to get yourself an OSSC Pro.
 

TSM

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,417
You may have seen this in other locations but I figured it would be worth posting here that Marqs has announced a new version of the OSSC; the OSSC Pro.

Original announcement link here


Write up from Smokemonster at RetroRGB here


Highlights below
This is probably the most interesting bullet point:

* game controller port module (for using OSSC Pro as a dedicated FPGA console)

So another open FPGA solution appears to be entering the market. Eventually we'll have the Mister, OSSC Pro and Analogue Pocket as options.
 

Radnom

Member
Oct 25, 2017
255
I just got myself a CRT TV so that I could play Point Blank again, it was a pretty cheap Trinitron, for input it only has RCA (and it only has 2 inputs, yellow and black!). It still looks pretty nice to me with my PS2 hooked up, but I haven't seen a CRT in action for over a decade so I don't have a good one to compare it to (thankfully!)
Unfortunately I couldn't find the Point Blank disc so I can't even try out the G-Cons until I get a replacement game!

I tried searching this thread but couldn't find it, but has anyone tried hooking their mini consoles up to a 4:3 CRT? I ordered myself an HDMI->RCA upscaler to give it a shot, but I can't find much information about people doing this, so I'm fully prepared for it to be a disaster. I don't know if the TV will crop the widescreen (will make the interface awkward, but at least in-game it'll look good), fit it in the middle of the screen (worst case!! hopefully I could zoom in on the image) or, best case, just stretch the 16:9 content to 4:3 (because then I can use the mini console's stretch option to get it back to 4:3!!)

I know I won't get the low latency of original hardware on a CRT doing this, but until I figure out how this MiSTer stuff works, my mini consoles will have to do!
 

Televator

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,172
Yeah I am curious to know how PS2 games will look with this and that upcoming PS2 HDMI mod in the works.
The HDMI mod will look sharper than the current OSSC, but kinda lacks compared to framemeister a bit. If they can engineer good algorithms for the Pro, it could blow everything out of the water. It was my hope that the internal HDMI mod would have a more advanced motion adaptive deinterlacing option, but it won’t afaik.
 

dubc35

Member
Oct 27, 2017
817
WA, USA
So, my brother bought a Sony BVM-14E5U a while back and never ended up doing anything with it. I'm probably going to get it from him. I have HD Retrovision component cables for my SNES and Genesis, would I be able to use a RCA to BNC connector to use the monitor?

Yes, those will work.

I need to check with my brother to see if he has any BVM's laying around, lol. ...he doesn't :(
 

sleepnaught

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,116
Yes, those will work.

I need to check with my brother to see if he has any BVM's laying around, lol. ...he doesn't :(
Yeah, to be fair, I think this one has some issues with it. May need some caps replaced. I'm going to see if I can identify the issue and if that's within my area of comfort zone to fix. Haven't actually been able to plug in anything, but the on screen menu sorta jumps up and down from time to time. Hopefully, the video signal from the SNES/Genesis doesnt do that. My Sony CRT TV has some odd on screen menu issues as well, but doesnt affect the video signal, just the menu. Hoping that's the case here. Other than that, the scan lines are oh so sweet looking. I know this is gonna look great. Looking in the menu, it appears to have only 8600 hours on it, which seems pretty low. Hope I'm reading that right.
 
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Teiresias

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,767
I think you would potentially get better image quality with 480i output and higher compatibility for 480px2 output (due to 1080p frame, some TVs/monitors have problems with a 960p signal).
Yeah, my only use case for 480px2 right now is the Dreamcast and my C9 accepts it just fine so probably not much used to me. Will keep an eye on it though.
 

sleepnaught

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,116
Got my systems hooked up to the BVM my brother gave me. Turns out there's nothing wrong with it at all. Geometry looks fine to my naked eye. Not gonna mess with that.

However, after all the hype I've read about PVMs and BVMs, there's very little difference between a Sony Trinitron consumer set and this BVM, if I'm being perfectly honest. I suppose the smaller size and TVL count lends it a slightly sharper image, but it's not a big difference. It's definitely best looking, though, and Itll earn a spot on my desk for retro gaming. But, I'm still gonna be doing most of my retro stuff on my big Sony set.
 

flyover

Member
Oct 26, 2017
702
960p in 1080p frame makes me very interested in this.
Yeah, from what I've read, this is the part that caught my interest, too.

Too bad going to 4k would be too expensive for now, as I'd love a 240p line nonupler, but I'm sure it'll happen eventually. Hell, if 8k becomes standard, screens will finally be divisible by 240 (18x) and 480 (9x).
 
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ShinJohnpv

ShinJohnpv

Member
Oct 25, 2017
790
I think a lot of people hype up P/BVMs, beyond what they should. Don't get me wrong they can look fantastic but beat to hell ones can also look super shitty. I've been at conventions where a booth has a PVM that desperately needs its caps replaced and has 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 hours on it, that looks like a blurry mess to me, but people are walking by going "OMG ITS AMAZING". I think like a lot of other things they just get blown way out of proportion and hyped up as a holy grail.
 

Fuzzy

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,166
Toronto
I think a lot of people hype up P/BVMs, beyond what they should. Don't get me wrong they can look fantastic but beat to hell ones can also look super shitty. I've been at conventions where a booth has a PVM that desperately needs its caps replaced and has 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 hours on it, that looks like a blurry mess to me, but people are walking by going "OMG ITS AMAZING". I think like a lot of other things they just get blown way out of proportion and hyped up as a holy grail.
The biggest thing is most people never used more than composite on a consumer set and the jump from that to RGB is huge and makes up most of the difference. Taking component into a consumer set looks awesome.
 
