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Buying a TV for retro games. I have questions!


Gambit
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21 hours ago, Gambit said:

Hello. I'm going through a mid life crisis at the moment, but instead of buying a Ferrari I'm looking at getting a TV and N64. :lol:

 

I've never really thought about what kind of TV to get so I'm confused. Is CRT the best option? What price will I be looking to pay? I was originally just looking at any TV that has scart compatibility but apparently LCD TV's are shit for retro stuff. I'll mainly be playing SNES and N64 stuff on it.

 

Thanks for entertaining this newbies questions. Have a nice day and down with the Tories. :)

A consumer crt would suit your needs perfectly. Keep an eye on gumtree etc. Any brand would do, but the Sony Trinitrons are especially nice.  If you are in the uk, they have RGB scart / svideo etc (unless its really ancient). Shouldn’t cost too much, but even consumer sets have went up in price. Maybe £50 for a 21” + is decent.

 

I personally wouldn’t go near scalers to an lcd (I have been around the block and back with them). No matter what you do with them, it never really feels or looks right.

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I got a B&O MX4000 to go in my games room, it fits really nicely in a corner (much more so than any other 21” crt I have found which wouldn’t fit at all), looks great in the room and sounds good so I could get rid of the external speakers.
 

Picture quality wise it’s a bit of a disappointment as it has a smoked plastic screen over the front to enhance contrast, which decreases brightness, and the black levels are poor without it. The most annoying thing is the vertical and horizontal linearity issues which give a noticeable fish eye effect on scrolling games and cannot be corrected in the service menus which are otherwise fairly extensive (it also needs an internal jumper shorting to enable access to said menu). 
 

It’s acceptable for the benefits it brings but I am on the lookout for an MX4200 which apparently resolve most of these shortcomings.  

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12 hours ago, partious said:

My only advice, and this will be unpopular so I apologize in advance, is not to get fixated on the rgb modded consoles and Trinitron (or even pvm) stuff. 

Over the past few years the hobby of retro gaming has moved away from discussing games to chasing some sort of perfect picture via owning the "ultimate" Sony CRT and never ending tinkering with expensive console hardware mods, all encouraged by YouTube FOMO merchants.


This is dead on. The gatekeeping and weird snobbery around CRTs and PVMs in particular is tiring. They're nice screens but they're absolutely not worth the money that people are charging for them these days, particularly given how much use some of them have had during their professional lives. It's even happening around PC monitors now too.

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On 30/09/2022 at 01:03, partious said:

My only advice, and this will be unpopular so I apologize in advance, is not to get fixated on the rgb modded consoles and Trinitron (or even pvm) stuff. 

Over the past few years the hobby of retro gaming has moved away from discussing games to chasing some sort of perfect picture via owning the "ultimate" Sony CRT and never ending tinkering with expensive console hardware mods, all encouraged by YouTube FOMO merchants.

 

If you can get a Trinitron or pvm cheap then go for it, they are of course very good, but don't buy into the all or nothing idea that anything else is terrible. The important things you actually need here are 1) a CRT TV and 2) a SNES/N64.

Not "this particular CRT" and "a SNES/n64 with these mods and this cable".

 

I've played lots of retro games on an early 2000s 14 inch Sharp crt over composite in the past decade+ and they were all just fine.

 

You are correct that the average modern LCD TV will look bad via scart/composite and introduce a lot of lag. All modern screens aren't necessarily bad with old consoles if you have a good external scaler, but those aren't cheap.

 

completely agree with this with a big but! 

 

50hz sucks. As with everything YMMV, but imo it really, really sucks and with things like Everdrives available, getting the ntsc library is easier than it ever was. 

But you need an ntsc console, and you likely need a Sony Trinitron, not just for the quality of the image, but the fact it supports ntsc colour, and you're not just going to get a black and white picture if the tv supports nothing more than PAL60. 

 

If you don't care and are happy with 50hz, then yes! just get a CRT and enjoy the game. Also I completely agree that the fetish for RGB on everything is not worth it, and often not how the games where originally meant to look. composite video or s-video from an N64 will look great on a CRT. 

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7 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

completely agree with this with a big but! 

 

50hz sucks. As with everything YMMV, but imo it really, really sucks and with things like Everdrives available, getting the ntsc library is easier than it ever was. 

But you need an ntsc console, and you likely need a Sony Trinitron, not just for the quality of the image, but the fact it supports ntsc colour, and you're not just going to get a black and white picture if the tv supports nothing more than PAL60. 

 

If you don't care about 50hz, then yes! just get a CRT and enjoy the game. Also I completely agree that the fetish for RGB on everything is not worth it, and often not how the games where originally meant to look. composite video or s-video from an N64 will look great on a CRT. 

