Playing retro games on HDTV.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#21

Post by Deepfake » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:41 am

^ Yeah, that last bit is what I was trying to express. The signals can be carried in multiple formats, and the connector types aren't the primary determining factor in what signal format is used. It's typically all just metal wires with shielding, and the connector head is just going to be some agreed on industry standard. You could transmit Composite video via 15-pin D-sub if you were so inclined, you would just have a lot of redundant or unnecessary pins.

Regarding my EDTV and its connection, S-Video is technically a type of component cable, because it separates Luma and Chroma and can therefore carry clearer color data. EDTV was a sort of half-step between early HDTV and older SD, in that it displays progressive scan. This required a type of component cable, like S-Video or 3-cable RCA, or other inputs like VGA. When my screen ran high resolutions over S-Video, the picture was noticeably fuzzier but the pixel data was all present. I had this screen sometime around 2006-2008ish before it developed gauss/magnetic field issues, which caused extreme color distortion.

Frame interpolation can be and often is the biggest culprit of time loss as you've suspected, when converting interlaced to progressive scan, although there is also not insignificant time loss associated with converting color formats from composite, multiplexed color-space to the RGB color-space that modern displays expect. Older technology did exist that could perform this conversion in a timely fashion, but consumer flatscreens from a decade back or so may likely use more slow, generic components to handle it rather than purpose built, knowing the industry. In that sense, input lag could and does vary greatly between models as we've seen.

To convert an interlaced composite signal to a progressive scan RGB signal is only going to take one frame delay in an ideal case scenario, but that immediately introduces 16.66 ms lag that wasn't there before, on a 60hz screen. The average human can anticipate and adapt to that 16 ms but in some games even that little bit is a noticeable disadvantage, especially when players in competitive e-sports are sold screens with less than 2 ms processing for native RGB signals. Not all flat panel screens are the same technology, and they all have different processing/display times. A CRT requires 16.66 ms to draw an entire frame and reset to draw the next, and older LCD screens can take much additional processing time. To add interpolation, you're going from 16.66 ms delay to 33.33 ms delay.

In addition, consumer screens like HDTVS may take a lot of time to process and fill the screen - let's say we've got one that takes 25ms. Because the screen is holding one frame to combine to the other, and processing that, even if de-interlacing happens instantaneously as soon as the second frame is complete, a flatscreen with 25ms delay will therefore take 58.33 ms to actually display an entire image.

I would liken this to my use of PC audio. In my experience, any additional input delay over 4 ms can become a major hindrance in live audio production. 2ms or more delay on vocal processing with monitoring can cause a noticeable doubling for the singer. < 60 ms was the most I could anticipate in a song to which I already knew the rhythm and notes. Your brain interprets sound width via high versus low audio frequencies, but also by delay a sound takes to travel from one ear to the other, with 30ms being the 'widest' sound and 40ms and over being interpreted as an echo. So even in sound, 40ms is an excessive delay to your brain, and sound travels slower than light.


Take the numbers in this post with a grain of salt, however, as I'm just using what I do know to rough out an example of why a CRT can display a low res composite signal so much faster. Analogue CRT screens did not store the frame data and were actually drawing as the data arrives, they have 'blanking' periods at the end of the image, during which the line drawing is reset and syncronised. How LCDs and other flatscreens handle this data and convert all of it to RGB is dependent on the model and methods employed.

On fast modern screens such as the one I use, which runs with less than 4ms delay, native video actually displays more immediately than a composite signal can be displayed via a standard CRT television. This may still result in a less smooth video when running software designed for a system that was intended to output to an interlaced CRT, though, due to differences in how the different tech functions. Persistence of vision is a big factor in why CRTs can feel better than flat panel technology even at comparable speeds and framerate.
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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#22

Post by Deepfake » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:52 am

Apollo the Just wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:25 pm
The dongles in question boast that they are re-formatting the signal, but that is specificaly in the direction of DP-to-VGA; I wonder too if we're a bit careless about just attaching things so the connectors are right and not paying attention to what direction is being "supported" by the interface. Even if it works 90% of the time, I imagine a lot of temporary blackouts/failures can be explained by us getting away with a very jank and haphazard setup.
In all honesty, the dongle's claims are probably just them using slippery language, if it's not powered. I suppose it's possible they found a way to not draw too much power, but it's very likely it's just re-ordering the VGA signal into the wires the DP screen expects them in. If you're somehow using it 'backwards' as it sounds like then that supports that it is probably a simple adapter and not an active convertor.
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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#23

Post by Apollo the Just » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:00 pm