Oct 27, 2017
411
I think a lot of people hype up P/BVMs, beyond what they should. Don't get me wrong they can look fantastic but beat to hell ones can also look super shitty. I've been at conventions where a booth has a PVM that desperately needs its caps replaced and has 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 hours on it, that looks like a blurry mess to me, but people are walking by going "OMG ITS AMAZING". I think like a lot of other things they just get blown way out of proportion and hyped up as a holy grail.
Yeah, honestly I am at a point where I am abandoning all efforts to maintain a CRT for retro games. I think the OSSC does a fantastic job of making games look great on a modern LED based TV. Even if I had the money for a really nice BVM/PVM, I don't have the space to stick it on a shelf within a reasonable distance of where my consoles are set up.
 

angelgrievous

Member
Nov 8, 2017
4,391
Ohio
The biggest thing is most people never used more than composite on a consumer set and the jump from that to RGB is huge and makes up most of the difference. Taking component into a consumer set looks awesome.
Hell, even S-Video is a major improvement. I’m playing through some PSX stuff and it looks great on an svideo trinitron. Good enough to keep me from buying a pvm/bvm.
 

PaulloDEC

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,287
Australia
Decided it was time I added Nintendo support to my retro stack today, so I built a little wooden riser so my Wii would have somewhere to sit. Result:



Still room under there for something else; maybe a Raspberry Pi sometime down the track.
 

Fuzzy

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,166
Toronto
we kids knew how to handle CRTs back in the day. Humanity is regressing.
I carried my grandmother's 32" Trinitron into the house after the delivery person left it in the backyard next to the sliding door because it wouldn't fit through the door while still in the box. I was a skinny 16 y/o and that thing weighed more than I did.
 

Radnom

Member
Oct 25, 2017
255
I tried searching this thread but couldn't find it, but has anyone tried hooking their mini consoles up to a 4:3 CRT? I ordered myself an HDMI->RCA upscaler to give it a shot, but I can't find much information about people doing this, so I'm fully prepared for it to be a disaster. I don't know if the TV will crop the widescreen (will make the interface awkward, but at least in-game it'll look good), fit it in the middle of the screen (worst case!! hopefully I could zoom in on the image) or, best case, just stretch the 16:9 content to 4:3 (because then I can use the mini console's stretch option to get it back to 4:3!!)

I know I won't get the low latency of original hardware on a CRT doing this, but until I figure out how this MiSTer stuff works, my mini consoles will have to do!
As a follow up, I got the upscaler and (after a wait) some RCA cables and set it all up, the set up is absolutely disgusting but it actually works :D I hooked it up to my tiny Mega Drive/Genesis, plugged both of those into a Rock Band PS3 USB hub plugged into a Samsung phone charger for maximum grossness.

The upscaler just squashes the console's content to 4:3 which makes the menu ugly, but if I set the console's game settings to stretch then it cancels back out for a full-screen 4:3 picture.

There's noticeable input lag, definitely not ideal (but it seems in the realm of what others are getting using the mini anyway - 7-8 frames of lag by the looks of it). I can stick with this until I get a MiSTer!


It's obviously no comparison to original hardware plugged into a BVM but that wasn't my goal!
 

Kyle Cross

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,393
I have a friend who's wanting to hook up their modern Windows 10 PC to a consumer CRT. They're looking at some of those cheap generic HDMI to component converter boxes on Amazon, which I'm always wary of. Does anyone have any advice for them?
 

dubc35

Member
Oct 27, 2017
817
WA, USA
2X scart is a great alternative to the ossc and FM.

The retro gaming scene is going crazy now with scalers, console mods, mister, etc etc.
 

Teiresias

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,767
Not really AV related, but I just saw a copy of Popful Mail (had a case, not sure if actually CIB) at my local used game store. They were asking $350 for it.

Frankly, I'm a little suspicious, they had a really large amount of Sega CD games with cases, more than they've ever had on hand before. I'd be scared of some of that being repros, but I guess a collector could have just decided to divest.
 

flyover

Member
Oct 26, 2017
702
2X scart is a great alternative to the ossc and FM.
Yeah, both the new RetroTINKs look great. I have an OSSC and FM, but it's nice to see something simpler and cheaper. I don't even care about most of the settings in my upscalers. I just want decent upscaling, HDMI out, and scanlines. The only caveat with the RetroTINKs is that it still leaves a lot of the work up to the TV (from 480p to 4k), but still, what a great option. It's the only upscaler I could recommend to people who just want an easy, non-emulation option.
 
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Nessus

Member
Oct 28, 2017
966
Heyo, I was wondering if anyone might be able to help with an issue I'm experiencing. I got the Tim Worthington RGB mod installed on my N64 and this is the result:



Not quite jailbars, but thicker sorta wavy vertical lines. This is RGB SCART going into an OSSC, then HDMI out into an HDTV.

Thought it might be the SCART cable but using the same cable with an SNES the image is fine with no hint of vertical lines.

Also this is after cutting the track to the composite video pin to enable CS75 composite sync.

Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks so much!
 
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ShinJohnpv

ShinJohnpv

Member
Oct 25, 2017
790
It definitely looks like a sync issue. I don't have the rgb mod, or an ossc, but are there any sync or timing settings you can adjust in the ossc? Also make sure that the SNES sync line doesn't have anything on it that is specific to the SNES. Like or a capacitor or resistor, I don't remember off hand what kind of csync signal the SNES puts out.