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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Gaming

Gaming Non-Star Trek Gaming

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Old November 2 2012, 10:00 PM   #1
Kelthaz
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Retro gaming on an HDTV?

I'm mostly an old school console gamer (NES, Atari 2600, Genesis, etc.), so I've held off on getting an HDTV for a while due to its poor reputation when it comes to SD content. However, I would like an HDTV for my newer consoles and DVDs/Blu-rays. A lot of people online do claim that old school games are almost unplayable on HDTVs, but, well, a lot of people online are crazy too.

So here's my question to anyone doing some retro gaming on a modern HDTV -- does it really look that bad? Are those 256x224 NES games almost unplayable or are videophiles blowing this whole issue out of proportion?
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Old November 2 2012, 10:04 PM   #2
Chemahkuu
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

Well from my own and friends devices I know the Megadrive, PS2 and Wii perform great on HDTV, not sure about the others. The main problem is the connectors, try finding some console to HD leads and it should look pretty good.
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Old November 2 2012, 10:32 PM   #3
kolibri
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

I don't really have any experience with retro consoles, although my sister played our old Genesis for a while on a small HDTV and it looked fine.

You could always buy something like this, though for the price, you could probably build a cheap PC and buy USB adapters to use the original controllers and just emulate the games. Or keep an old CRT around just for retro games.
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Old November 3 2012, 12:41 AM   #4
Brandonv
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

I didn't have any luck trying to use my SNES with my HDTV.

I connected the SNES with composite cables, and when I turned on the console there was no picture. I guess it is possible the SNES broke, but I don't think so because I had recently played it on an old CRT using the same cables and it worked fine (I don't have a CRT anymore, the picture started going out and I got rid of it).
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Old November 3 2012, 01:48 AM   #5
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

I play NES games on my TV all the time. It's going to look fine. SD content looks just fine on HD TVs unless you're trying to stretch it to fill the whole screen on some older TV and movies.
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Old November 3 2012, 02:25 AM   #6
bullethead
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

Fighting games are the one kind of game that you shouldn't play on modern HDTVs, because some of the processing effects in the modern sets create lag between the actions and images onscreen.
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Old November 3 2012, 03:04 AM   #7
Kirkman1987
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

I've played my NES on an HDTV and it wasn't bad. I would stick to an SD TV if possible but it's nothing to fret over.
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Old November 3 2012, 09:34 AM   #8
Yoda
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

HDTVs will vary greatly on how well they handle the signal from old SD consoles. My 7 year old Sony 720p rear-projector works pretty well with composite input, though has some issues with S-Video that I haven't been able to figure out. Very little lag. You can try googling various model numbers plus the keywords "input lag", but even then it can vary between inputs and numbers people will quote probably apply to HD inputs. It's a bit of a crapshoot.

I'd like to get a CRT for my retro gaming, but I keep putting it off because hey... a 27" tube is freaking heavy.

Keep in mind that old light gun games (the kind that make the screen flash) will not work at all on modern HDTVs. Aside from that, with the right HDTV and settings most retro stuff can look pretty good.
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Old November 3 2012, 05:39 PM   #9
Steven
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

I have my NES, SNES, and N64 hooked up to a Samsung 55" LED and they look just fine. Aside from the light gun issue that Yoda mentioned, the only problem I have is that the controller wires aren't long enough to reach the couch.
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Old November 3 2012, 05:49 PM   #10
Brandonv
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

After reading all these replies, I'm now really curious why my SNES wont display on my HDTV. Everyone else seems to be having good luck.. Maybe there is some setting I need to mess with?

My HDTV is a run-of-the-mill LCD, with 1080p and 120hz refresh.

Yoda wrote: View Post
Keep in mind that old light gun games (the kind that make the screen flash) will not work at all on modern HDTVs. Aside from that, with the right HDTV and settings most retro stuff can look pretty good.
I've heard that light gun games won't even work on newer CRT's - you have to use the older CRT's with the screens that bulge out, and not the newer flat screen CRT's.
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Old November 3 2012, 10:01 PM   #11
Mr. Adventure
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

You know you don't have to get rid of your old TV to get an HDTV.
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Old November 5 2012, 05:41 AM   #12
Yoda
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

Yeah, if it wasn't for the fact that I left my CRT behind when I moved a few thousand miles, I'd have have a nice retro gaming corner set up already
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Old November 5 2012, 08:42 AM   #13
billcosby
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

When I was visiting Japan last year I bought a "refurbished" Famicom (identical hardware to the original Nintendo) which was cleaned up on the inside and the connecting wires were converted from an RF connector to some sweet ass AV cables! It works like a charm into the side of the HDTV and what a beaut it is to play... the only problem is the slight variance in power conversion (10 volt difference in North America) so there are some horizontal bars on the gameplay screen, but it's all good.

I wonder if some clever enterprising nerds might do the same process for Atari and other systems? It would be worth it. I'd pay $50-$100 for such a conversion if it worked. I paid about $30 extra for the Famicom conversion so it ended up being $80 or something like that... but the games are around $5-$10 each. Unless you're looking for Mega Man or Zelda... those go for $50-$100 each!!

Kelthaz wrote: View Post
So here's my question to anyone doing some retro gaming on a modern HDTV -- does it really look that bad? Are those 256x224 NES games almost unplayable or are videophiles blowing this whole issue out of proportion?
I have to say it looks pretty sick. Being able to see each pixel clearly? It's madness... it will make you love retro gaming even more.
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Old November 5 2012, 09:29 AM   #14
Yoda
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

Ehh. Depends, there can be some artifacts. The input mode is a little weird so it's not necessarily well supported on every set. It's not going to be 100% perfect because the NES pixels aren't square. If ultra clean video is your priority may as well play on an emulator like FCEUX, if you set the scaling settings correctly you'll get a fairly accurate per pixel look.


As for video output, I'm not 100 percent sure what you're saying. When you say sweet ass video cables I assume you mean composite out? The American NES already had that. I don't think the NES could be modded with anything better, I remember reading that people would hunt the arcade version of the NES (one of those select a game coin-op deals) so they could get RGB output from NES games.

Just google the name of the system you are looking and you'll surely find discussions on the topic, e.g. sega genesis video mod, Atari video mod... whatever.

I'd like to get my consoles modded for superior video output, but it seems in the US we have a tougher time than in Europe. Over there RGB over SCART is pretty common, so all you have to do is get RGB from your console, which many of them do... but nothing will output in component, which is the high-end analog input type in the US.

And yes, there are people that will do the video mods for money. Check out this ebay auction for instance
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Old November 6 2012, 04:17 AM   #15
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Re: Retro gaming on an HDTV?

Well I picked up an HDTV yesterday. All my systems look fantastic on it. My original assumption that people are crazy was correct. Now I'm off to play some Sagaia. Good times.
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