Advice for connecting old consoles to modern HDMI TVs

I have an LG C1 and I'd like to get a switch so that I can hook up the following to it effectively on one of the HDMI ports:

Sega Genesis (Composite)
Sega Saturn (S-Video)
Sega Dreamcast (VGA)
Nintendo Gamecube (Component)

I also probably need audio switching as well.

The other 3 HDMI ports will be Cable Box, XSX, PS5.

Have any of you done this? If so, do you have any product suggestions?
 

BRiT

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I had (maybe still have) some old manual based video switches but they did not translate to HDMI Out. I think the switch had RCA audio, Composite, and S-Video. Maybe combine that with a SVideo/Composite/RCA converter to HDMI. You still need something to convert Component Video to HDMI. Then you'd need something to switch between the converted HDMIs.

At this point it would be easier and more convenient to find an old AVR (Audio Video Receiver) that has those inputs and will convert to HDMI output.

Denon has a list of their older models that have Video Conversion functionality:

 

DSoup

Series Soup
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I've never seen a single adapter that handles s-video, composite and VGA with a single HDMI out, but you can find adapters for each of these outputs (often including audio solutions) to HDMI output on Amazon. Bear in mind, that the quality of the output is likely to be a bit 'noisy' so I'd recommend reading individual reviews.

I think you're probably looking at three separate adaptors all connecting to a three-port HDMI switch connected to your TV - the cabling will be a bit messy because most adaptors only provide a HDMI out, so you may need short HDMI cables from the adapter to the HDMI switch box.

Whilst it's not what you asked for, I will mention it because by the time you bought all the adapters, cables and a HDMI switch box, you will probably have spent more than what you could have on a Raspberry Pi device providing solid emulation of these systems - and many more should you want it down the line. RetroPie is a good website if you want to think about that.

I'b be interested to hear how you get on this with. If feels increasingly difficult to keep old systems alive.
 

Florin

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HDMI conversion and upscaling is actually quite the can of worms. At first any kind of solution may seem okay. But before you know it you too might get caught up in the chase for the ideal solution with integer scaling, minimal latency, and quick recovery from mode switches. Right now the best upscaling solution is probably the Retrotink 5x Pro, which has all of the inputs that you mention except VGA. To use this upscaler with the Dreamcast people tend to use a VGA to SCART adapter, or they might use its composite output instead.

Previous kings of the upscaler hill include the OSSC and the Framemeister devices, and they still have their fans. I am also really loving the display quality on my RGB2HDMI device but that is a solution for systems other than the ones you mentioned.

The upscaler itself can do the switching between the different inputs so in your case that would cover your needs nicely. People typically just add simple analog switching boxes if they need their upscaler to handle, say, multiple component inputs.

Unfortunately, quality output does not come cheap. But I figure I'd talk about it before you head down the path of the common simple off the shelf conversion solutions, which eventually tend to leave one wanting.
 

see colon

All Ham & No Potatos
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You need something like a RetroTINK.

I've tried all the 'cheap' converters and they all did a trash job.
To be fair, they are cheap for a reason, and are meant more for conversion than enhancement. The system specific cables can be convenient and scale better than most TVs, but at their price of $20-30 each, if you are hooking up more than a few systems, the RetroTink is the way to go.

For @Johnny Awesome I think the 2xPro is a good choice, as it covers all of his inputs except VGA. And then, getting a good quality VGA to HDMI converter could solve that problem. Or, perhaps changing out your VGA box for SVideo cables could be "good enough". It's all subjective, though.
 

DSoup

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Not surprisingly, good quality solutions are expensive. You can see why people drift towards emulation, although if you want to support original controllers that still also requires a bunch of controller adapters.
 

swaaye

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I have one of the $20 Portta component -> HDMI adapters for my original XBox. The model that doesn't do any scaling. I think it works pretty well. I don't feel any input lag and the output looks correct.

But yeah composite and S-Video are trouble.

I bought N64 UltraHDMI. That gets you some amazing N64 clarity with lots of tweak options and almost zero latency, but unfortunately most of the high-resolution games have combing to some degree. They use interlaced modes and I guess he wasn't able to come up with a good deinterlacing method on the FPGA.
 
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see colon

All Ham & No Potatos
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Personally, I play many retro games on a CRT. I'm not a snob about it, I even have a CRT that is RF only that I play Saturn on from time to time. But I do own the Hyperkin HDMI adapters for PS2, Saturn, Genesis and Dreamcast. Not because I think they are the best, because I know they aren't. But because they are convenient. And I did say previously that if you are using more than one converter it makes sense to go with a RetroTink. But I have a wholesale account with Hyperkin so I can get them at cost. They are all fine. There's a bit of lag, and the image quality isn't the best out there. But it's better than composite scaled via any of my LCDs internal scaler (most of the Hyperkin ones use RGB as the source). And again, honestly, I think retro games look best on a CRT.

