Playing retro games on HDTV.

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Playing retro games on HDTV.

#1

Post by VG_Addict » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:51 am

I've heard that older games don't play well on an HDTV. You have to deal with stuff like input lag.

Is that true?

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#2

Post by Booyakasha » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:05 am

I am given to understand input lag is real, yes. I can't speak to how noticeable it is (all my retro consoles are hooked up to CRTs). I'd also imagine older games would look worse on an HDTV, simply because the inherent fuzziness of an SDTV would mask some graphical imperfections.
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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#3

Post by Bomby » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:27 am

Very much so. Which is why I've taken to clone consoles and system modding.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#4

Post by X-3 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:51 am

Input lag is a myth created by Big CRT

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#5

Post by Apollo the Just » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:40 am

I didn't realize how much of a difference it made because I haven't owned a CRT since the early 2000's. So I've exclusively played on HDTV's even though most of the games I play are on okder analog consoles. Bought a CRT and it felt like a 15 year old veil had been lifted.

That said, HDTV's are perfectly serviceable for most intents and purposes. I only noticed the delay because every frame matters in speedrunning and dodging enemies is so much easier with no input lag. I posted a side by side comparison in my CRT thread.

(the image also looks way better yes, unless you like seeing low poly models and intentionally blurred backgrounds stick out like sore thumbs in HIGH RESOLUTION)

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#6

Post by steeze » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:44 am

When HDMI came out I noticed a huge difference when I hooked up my systems to the upstairs television.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#7

Post by Apollo the Just » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:54 am

I don't remember whether I noticed it immediately at the time or not honestly, it was forever ago. I was pretty young and might have chalked it up to "just looks kinda different". I DO know that playing it on a CRT again super viscerally reminded me of what these games once felt like, though.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#8

Post by CaptHayfever » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:27 pm

Input lag is an issue, depending on the type of game. The graphics tend to look worse because high-res screens don't provide the slight blur that older games relied on to smooth out their pixel art. And light-gun games straight-up don't work at all.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#9

Post by DarkZero » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:45 pm

HDTVs are always going to be at least slightly slower than CRTs, at least until technology progresses to a point where they can process an image at the same speed as an analogue signal. But its very minimal with digital signals since that's what they are designed for. The big thing that makes retro games so difficult to play on HDTVs is that those TVs aren't really optimized for analogue signals like composite, as the TV has to process and upscale the image which adds onto the time it takes to finally display it.

There are, of course, ways to get the delay down to a playable or almost non-existant level, however. One solution is using a dedicated upscaler, which tend to process the image faster than your TV can. If your console happens to support a digital display option (such as component or VGA), this also works very well.

As Bomby mentioned, there are also clone consoles that emulate retro systems that natively support HDMI output, and many of them support real hardware like cartridges and controllers. In addition, you can have pretty much any real console modded to output a digital signal, but obv it costs money to have someone else mod your system and I wouldn't recommend doing it yourself unless you really know your stuff.

I pretty much emulate everything on a modded Wii with component cables, or otherwise use a composite-to-HDMI upscaler with a real console when needed. Although believe me if I had the space for a CRT I would probably just use that.
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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#10

Post by Apollo the Just » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:04 pm

DarkZero wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:45 pm
There are, of course, ways to get the delay down to a playable or almost non-existant level, however. One solution is using a dedicated upscaler, which tend to process the image faster than your TV can. If your console happens to support a digital display option (such as component or VGA), this also works very well.
Wait, am I missing something? Component and VGA are both analog signals as well. But do these two convert more efficiently (than, say, composite or S-video) on modern technology? - Genuine question; I was completely unaware.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#11

Post by DarkZero » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:16 pm

OK admittedly I might have talked out of my ass there because some cursory googling reveals that both are technically analog signals, so... whoops. I had assumed VGA was a digital signal because I know the VGA port on the Dreamcast has been converted to HDMI before with minimal complication. I guess what's different is that they are both more complex connections than the single connector of a composite cable and are capable of higher resolutions that an HDTV can support, but they are analog signals still.

Although component seems to come in both analog and digital...
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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#12

Post by Apollo the Just » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:33 pm

Anecdotally, at my workplace we convert between DisplayPort (digital) signals and VGA (analog) for a lot of our PC-to-monitor connections. There is probably some slight latency but it's nowhere near on the same level as when I was playing Wii on an LCD screen. Would be interesting to research exactly what impact is had at each level - specific signal conversion, the hardware itself (external converters vs in TV/monitor hardware), how **** my specific TV was, etc. I should obviously bring in an ancient CRT monitor and hook it up for comparison. Wonder if I can convince my boss that this is a productive use of time and budget.