 

 Luckily I haven't had to think about 50hz or pal for a decade or so, but yes, PAL conversions of retrogames do indeed suck compared to the NTSC originals :D

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Most consoles bar a few, output RGB natively as do most crts in the uk - so you should be fine. The n64 needs a mod and it’s stock AV doesn’t look great (along with The slower/cropped image of the PAL format). However If you just want to the play games aren’t fussed, it’s serviceable enough and you could look at improving things it further down the line, with a Jpn RGB modded unit with deblur. Throw in an everdrive and that’s you sorted. 

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There's something to be said for the authentic consumer CRT experience. Barring a TV that's on its last legs or has real issues, most consumer sets will give you that feeling. Used to have a nice 28" JVC for about 15 years that I got for nothing (was at that time where people were just throwing CRTs away) and that had a great picture. It just conked out partly due to the SCART sockets almost totally detaching and I think some wine got in it somehow. Was gutted when that died. 

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28 minutes ago, partious said:

 

 Luckily I haven't had to think about 50hz or pal for a decade or so, but yes, PAL conversions of retrogames do indeed suck compared to the NTSC originals :D

 

Does your Sharp CRT support NTSC over composite or s-video?

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4 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

Does your Sharp CRT support NTSC over composite or s-video?

 

I'm in Japan so NTSC only. Actually I've had the problem in reverse with PAL GameCube games running in black and white on the TV (people would be surprised how many good old games weren't released in Japan).

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24 minutes ago, partious said:

 

I'm in Japan so NTSC only. Actually I've had the problem in reverse with PAL GameCube games running in black and white on the TV (people would be surprised how many good old games weren't released in Japan).

 

Makes sense! 

 

The day I imported my Gamecube - back in 2002 - my heart sunk as I plugged it in with the video cables it came with and I got a black and white picture! 
All that effort to get one and it was in black and white on my Toshiba CRT :lol:

 

I soon after aquired a Saurian modded RGB cable off ntsc-uk, but that right there was a hard lesson to learn! 

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On 29/09/2022 at 16:40, Gorf said:

I’ve been watching Facebook marketplace for many months for a 21” Sony Trinitron to come up in my local area, no luck yet 

 

Might put up a wanted ad actually 

 

In the meantime I bought an RGB modded NTSC N64, RGB lead from retro gaming cables, an OSSC from here, an everdrive 64 before the war started and a new LG G1 65” OLED telly for the living room

 

Looks alright but a Trinitron is high on the priorities list

N64 on my ossc looks absolutely awful! :)

Maybe I have it configured badly. Nes snes megadrive look amazing though.

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Thanks everyone for all your replies. That said, I've decided to go in a different direction.

 

I found myself with more money than I anticipated thanks to doing an ungodly amount of work overtime the past couple of months and am investing in a RetroTink. Will let you know how that goes. :lol:

 

Hopefully someone in the future is in a similar position to me and finds this thread useful. :hug:

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The last CRT I bought was an LG Flatron - another great set that’s overlooked. It was a great match for my Dreamcast, supporting 60hz and with an almost VGA quality picture. 

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Scalers are great, but again, you’re missing out in half the jazz with the motion resolution.

 

It’s very easy to forget what was lost after years of flat panel usage/brainwash.

 

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On 03/10/2022 at 16:31, Gambit said:

Thanks everyone for all your replies. That said, I've decided to go in a different direction.

 

I found myself with more money than I anticipated thanks to doing an ungodly amount of work overtime the past couple of months and am investing in a RetroTink. Will let you know how that goes. :lol:

 

Hopefully someone in the future is in a similar position to me and finds this thread useful. :hug:

 

RetroTink's are amazing! An excellent choice! 

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On 03/10/2022 at 16:31, Gambit said:

Thanks everyone for all your replies. That said, I've decided to go in a different direction.

 

I found myself with more money than I anticipated thanks to doing an ungodly amount of work overtime the past couple of months and am investing in a RetroTink. Will let you know how that goes. :lol:

 

Hopefully someone in the future is in a similar position to me and finds this thread useful. :hug:

 

RetroTink arrived and works perfectly with my SNES. Went for the scart version. Looks about as good as I was expecting on a big 4k. And zero latency which was the main thing I wanted. :)

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This thread inspired me to post a wanted ad on gumtree and I’m now the owner of a Sony Trinitron KV29X5

 

A lovely guy delivered it to my house for free!

 

Its a heavy beast, here it is in the garage hooked up to my RGB modded N64, picture is superb and I’ve got it on RGB mode and full screen but I’ve got a weird horizontal shift to the picture, I can’t for the life of me get into the service menu using the remote to try and adjust it, anyone know?

 

I’m going to have to try my Saturn on it to see if it’s only my N64 doing this

 

Im going to give the TV a good dust down and bring it into the house at the weekend, I’ve got an ideal place for it to live and get regular use

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I got the service menu working last night (I was being an idiot with the remote button combination) and there seems to be a good range of horizontal adjustment so I’ll give that a proper go over the weekend

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The Trinitron I have has a huge service menu that's a sea of confusing settings. I even picked up a copy of the service manual and am none the wiser. My brother used to repair TVs years ago so I should get him in to tune it up right. It's a far cry from a few knobs back in the 80s. 

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