The adapters I would be cautious of are the N64/GC ones, as most of them use SVideo as the source, and tend to have poor image quality.
 

Florin

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There are a lot of options that are 'good enough' or even fine but let's keep in mind that @Johnny Awesome has the LG C1, which is a seriously good piece of gaming kit.

Quality issues with deinterlacing, 5 seconds of black screen or twitchy resynching garbage when your game switches video modes for a cutscene, input lag, hardware mods that require surgery on your systems etc etc, these are now just solved problems that you won't have to encounter firsthand. Retrotink 5x gives the LG the quality input it needs to shine (and even compares favorably to the likes of UltraHDMI), and perhaps most importantly is also dead easy to use. All of those inputs become switchable with the touch of a remote control button.
 

swaaye

Entirely Suboptimal
Legend
Personally, I play many retro games on a CRT. I'm not a snob about it, I even have a CRT that is RF only that I play Saturn on from time to time. But I do own the Hyperkin HDMI adapters for PS2, Saturn, Genesis and Dreamcast. Not because I think they are the best, because I know they aren't. But because they are convenient. And I did say previously that if you are using more than one converter it makes sense to go with a RetroTink. But I have a wholesale account with Hyperkin so I can get them at cost. They are all fine. There's a bit of lag, and the image quality isn't the best out there. But it's better than composite scaled via any of my LCDs internal scaler (most of the Hyperkin ones use RGB as the source). And again, honestly, I think retro games look best on a CRT.

The adapters I would be cautious of are the N64/GC ones, as most of them use SVideo as the source, and tend to have poor image quality.
Yeah really a CRT is probably the best way to go for old machines. Bypass all the conversion nonsense, upscaling problems, extra wiring everywhere, substantial money flushing, and also benefit from being on a smaller screen. Huge modern panels don't do even the cleanest low resolution gfx any favors. They even come with free much-sought-after scanlines!

Though you do have to own a CRT and devote space for that beast then.
 

MrSpiggott

Newcomer
I have an LG C1 and I'd like to get a switch so that I can hook up the following to it effectively on one of the HDMI ports:

Sega Genesis (Composite)
Sega Saturn (S-Video)
Sega Dreamcast (VGA)
Nintendo Gamecube (Component)

I also probably need audio switching as well.

The other 3 HDMI ports will be Cable Box, XSX, PS5.

Have any of you done this? If so, do you have any product suggestions?
There's nothing really that's cost effective if you want to upscale and digitise composite, S-video and component signals, and to be honest, you should think about dropping composite and S-video from your requirements since both the Genesis and Saturn are capable of outputting an RGB signal.

Probably your best option is to emulate on a cheap low power PC or Raspberry Pi like device with a HDMI output. Emulation quality is superb and it wont cost much at all.
 

orangpelupa

Elite Bug Hunter
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Probably your best option is to emulate on a cheap low power PC or Raspberry Pi like device with a HDMI output. Emulation quality is superb and it wont cost much at all.

Indeed. As @Johnny Awesome already have XSX, emulators already can be installed (without hacking, on retail mode), and it should be strong enough to run almost anything
 
Thanks everyone.

I have to say I'm torn. It's not that I don't have the space for CRT, but it would be cleaner for me to get everything on the LG C1 if I can.

I'm keen to use the original discs etc..., but Raspberry Pi is tempting as well.

Mostly I'm thinking - How do I get Sambo de Amiga, Guitar Hero and Rock Band going on my LG C1?
 

Florin

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I'm into emulators as much as the next guy but there's also something to be said for keeping original hardware going.

The amount of effort involved in tweaking config files and experimenting with settings to get any particular game running just right on an emulator shouldn't be underestimated. And RetroArch with Run-Ahead is only just recently getting to the point of actual zero input lag with some of its cores, which also requires more powerful hardware than just any old RetroPie. Aspect ratios and overscan continue to be touch and go, sound accuracy is often still quite lacking and sound latency in particular is rampant. Some titles work well on one release of an emulator and then have issues on the next. All things considered, software emulation is still far from a cure-all for problem free retro gaming. Which is one of the reasons why people often end up moving to FPGA solutions like the MiSTer for a better experience.

And there's just something about the feel of real console hardware, cartridges and optical media and original controllers that just can't really be replicated 100%.
 

see colon

All Ham & No Potatos
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Mostly I'm thinking - How do I get Sambo de Amiga, Guitar Hero and Rock Band going on my LG C1?
Nintendo Wii has all of those games and fairly cheap low (no?) lag HDMI converters available with pretty good documentation thanks to the Smash community.
 

Shifty Geezer

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Which is one of the reasons why people often end up moving to FPGA solutions like the MiSTer for a better experience.
Not heard of that before. This sounds like the only sane solution. What's the upper limit on what these can emulate? I see PS1/Saturn are in development...!


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Consoles - Classic​



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Moderately pricey though, more than the cost of a new console, but for lots of machines emulated very economical.
 
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