(Although if the complexity of the signal is a factor, the S-Video signal should have been more efficient than the composite but I did not - also anecdotally - experience that to be the case. but it could certainly be something specific about YPbPr / VGA signals, as I don't pretend to have incredibly in-depth knowledge beyond "they're analog and the VGA one is blue".)

anyone got 8000 TV's and consoles and connectors so we can do experiments? it's for science.

(sorry for derail i'll go mind my business again)

EDIT:

re your component comment, "component" is an umbrella term. S-Video, YPbPr (the red blue and green cables we colloquially call "component"), and VGA are technically component signals; they are all analog. HDMI and DVI-D are technically component signals as well, but digital.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#13

Post by Calamity Panfan » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:25 pm

This is reminding me that I really should do something with my modded Wii. Haven't touched it since shortly after high school.

I've thought about either getting a CRT or an HDMI retro console type thing, but since I'm not streaming or speedrunning and it would be a very luxury item that I'd only occasionally use and it would take up space the rest of the time (and God knows I have so much gaming stuff taking up too much space already), I've just sucked up any input lag and such.

I've thought about getting into the MISTer a few times because it seems like a REALLY cool project and Jeff from Giant Bomb seems to really love it. But it's too big of an investment of both time and money to get that set up right now.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#14

Post by Bomby » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:22 am

CaptHayfever wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:27 pm
Input lag is an issue, depending on the type of game.
Trying to play DKC2 from my original SNES on an HDTV was hilarious. I should upload the footage.

Super NT has essentially replaced my SNES. Though eventually I would like to get a good quality CRT for Super Scope games, and I would definitely use my OG SNES for that.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#15

Post by Apollo the Just » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:20 pm

DarkZero wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:16 pm
OK admittedly I might have talked out of my ass there because some cursory googling reveals that both are technically analog signals, so... whoops. I had assumed VGA was a digital signal because I know the VGA port on the Dreamcast has been converted to HDMI before with minimal complication. I guess what's different is that they are both more complex connections than the single connector of a composite cable and are capable of higher resolutions that an HDTV can support, but they are analog signals still.

Although component seems to come in both analog and digital...
I'm bumping this because after going down several internet rabbit holes out of a fascination for how old analog video tech and interlacing works I realized I was misunderstanding the real difference between interlaced and progressive signals and I think that plays a big role into why VGA and component output have less lag on an LCD than composite and S-video.

It seems kind of obvious now in retrospect but I wouldn't have put two and two together if you hadn't pointed out the VGA-out DreamCast thing.

VGA and Component support progressive signals, which means no deinterlacing needs to be done, so the conversion to digital is ezpz because they are still receiving a full frame and displaying the full frame. Composite/S-video are sending an interlaced signal which means it is sending 2 half-frames and the converter has to figure out what the **** to do and apply filters/etc to make it approximate a progressive signal. Digital displays literally can't display an interlaced signal so it seems obvious now that it takes extra time for them to process and then display the best approximate conversion of it that they can. "Deinterlacing" is such a misnomer because it isn't... un-doing something, it literally involves algorithmically predicting what the missing half-frame probably looked like based on the information it gets. I have a new appreciation for this.

Anyway the wikipedia article was fascinating to me and I learned a lot about all the different jargon in AmarecTV so I can actually understand what its settings mean now. Link for anyone interested but too lazy to google "deinterlacing":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinterlacing

Related, since CRT's literally don't support progressive signals because they by nature display interlaced signals, for progressive component or VGA you pretty much have to play on an LCD. You can play over component on a CRT but not progressive scan (you just get better colors, still interlaced) and in that case since the scan is still interlaced you will get lag if you try to convert it to digital. But if you're converting it to digital anyway, cut out the CRT and just go progressive and you will probably virtually eliminate lag.

I'd like to apologize for talking out of my ass about the analog to digital conversion being a source of lag. It's definitely the interlacing, which is why your point about VGA and component makes way more sense now.

edit: just went down another rabbit hole about how "240p" for really old games is also a signal intended for interlacing technology and the p just means that since the resolution is 240 scanlines it can send all 240 during each scan and essentially re-draws over the same scanlines each time instead of filling the space between, for the same refresh rate and number of scanlines as 480i but half the perceived vertical resolution. so even though it's technically a progressive signal, it was intended for this analog interlaced technology, and to be displayed properly on digital tech each horizontal line would need to be doubled. it is progressive because these CRT's that can only display 240 scanlines at a time can show all of them at once per refresh. this makes so much SENSE now and it's so cool

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