I'd never considered the audio processing delay you've mentioned but purely anecdotally, and barely actually tangentially related, I noticed my first time playing ToS on a CRT TV that I was getting thrown off on my menuing because I was accustomed to hearing the "tick" and "select" menuing sounds noticeably after pressing the buttons on my controller. On the CRT, they were almost exactly synchronized (by comparison), so my brain wasn't used to listening for them over the sounds of me physically pressing the button, so I missed the sound and assumed I'd dropped the input which led to me going back and re-selecting something I'd already selected. It's difficult to explain but after you brought up sound I realized we hadn't even really touched on that at all, but it legitimately threw me off LOL

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#24

Post by Apollo the Just » Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:09 pm

To follow up on the DP/VGA question earlier, though, since the dongle is not powered it makes sense that it's probably simply an adapter and not a converter, as conversion requires power. So would that mean that the signal itself is either analog or digital, does not change, and it's likely the output and input are able to communicate with each other to determine the "type" of signal that is sent, and the adapters/connectors are just connecting the dots? So it could be that even though it appears to be DP out because of the shape of the port, it is actually outputting a VGA/analog signal over that connection because it has determined that that's what's on the other end? Or alternatively the monitor is able to understand a DP/digital signal even in the shape of a VGA port? Something like that?

Just trying to actually understand how this kind of "invisible" conversion is happening; it makes sense that the actual conversion is happening in hardware either on the output or the display end and the dongle itself is just adapting the signal to a new shape without changing it.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#25

Post by Deepfake » Wed Mar 04, 2020 2:36 am

Apollo the Just wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:09 pm
To follow up on the DP/VGA question earlier, though, since the dongle is not powered it makes sense that it's probably simply an adapter and not a converter, as conversion requires power. So would that mean that the signal itself is either analog or digital, does not change, and it's likely the output and input are able to communicate with each other to determine the "type" of signal that is sent, and the adapters/connectors are just connecting the dots? So it could be that even though it appears to be DP out because of the shape of the port, it is actually outputting a VGA/analog signal over that connection because it has determined that that's what's on the other end? Or alternatively the monitor is able to understand a DP/digital signal even in the shape of a VGA port? Something like that?

Just trying to actually understand how this kind of "invisible" conversion is happening; it makes sense that the actual conversion is happening in hardware either on the output or the display end and the dongle itself is just adapting the signal to a new shape without changing it.
I was under the impression that the monitor required display port but you were outputting VGA. Regardless, the Display Port is likely outputting VGA signals when it detects them from the monitor to which it's connected. IIRC, VGA compatible monitors can communicate with the device giving them input via syncing signals. VGA support may be absent from some non-standard DP tech but I believe it's standard for Display Port to support VGA signals. As I said, it's just metal wires internally, all it needs to do is have enough individual wires to carry VGA, and to communicate them to the correct VGA pins at the monitor (the job of the adapter).
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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#26

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:30 am

Is this a techie mating ritual on display?


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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#27

Post by Deepfake » Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:19 am

I REALLY HATE POKEMON! wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:30 am
Is this a techie mating ritual on display?

this is us:

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#28

Post by Apollo the Just » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:50 pm

AI, please don't leak security camera footage of me doing my job and post it on the internet.

edit: also sorry for the confusion, in my work environment we literally do both so I forgot which direction I initially used in the given example (DP out to VGA monitor, and vice-versa. it's a bit of a mess.) But DP supporting VGA standards is something I believe I have read elsewhere as well so that makes sense to me, and the adapter-mislabeled-"converter" is just as you said re-arranging the pins to the expected order. It makes sense that the output port is able to detect what kind of signal the monitor can understand and will send the appropriate signal. So in this sense the "DP" port is basically acting as a VGA port that can understand the monitor being like "bro i dont have DP you're gonna have to improvise", and provided you don't have crappy cables, it should have sufficient wires to carry those signals and transmit them.

I have two conflicting sides, one of which is just like "man it works i'm not gonna question it" and the other is like "HOW IS THIS WORKING WHAT SORCERY IS THIS", so thank you for the detailed answers.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#29

Post by ScottyMcGee » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:46 pm

No matter where I live, I will always have at least one CRT around to play my SNES and other old systems on.

. . . . . I currently do NOT have a CRT in my apartment BUT I am working on it.

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#30

Post by DarkZero » Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:04 pm

i just replaced my CRT with an HDTV a little over a year ago and the only reason i got rid of the CRT at all was because there was no room for both of them.

i'm hoping i can get a smaller CRT that'll fit on top of my dresser. i'm currently using an upscaler on the HDTV for older consoles, which is functional but definitely not pretty.
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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#31

Post by VG_Addict » Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:10 pm

Am I just gonna have to deal with input lag if I play a retro game on an HDTV?

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Re: Playing retro games on HDTV.

#32

Post by DarkZero » Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:16 pm

Getting an upscaler helps tremendously. Unless you're playing light gun games, the delay is virtually unnoticable.
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